Before the Japanese set foot on Wakde Island in April 1942, it may have been inhabited by a small native population. Over the next year, much of the foliage on the island was cut down to make space for a runway that was 5400 feet long and 390 feet wide. The Japanese leveled more of the island to build 100 pillboxes, bunkers and other defenses. On May 15, 1944, the fight over Wakde began. All but four Japanese soldiers stationed there fought to the death. Wakde was further expanded by the Allies, almost completely clearing the island of vegetation in the process. Today, the island is uninhabited. The photo on the left, taken from Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s, shows Wakde Island after its development as an Allied base. More than 70 years after the military left the island, Wakde still bears the scars of World War II in the Google Earth image at right.
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