Operation Inmate was an attack by the British Pacific Fleet against Japanese positions on Truk Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean during the Second World War. The attacks on 14 and 15 June 1945 were conducted to provide combat experience for the aircraft carrier HMS Implacable and several of the fleet’s cruisers and destroyers. The attack was considered successful, with the ships and air units gaining useful experience while suffering two fatalities and the loss of seven aircraft to combat and accidents.
About Operation Inmate in brief
Operation Inmate was an attack by the British Pacific Fleet against Japanese positions on Truk Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean during the Second World War. The attacks against the isolated islands on 14 and 15 June 1945 were conducted to provide combat experience for the aircraft carrier HMS Implacable and several of the fleet’s cruisers and destroyers. On 14 June 1945 British aircraft conducted a series of raids againstJapanese positions at Truk. The next morning, several islands were bombarded by British and Canadian cruisers, though only one of the four warships involved achieved any success. Further air strikes took place in the afternoon and night of 15 June before the Allied force returned to its base. The attack was considered successful, with the ships and air units gaining useful experience while suffering two fatalities and the loss of seven aircraft to combat and accidents. The damage to the Japanese facilities in the atoll, which had been repeatedly attacked during 1944 and 1945, was modest. In mid-1945 the Japanese garrison at TruK remained large but had no offensive capacity under Lieutenant General Shunzaburo Mugikura and Vice Admiral Chuichi Hara. A large number of anti-aircraft guns protected the islands, but no warships and only a small number of aircraft were stationed there. The Truk garrison received few reinforcements or supplies following the capture of the islands by US forces in September 1944. The Allied bombardment of the Truk atoll had reduced the Japanese forces at the island to starving impotence by the start of the Allied bombardment.
The Japanese forces conscripted local civilians to rapidly repair the damage caused to airfields by these raids, though the scale of this resistance decreased over time. The crews of the ships involved, includingimplacable’s aircraft pilots, were not told that the main purpose of the operation was training. The purpose of this operation was to ensure that the warships’ crews had recent combat experience before the BPF commenced operations off Japan during July. The fleet carrier HMSImplacable was dispatched from the United Kingdom in February 1945 to reinforce the BPf. The main body of theBPF arrived at Manus Island to refuel on 30 May, and most of its ships continued to Sydney on 1 June. The BPF was formed in November 1944 as Britain’s main contribution to Allied operations against the Japanese home islands in the Pacific. The Fleet’s base was established at Sydney, Australia, and most of the Fleet’s ships arrived there in February1945. On 24 May implacable departed Sydney, and reached the BP F’s forward base at ManUS Island five days later. The main part of the BPP’s combat force, Vice-Admiral Bernard Rawlings, decided at around this time to dispatch Implacables and several other recently arrived warships to attack the Japanese positions at Truk. These operations concluded on 24 May, when the Fleet began the long journey back to Sydney for a period of rest and maintenance. Like the British operation in June 1945, these raids were conducted by US Navy aircraft carriers which were preparing to join the Fast Carrier Task Force.