After the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7 1941, there was a fear that Japan had plans to invade the US. This never happened, although there had been a few attacks on American soil by Japan, these did very little damage.
The only military base ever to be attacked by Japan was Forts Stevens on the Oregon side of the mouth of the Columbia River.
The attack occurred on June 21, 1942. After trailing American fishing vessels to bypass minefields, the Japanese submarine I-25 made its way to the mouth of the Columbia River. It surfaced near Fort Stevens.
The Japanese submarine I-25, commanded by Tagami Meiji, had been assigned to sink enemy shipping and attack the enemy on land with their 14 cm deck gun. Transporting a Yokosuka E14Y seaplane, it had a crew of 97.
Just before midnight, the submarine used its 140-millimeter deck gun and fired 17 shells at the fort. Thinking that the return fires of the fort’s guns would only serve to more clearly reveal their position, the commander of Fort Stevens ordered his men not to return fire. Instead a compete black out was ordered. The plan worked, and the bombardment was almost totally unsuccessful—a nearby baseball field bore the brunt of the damage.
The only significant damage was caused when one shell severed several large telephone cables.
American Army Air Corps planes on a training mission had seen the the I-25 and called in her location,requesting an A-29 Hudson bomber to attack. The bomber spotted the I-25, but she successfully escaped the falling bombs and submerged undamaged and got away.
Although there were no injuries and very little damage, the Japanese attack on Fort Stevens did increase the fear of a Japanese invasion.
The Fort Stevens shelling was the only time that a continental United States military installation was attacked by the Axis Powers during World War II.
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