The Battle of Kwajalein was fought from 31 January to 3 February 1944, with the US forces launching a twin assault on the main islands of Kwajalein in the south and Roi-Namur in the north. The Japanese defenders put up stiff resistance, although outnumbered and under-prepared. The determined defense of Roi-Namur left only 51 survivors of an original garrison of 3,500.
Faced with the need to provide escorts for maritime convoys that often operated far beyond the range of land-based aircraft in the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese Navy relied extensively on the use of reconnaissance seaplanes. During World War II they operated more seaplanes than any other nation.
In 1937 the Japanese Navy issued a requirement for a new long-range, three-seat reconnaissance seaplane to replace outdated aircraft then in service with the fleet. Designed that same year and first flown in 1938, the new Navy Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1 (later Model 11) would become numerically the most important of all Japanese float seaplanes during World War II. Although the prototype first flew in 1938, development was slow and the plane did not enter service with the Japanese Navy until early 1941.
(Information by Dan Farnham)
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