Battle of the Pips

The Battle of the Pips refers to an incident that occurred on 27 July 1943, as part of the Aleutian campaign of World War II. In preparation for the attack on the island of Kiska planned for that coming August, the U.S. Navy formed Task Group 16.22 (TG 16.22) under command of Rear Admiral Griffin, which was then centered on the battleships Mississippi and Idaho.

On 27 July, 80 mi (70 nmi; 130 km) west of Kiska, TG 16.22 began to pick up a series of unknown radar contacts. The order was given to open fire, and 518 14 in (360 mm) shells from both battleships were expended, but there were no hits.


Radar was still a new and unreliable technology at that time, and weather conditions around the Aleutians were characteristically bad. Visibility was exceptionally poor, as is normal for the area. No Japanese warships were actually within 200 mi (170 nmi; 320 km). Author Brian Garfield surmises, based on analysis by modern Aleutian fishing-boat captains, that the pips were rafts of sooty or short-tailed shearwaters, species of migratory petrel that pass through the Aleutians in July every year.

See also


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