relief map of Yap

Yap (138.076E 9.486N) is an island group at the northwest edge of the Carolines.  Some 21 miles (34 km) long and 11 miles (18 km) wide, it is actually regarded by geographers as four islands separated by very narrow and shallow channels. The terrain is somewhat rugged with a maximum elevation of 585' (178 meters) and is densely forested. The coast is surrounded by a wide barrier reef, though this has a number of passes, including one into Tomil Harbor, which thus provides a protected anchorage.

While still under German control, Yap had become the relay point or a number of communications cables, and this caused considerable friction between the United States and Japan after Japan seized the island during the First World War. The island was further developed under the Japanese, who for a time made it their strongest fortress in the Pacific islands, and it had an important airfield.  A road ran along most of the coast.

Its native culture is most distinctive for its ancient practice of using very large stone disks as money.

The island was struck by American carrier aircraft from Reeves' task group on 31 March 1943, during the raid on the Palaus, but damage was relatively light. An invasion of the island was considered, to take place simultaneously with the invasion of the Palaus, but in the end Yap was bypassed in favor of Ulithi.


Morison (1953)

Murray and Millett (1996)

Myers and Peattie (1984)

Rottman (2002)

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