1939 U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office Chart of the Aleutian Islands and the North Pacific

No. 5050, Strategic Plotting Chart No. 4. - Main View

1939 U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office Chart of the Aleutian Islands and the North Pacific


Manuscript notations reference a pre-WWII Navy War College war game.


No. 5050, Strategic Plotting Chart No. 4.
  1939 (dated)     32.75 x 49 in (83.185 x 124.46 cm)     1 : 3400000


This is a 1939 U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office chart of the Aleutian Islands and the North Pacific, with WWII Era manuscript annotations. Coverage extends from Siberia, Sakhalin, and northern Japan to Bristol Bay and southwestern Alaska.
War Games
Colored blue and orange and written in blue ink, these notations likely reference a war game undertaken by cadets at the U.S. Naval War College in 1940 or 1941. Our research indicates that cadets in both classes participated in war games in the Aleutian Islands early in the academic year.
The War Game
Unfortunately we have been unable to directly link this piece to any specific exercise. Its use of blue and orange strongly suggests that it was part of a training exercise, because 'Orange' was the code name set aside for Japan in the U.S. Navy from just after World War I and 'Blue' was meant to denote American forces. Using this logic as a baseline, this likely means that the 'Orange Northern Raiding Force' identified in Kuluk Bay, Adak Island, was the Japanese force attacking the Aleutian Islands in this iteration of the Aleutian Islands war game. The American base at Dutch Harbor (the only base in the Aleutians until the Japanese occupied Attu and Kiska in June 1942) and Dolgoi Harbor were most likely meant to be the targets. Now, from here the specifics of the war game become more unclear. Four rendezvous points are colored orange and progress northwest through the Pacific. Since they are colored orange, the rendezvous points were likely meant for the Orange force, but it is unclear if they progress from 'A' to 'E' away from the Aleutians, or from 'E' to 'A' toward the Aleutians.
Publication History and Census
This map was created and published by the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office in August 1939 and bears manuscript notations written by an unknown hand that likely reference a U.S. Naval War College war game from 1940 or 1941. This is the only known cataloged example of this chart and the additional manuscript notations make it a truly rare find.


The U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office (1830 - 1962) is a branch of the United States Navy founded in 1830 to compile non-domestic hydrographic and bathymetric surveys. These surveys are conducted by the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, which started with the establishment of the Depot of Charts and Instruments in 1830. In 1854 the U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office was renamed the U.S. Naval Observatory and Hydrographical Office. The hydrographic portion became the U.S. Naval Hydrographic Office under the Hydrographer of the Navy. In 1962, under the Kennedy administration, the name was again changed to the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office in 1962. That office, as a matter of historical and semantic interest, and the U.S. Naval Observatory are still part of the command overseen by the "Oceanographer of the Navy" with headquarters at the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. Learn More...


Good. Soiling. Manuscript notations. Closed tears extending two-and-one-quarter (2.25) inches into printed area from left margin professionally repaired on verso. Right side trimmed past border.