Operation Battle of the Pips

The 'Battle of the Pips' was an incident in the Aleutian islands campaign (27 July 1943).

In preparation for the 'Cottage' recapture of the island of Kiska planned for August 1943, the US Navy created Task Group 16.22 under the command of Rear Admiral Robert C. Griffin and centred on the battleships Mississippi and Idaho.

On 27 July, some 80 miles (130 km) to the west of Kiska, TG16.22 detected a series of unknown radar contacts. The order was given to open fire, and 518 14-in (355.6-mm) shells were fired from both battleships. There were no hits.

Radar was still a new and unreliable technology at that time, and weather conditions around the Aleutian islands group were characteristically bad, with the very poor visibility normal for the area. No Japanese surface warships were actually within 200 miles (320 km). It has been surmised that the pips were rafts of sooty or short-tailed shearwater birds, species of migratory petrel that pass through the Aleutian islands group every year during July.