Alaska's Forgotten Battlefield: Watch the full series & take an interactive tour

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ATTU and KISKA (KTUU) The combined death toll was greater than that of Pearl Harbor. It was the only land battle of World War II in North America, and an invasion by enemy soldiers that captured entire Alaska islands.

[360-DEGREE VIDEO: Take an interactive tour of Alaska's living World War II museum]

Yet few Alaskans know the full story of the 1943 Battle of Attu and an Aleutians conflict ripped villagers from their homes and left 549 Americans and 2,351 Japanese dead.

As the Fish & Wildlife Service prepares to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle – the land is now a refuge -- Channel 2 traveled to Attu and neighboring Kiska to see relics of this largely forgotten chapter of World War II history.

[Attu basket weaving preserves historic village traditions]

This story is based on U.S. military news accounts from the era, accessed through the National Archives, and “The Thousand-Mile War” by Brian Garfield.

The seldom-seen footage of Japanese soldiers invading the Aleutians comes from the National Archives via CriticalPast.