The Japanese occupied Kiska in June 1942, and planning for active operations to retake the island began almost immediately. For the next year, whenever the weather permitted, the island was bombarded from the air and sea in preparation for an invasion. The bombing reached a peak of 424 tons of bombs dropped in July 1943. However, when American forces finally landed on the island in August there were no Japanese to be found. Unbeknownst to the American planners, the Japanese High Command had successfully evacuated its garrison on 29 July. While finding the island empty of defenders proved something of an embarrassment to the planners, it came as a welcome surprise to the foot soldiers who would have had the nasty job of fighting for the island.