December 8, 1940 – German attacks on Nauru There were two German attacks on Nauru in December 1940. These attacks were conducted by auxiliary cruisers between 6 and 8 December and on the 27th of the month. The raiders sank five Allied merchant ships and inflicted serious damage on Nauru’s economically important phosphate-loading facilities. Despite the significance of the island to the Australian and New Zealand economies, Nauru was not defended and the German force did not suffer any losses. The two attacks on Nauru were the most effective operations conducted by German raiders in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. They disrupted supplies of phosphate to Australia, New Zealand and Japan, which reduced agricultural production in these countries. In response, Allied naval vessels were deployed to protect Nauru and nearby Ocean Island and escort shipping in the South Pacific. Small garrisons were also established to protect the two islands.
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