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Battle of Tinian, 24 July-1 August 1944

Battle of Tinian, 24 July-1 August 1944

Battle of Tinian, 24 July-1 August 1944

The invasion of Tinian (24 July-1 August 1944) took place three days after the start of the invasion of Guam, and after a week the island had been secured by the Americans (Marianas Campaign).

The island was defended by 9,000 Japanese troops under Admiral Kakuda Kakuji, who was said to be a drunk, and Colonel Ogata Keishi, who took effective command. There was one working airfield at the northern end of the island and two more that had been completed during 1944.

Tinian was well protected by natural barriers. Most of the island was lined by cliffs close to the water line, in places reaching over a hundred feet in height. The gap between the cliffs and the shore was narrow and limited the amount of space available for landing operations. There were gaps in the cliffs to the north-west and north-east, but with poor beaches, and at Tinian Harbor in the south-west. The main part of the island was a limestone plateau, lacking the mountains of Saipan or Guam.

The task force reached the invasion area a day early, and so on 11 June Mitscher launched a fighter sweep that caught the Japanese by surprise and destroyed at least 150 aircraft across the islands. Three more days of air attack followed, hitting Saipan and Tinian. The naval bombardment began on 13 June, when seven fast battleships and eleven destroyers were detached under the command of Admiral William A. Lee Jr. This force bombarded Tinian and Saipan between 1040 and 1725, probably with little impact. The main bombardment force - seven old battleships, eleven cruisers and twenty-six destroyers, under Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf, arrived on 14 June. These ships had far more training and experience of shore bombardment, and were also allowed closer to shore, and they were thus more effective than the fast battleships. Many anti-aircraft guns were destroyed, but the fixed fortifications mainly survived intact.

The invasion was carried out by the 5th Amphibious Corps, the same force that had invaded Saipan. General Holland Smith, who had commanded the corps at Saipan had been promoted to Commander of the General Fleet Marine Force Pacific, and been replaced by General Schmidt, one of his divisional commanders. Two Marine divisions were involved the 2nd Marines under General Watson and the 4th Marines under General Clifton B. Cates.

The Japanese defences were concentrated at the southern end of the island, ready to defend the beaches around Tinian Town. The Americans were well aware of this, and decided to concentrate their efforts in the north-west. There were two narrow beaches in that area, and a close investigation on 10-11 June suggested that they were lightly defended, and just about large enough to support the landings.

The Americans attacked at two points on 24 July. The main attack came to the north-west, where the 4th Marine Division landed. A second, diversionary attack, was made by part of the 2nd Marine Division near Tinian town on the south-west coast. The diversionary attack involved a full naval bombardment, and even saw troops from the 2nd Marines climb down into their landing craft. The Japanese replied with fire from three hidden 6in guns, but these were soon suppressed.

The main landing was supported by thirteen batteries of US artillery firing from nearby Saipan, and another sizable naval bombardment, with two battleships, two destroyers, one cruiser and thirty gunboats bombarding the beaches and three cruisers and four destroyers fighting on the nearby heights. The landings themselves went fairly well. On beach White 1 there was some hand to hand fighting as the Japanese defenders were eliminated. On White 2 two blockhouses had survived the bombardment, but they were soon taken out from the rear. Three LVTs and a jeep were destroyed by an unsuspected minefield, but these were only minor setbacks, and by the end of the day 15,000 US troops were already ashore and the beach head was a mile deep and a mile and a half wide. The Japanese had already lost the battle for Tinian.

Ogata's response was entirely typical - he organised an immediate counterattack to be carried out that night. He committed most of his mobile troops to this attack, and was able to attack all parts of the US beachhead. Like most banzai attacks of the war, this was a costly failure for the Japanese. The US lines held, and the Japanese lost over 1,200 dead to no effect.

On 25 July the rest of the 2nd Marine Division (General Watson) landed on the main beaches. The 2nd Marines cleared the northern end of the island, and the two divisions then pushed south, with the 2nd Marines in the east and the 4th Marines in the west. They used an 'elbowing' technique, with each division attacking in turn, supported by almost all of the artillery. Ogata decided to pull back to an escarpment that ran across the southern end of the island and make his last stand there. The Americans prepared for this final battle with a massive naval and aerial bombardment, in which 684 tons of ordnance were fired at the defenders, as well as a heavy artillery bombardment. The attack began on 31 July, and by late afternoon the Marines were at the top of the escarpment. That night the Japanese briefly cut a road that led to the Marine foothold, and just before dawn launched a final banzai attack with 600 men, but both efforts failed. On 1 August the Americans were able to advance to the southern end of the island, and General Schmidt declared the island to be secure. This was a bit premature, as scattered groups of Japanese troops were still hiding in a series of coastal caves, and launched a number of troublesome attacks. However the main fighting was over.

The Americans suffered 394 dead and 1,961 wounded during the battle, while most of the 9,000 Japanese troops were killed. Around 9,000 civilians surrendered on Tinian, although there were some mass suicides, just as on Saipan. The battle of Tinian was one of the most successful US amphibious landings of the Pacific War, and the island was conquered in a single week. In contrast the battle of Guam, which began a few days earlier, lasted into mid-August.


Tinian

Tinian, in the Marianas, is twelve miles long, two-thirds the size of Saipan, and lies 3 miles off the southern tip of Saipan. When Army artillery units were established on Saipan, about five days after the Saipan invasion on 20 June 1944, barrages from 155mm guns were directed at Tinian to soften it up for invasion. Air and naval bombardment continued up to the time of landing. In the first combat use of napalm, Republic P-47 Thunderbolts dropped tanks of the new "fire bomb" to clear cane fields on Tinian.


Marines assist Japanese emerging from cave fortifications in the cliffs of Tinian. Surrender was unusual -- most Japanese fought to their death or committed suicide. July 1944.

Today in WW II: 17 Jun 1940 As Germany overruns France, Allied troops execute Operation Ariel, the evacuation of France [15-25 June]. More ↓
17 Jun 1940 Luftwaffe bombs and sinks the British ship RMS Lancastria with the loss of 5800 troops being evacuated near Saint-Nazaire, France.
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The Stamford Historical Society Presents

The Battles

The Battle of Tinian


large map
of Mariana Islands

The Battle of Tinian was fought on the island of Tinian in the Mariana Islands from 24 July to 1 August 1944. The island is about 40 square miles in size. During the battle napalm was used for the first time. Of 120 tanks jettisoned during the operation, 25 contained a napalm mixture and the remainder an oil-gasoline mixture. The tanks were carried by Thunderbolt (P-47s) and the &lsquofire bombs&rsquo burned away foliage that concealed enemy fortifications. The invasion of Saipan to the north marked the beginning of an almost daily aerial bombardment of Tinian from U.S. warships and planes. The American forces were comprised of two Marine divisions under the command of Harry Schmidt, while the Japanese forces were under Kiyochi Ogata. The Japanese had 4700 Soldiers and 4110 Marine Soldiers. The U.S. Marines secured the island and were helped by Army aircraft, artillerymen, amphibian vehicles and engineers.

The taking of Saipan by US forces made Tinian, only 3.5 miles southwest of Saipan, the next logical step in the Marianas. The 2nd and 4th Marine divisions were landed on 24 July 1944, while the naval forces bombarded the island and artillery was fired across the strait from Saipan. The Japanese were tricked into thinking the main assault was at San José Village, while the actual landing site was on the northwest side of the island.

During the Battle of Tinian the Japanese resorted to the same tactics they had used at Saipan, retreating during the day and attacking at night. Tanks and artillery could be employed more successfully owing to the more gentle terrain on Tinian. After nine days of fighting the island was secured by U.S. forces. On 31 July the Japanese launched a suicide charge resulting in many casualties.

Several hundred Japanese held out in the jungles for months and the garrison on Aguijan Island of Tinian&rsquos southwest cape, commanded by Lt. Kinichi Yamada, did not surrender until 4 September 1945. The last Japanese defensive position on Tinian, Murata Susumu, was not captured until 1953.

The American forces numbered 389 killed and 1816 wounded. Japanese casualties were enormous with 6050 killed, 236 POWs and 2500 evacuated. After the battle B-29 Superfortress bombers were stationed at Tinian and were responsible for the strategic bombing of Japan, mainly with incendiary bombs and later the atomic bombs &ldquoLittle Boy&rdquo and &ldquoFat Man,&rdquo dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tinian became a key base for Allied operations with camps built housing 50,000 troops. 15,000 SeaBees turned the island into the busiest airfield of the war with six 2400m runways for B-29 Superfortress bombers.

Chet Buttery served on Tinian later: oral history interview.

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Marine M4 Sherman Tanks Land Beach Tinian 1944 2nd Marine 1944 Sea Bee Peir Moving Supplies Tinian Bombed shelled ruins of town on Tinian Invasion 1944 Marines in LVT-2 48 Water Buffalo Head for Tinian Shore
Marines in bombed ruins of Town on Tinian 1944 Captured Japanese Ushi Point Airfield on Tinian 1944 Marines Coax Japanese Soldier from Dugout on Tinian LVT Buffalos on Tinian Beachhead
US Marines Battle of Tinian 1944 3 US Marines in action Battle of Tinian 1944 Destroyer and LVT Amtrac Wrecks Landing Craft On Tinian Beach US Marines Battle of Tinian 1944 4
Invasion fleet Battle of Tinian 1944 Mariana Islands Marine and civilians Battle of Tinian 1944 Destroyed Japanese Tank Tinian 1944 US Marines Battle of Tinian 1944 6
Tinian Town Battle of Tinian 1944 LVT loaded with Marines approaches Tinian 1944 US Marines Battle of Tinian 1944 2 Marines on Tinian Beachhead
US Marines Battle of Tinian 1944 5 US Marines Battle of Tinian 1944 Mariana Islands campaign US Marines and POW Battle of Tinian 1944 First assault waves of the 2nd Marine Division coming ashore in LCVP’s and LVT Buffalo amtracs at Tinian Island, Marianas, on July 24, 1944
Destroyed Japanese Tank Tinian US Marines Battle of Tinian 1944 Gen Merritt A. Edson Tinian 1944 US Marines Wade Ashore on Tinian from Landing Barges and LVT
Marines Take Japanese Prisoner POW On Tinian 1944 Tinian Airfield 1944 Mariana Islands Marines LVT AMTRACS Tinian Mariana Islands
  • The Battle for Tinian: Vital Stepping Stone in America’s War Against Japan – Nathan Prefer 2012
  • Saipan & Tinian 1944: Piercing the Japanese Empire – Gordon L. Rottman Osprey Campaign 137
  • A close encounter: The marine landing on Tinian – Richard Harwood
  • A Brief History of the 25th Marines, USMCR Regimental Histories Series Vol 1 – U.S. Marine Corps 1981
  • Storm Landings: Epic Amphibious Battles in the Central Pacific – Col. Joseph H. Alexander USMC (Ret.) 2012
  • US Marine Rifleman 1939-1945: Pacific Theater – Gordon L. Rottman Osprey Warrior 112
  • Alligator Marines, the United States Marine Corps’ 5th Amphibious Tractor Battalion in WW II (2nd edition) – Donal B. Marshall, Shelly Marshall
  • US Marine Corps Pacific Theater of Operations 1943-44 – Gordon L. Rottman Osprey Battle Orders 7
  • Marine Tank Battles In The Pacific – Oscar E. Gilbert
  • US Marine Corps Tank Crewman 1941-1945: Pacific – Kenneth Estes Osprey Warrior 92
  • Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific – R.V. Burgin, Bill Marvel
  • U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle: Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939-1945 – Gordon Rottman
  • Pacific Victory Tarawa To Okinawa 1943-1945 – Derrick Wright
  • US Marine Corps Pacific Theater of Operations (1): 1941-43 – Gordon L. Rottman Osprey Battle Orders 1
  • US Marine Corps Tanks of World War II – Steven J. Zaloga Osprey New Vanguard 186
  • US World War II Amphibious Tactics: Army & Marine Corps, Pacific Theater – Gordon L. Rottman Osprey Elite 117
  • Air War Pacific Chronology: America’s Air War Against Japan in East Asia and the Pacific, 1941-1945 – Eric Hammel

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Battle of Tinian, 24 July-1 August 1944 - History

The Japanese were now cornered in a small area of southeastern Tinian. The Marines "had advanced so rapidly that only four square miles of the island remained for safe firing by ships not supporting battalions [i.e., not with shore spotters]," according to a report on 30 July by Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, commander of the Northern Attack Force.

The Marine commander for the operation, Major General Schmidt, saw the end in sight and late on the afternoon of 30 July issued an operations order calling on the divisions to drive all the way to the southeast coastline, seize all territory remaining in enemy hands and "annihilate the opposing Japanese."

This was not a trifling assignment it produced the heaviest fighting since the counterattack on the night of Jig Day. A Japanese warrant officer captured on 29 July estimated that 500 troops of the 56th Naval Guard Force and from 1,700 to 1,800 troops of the 50th Infantry Regiment remained in the southeastern area in a battle ready condition. American intelligence estimates on 29 July, based on daily reports from the divisions, reckoned that 3,000 Japanese soldiers and sailors had been killed or taken prisoner up to that point. If that was the case, two-thirds of the nearly 9,000 Japanese defenders were still alive on the island.

As a Navy corpsman administers a bottle of plasma to a wounded Marine, the stretcher bearers wait patiently to carry him on board a landing craft which will evacuate him to a hospital ship offshore, where he will be given full treatment. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87434

The terrain occupied by the Japanese main force was rugged, difficult to reach or traverse and well-suited for defense. Outside of Tinian Town the gentle landscape ended, with the ground rising to a high plateau 5,000 yards long and 2,000 yards wide, with altitudes higher than 500 feet. The plateau was rocky and covered with thick brush. There were many caves. Along the east coast, the cliff walls rose steeply and appeared impossible to scale. The approaches to the plateau were blocked by many cliffs of this sort as well as by jungle growth. A road in the center of the plateau, leading to its top, was reported by a prisoner to be mined. The plateau was the enemy's last redoubt.

It became the object of the most intense bombardments any Japanese force had yet experienced to date in World War II. Marine artillery regiments on the island and the XXIV Corps Artillery on southern Saipan fired throughout the night of 30-31 July on the wooded clifflines the Marines would face during their assault. At 0600, the battleships Tennessee and California, the heavy cruiser Louisville, and the light cruisers Montpelier and Birmingham began the first of two sustained bombardments that morning. They fired for 75 minutes, then halted to allow a 40-minute strike on the plateau by 126 P-47s, North American Mitchell B-25 bombers, and Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers from the escort carrier Kitkun Bay. The planes dropped 69 tons of explosives before the off shore gunfire resumed for another 35 minutes. All told, the battleships and cruisers fired approximately 615 tons of shells at their targets. Artillerymen of the 10th Marines fired about 5,000 rounds during the night 14th Marines gunners fired 2,000. The effect, one prisoner said, was "almost unbearable."

As you faced south on that morning, the regimental alignments from west coast to east coast were the 24th, 23d, 8th, 6th and 2d Marines. The task of the 24th was to clear out the western coastal area, with one battalion assigned to seizure of the plateau. The 2d Marines was to seal off the east coast at the base of the plateau. The 6th, 8th, and 23d Marines would assault the cliff areas and make their way to the top of the plateau.

Some badly wounded casualties died of their severe injuries after having been evacuated from Tinian. Those who succumbed to their wounds were buried at sea. Marine Corps Historical Collection

The 24th, jumping off with the 23d at 0830, moved into the coastal plain and immediately encountered brush and undergrowth so dense that tank operations were severely hampered. As compensation, armored amphibians lying offshore provided heavy fires against enemy beach positions and covered the regiment's right flank as it made its way down the coast. A platoon-size Japanese beach unit launched a foolish counterattack on the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines at about 1000. The Japanese were annihilated. Later, flame-throwing tanks burned off brush and undergrowth concealing Japanese riflemen.

Two Marines escort two apparently healthy, hearty, and willing Japanese prisoners to be turned in at the POW stockade in the rear of the fighting. Most of the prisoners taken on Tinian, however, were civilian workers rather than military men. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 91365

Tank-infantry tactics perfected in prior operations proved successful on Tinian as well. The riflemen served as the eyes of the armored vehicle and would direct the tank crewmen over a telephone mounted in a box on the rear of the tank. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 152074

On the regiment's left flank, the 3d Battalion was in assault at the base of the plateau. It encountered minimal opposition until about 1600 when it began to receive rifle and machine gun fire from cliff positions. Tanks were called on but soon found themselves mired in a minefield and were held up for several hours while engineers cleared 45 mines from the area.

The 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, encountered similar troubles. As the regiment approached the plateau, it ran into dense small arms fire from two positions—a small village at the base of the cliff and from the cliff face itself. It also began receiving fire from a "large-caliber weapon." Lacking tank support the Marines pressed forward, running a few yards, diving on their bellies, getting up, and advancing again. Medium tanks finally came up in search of this elusive and well-concealed weapon. One of them took six quick hits from the concealed position of this Japanese gun. A second tank was hit but in the process the enemy position was discovered: a camouflaged, concrete bunker housing a 47mm antitank gun and 20 troops, all of whom were killed.

The 2d Battalion of the 23d had similar difficulties. After coming under fire from riflemen and machine gunners, one of its supporting tanks was disabled by a mine. After its crew was taken to safety by another tank, the disabled vehicle was seized by the Japanese and used as an armored machine gun nest. Other tanks soon took it out. The 23d also lost that day two 37mm guns and a one-ton truck belonging to the regiment's half-track platoon. The guns and the vehicle got too far out front, came under heavy fire and were abandoned. A detail from the platoon later retrieved one of the guns, removed the breech block from the other one and brought back the .50-caliber machine gun from its mounting on the truck.

MajGen Clifton B. Cates, center, visits the command post of 24th Marines commander Col Franklin A. Hart. On the left is LtCol Charles D. Roberts, S-3 of the 24th Marines. Gen Cates would become the 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 143760

Tinian Town was made a shambles because U.S. commanders knew that the enemy was well emplaced, dug in, and expected landings on the beaches fronting the town. As a result, they directed a large share of the pre-Jig Day bombardment into the waterfront and surrounding area, thereby reinforcing Japanese beliefs that this is where the Marines would land. Marine Corps Historical Collection

Late in the afternoon, the 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, and a company from the 2d Battalion gained a foothold on top of the plateau the 3d Battalion soon followed. To their left, the 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, shrugged off small arms fire early in the day and reached the base of the cliff where it stalled for the night. The 1st Battalion had better luck. Company A made it to the top of the plateau at 1650, followed by a platoon from Company C. Soon after, the whole battalion was atop the hill. It was followed by Companies E and G of the 2d Battalion.

The Company G commander was Captain Carl W. Hoffman, who later wrote the definitive histories of the Saipan and Tinian campaigns. In an oral history interview, he described his own experiences on top of the plateau the night of 31 July:

By the time we got up there . . . there wasn't enough daylight left to get ourselves properly barbed-wired in, to get our fields of fire established, to site our interlocking bands of machine gun fire—all the things that should be done in preparing a good defense.

By dusk, the enemy commenced a series of probing attacks. Some Japanese intruded into our positions. It was a completely black night. So, with Japanese moving around in our positions, our troops became very edgy and were challenging everybody in sight. We didn't have any unfortunate incidents of Marines firing on Marines . . . [because they] were well-seasoned by this point . . . .

As the night wore on, the intensity of enemy attacks started to build and build and build. They finally launched a full scale banzai attack against [our] battalion . . . . The strange thing the Japanese did here was that they executed one wave of attack after another against a 37mm position firing cannister ammunition . . . .

That gun just stacked up dead Japanese . . . As soon as one Marine gunner would drop another would take his place. [Eight of 10 men who manned the gun were killed or wounded]. Soon we were nearly shoulder-high with dead Japanese in front of that weapon . . . . By morning we had defeated the enemy. Around us were lots of dead ones, hundreds of them as a matter of fact. From then on . . . we were able to finish the rest of the campaign without difficulty . . . . People have often said that the Tinian campaign was the easiest campaign . . . in the Pacific . . . .

For those Marines who were in that 37mm position up on the escarpment, Tinian had to be the busiest campaign within the Pacific war.

A lone member of the 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division patrolling through the outskirts of Tinian Town, pauses at a torii of a Shinto shrine. The ruins about him give proof of the heavy shelling visited upon the town before the landing. Marine Corps Historical Collection

Hoffman had another lively experience before leaving the island. He was a trumpet addict and carried his horn with him all through the Pacific war:

For Tinian, I didn't take any chances such as sending my horn ashore in a machine gun cart or a battalion ambulance. I had it flown over to me. One evening, my troops were in a little perimeter with barbed wire all around us on top of the cliff. My Marines were shouting in requests: "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" and "Pretty Baby" and others. While I was playing these tunes, all of a sudden we heard this scream of "banzai.' An individual Japanese soldier was charging right toward me and right toward the barbed wire. The Marines had their weapons ready and he must have been hit from 14 different directions at once. He didn't get to throw [his] grenade. . I've always cited him as the individual who didn't like my music. He was no supporter of my trumpet playing. But . . . I even continued my little concert after we had accounted for him.

A final banzai attack on the night the 37mm guns had their big harvest, occurred in the early morning hours of 1 August. A 150-man Japanese force attacked the 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, on Hoffman's left flank. After 30 minutes, the main thrust of the attack was spent and at dawn the Japanese withdrew 100 bodies lay in an area 70 yards square in front of the position of Company E, 2d Battalion, 28th Marines. The 8th Marines took 74 casualties that night. The following morning the two divisions went back to work. The 2d moved across the plateau toward its eastern cliffs, the 4th toward cliffs on the south and west. When they reached the escarpment's edge, overlooking the ocean, their job was essentially done. At 1855, General Schmidt declared the island "secure," meaning that organized resistance had ended. But not the killing. Hundreds of Japanese troops remained holed up in the caves pockmocking the southern cliffs rising up from the ocean.

On the morning of 2 August, a Japanese force of 200 men sallied forth in an attack on the 3d Battalion, 6th Marines. After two hours of combat, 119 Japanese were dead. Marine losses included the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel John W. Easley. Shortly afterwords, the regiment's 2d Battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel Edmund B. Games, was hit by 100 Japanese, 30 of whom were killed before the unit withdrew.

Contacts of this kind continued for months. By the end of the year, Colonel Clarence R. Wallace's 8th Marines, left on Tinian for mopping up operations, had lost 38 killed and 125 wounded Japanese losses were 500 dead.

Beginning on 1 August, there were large-scale surrenders by civilians leaving the caves in which they had taken refuge. Marine intelligence officers estimated that 5,000 to 10,000 civilians had been hiding out in the southeast sector.

Marine Major General James L. Underhill, who took command of the island as military governor on 10 August, became responsible for the care and feeding of these civilians. The flow of civilian refugees began on August 1, he recalled:

About 500 came through immediately, the next day about 800, then a thousand and then two thousand and so on in increasing numbers until about 8,000 were in. The remaining 3,000 hid out in caves and dribbled in over a period of months. About 30 percent adult males, 20 percent adult females, and about 50 percent children. Many of them were in bad shape—hungry, wounded, ill and with few possessions beyond the clothes they were wearing.

This cliff was a formidable obstacle to movement on 31 July. Cutting practically across the entire island, it provided problems for both divisions. Here, 2d Division Marines climb the rockly slopes toward the flat plateau on top. The 1st and 2d Battalions, 8th Marines, spent a busy night (31 July-1 August) of the operating holding a road that curled up this slope. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87898

The end of the battle is in sight as troops of the 24th Marines and tanks of the 4th Tank Battalion comb across the coastal plateau at Tinian's extreme southern end. The 23d Marines, whose zone ended at the top of the steep cliff seen in this picture, had to retrace its steps in order to reach the lowlands. Aguijan Island may be seen dimly in the misty background. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 94350

This 75mm pack howitzer, nicknamed "Miss Connie," is firing into a Japanese-held cave from the brink of a sheer cliff in southern Tinian. The gun was locked securely in this unusual position after parts were hand-carried to the cliff's edge. Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 94660

It was estimated that about 4,000 civilians were killed in the bombardments of Tinian and in fighting on the island. On Saipan, Marines had been helpless to prevent mass suicides among the civilian population. They were more successful at Tinian. Unfortunate incidents occurred— civilians, for example, dying under Marine fire after wandering into the lines at night.

There were also suicides and ritual murders, as indicated in a report from the 23d Marines on 3 August:

Several freak incidents occurred during the day: (1) Jap children thrown [by their parents] over cliff into ocean (2) [Japanese] military grouped civilians in numbers of 15 to 20 and attached explosive charges to them, blowing them to bits (3) Both military and civilians lined up on the cliff and hurled themselves into the ocean (4) Many civilians pushed over cliff by [Japanese] soldiers.

Efforts to prevent incidents of this kind were generally successful. Marines used amplifiers on land and off shore to promise good treatment to civilians and soldiers who would surrender peacefully. "Thousands of civilians," Hoffman wrote, "many clad in colorful Japanese silk, responded to the promises—though it was plain from the expressions on their faces that they expected the worst."

Medal of Honor Recipients

Private First Class Robert Lee Wilson's Medal of Honor citation reads as follows: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Sixth Marines, Second Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces at Tinian Island, Marianas Group, on 4 August 1944. As one of a group of Marines advancing through heavy underbrush to neutralize isolated points of resistance, Private First Class Willson daringly preceded his companions toward a pile of rocks where Japanese troops were supposed to be hiding. Fully aware of the danger involved, he was moving forward while the remainder of the squad, armed with automatic rifles, closed together in the rear when an enemy granade landed in the midst of the group. Quick to act, Private First Class Wilson cried a warning to the men and unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade, heroically sacrificing his own life that the others might live and fulfill their mission. His exceptional valor, his courageous loyalty and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave peril reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class Wilson and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Private Joseph W. Ozbourn's Medal of Honor citation reads as follows: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty as a Browning Automatic Rifleman serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-third Marines, Fourth Marine Division, during the battle for enemy Japanese-held Tinian Island, Marianas Islands, 30 July 1944. As a member of a platoon assigned the mission of clearing the remaining Japanese troops from dugouts and pillboxes along a tree line, Private Ozbourn, flanked by two men on either side, was moving forward to throw an armed hand grenade into a dugout when a terrific blast from the entrance severely wounded the four men and himself. Unable to throw the grenade into the dugout and with no place to hurl it without endangering the other men, Private Ozbourn unhesitatingly grasped it close to his body and fell upon it, sacrificing his own life to absorb the full impact of the explosion, but saving his comrades. His great personal valor and unwavering loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Private Ozbourn and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Update for March 2018 at HistoryofWar.org: Eighth and Ninth War of Religion, Peninsular War, Tinian, Italian Campaign, Ancient Rome, Lockheed Aircraft, German Artillery, Wickes Class destroyers

This month we complete our look at the Eighth War of Religion, and move onto the Ninth War of Religion, fought to secure Henry IV on the French throne. Our series on the Peninsular War looks at Wellington’s battles around Salamanca and Burgos and the conflicts of Bilbao on the coast. We finish our current series on the Pacific War with a look at the textbook conquest of Tinian.

Our main new effort this week is the start of a series of articles on the Italian campaign of the Second World War, starting with the deception operations for the invasion of Sicily, the effort to get gliders from the UK to North Africa and the invasion of Pantelleria, one of the few battles won almost entirely by air power.

In Ancient History we come to the end of the Cimbric War, and move onto a series of biographies of the generals of this period of crisis.

In military technology we look at Lockheed aircraft, finish our series on German 15cm Howitzers and move onto 15cm canon, and continue to work our way through the vast Wickes class of destroyers.

Eighth War of Religion

The siege of Paris (30 July-c.5/6 August 1589) saw the combined armies of Henry III and Henry of Navarre besiege Paris, which was held by the Catholic League, but the besieging army fell apart after the assassination of Henry III and the siege soon had to be lifted (Eighth War of Religion).

Ninth War of Religion

The Ninth War of Religion (1589-98) was the last stage of the long series of religious wars that had divided France since 1562, and was fought over the succession of Henry of Navarre as Henry IV.

The battle of Arques (21 September 1589) was a victory for Henry IV early in the Ninth French War of Religion, and saw him defeat the duke of Mayenne, the new leader of the Catholic League.

The siege of Paris (November 1589) was a short lived attempt by Henry IV to capture Paris and secure his position as King of France (Ninth War of Religion).

The siege of the Retiro (13-14 August 1812) was the only French attempt to defend Madrid in the aftermath of the battle of Salamanca, and saw the British storm the outer line of defences before the defenders surrendered.

The first combat of Bilbao (13-14 August 1812) saw a joint Anglo-Spanish force capture the Basque capital, but it was recaptured by the French only two weeks later.

The second combat of Bilbao (27-29 August 1812) saw the French recapture the Basque capital only two weeks after it had been captured by a joint Anglo-Spanish force.

The siege of Burgos (19 September-22 October 1812) was the disastrous end to otherwise successful Salamanca campaign, and his failure outside Burgos forced Wellington to retreat back to the Portuguese border, ending the year almost where he had started it.

The combat of Venta del Pozo and Villadrigo (23 October 1812) was a rearguard action during the retreat that followed the failure of the siege of Burgos, and saw the French fail to take advantage of their superior numbers.

The invasion of Tinian (24 July-1 August 1944) took place three days after the start of the invasion of Guam, and after a week the island had been secured by the Americans.

Operation Beggar or Turkey Buzzard (3 June-7 July 1943) was a series of long distance flights to tow Horsa gliders from Britain to North Africa, where they were to take part in the invasion of Sicily.

Operation Corkscrew or the invasion of Pantelleria (11 June 1943) saw the British occupy this fortified Italian island without a shot being fired, after the garrison was subjected to a heavy aerial bombardment.

Operation Mincemeat was the most famous part of the deception plan to support the invasion of Sicily, and saw the British drop the body of a vagrant dressed in naval uniform into the sea off the coast of Spain, in the hope that the Spanish would pass on the ‘confidential’ documents in his possession to the Germans.

Operation Barclay was the deception plan to support the invasion of Sicily, and was intended to convince the Germans that the Allies might be about to attack Corsica, Sardinia or Greece rather than Sicily.

The battle of Vercellae or the Raudian Plain (30 July 101 BC) was the final battle of the Cimbric War and saw Marius destroy the Cimbri at an uncertain location in northern Italy.

L. Junius Brutus Damasippus (d.82 BC) was a supporter of the Marians during Sulla's Second Civil War, and is most famous for carrying out the murder of four of the younger Marius's enemies.

Gaius Marcius Censorinus (d.82 BC) was a supporter of the Marian cause during Sulla's civil wars, and was executed after the battle of the Colline Gate.

Lucius Cornelius Cinna (d.84 BC) was a leader of the opposition to Sulla, and helped overthrow Sulla's supporters after Sulla's first march on Rome, but was killed just before Sulla returned to Italy at the start of Sulla's Second Civil War.

Gnaeus Papirius Carbo (d.81 BC) was the main leader of the Marian faction during Sulla's Second Civil War, and was killed after fleeing into exile in Africa as his cause began to collapse.

Gaius Carinnas (d.82 BC) was a senior commander on the Marian side during Sulla's Second Civil War, but he was defeated in all of his recorded battles, and was executed after the battle of the Colline Gate.

The Lockheed R7O/ R7V was a US navy transport aircraft based on the Lockheed Super Constellation airliner, a stretched version of the earlier Constellation.

The Lockheed XFV-1 was an experimental VTOL aircraft that never made a vertical take off or landing, but that did fly with a temporary conventional undercarriage.

The Lockheed XB-30 was a bomber version of the C-69/ C-121/ Constellation, developed in response to the same specifications that produced the B-29 Superfortress.

The 15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 36 L/23 was a lightweight howitzer designed to towed by a single team of horses.

The 15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 40 was designed to provide longer range than the standard sFH 18, but a lack of production capability meant that it never entered full production, although a compromise version, the sFH 18/40, was produced in small numbers

The 15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 18/40 or 15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 42 was a compromise design for a heavy howitzer, combining the barrel from the sFH 40 and the carriage from the sFH 18.

The 15cm Kanone 16 (Krupp) was an important German heavy gun during the second half of the First World War, and had longer range than its direct Allied equivalents, making it a more flexible weapon.

The 15cm Kanone 18 was a long range but awkward artillery piece that was only produced in small numbers, and wasn’t popular with the German Army.

The 15cm Kanone 39 was originally produced for Turkey but entered German service in small numbers in 1939 and was mainly used as a coastal defence gun.

Wickes Class Destroyers

USS Meredith (DD-165) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a short active career just after the First World War then spent fourteen years out of commission before being scrapped.

USS Bush (DD-166) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a very short active career after the First World War then spent fourteen years out of commission before being scrapped.

USS Cowell (DD-167) was a Wickes class destroyer that was transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the destroyers for bases deal where she served as HMS Brighton.

USS Maddox (DD-168) was a Wickes class destroyer that served with the Royal Navy as HMS Georgetown and then in the Soviet Navy.

USS Foote (DD-169) was a Wickes class destroyer that served on convoy escort duties with the Royal Navy as HMS Roxborough.

RAF and the SOE - Special Duty Operations in Europe During WW2, An Official History.

The official history of the RAF’s role in SOE operations, with valuables sections on problems such as navigation, what sort of supply containers to use, how reception committees worked or the dangerous landing operations. Not always terribly readable, due to its origin as an official report, but always valuable, providing a detailed examination of the aerial operations that made almost all of SOE’s operations possible.

Images of War: United States Naval Aviation 1911-2014, Michael Green.

Covers the full range of US naval aircraft, from the early biplanes that entered service only five years after the first powered flight to the modern jet aircraft and unmanned drones. Split into four time periods, with each section beginning with a brief introduction to each aircraft type, followed by the photos themselves, each supported by a useful caption. Also includes a short section of colour plates, mainly of more modern aircraft or surviving older types

Enduring Freedom Enduring Voices: US Operations in Afghanistan, Michael G. Walling.

Looks at US military operations in Afghanistan between the 2001 and 2013, with very little on events in parts of the country not under US control. Includes a wide range of useful eyewitness accounts from US service personnel, largely untainted by hindsight simply because we don’t actually know the outcome of the war yet (the book even ends a year before the official end of Operation Enduring Freedom)

The Lions of Carentan: Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6, 1943-1945, Volker Griesser.

A unit history that perhaps tells you more about the paratroops saw themselves than the reality of their war, although the eyewitness accounts are often more honest, reflecting the often desperate fighting that saw the unit pushed back from Normandy into the heart of Germany, suffering massive casualties on the way. Covers the German seizure of Rome, D-Day and the fighting in Normandy, the attacks on the land corridor leading to Arnhem and the final defensive battles in Germany

GI Stories 1942-45, Henry-Paul Enjames.

Looks at the wartime careers of more than fifty US service personnel fighting in North Africa and Europe, tracing them from their pre-war lives in the US, through training and into combat. Tends to provide more individual details before their units entered active combat, then focus on the unit history until the subject of the chapter was wounded, captured, killed or the fighting ended, when we then get more personal details. Each entry is supported by a wide selection of photos of memorabilia, mainly closely related to the individual

Finnish Soldier vs Soviet Soldier - Winter War 1939-40, David Campbell.

Looks at three key battles during the Winter War, comparing the performance of the full range of ground troops on both sides, including armour and artillery. Shows how the Soviet performance slowly improved, just as the Finns were being worn down by the constant fighting, but also how the determined Finnish resistance probably convinced Stalin to abandon his early plans to occupy the entire country, and also how the Soviet debacles in 1939 helped convince the Germans that the Red Army would be an easy opponent to defeat

The Petersburg Campaign vol II: The Western Front Battles September 1864-April 1865, Bryce A. Suderow and Edwin C. Bearss.

Looks at the fighting to the south and west of Petersburg during the long siege of 1864-65, which ended with the Confederates forced to abandon Petersburg and Richmond, the retreat to Appomattox and the final surrender of Lee's army. Starts with a rather dry account of the early battles on this front, which ended in stalemate, before moving on to the key battles of the spring of 1865, which saw the Confederate lines finally broken

Lobositz to Leuthen - Horace St. Paul and the Campaigns of the Austrian Army in the Seven Years War 1756-57, Neil Cogswell.

Meant as a series study of the military art, so includes orders of battle, extracts from other author's work, all pulled together in St. Paul's diaries, and describing some of the earliest campaigns of the Seven Years War. A valuabkle source for this period, giving us an educated outsider's view of some of the early battles and sieges of the Seven Years War, seen from a position close to the senior Austrian and Imperial armies

The SADF in the Border War 1966-1989, Leopold Scholtz.

Looks at the long war on the Angolan-Namibian border, fought between South Africa and UNITA on one side and the Angolans, Cubans and SWAPO on the other. The author states in the introduction that his work can't be entirely balanced because of the available sources, but still does a good job of producing an unbiased account of the South African performance during the war, looking at their successes and failures on the battlefield, and in the eventual peace negotiations that ended the war

Suomi Submachine Gun, Leroy Thompson.

Looks at the main Finnish submachine gun during the Winter War and to a lesser extent the Continuation Wars, focusing not just on what made it distinctive technically, but also on how it was used by the Finns to increase the firepower of their hit-and-run raiders, and the wider significance of that combat experience, which turned the SMG from a specialist weapon into a mainstay of the infantry.

Caen Controversy - The Battle for Sword Beach 1944, Andrew Stewart.

Looks at the plans for the attack on Sword Beach, the question of if Caen was an Allied target for D-Day, and if so why it wasn't captured on the day. Provides a good account of the beach landings, as well as the wider battle, before looking at the controversy surrounding the failure to take Caen on or close to D-Day, one of Montgomery's stated aims before the invasion

World War II US Army Combat Equipments, Gordon L. Rottman.

At first glance this is a rather unpromising topic, but it actually gives you an interesting insight into the daily life of the US soldier of the Second World War, looking at the kit they carried with themselves every day, cooked with and camped in, as well as the various ammo holders and pouches. The result is a surprisingly interesting book


Battle

The 4th Marine Division landed on 24 July 1944, supported by naval bombardment and marine artillery firing across the strait from Saipan. [1] : 72 A successful feint for the major settlement of Tinian Town diverted defenders from the actual landing site on the north of the island. [1] : 76 They withstood a series of night counterattacks supported by tanks, and the 2nd Marine Division landed the next day. [1] : 80

The weather worsened on 28 July, damaging the pontoon causeways, and interrupting the unloading of supplies. [1] : 81 By 29 July, the Americans had captured half the island, and on 30 July the 4th Marine Division occupied Tinian Town and Airfield No. 4. [1] : 81

Japanese remnants made a final stand in the caves and ravines of a limestone ridge on the south portion of the island, making probes and counterattacks into the marine line. [1] : 85 Resistance continued through 3 August, with some civilians murdered by the Japanese. [1] : 87


A CLOSE ENCOUNTER: The Marine Landing on Tinian

by Richard Harwood

Three weeks into the battle for Saipan, there was no doubt about the outcome and V Amphibious Corps (VAC) commanders began turning their attention to the next objective--the island of Tinian, clearly visible three miles off Saipan's southwest coast. Its garrison of 9,000 Japanese army and navy combatants, many of them veterans of the campaigns in Manchuria, had been bombarded for seven weeks by U.S. air and sea armadas, joined in late June by massed Marine Corps and Army artillery battalions on Saipan's southern coast. The 2d and 4th Marine Divisions, both still in the thick of the Saipan fight, had been selected for the assault mission.

The crucial question of where they would land, however, was still undecided. There was strong support among the planners for a landing on two narrow sand strips--code named W HITE 1 and W HITE 2--on Tinian's northwest coast one was 60 yards wide, the other 160. But Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, overall commander of the Marianas Expeditionary Force, was skeptical. He leaned toward Y ELLOW Beach, made up of several wide, sandy strips in front of Tinian Town, the island's heavily fortified administrative and commercial center.

On 3 July, VAC's Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, commanded by Captain James L. Jones, was put on alert for reconnaissance of these potential landing sites. On 9 July, the day Saipan officially was declared secured, Jones got his operation order from Marine Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, commander of Expeditionary Troops. His men were to scout out the Tinian beaches and their fortifications and determine their capacity to handle the landing force and keep it supplied. Accompanying naval underwater demolition teams would do the hydrographic work and locate underwater obstacles, natural or man-made.

Captain Jones picked for the job Company A under the command of Captain Merwin H. Silverthorn, Jr., the son of a Marine general and World War I veteran, and Company B, commanded by First Lieutenant Leo B. Shinn. The Navy assigned to the mission Underwater (UDT) Team 5, led by Lieutenant Commander Draper L. Kauffman, and UDT Team 7 under Lieutenant Richard F. Burke. They rehearsed the operation on the night of 9-10 July off the beaches of Saipan's Magicienne Bay. On the evening of the 10th, the Marine and Navy units boarded the destroyer transports Gilmer and Stringham for the short trip into the channels separating the two islands.

The teams debarked in rubber boats at 2030, paddled to within 500 yards of the beach and swam to their destinations. Fortunately, it was a black night and although the moon rose at 2230, it was largely obscured by clouds.

Y ELLOW Beach was assigned to Silverthorn's Company A. He led 20 Marines and eight UDT swimmers ashore. They found a beach near Tinian Town flanked on each side by formidable cliffs. There were many floating mines and underwater boulders in the approaches. On the beach itself, double-apron barbed wire had been strung. Second Lieutenant Donald F. Neff worked his way 30 yards inland to locate exit routes for vehicles. Nearby, talkative Japanese work crews were building pillboxes and trenching with blasting charges. Neff spotted three Japanese sentries on a cliff overlooking the beach now and then searchlights scanned the beach approaches.

Marianas Islands

An oblique photograph of W HITE Beach 1 was taken before naval gunfire, artillery, air bombardment, and bulldozers altered its appearance. This 60-yard beach later became the port of entry for most of V Amphibious Corps' heavy equipment.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 151969
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Silverthorn, Burke, and their men made it back to the Gilmer safely. Their impression of Y ELLOW Beach as a landing site was distinctly unfavorable.

To the north, at the W HITE Beaches assigned to Company B, things had not gone well. Strong currents pushed the rubber boats off course. The team headed for W HITE 1 was swept 800 yards north of its destination and never got ashore. The party headed for W HITE 2 wound up on W HITE 1 and reconnoitered the area. Both parties were picked up by the Gilmer. The next night 10 swimmers from Company A were sent back to reconnoiter W HITE 2 and had a successful trip.

The reports on the W HITE beaches were encouraging. Although the landing areas were very restricted, it was concluded that amphibian tractors (LVTs) and other vehicles could negotiate the reefs and get ashore, and that troops with little difficulty could clamber over the low cliffs flanking the beaches. Marines forced to disembark from boats at the reef could safely wade ashore through the shallow surf. Members of Kauffman's UDT party confirmed the Marine findings and reported that "no mines or manmade underwater obstructions were found."

A few hours after the reconnaissance team returned from W HITE 2, Admiral Turner's objections were withdrawn and a command decision to use the northern beaches was made. On 20 July, a time and date for the landing were fixed: 0730 on 24 July.

The Landing Force: Who, Where, When

The task of seizing Tinian was assigned to the two Marine divisions on Saipan--the 2d and the 4th. The third division on the island--the Army's 27th Infantry--would remain on Saipan in reserve. All three had been severely battered during the Saipan campaign, suffering more than 14,000 casualties, including nearly 3,200 dead.

For the 2d Marine Division, the Tinian battle would be the fourth time around in a span of little more than 18 months. The division left Guadalcanal in February 1943, having suffered 1,000 battle casualties. Another 12,500 men had diagnosed cases of malaria. Nine months later--on 20 November 1943--the division had gone through one of the most intense 72 hours of combat in the history of island warfare at Tarawa. It sustained 3,200 casualties, including nearly a thousand dead. Ten weeks before Tarawa, the division was still malaria-ridden, with troops being hospitalized for the disease at the rate of 40 a day. The ranks were filled with gaunt men whose skins were yellowed by daily doses of Atabrine pills. The Saipan operation seven months later, led by division commander Major General Thomas E. Watson, took a heavy toll of these men--5,000 wounded, 1,300 dead.

Watson had earned a reputation at Saipan as a hard-charging leader. When the division stalled fighting its way up Mount Topatchau, he was unimpressed. The historian Ronald Spector wrote, in the midst of that effort, "he was heard shouting over a field telephone, 'There's not a god damn thing up on that hill but some Japs with machine guns and mortars. Now get the hell up there and get them!'" His assistant division commander was Brigadier General Merritt A. "Red Mike" Edson, who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his heroism on Guadalcanal.

The 4th Division had had a busy, if slightly less demanding, year as well. It went directly into combat after its formation at Camp Pendleton, California, landing on 31 January 1944 in the Marshall Islands where it suffered moderate casualties--fewer than 800 men--in the capture of Roi-Namur. At Saipan its losses reached 6,000, including about 1,000 dead. The Tinian landing would be its third in a little over six months and would be the first under a new divisional commander--Major General Clifton B. Cates, a well-decorated

Selection of W HITE Beach

Tinian and Southern Saipan
Showing Japanese Defense Sectors
and American Artillery Groupments

rounds into the area before calling it a day.

There was a lot of air activity on the 23d. At three periods during the day, naval gunfire and artillery barrages were halted to allow massive air strikes on railroad junctions, pillboxes, villages, gun emplacements, cane fields, and the beaches at Tinian Town. More than 350 Navy and Army planes took part, dropping 500 bombs, 200 rockets, 42 incendiary clusters, and 34 napalm bombs. This was only the second use of napalm during the Pacific War napalm bombs were first used on Tinian the day before.

That evening, 37 LSTs at anchor off Saipan were loaded with 4th Marine Division troops. Rations for three days, water and medical supplies, ammunition, vehicles, and other equipment had been pre-loaded, beginning on 15 July. The troops were going to travel light: a spoon, a pair of socks, insect repellant, and emergency supplies in their pockets, and no pack on their backs.

"Close at hand," the historians Jeter Isely and Philip Crowl wrote in their classic The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War, "rode the ships of the two transport divisions that would carry two regiments of the 2d Marine Division on a diversionary feint against Tinian Town and would later disembark them along with the third regiment across the northwestern beaches." (A similar feint was made by 2d Division Marines less than a year later off the southeast beaches of Okinawa, and by the same division lying off Kuwait City nearly 50 years later in the Desert Storm operation).

The 4th was designated the assault division for Tinian. The beaches were not wide enough to accommodate battalions landing abreast, much less divisions. Instead, the assault troops would land by columns--squads, platoons, and companies.

The 2d Division would follow on

W HITE Beach 2 accommodated two battalions landing in file, with a single rifle company in the assault. The 25th Marines crossed this 160-yard beach on Jig Day, literally unopposed followed by two light artillery battalions and the 23d Marines.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 150633
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General Clifton B. Cates, USMC

Jig Day: Feint and Landing

The first troop ships moved out of Saipan's Charan Kanoa harbor at 0330, 24 July. They were the transports Knox, Calvert, Fuller, Bell, Heywood, and John Land. They were carrying the 2d and 8th Marines (infantry regiments) of the 2d Marine Division on a mission of deception that turned out to be far bloodier than the W HITE Beach landings and far bloodier than anyone had anticipated. They had a muscular escort--the battleship Colorado, the light cruiser Cleveland, and the destroyers Ramey, Norman Scott, Wadleigh, and Monssen.

The convoy moved into Sunharon Harbor opposite Tinian Town just before dawn. A few minutes after 0600, the Calvert began lowering its landing craft and by 0630 all 22 of its boats were in the water. Marines climbed down the cargo nets. Within a half hour, 244 Navy and Army planes began strafing and bombing

Napalm: Something New in the Arsenal

Fire Support Sectors for Jig Minus 1 and Jig Day

four more days until destroyed by the battleship Tennessee.

The losses sustained by the two ships exceeded those suffered that day by the Marine landing force on the northwestern beaches. But the feint served its purpose. It froze in place around Tinian Town a whole battalion of the 50th Infantry Regiment and various elements of the 56th Naval Guard Force. And it convinced the Japanese commander, Colonel Kiyochi Ogata, that he had thwarted an invasion. His message to Tokyo described how his forces had repelled 100 landing barges.

These "barges" were reloaded on the Calvert at 1000 and the convoy steamed north to the W HITE Beaches where 4th Division troops had landed after a mishap in their planning. An underwater demolition team using floats carrying explosives swam to W HITE Beach 2 shortly before dawn to blast away boulders and destroy beach mines. The mission failed because of a squall. The floats scattered, the explosives were lost and a few hours later, Marines paid a price for this aborted mission.

To compensate for the failure of the UDT team, fire support ships lying off the W HITE Beaches--the battleships California and Tennessee, the heavy cruiser Louisville, and four destroyers--blasted away at the landing areas. Air strikes were then ordered at about 0630 and observers claimed that five of the 14 known beach mines had been destroyed. A battery of 155mm "Long Tom" guns on Saipan fired smokeshells at the Japanese command post on Mount Lasso and also laid smoke in the woods and on the bluffs just beyond the beaches to obstruct Japanese observation.

The Landing

The assault plan assigned W HITE Beach 1 to the 24th Marines and W HITE Beach Two to the 25th. In the vanguard for the 24th was Company E of the 2d Battalion--200 men commanded by Captain Jack F. Ross, Jr. Company A of the 1st Battalion, commanded by Captain Irving Schechter, followed and by 0820 the entire 2d Battalion, commanded by Major Frank A. Garretson, was ashore.

Almost simultaneously, two battalions of the 25th Marines loaded into 16 LVTs landed in columns of companies on W HITE Beach 2. The 2d Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Lewis C. Hudson, Jr., was on the right the 3d Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Chambers) was on the left.

The units of the 24th, loaded into 24 LVTs, crossed the line of departure--3,000 yards offshore--at 0717. Ahead of them, 30 LCIs (landing craft, infantry) and a company of the 2d Armored Amphibian Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Reed M. Fawell, Jr., raked the beaches with barrage rockets and automatic cannon fire. On the 26-minute run to the beach, the troop-laden LVTs took scattered and ineffectual rifle and machine gun fire.

At W HITE 1, members of a small Japanese beach detachment, holed up in caves and crevices, resisted the landing with intense small arms fire. But they were silenced quickly by Company E gunners.

Within an hour, the entire 1st and 2d Battalions of the 24th were ashore on W HITE 1, preparing to move inland. The 2d Battalion encountered sporadic artillery, mortar, and small arms fire during the first 200 yards of its advance. After that, Garretson later said, the battalion had a "cake walk" for the rest of the day, gaining 1,400 yards and reaching its O-1 line objective by 1600. He occupied the western edge of Airfield No. 3 and cut the main road linking Airfield No. 1 with the east coast and southern Tinian. Only occasional small arms fire was encountered before the battalion dug in for the night.

Plans for Landing

On Garretson's left, the 1st Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Otto Lessing, was slowed by heavy fires from cave positions and patches of heavy vegetation. Flamethrower tanks were sent up against these positions, but the Japanese held on. As a result, Lessing pulled up late in the afternoon 400 yards short of his objective. This left a gap between his perimeter and Garretson's. To fill it, the regiment's 3d Battalion, waiting in reserve at the beach, was called up.

Almost simultaneously, the 25th ran into problems. The beach and surrounding area had been methodically seeded with mines which neither UDT teams nor offshore gunners had been able to destroy. It took six hours to clear them out and in the process three LVTs and a jeep were blown up. The beach defenses also included a sprinkling of booby traps which had to be dealt with--watches and cases of beer, for example, all wired to explode in the hands of careless souvenir hunters.

Behind the beach, troops from Ogata's 50th Regiment put up a vigorous defense with mortars, anti-tank and anti-boat guns, and other automatic weapons emplaced in pillboxes, caves, fortified ravines, and field entrenchments. Two 47mm guns in particular kept the Marines back on their heels. They finally bypassed these troublesome positions. Later waves took them out, leaving 50 dead Japanese in the gunpits.

The 3d Battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Chambers, later remembered a lot of confusion on the beach, "the confusion you [always] get when you land, of getting the organization together again." One of his company commanders, for example, was killed a half-hour after landing

Tinian Defense Forces

Japanese military fortification of Tinian and other islands in the chain had begun--in violation of the League of Nations Mandate--in the 1930s. By 1944, the Tinian garrison numbered roughly 9,000 army and navy personnel, bringing the island's total population to nearly 25,000.

The 50th Infantry Regiment, detached from the 29th Division on Guam, was the principal fighting force. It had been stationed near Mukden, Manchuria, from 1941 until its transfer in March 1944 to Tinian. Many of its troops were veterans of the Manchurian campaigns. The regiment was commanded by Colonel Kiyoshi [also spelled "Keishi"] Ogata and consisted of three 880-man infantry battalions, a 75mm mountain artillery battalion equipped with 12 guns, engineer, communication, and medical companies, plus a headquarters and various specialized support units, including a company of 12 light tanks and an anti-tank platoon. He also had a battalion of the 135th Infantry Regiment with a strength of about 900 men. Altogether, slightly more than 5,000 army troops were assigned to the island's defense.

The principal navy unit was the 56th Naval Guard Force, a 1,400-man coastal defense unit, supplemented by four construction battalions with a combined strength of 1,800 men. Other naval units, totaling about 1,000 men, included ground elements of seven aviation squadrons and a detachment of the 5th Base Force.

The navy personnel--about 4,200 altogether--were under the immediate command of Captain Oichi Oya. Both Oya and Ogata were outranked on the island by Vice Admiral Kakuji Kakuda, commander of the 1st Air Fleet with headquarters on Tinian. But Kakuda, as the invasion neared, had no air fleet to command. Of the estimated 107 planes based at Tinian's air fields, 70 had been destroyed on the ground early in June by U.S. air strikes. By the time of the Tinian landing on 24 July, none of Kakuda's planes were operative.

Kakuda had a bad reputation. He was, by Japanese physical standards, a hulking figure: more than six feet tall, weighing more than 200 pounds. "He willingly catered," Hoffman wrote, "to his almost unquenchable thirst for liquor he lacked the fortitude to face the odds arrayed against him at Tinian." Historian Frank Hough called him "a drunk and an exceedingly unpleasant one, from all accounts."

On 15 July, nine days before the invasion, Kakuda and his headquarters group attempted to escape via rubber boats to Aguijan Island where they hoped to rendezvous with a Japanese submarine. This effort failed. He tried again on five successive nights with the same results, finally abandoning the effort on 21 July. He fled with his party from Tinian Town to a cave on Tinian's east coast where they awaited their fate. A Japanese prisoner who described Kakuda's escape efforts assumed he had committed suicide after the American landing, but this was never verified. Toward the end of the battle for Tinian, one of Kakuda's orderlies led an American patrol to the cave. The patrol was fired upon and two Marines were wounded. A passing group of Marine pioneers sealed the cave with demolition charges but it is unknown whether Kakuda was inside.

Admiral Kakuda in any case took no part in directing the Japanese resistance. For purposes of defending the island, command of both army and navy forces was assumed by Colonel Ogata, but co-operation between the two service branches was less than complete. Frictions were reflected in diaries found among the Japanese documents captured on Tinian. A soldier in the 50th Regiment's artillery battalion wrote:

9 March--The Navy stays in barracks buildings and has liberty every night with liquor to drink and makes a big row.

We, on the other hand, bivouac in the rain and never get out on pass. What a difference in discipline!

12 June--Our AA guns [manned by the Navy] spread black smoke where the enemy planes weren't. Not one hit out of a thousand shots. The Naval Air Group has taken to its heels.

15 June--The naval aviators are robbers . . . When they ran off to the mountains, they stole Army provisions . . . .

The defenses of Tinian were dictated by the geography of the island. It is encircled by coral cliffs which rise from the coastline and are a part of the limestone plateau underlying the island. These cliffs range in height from 6 to 100 feet breaks in the cliffline are rare and where they occur are narrow, leaving little beach space for an invasion force. Along the entire coastline of Tinian, only four beaches were worthy of the name.

The largest and most suitable for use by an amphibious force was in front of Tinian Town in Suharon Harbor. It consisted of several wide, sandy strips. The harbor was mediocre but provided in fair weather limited anchorage for a few ships which could load and unload cargo at two piers available at Tinian Town.

From the beginning, Colonel Ogata assumed that this beach would be the first choice of the Americans. Of the roughly 100 guns in fixed positions on the island--ranging from 7.7mm heavy machine guns to 6-inch British naval rifles--nearly a third were assigned to the defense of Tinian Town and its beaches and to the airfield at Gurguan Point, two-and-a-half miles northwest of the town. Within a two-mile radius of the town were the 2d Battalion of the 50th Infantry Regiment, 1,400 men of the 56th Naval Guard Force, a tank company of the 18th Infantry Regiment, and the 1st Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment, which had been designated as the mobile counterattack force.

Their area of responsibility extended to Laslo Point, the southernmost part of the island and, on the east, to Masalog Point. It was designated the "Southern Sector" in Ogata's defense plan.

On 7 July Ogata issued a "Plan for the Guidance of Battle" ordering his men to be prepared not only for landings at Tinian Town and Asiga Bay, but also for a counterattack in the event the Americans were to invade across the White Beaches.

In each of the three sectors, according to his battle plan, commanders were to be prepared to "destroy the enemy at the beach, but [also] be prepared to shift two-thirds of the force elsewhere." His reserve force was to "maintain fortified positions, counter-attack points [and] maintain anti-aircraft observation and fire in its area." The "Mobile Counterattack Force" must "advance rapidly to the place of landings, depending on the situation and attack." In the event of successful landings his forces would "counterattack to the water and . . . destroy the enemy on beaches with one blow, especially where time prevents quick movement of forces within the island." If things were to go badly, "we will gradually fall back on our prepared positions in the southern part of the island and defend them to the last man."

and it took a while to get a replacement on scene and up to speed. Then there was the problem of the mines and a problem with artillery fire from the Japanese command post on Mount Lasso, two-and-a-half miles away.

By late afternoon, Chambers' battalion had reached its objective 1,500 yards inland in the center of the line and had tied in on its left flank with Garretson of the 24th. The other battalions of the 25th came up short of their O-1 line, creating before sundown a crescent-shaped beachhead 3,000 yards wide at the shoreline and bulging inland to a maximum depth of 1,500 yards.

The day's greatest confusion surrounded the landing of the 23d Marines. The regiment had been held on LSTs (landing ships, tank) in division reserve during the landing of the 24th and 25th. At 0730, the troops were ordered below to board LVTs parked cheek to jowl on the tank decks. Their engines were running, spewing forth carbon monoxide. Experience had shown that troops cooped up under these conditions for more than 30 minutes would develop severe headaches, become nauseous, and begin vomiting.

To avoid that problem and in the absence of a launch order, the regimental commander, Colonel Louis R. Jones, soon unloaded his men and sent them topside. They returned to the tank decks at 1030 when an order to load and launch finally was received. The regiment debarked and eventually got ashore beginning at 1400 despite an incredible series of communication breakdowns in which Jones at crucial times was out of touch with the division and his battalions.

In addition to botched radio communications, Jones was stuck in an LVT with a bad engine it took him seven hours to get ashore with his staff, leading to a division complaint about the tardiness of his regiment. The division noted that "fortunately no serious harm was done by [the] delay," but at the end of the operation Jones left the division. He was promoted to brigadier general and assigned as assistant division commander of the 1st Marine Division for the Okinawa landings.

A similar muck-up occurred involving the 2d Marine Division. After the feint at Tinian Town, the division sailed north and lay offshore of the W HITE Beaches through the

Tinian
24-26 July 1944

day. At 1515, the landing force commander, Major General Harry Schmidt, ordered a battalion from the 8th Marines to land at W HITE Beach to back up the 24th Marines. Schmidt wanted the battalion ashore at 1600. Because of communication and transport confusion the deadline was missed. It was 2000 when the unit entered in its log ". . . dug in in assigned position."

On the other hand, the big things had gone well in the morning and afternoon. By the standards of Tarawa and Saipan, casualties were light--15 dead, 225 wounded. The body count for the Japanese was 438. Despite drizzling rain, narrow beaches, and undiscovered mines, 15,600 troops were put ashore along with great quantities of material and equipment that included four battalions of artillery, two dozen half-tracks mounting 75mm guns, and 48 medium and 15 flame-throwing tanks which found the Tinian terrain hospitable for tank operations. The tanks had gotten into action early that morning, leading the 24th in tank-infantry attacks. They also had come to the aid of the 23d Marines as that regiment moved inland to take over the division's right flank. The beachhead itself was of respectable size, despite the failure of some units to reach their first-day objectives. It extended inland nearly a mile and embraced defensible territory. On the whole, it had not been a bad day's work.

Counterattack

At about 1630, the 4th Division commander, General Cates, ordered his forces to button up for the night. A nighttime counterattack was expected. Barbed wire, preloaded on amphibian vehicles (DUKWs), was strung all along the division front. Ammunition was stacked at every weapons position. Machine guns were emplaced to permit interlocking fields of fire. Target areas were assigned to mortar crews. Artillery batteries in the rear were registered to hit probable enemy approach routes and to fire illuminating shells if a lighted battlefield was required. Of great importance, as it turned out, was the positioning up front of 37mm guns and canister ammunition (antipersonnel shells which fired large pellets for close-in fighting) in the night fighting that followed, they inflicted severe losses on the enemy.

As the troops dug in to await whatever the night would bring, the 24th Marines, backed up by the 1st

Preparatory Strikes

No battle in the Pacific was a "piece of cake." But there was less apprehension among the Americans about the outcome at Tinian than in any major operation of the war. Admiral Raymond A. Spruance later described it as "probably the most brilliantly conceived and executed amphibious operation of World War II." Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, commander of the Expeditionary Troops during the seizure of the Marianas, called it "the perfect amphibious operation."

It took place under optimal conditions for success. The small Japanese garrison on the island had no hope of relief, resupply, escape, or victory. Three miles away, across the narrow Saipan Channel, three battle-tested American divisions--more than 50,000 men--were available for the inevitable invasion. For seven weeks the bombardment from U.S. air and sea armadas, joined by the big guns on Saipan, had been relentless, day and night.

The effect on Tinian's civilian inhabitants was recorded by James L. Underhill, later a Marine lieutenant general, who became the island's military commander at the end of the battle:

The state of these people was indescribable. They came in with no possessions except the rags on their backs. They had been under a two-month intense bombardment and shelling and many were suffering from shell shock . . . They had existed on very scant rations for six weeks and for the past week had had practically nothing to eat. They had been cut off from their own water supply for a week and had caught what rainwater they could in bowls and cans. Hundreds of them were wounded and some of their wounds were gangrenous. Beri beri, syphilis, pneumonia, dysentery, and tuberculosis were common. [They needed] shelter, food, water, clothing, medical care, and sanitation.

The bombardment began on 11 June--four days before the Saipan invasion--when carrier planes from Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitcher's Task Force 58 launched a three-and-a-half day pummeling of all the principal Mariana Islands. A fighter sweep on the first day, carried out by 225 Grumman Hellcats, destroyed about 150 Japanese aircraft and ensured American control of the skies over the islands.

Following the raid, a member of the Japanese garrison on Saipan, wrote in his diary: "For two hours, enemy planes ran amuck and finally left leisurely amidst the unparalleledly inaccurate antiaircraft fire. All we could do was watch helplessly."

Over the next two days, bombers hit the islands and shipping in the area with no letup. There was a fatalistic diary entry by one of the Tinian troops: "Now begins our cave life." Another soldier wrote of the ineffectual antiaircraft fire--"not one hit out of a thousand shots"--and reported that "the Naval Air Group has taken to its heels." Yet another diarist was indignant, too: "The naval aviators are robbers . . . When they ran off to the mountains they stole Army provisions."

Fast battleships from Task Force 58 joined the bombardment from long range on 13 June. Their fires, analysts later said, were "ineffective" and "misdirected" at soft targets rather than at the concealed gun positions ringing the island. But, as an element in the cumulative psychological and physical toll on soldiers and civilians alike, harassing fires of this nature were not inconsiderable.

Over the next six weeks, the effort to degrade and destroy the defenses and garrison of Tinian escalated. On 18 June, Navy Task Force 52, commanded by Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner, added its guns to the mission. Air-strikes involving carrier planes and Army P-47s were ordered. From 28 June until the Tinian landing on 24 July, massed artillery battalions, firing from Saipan's southern shore, poured thousands of tons of steel into the island. By mid-July, 13 battalions were engaged in the mission, firing 160 guns--105s and Long Toms 155s--around the clock. The six battalions of the XXIV Corps Artillery alone undertook 1,509 fire missions in that period, firing 24,536 rounds.

The precise effect of the artillery fires from Saipan will never be known, but it is reasonable to assume there were many scenes of the kind retired Brigadier General Frederick Karch described in his oral history memoir. He was a major, serving as operations officer for an artillery regiment--the 14th Marines--during the Tinian campaign, and he recalled:

I remember going by a [Japanese] machine gun crew. They had been trying to get a firing position and had been caught by the artillery barrage, apparently, and they were laid out just like a school solution, with each man carrying his particular portion of the gun crew's equipment. And that was where they had died in a very fine situation, except they were on the wrong side of the barrage.

By the time the assault waves landed, most, if not all, Japanese beach defense weapons had been destroyed by the preinvasion bombardments. This Japanese navy-type 25mm machine cannon was knocked out before it could disrupt the landings.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87701
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Battalion, 8th Marines, occupied the northern half of the defensive crescent. The 25th and a battalion of the 23d occupied the southern half of the crescent with the remainder of the 23d in reserve. On the beaches in the rear, artillery battalions from the 10th and 14th Marines, engineer battalions, and other special troops were on alert.

The Japanese, meanwhile, were preparing for their counterattack. Because of shattered communications lines, it could not be a coordinated operation. Units would act on their own under Colonel Ogata's general order of 28 June to "destroy the enemy on beaches with one blow, especially where time prevents quick movement of forces within the island."

They had on the left or northern flank of the Marine lines 600 to 1,000 naval troops at the Ushi Point air fields. Near Mount Lasso, opposite

Attacking Marines hold up their advance in the face of an exploding Japanese ammunition dump after an attack by Navy planes supporting the drive across Tinian. Note the trees bent over by the force of shock waves caused by the eruption.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87298
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the center of the Marine lines, were two battalions of the 50th Infantry Regiment and a tank company, about 1,500 men all told. On the west coast, facing the Marine right flank, were about 250 men from an infantry company of the 50th Regiment, a tank detachment and an anti-tank squad.

South of Mount Lasso, nearly six miles from the W HITE Beaches, was the Japanese Mobile Counterattack Force--a 900-man battalion of the 135th Infantry Regiment, equipped with new rifles and demolition charges. Its journey toward the northwestern beaches and the Marine lines was perilous. All movements in daylight were under air surveillance and vulnerable to American fire power. But the battalion set out under its commander--a Captain Izumi--and was hit on several occasions by unobserved artillery and naval gunfire. Izumi pushed on and got to his objective through skillful use of terrain for concealment. At 2230 he began probing the center of the Marine line where the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines under Garretson was tied in with the 3d Battalion under Chambers.

"While most of these Japanese crept along just forward of the lines," Carl Hoffman wrote, ". . . a two-man reconnaissance detail climbed up on a battered building forward of the 24th Marines and audaciously (or stupidly) commenced jotting notes about, or drawing sketches of, the front lines. This impudent gesture was rewarded with a thundering concentration of U.S. artillery fire."

Chambers had a vivid memory of that night:

There was a big gully that ran from the southeast to northwest and right into the western edge of our area. Anybody in their right mind could have figured that if there was to be any counterattacks, that gully would be used . . . .

During the night . . . my men were reporting that they were hearing a lot of Japanese chattering down in the gully . . . .

While some Marines were deposited "feet dry" beyond the ashore in the shallows from the amtracs which brought them shoreline of the beaches, others had to land "feet wet" wading in from the attack transports seen in the background.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 88088
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They hit us about midnight in K company's area. They hauled by hand a couple of 75mm howitzers with them and when they got them up to where they could fire at us, they hit us very hard. I think K company did a pretty damn good job but . . . about 150, 200 Japs managed to push through [the 1,500 yards] to the beach area . . . .

When the Japs hit the rear areas, all the artillery and machine guns started shooting like hell. Their fire was coming from the rear and grazing right up over our heads . . . . In the meantime, the enemy that hit L company was putting up a hell of a fight within 75 yards of where I was and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.

Over in K company's area . . . was where the attack really developed. That's where [Lt.] Mickey McGuire . . . had his 37mm guns on the left flank and was firing canister. Two of my men were manning a machine gun [Cpl Alfred J. Daigle and Pfc Orville H. Showers] . . . . These two lads laid out

For Tinian, as in the Marshall Islands and the Saipan and Guam operations, DUKWs (amphibian trucks) were loaded with artillery pieces and ammunition at the mount out area. At the objective beaches, they were driven ashore right to the designated gun emplacements enabling the gun crews to get their weapons laid in and firing quickly. Here, an A-frame unloads a 75mm pack howitzer from an Army DUKW.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87645
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in front of their machine gun a cone of Jap bodies. There was a dead Jap officer in with them. Both of the boys were dead.

A Marine combat correspondent, described this action:

[Showers and Daigle] held their fire until the Japanese were 100 yards away, then opened up. The Japanese charged, screaming, "Banzai," firing light machine guns and throwing hand grenades. It seemed impossible that the two Marines--far ahead of their own lines--could hold on . . . . The next morning they were found slumped over their weapons, dead. No less than 251 Japanese bodies were piled in front of them . . . . The Navy Cross was awarded posthumously to Daigle and the Silver Star posthumously to Showers.

Just before daybreak, Chambers recalled, two tank companies showed up, commanded by Major Robert I. Neiman. They "wanted to get right at the enemy" and Chambers sent them off to an area held by Companies K and L. Neiman returned in about a half hour and said, "You don't need tanks. You need undertakers. I never saw so many dead Japs."

Another large contingent of Japanese troops was "stacked up" by

the 75mm pack howitzer gunners of Battery D of the 14th Marines, supported by the .50-caliber machine guns of Batteries E and F: "They literally tore the Japanese . . . to pieces." Altogether about 600 Japanese were killed in their attack on the center.

On the left flank, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, came under attack at 0200 from about 600 Special Naval Landing Force troops out of the barracks at the Ushi Point airfields. Company A, hit so hard it was reduced at one point to only 30 men with weapons, was forced to draw reinforcements from engineers, corpsmen, communicators, and members of the shore party. Illumination flares were fired over the battlefield, allowing the Marines to use 37mm canister shells, machine gun fire, and mortars to good effect. The fight continued until dawn when medium tanks from the 4th Tank Battalion lumbered in to break up the last attacking groups. At that point, many Japanese began using their grenades to commit suicide.

As the sun rose, 476 Japanese bodies were counted in this sector of the defensive crescent, most of them in front of the Company A position.

The last enemy attack that night hit the right or southern flank of the Marines beginning at 0330 when six Japanese tanks (half of the Japanese tank force on Tinian) clattered up from the direction of Tinian Town to attack the 23d Marines position. They were met by fire from Marine artillery, anti-tank guns, bazookas, and small arms. Lieutenant Jim Lucas, a professional reporter who enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was commissioned in the field, was there:

The three lead tanks broke through our wall of fire. One began to glow blood-red, turned crazily on its tracks and careened into a ditch. A second, mortally wounded, turned its machine guns on its tormentors, firing into the ditches in a last desperate effort to fight its way free. One hundred yards more and it stopped dead in its tracks. The third tried frantically to turn and then retreat, but our men closed in, literally blasting it apart . . . . Bazookas knocked out a fourth tank with a direct hit which killed the driver. The rest of the crew piled out of the turret screaming. The fifth tank, completely surrounded, attempted to flee. Bazookas made short work of it. Another hit set it afire and its crew was cremated.

The sixth tank was chased off, according to Colonel Jones, by a Marine driving a jeep. Some appraisers of this action believe only five tanks were involved. In any case, the destruction of these tanks did not end the fight on the right flank. Infantry units of the 50th Regiment continued to attack in the zone of 2d Battalion, 23d Marines. They were repulsed and killed in great numbers, largely through the effective use of 37mm anti-tank guns using canister shot. In "the last hopeless moments of the assault," Hoffman wrote, "some of the wounded Japanese destroyed themselves by detonating a magnetic tank mine which produced a terrific blast."

From the Japanese standpoint, the night's work had been a disaster: 1,241 bodies left on the battlefield several hundred more may have been carted away during the night. Fewer than 100 Marines were wounded or killed. "The loss of these [Japanese] troops," the historian Frank Hough has written:

. . . broke the back of the defense of Tinian. With their communications shattered by sustained fire from Saipan and increasing fire from Tinian itself . . . the survivors were capable of only the weakest, most dazed sort of resistance . . . . Now and again during the next seven days, small groups took advantage of the darkness to [launch night attacks], but for the most part they simply withdrew in

Aerial Reconnaissance and Photography

In the months leading up to the invasion, intensive reconnaissance was undertaken. The first aerial photos of 1944 had been acquired back in February when U.S. carrier planes attacked Saipan. Others were obtained in April and May by photo planes based at Eniwetok. These early photographs were of little use to invasion planners. Their quality was poor and many were taken at angles that distorted the terrain.

These inadequacies hampered the Saipan planners but Tinian was another story. "Perhaps no other Pacific island . . . ," Marine Corps analysts later concluded, "became so familiar to the assault forces because of thorough and accurate [photography and] mapping prior to the landings."

A lot of the familiarization came from first-hand observation by division, regimental, and battalion commanders who used observation planes to conduct their own reconnaissance of the Tinian beaches and inland terrain. Lieutenant Colonel Justice M. Chambers, commander of the 3d Battalion, 25th Marines, described his preinvasion visit to the island:

There was a lieutenant commander Muller, a naval aviator, who apparently had a set of roving orders. He had brought his flight of three Liberators to Saipan . . . . I thought it would be a good idea to take my company commanders and overfly the beaches that we're going to use . . . . So the 3rd Battalion group took the flight and practically all the battalions did the same.

We took off from Saipan and of course the minute you were airborne you were over Tinian. I had talked it over with Muller and told him that the last beach we would overfly would be the one we were going to hit. I said, "Let's take a look at a lot of other beaches first and fly over the interior." We made passes at several beaches. I was standing up in a blister where I could see and my officers had the bomb bays open and were looking down. We flew around maybe 20 or 30 minutes, and then we made a big loop and came back over the beaches we were going to land on. I'm glad we did because we spotted . . . mines in the water which the Navy got out.

We zoomed in on Mount Lasso, which was the only mountain on Tinian. The island was just one big cane field, and Mount Lasso was directly ahead of our beaches. Muller started pulling out and I began to see white things zipping by outside the plane . . . . I was fighting to keep my stomach down because a fast elevator is too much for me. I asked: "What's that?" He replied, "Twenty millimeter. Where do you want to go now ?" I said, "Saipan. There are no foxholes up here."

no particular order until there remained nowhere to withdraw.

That was a common judgment after the Tinian battle had ended. But at the time, according to the 4th Division intelligence officer, Lieutenant Colonel Gooderham McCormick, a Marine Reserve officer who later became mayor of Philadelphia, things were not so clear: "We still believed [after the counterattack] the enemy capable of a harder fight . . . and from day to day during our advance expected a bitter fight that never materialized."

Nevertheless, a lot of hard work lay ahead. One of the most demanding tasks was the simple but exhausting job of humping through cane fields in terrific heat, humidity, and frequent monsoon downpours, fearful not only of sniper fire, mines, or booby traps, but fearful as well of fires that could sweep through the cane fields, incinerating anyone in their path.

The Drive South

Lieutenant Colonel William W. "Bucky" Buchanan was the assistant naval gunfire officer for the 4th Division at Tinian. His career later took him to Vietnam. After his retirement as a brigadier general he recalled the Tinian campaign:

We used the same tactics on Tinian that we did on Saipan: that is, a hand-holding, linear operation, like a bunch of brush-beaters, people shooting grouse or something, the idea being to flush out every man consistently as we go down, rather than driving down the main road with a fork and cutting this off and cutting this off in what I call creative tactics, you see. But this was the easiest thing and the safest thing to do. And who can criticize it? It was successful. Here, again, what little resistance was left was pushed into the end of the island . . . and quickly collapsed.

The grouse-shooting metaphor is simplistic but even the 4th Division commander, Major General Clifton B. Cates, thought the campaign had its sporting aspects: "The fighting was different from most any that we had experienced because it was good terrain . . . . It was a good clean operation and I think the men really enjoyed it."

Before the "brush beating" could

Tinian
27 July - 1 August 1944

begin in proper order, three things needed to be achieved. First, the 2d Marine Division had to be put ashore. This task was completed on the morning of 26 July--Jig plus 2.

Second, Japanese stragglers and pockets of resistance in the island's northern sector had to be squashed. That job, for all practical purposes, was pretty well completed on the 26th as the 2d Division swept across the Ushi Point airfields, reached the east coast, and made a turn to the south. (Two days later, Seabees had the Ushi Point fields in operation for Army P-47 Thunderbolt fighters). Also on the 26th, the 4th Division had seized Mount Maga in the center of the island and had forced Colonel Ogata and his staff to abandon their command post on Mount Lasso which fell to the Marines without a struggle.

The third objective--to create for the drive south a skirmish line of infantry and tanks stretching all the way across the island--was also accomplished on the 26th. The 4th Division lined up in the western half of the island with the 23d Marines on the coast, the 24th in the center, and the 25th on the left flank. The 2d Division lined up with the 2d Marines on the east coast and the 6th Marines in the center, tied in to the 25th. The 8th Marines remained in the north to mop up.

All this was accomplished with only minor casualties. For 26 July, for example, the 2nd Division reported two killed and 14 wounded. The heaviest losses since the first day and night of fighting had been sustained by the 14th Marines, the 4th Division's artillery regiment, in the hours following the Japanese counterattack. An enemy shell hit the 1st Battalion's fire direction center killing the battalion commander (Lieutenant Colonel Harry J. Zimmer), the intelligence officer, the operations officer, and seven other staff members 14 other Marines at the battalion headquarters were wounded. Virtually all

Tramping the cane was a tiring work, especially when the direction of the advance did not parallel the rows of the fields. Each stalk was strong enough to trip a man careless about where he stepped. Advancing through such a field was fraught with danger, also, from hidden trip wires attached to demolitions, and from dug-in Japanese. In addition, the dry cane fields could easily catch fire and trap the Marines.
Marine Corps Historical Collection
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Marines of the 2d Division find some of the most difficult terrain on Tinian as they move up towards the top of Mount Lasso, one of the highest points on the island. Tinian, for the most part, was flat and level, and was under cultivation.
Department of the Defense Photo (USMC) 87900
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of the casualties sustained by that regiment during the Tinian campaign were taken on this single day, 25 July: 13 of the 14 killed, and 22 of the 29 wounded.

On the morning of 27 July, the "brush beating" drive to the south began in earnest. General Schmidt's plan for the first two days of the drive alternated the main thrust between the two divisions. In the official history of the operation, the tactic was likened to "a man elbowing his way through the crowd," swinging one arm and then the other.

The 2d Division got the heavier work on the 27th. XXIV Corps Artillery, firing from southern Saipan, softened up suspected enemy positions early in the morning and the division jumped off at 0730. It advanced rapidly, harassed by sporadic small arms fire. By 1345 it had reached its objective, gaining about 4,000 yards in just over six hours. The 4th Division moved out late in the morning against "negligible opposition," reached its objective by noon and then called it a day. A Japanese prisoner complained to his captors, "You couldn't drop a stick without bringing down artillery."

The next morning, 28 July, the 4th got the "swinging elbow" job. It was now evident that the remaining Japanese defenders were rapidly retiring to the hills and caves along the southern coast. So opposition to the Marine advance was virtually nil. The 4th moved more than two miles in less than four hours with troops riding on half-tracks and tanks. Jumping off again early in the afternoon in "blitz fashion," they overran the airfield at Gurguan Point, led by Major Richard K. Schmidt's 4th Tank Battalion, and quit for the day at 1730 after gaining 7,300 yards--a little more than four miles. The 2d Division, given light duty under the Schmidt plan, moved ahead a few hundred yards, reached its objective in a couple of hours and dug in to await another morning.

General Cates later recalled how he spurred on his 4th Division troops: "I said, 'Now, look here men, the [Hawaiian] island of Maui is waiting for us. See those ships out there? The quicker you get this over with, the quicker we'll be back there.' They almost ran over that island."

On the 29th General Schmidt dropped the "elbowing" tactic and ordered both divisions to move as far and as fast as "practical." Opposition

had been so light that preparatory fires were canceled to save unneeded withdrawals from the diminishing supplies of artillery shells left on Saipan and to prevent "waste of naval gunfire on areas largely deserted by the enemy."

The 2d Marines on the eastern terrain ran into pockets of resistance on a hill at Masalog Point the 6th Marines encountered a 20-man Japanese patrol that attempted to penetrate the regiment's lines after dark. The 25th took sniper fire as it moved through cane fields and later in the day engaged in a heavy firefight with Japanese troops fighting from dug in positions. The Marines suffered several casualties and one of their tanks was disabled in this fight. But the resistance was overcome. The 24th Marines, operating near the west coast, ran into Japanese positions that included a series of mutually supporting bunkers. The 4th Tank Battalion reported that the area "had to be overrun twice by tanks" before resistance ended.

By nightfall, more than half of Tinian island was in Marine hands. Troops of the 4th Division could see Tinian Town from their foxholes. This was good for morale but the night was marred by the weather and enemy activity. A soaking rain fell through the night. Enemy mortar tubes and artillery pieces fired incessantly, drawing counterbattery fire from Marine gunners. There were probes in front of the 3d Battalion, 25th Marines, silenced by mortar and small arms fire 41 Japanese bodies were found in the area at daylight.

On 30 July--Jig plus 6--Tinian Town became the principal objective of the 4th Division and, specifically, Colonel Franklin A. Hart's 24th Marines. At 0735 all of the division's artillery battalions laid down preparatory fires in front of the Marine lines. After 10 minutes, the firing stopped and the troops moved out. At the same time, two destroyers and cruisers lying in Sunharon Harbor off the Tinian Town beaches began an hour-long bombardment of slopes around the town in support of the Marines. The regiment's 1st Battalion had advanced 600 yards when it came under heavy fire from caves along the coast north of the town. With the help of tanks and armored amphibians operating offshore this problem was overcome. Flamethrowing tanks worked over the caves, allowing engineers to seal them up with demolition charges. In one cave, a 75mm gun was destroyed.

The regiment entered the ruins of Tinian Town at 1420. Except for one Japanese soldier who was eliminated on the spot, the town was deserted. After searching through the rubble for snipers and documents, the Marines drove on to the O-7 line objective south of town. Their greatest peril was from mines and booby traps planted in beach areas and roads.

As the 24th moved south, the 25th Marines were seizing Airfield

BGen Merritt A. Edson, (with binoculars) assistant division commander of the 2d Marine Division, follows the progress of his troops not far from the scene of action. Gen Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism on Guadalcanal.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87824
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Number 4 on the eastern outskirts of Tinian Town. The unfinished facility, a prisoner revealed, was being rushed to completion to accommodate relief planes promised by Tokyo. Only one aircraft was parked on the crushed coral air strip--a small, Zero-type fighter. Flying suits, goggles, and other equipment were found in a supply room.

Enroute to the airfield, the 25th had taken light small arms fire and while crossing the airstrip was mortared from positions to the south. This was the 25th's last action of the Tinian campaign. It went into reserve and was relieved that night by units of the 23d Marines and the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines.

The 2d Division, operating to the east of the 4th, ran into occasional opposition from machine gun positions and a 70mm howitzer. The 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, had the roughest time. After silencing the howitzer, it attacked across an open field and chased a Japanese force into a large cave where, with the help of a flame-throwing tank, 89 Japanese were killed and four machine guns were destroyed. Soon afterward the battalion came under mortar fire. "It is beyond my memory as to the number of casualties the 3d Battalion suffered at that time," the unit's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Walter F. Layer, later reported. "I personally rendered first aid to two wounded Marines and remember seeing six or seven Marines who were either wounded or killed by that enemy mortar fire. Tanks and half-tracks . . . took the enemy under fire, destroying the enemy mortars."

These were minor delays. The division reached its objective on time and was dug in by 1830. About 80 percent of the island was now in American hands.

Final Days

The Japanese were now cornered in a small area of southeastern Tinian. The Marines "had advanced so rapidly that only four square miles of the island remained for safe firing by ships not supporting battalions [i.e., not with shore spotters]," according to a report on 30 July by Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, commander of the Northern Attack Force.

The Marine commander for the operation, Major General Schmidt, saw the end in sight and late on the afternoon of 30 July issued an operations order calling on the divisions to drive all the way to the southeast coastline, seize all territory remaining in enemy hands and "annihilate the opposing Japanese."

This was not a trifling assignment it produced the heaviest fighting since the counterattack on the night of Jig Day. A Japanese warrant officer captured on 29 July estimated that 500 troops of the 56th Naval Guard Force and from 1,700 to 1,800 troops of the 50th Infantry Regiment remained in the southeastern area in a battle ready condition. American intelligence estimates on 29 July, based on daily reports from the divisions, reckoned that 3,000 Japanese soldiers and sailors had been killed or taken prisoner up to that point. If that was the case, two-thirds of the nearly 9,000 Japanese defenders were still alive on the island.

The terrain occupied by the Japanese main force was rugged, difficult to reach or traverse and well-suited for defense. Outside of Tinian Town the gentle landscape ended, with the ground rising to a high plateau 5,000 yards long and 2,000 yards wide, with altitudes higher than 500 feet. The plateau was rocky and covered with thick brush. There were many caves. Along the east coast, the cliff walls rose steeply and appeared impossible to scale. The approaches to the plateau were blocked by many cliffs of this sort as well as by jungle growth. A road in the center of the plateau, leading to its top, was reported by a prisoner to be mined. The plateau was the enemy's last redoubt.

It became the object of the most intense bombardments any Japanese force had yet experienced to date in World War II. Marine artillery regiments on the island and the XXIV Corps Artillery on southern Saipan fired throughout the night of 30-31 July on the wooded clifflines the Marines would face during their assault.

As a Navy corpsman administers a bottle of plasma to a wounded Marine, the stretcher bearers wait patiently to carry him on board a landing craft which will evacuate him to a hospital ship offshore, where he will be given full treatment.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87434
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Some badly wounded casualties died of their severe injuries after having been evacuated from Tinian. Those who succumbed to their wounds were buried at sea.
Marine Corps Historical Collection
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At 0600, the battleships Tennessee and California, the heavy cruiser Louisville, and the light cruisers Montpelier and Birmingham began the first of two sustained bombardments that morning. They fired for 75 minutes, then halted to allow a 40-minute strike on the plateau by 126 P-47s, North American Mitchell B-25 bombers, and Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers from the escort carrier Kitkun Bay. The planes dropped 69 tons of explosives before the off shore gunfire resumed for another 35 minutes. All told, the battleships and cruisers fired approximately 615 tons of shells at their targets. Artillerymen of the 10th Marines fired about 5,000 rounds during the night 14th Marines gunners fired 2,000. The effect, one prisoner said, was "almost unbearable."

As you faced south on that morning, the regimental alignments from west coast to east coast were the 24th, 23d, 8th, 6th and 2d Marines. The task of the 24th was to clear out the western coastal area, with one battalion assigned to seizure of the plateau. The 2d Marines was to seal off the east coast at the base of the plateau. The 6th, 8th, and 23d Marines would assault the cliff areas and make their way to the top of the plateau.

The 24th, jumping off with the 23d at 0830, moved into the coastal plain and immediately encountered brush and undergrowth so dense that tank operations were severely hampered. As compensation, armored amphibians lying offshore provided heavy fires against enemy beach positions and covered the regiment's right flank as it made its way down the coast. A platoon-size Japanese beach unit launched a foolish counterattack on

Tank-infantry tactics perfected in prior operations proved successful on Tinian as well. The riflemen served as the eyes of the armored vehicle and would direct the tank crewmen over a telephone mounted in a box on the rear of the tank.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 152074
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the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines at about 1000. The Japanese were annihilated. Later, flame-throwing tanks burned off brush and undergrowth concealing Japanese riflemen.

On the regiment's left flank, the 3d Battalion was in assault at the base of the plateau. It encountered minimal opposition until about 1600 when it began to receive rifle and machine gun fire from cliff positions. Tanks were called on but soon found themselves mired in a minefield and were held up for several hours while engineers cleared 45 mines from the area.

The 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, encountered similar troubles. As the regiment approached the plateau, it ran into dense small arms fire from two positions--a small village at the base of the cliff and from the cliff face itself. It also began receiving fire from a "large-caliber weapon." Lacking tank support the Marines pressed forward, running a few yards, diving on their bellies, getting up, and advancing again. Medium tanks finally came up in search of this elusive and well-concealed weapon. One of them took six quick hits from the concealed position of this Japanese gun. A second tank was hit but in the process the enemy position was discovered: a camouflaged, concrete bunker housing a 47mm antitank gun and 20 troops, all of whom were killed.

The 2d Battalion of the 23d had similar difficulties. After coming under fire from riflemen and machine gunners, one of its supporting tanks was disabled by a mine. After its crew was taken to safety by another tank, the disabled vehicle was seized by the Japanese and used as an

armored machine gun nest. Other tanks soon took it out. The 23d also lost that day two 37mm guns and a one-ton truck belonging to the regiment's half-track platoon. The guns and the vehicle got too far out front, came under heavy fire and were abandoned. A detail from the platoon later retrieved one of the guns, removed the breech block from the other one and brought back the .50-caliber machine gun from its mounting on the truck.

Late in the afternoon, the 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, and a company from the 2d Battalion gained a foothold on top of the plateau the 3d Battalion soon followed. To their left, the 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, shrugged off small arms fire early in the day and reached the base of the cliff where it stalled for the night. The 1st Battalion had better luck. Company A made it to the top of the plateau at 1650, followed by a platoon from Company C. Soon after, the whole battalion was atop the hill. It was followed by Companies E and G of the 2d Battalion.

The Company G commander was Captain Carl W. Hoffman, who later wrote the definitive histories of the Saipan and Tinian campaigns. In an oral history interview, he described his own experiences on top of the plateau the night of 31 July:

By the time we got up there . . . there wasn't enough daylight left to get ourselves properly barbed-wired in, to get our fields of fire established, to site our interlocking bands of machine gun fire--all the things that should be done in preparing a good defense.

By dusk, the enemy commenced a series of probing attacks. Some Japanese intruded into our positions. It was a completely black night. So, with Japanese moving around in our positions, our troops became very edgy and were challenging everybody in sight. We didn't have any unfortunate incidents of Marines firing on Marines . . . [because they] were well-seasoned by this point . . . .

As the night wore on, the intensity of enemy attacks started to build and build and build. They finally launched a full scale banzai attack against [our] battalion . . . . The strange thing the Japanese did here was that they executed one wave of

A lone member of the 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division patrolling through the outskirts of Tinian Town, pauses at a torii of a Shinto shrine. The ruins about him give proof of the heavy shelling visited upon the town before the landing.
Marine Corps Historical Collection
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attack after another against a 37mm position firing cannister ammunition . . . .

That gun just stacked up dead Japanese . . . As soon as one Marine gunner would drop another would take his place. [Eight of 10 men who manned the gun were killed or wounded]. Soon we were nearly shoulder-high with dead Japanese in front of that weapon . . . . By morning we had defeated the enemy. Around us were lots of dead ones, hundreds of them as a matter of fact. From then on . . . we were able to finish the rest of the campaign without difficulty . . . . People have often said that the Tinian campaign was the easiest campaign . . . in the Pacific . . . .

For those Marines who were in that 37mm position up on the escarpment, Tinian had to be the busiest campaign within the Pacific war.

Hoffman had another lively experience before leaving the island. He was a trumpet addict and carried his horn with him all through the Pacific war:

For Tinian, I didn't take any chances such as sending my horn ashore in a machine gun cart or a battalion ambulance. I had it flown over to me. One evening, my troops were in a little perimeter with barbed wire all around us on top of the cliff. My Marines were shouting in requests: "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" and "Pretty Baby" and others. While I was playing these tunes, all of a sudden we heard this scream of "banzai." An individual Japanese soldier was charging right toward me and right toward the barbed wire. The Marines had their weapons ready and he must have been hit from 14 different directions at once. He didn't get to throw [his] grenade. . . . I've always cited him as the individual who didn't like my music. He was no supporter of my trumpet playing. But . . . I even continued my little concert after we had accounted for him.

A final banzai attack on the night the 37mm guns had their big harvest, occurred in the early morning hours of 1 August. A 150-man Japanese force attacked the 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, on Hoffman's left flank. After 30 minutes, the main thrust of the attack was spent and at dawn the Japanese withdrew 100 bodies lay in an area 70 yards square in front of the position of Company E, 2d Battalion, 28th Marines. The 8th Marines

took 74 casualties that night. The following morning the two divisions went back to work. The 2d moved across the plateau toward its eastern cliffs, the 4th toward cliffs on the south and west. When they reached the escarpment's edge, overlooking the ocean, their job was essentially done. At 1855, General Schmidt declared the island "secure," meaning that organized resistance had ended. But not the killing. Hundreds of Japanese troops remained holed up in the caves pockmocking the southern cliffs rising up from the ocean.

On the morning of 2 August, a Japanese force of 200 men sallied forth in an attack on the 3d Battalion, 6th Marines. After two hours of combat, 119 Japanese were dead. Marine losses included the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel John W. Easley. Shortly afterwords, the regiment's 2d Battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel Edmund B. Games, was hit by 100 Japanese, 30 of whom were killed before the unit withdrew.

Contacts of this kind continued for months. By the end of the year, Colonel Clarence R. Wallace's 8th Marines, left on Tinian for mopping up operations, had lost 38 killed and 125 wounded Japanese losses were 500 dead.

Beginning on 1 August, there were large-scale surrenders by civilians leaving the caves in which they had taken refuge. Marine intelligence officers estimated that 5,000 to 10,000 civilians had been hiding out in the southeast sector.

Marine Major General James L. Underhill, who took command of the island as military governor on 10 August, became responsible for the care and feeding of these civilians. The flow of civilian refugees began on August 1, he recalled:

About 500 came through immediately, the next day about 800, then a thousand and then two thousand and so on in increasing numbers until about 8,000 were in. The remaining 3,000 hid out in caves and dribbled in over a period of months. About 30 percent adult males, 20 percent adult females, and

The end of the battle is in sight as troops of the 24th Marines and tanks of the 4th Tank Battalion comb across the coastal plateau at Tinian's extreme southern end. The 23d Marines, whose zone ended at the top of the steep cliff seen in this picture, had to retrace its steps in order to reach the lowlands. Aguijan Island may be seen dimly in the misty background.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 94350
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Medal of Honor Recipients

It was estimated that about 4,000 civilians were killed in the bombardments of Tinian and in fighting on the island. On Saipan, Marines had been helpless to prevent mass suicides among the civilian population. They were more successful at Tinian. Unfortunate incidents occurred--civilians, for example, dying under Marine fire after wandering into the lines at night.

There were also suicides and ritual murders, as indicated in a report from the 23d Marines on 3 August:

Several freak incidents occurred during the day: (1) Jap children thrown [by their parents] over cliff into ocean (2) [Japanese] military grouped civilians in numbers of 15 to 20 and attached explosive charges to them, blowing them to bits (3) Both military and civilians lined up on the cliff and hurled themselves into the ocean (4) Many civilians pushed over cliff by [Japanese] soldiers.

Efforts to prevent incidents of this kind were generally successful. Marines used amplifiers on land and off shore to promise good treatment to civilians and soldiers who would surrender peacefully. "Thousands of civilians," Hoffman wrote, "many clad in colorful Japanese silk, responded to the promises--though it was plain from the expressions on their faces that they expected the worst."

Aftermath

By 14 August the entire 4th Division had embarked on the long trip to its base camp on Maui. It had suffered

In an impromptu command post set up behind his 8th Marines, Col Clarence R. Wallace, checks the progress of his frontline troops on a situation map. The overhead poncho provides some protection from Tinian's constant rains.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87678
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in this brief operation more than 1,100 casualties, including 212 killed. Its next assignment would be Iwo Jima.

The 2d Division remained in the Marianas, setting up a base camp on Saipan where the 2d and 6th regiments took up residence in mid August. The 8th Marines remained on Tinian for mopping-up purposes until October 25, when the 2d and 3d Battalions moved to Saipan, leaving an unhappy 1st Battalion behind until its relief at the end of the year.

The campaign for Tinian had cost the division 760 casualties, including 105 killed. These numbers did not include casualties suffered after the island was "secured" on 1 August.

Japanese military losses, based on bodies counted and buried, totaled 5,000. Other thousands are assumed to have been sealed up in caves and underground fortifications. The number of prisoners taken was 250 by some counts and 400 by others.

The capture of the Marianas gave the Army Air Corps the B-29 bases it needed for the bombing of Japan.

Former Marine Corps Combat Correspondent SSgt Federico Claveria looks at photograph of himself giving an interned Tinian child candy 25 years earlier. Claveria participated in the initial landings on Roi-Namur and Saipan also.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 41922
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They were located 1,200 nautical miles from the home islands of Japan, a distance ideal for the B-29 with its range of 2,800 miles. Tinian became the home for two wings of the Twentieth Air Force. Three months after the conquest of Tinian, B-29s were hitting the Japanese mainland. Over the next year, according to numbers supplied by the Air Force to historian Carl Hoffman, the B-29s flew 29,000 missions out of the Marianas, dropped 157,000 tons of explosives which, by Japanese estimates killed 260,000 people, left 9,200,000 homeless, and demolished or burned 2,210,000 homes.

Tinian's place in the history of warfare was insured by the flight of Enola Gay on 6 August 1945. It dropped

a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima. Two days later a second nuclear weapon was dropped on Nagasaki. The next day, the Japanese government surrendered.

In his official history of the 2d Marine Division, Richard W. Johnston records the reaction when news of the surrender reached the division at its base on Saipan:

They looked at Tinian's clean and rocky coast, at the coral boulders where they had gone ashore, and they thought of the forbidding coasts of Japan--the coasts that awaited them in the fall. "That Tinian was a pretty good investment, I guess." one Marine finally said.


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Kitchen Debate

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Battle of Tinian, 24 July-1 August 1944 - History

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World War Two, U.S. - Quick Battle Timeline 1944


USA and World War II, 1944

With the gains made by the Allies in North Africa and Italy during 1943, the military commanders continued preparations for a land war across Europe, the invasion of France to wrest control of western Europe from the Axis. Postponed for two years while other priorities took precedence, the eventual 1944 battles after the invasion of Normandy, coupled with United States and Allied successes in the Pacific as battles along the island chains leading to Japan gained more and more ground, showed slow, but steady progress against both remaining powers of the Axis alliance.

January 17 to May 18, 1944 - Battle of Monte Casino, Italy (European Theater)
Troops: USA/UK/Free France/Italian Royal Army/Allies 240,000 Germany/Italian Social Republic 140,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 55,000 Axis 20,000.
Series of four assaults against the Winter Line in northern Italy caused many Allied casualties but eventual withdrawal of German forces.

January 22 to June 5, 1944 - Battle of Anzio, Italy (European Theater)
Troops: USA/UK/Canada 150,000 Germany/Italian Social Republic 130,000 plus.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 43,000 Axis 40,000, including 4,500 prisoners.
Allied amphibious landing and flanking maneuver around the Winter Line leads to the fall of Rome, although initial surprise landing is wasted for months until breaking out to capture the Italian capitol held by German troops on June 4.

January 31 to February 3, 1944 - Battle of Kwajalein, Marshall Islands (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 46,670 Japan 8,000 plus.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 1,993 Japan 8,800, 253 captured.
Twin assaults on the main islands of Kwajalein Atoll lead to victory after vigorous Japanese defense. First victory within the outer ring of the Japanese Pacific sphere for the USA in their campaign to battle island to island toward Japan.

June 6 to August 23, 1944 - Battle of Normandy, France (European Theater)
Troops: Allies 2,052,299 Germany 1,000,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 226,386 Germany 530,000, including captured.
Operation Overland and Operation Nepture, known as D-Day, invades Western Europe with one hundred and sixty thousand troops on June 6, rising to over two million Allied troops within two months to battle the German defenses. Initial foothold expanded to victories at Cherbourg on June 26 and Caen on July 21. Paris liberation occurred on August 25.

June 15 to July 9, 1944 - Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 71,000 Japan 32,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 13,790 Japan 29,000, plus 921 captured.
Bombardment of Saipan by fifteen battleships lead to USA landing on island and face a vibrant defense for nearly one month before securing the island. Costly attack which would place American forces within one thousand three hundred miles of the islands of Japan.

June 20-24, 1944 - Battle of Philippine Sea (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 129 warships, including 28 submarines, 956 aircraft Japan 90 warships, including 24 submarines, 750 aircraft.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 109 plus 123 aircraft, 1 battleship damaged Japan 2,987, plus 5 ships sunk, 550-645 aircraft.
Major naval battle eliminates Japanese Imperial Navy's ability to wage carrier war. Largest carrier to carrier battle in history.

July 21 to August 10, 1944 - Second Battle of Guam (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 59,401 Japan 18,657.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 7,598 Japan 18,337, plus 1,250 captured.
United States recaptured the territory of Guam lost in the 1st Battle of Guam on December 10, 1941 and use the island as a base for air raids against the Pacific and Japan home islands for the remainder of the war.

July 24 to August 1, 1944 - Battle of Tinian, Mariana Islands (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 41,364 Japan 8,039.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 1,919 Japan 7,807, plus 252 captured.
United States eliminates the Japanese garrison and adds Tinian to Guam and Saipan as Allied air bases with camps for fifty thousand troops at Tinian.

August 15 to September 14, 1944 - Invasion of Southern France (European Theater)
Troops: Allies 651,833 Germany 300,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 21,000 Germany 28,000, plus 131,250 captured.
Postponed Operation Dragoon meant to accompany D-Day landing succeeds after one month, inflicting heavy casualties on German forces and occupying the majority of southern France.

September 15 to November 27, 1943 - Battle of Peleliu, Palau Islands (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 47,561 Japan 10,900.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 10,786 Japan 10,695, plus 202 captured.
New Japanese defense tactics lead to costly battle over questionable valued target lasting months instead of predicted days with eventual American victory.

October 2-21, 1944 - Battle of Aichan, Germany (European Theater)
Troops: USA 100,000 Germany 18,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 5,000 Germany 5,000, 5,600 captured.
One of the largest urban battles fought by the USA in World War II leads to first capture of a German city. German surrender after difficult battle that slowed Allied progress further into German territory.

September 19, 1944 to February 10, 1945 - Battle of Hurtgen Forest, Germany (European Theater)
Troops: USA 120,000 Germany 80,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 33,000 Germany 28,000.
Western front battle that lasts for five months, the longest single battle in U.S. Army history. German defensive victory allows German winter offensive Watch on the Rhine.

October 17 to December 26, 1944 - Battle of Leyte, Philippines (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 323,000 Japan 85,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 15,584 Japan 49,000.
Amphibious assault of Philippine gulf led by General MacArthur reduces Philippine presence of Japanese army by fifty percent with guerrilla warfare continuing into 1945.

October 23-26, 1944 - Battle of Leyte Gulf, Philippines (Pacific Theater)
Troops: USA 300 ships, 1,500 aircraft Japan 67 ships, 300 aircraft.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): USA 3,000, plus 6 ships, 200 aircraft Japan 12,500, plus 28 ships, 300 aicraft.
Largest naval battle in World War II held in four phases in conjunction with land battle for Leyte reduces Japanese capacity for further naval action. First use of organized kamikaze tactics.

December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945 - Battle of the Bulge, Belgium, France, Luxembourg (European Theater)
Troops: Allies 610,000 plus Germany 450,000.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Allies 90,908, including captured Germany 67,459-125,000.
Last major German offensive of the war in Ardennes forest gains element of surprise, but defensive positions of Allies lead to eventual German defeat and retreat to the Siegfried Line.


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