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Breaching the Marianas :

The Battle for Saipan


by Captain John C . Chapin, USMCR (Ret )
t was to be a bruta l guns . The LVTs could negotiate th e
day. At first light on 1 5 reef, but the rest could not an d
June 1944, the Nav y were forced to turn back until a
fire support ships o f passageway through the reef coul d
the task force lying off be discovered .
Saipan Island increased their previ - Earlier, at 0600, further north, a
ous days' preparatory fires involv- feint landing was conducted of f
ing all calibers of weapons . At 0542, Tanapag harbor by part of the 2 d
Vice Admiral Richmond Kell y Marines in conjunction with the 1s t
Turner ordered, "Land the landing Battalion, 29th Marines, and th e
force ." Around 0700, the landin g 24th Marines . The Japanese were
ships, tank (LSTs) moved to withi n not really fooled and did not rus h
approximately 1,250 yards behin d reinforcements to that area, bu t
the line of departure . Troops in the it did tie up at least one enem y
LSTs began debarking from them i n regiment .
landing vehicles, tracked (LVTs) . When the LVT(A)s and troop-car -
Control vessels containing Nav y rying LVTs reached the reef, i t
and Marine personnel with thei r seemed to explode . In every direc-
radio gear took their positions dis- tion and in the water beyond on th e
playing flags indicating whic h way to the beaches, great geysers of
beach approaches they controlled . water rose with artillery and morta r
Admiral Turner delayed H-hour shells exploding . Small-arms fire, ri-
from 0830 to 0840 to give the "boa t fles, and machine guns joined th e
waves" additional time to get int o mounting crescendo . The LVTs
position . Then the first wav e ground ashore .
headed full speed toward th e Confusion on the beaches, partic-
beaches . The Japanese waited pa- ularly in the 2d Marine Divisio n
tiently, ready to make the assaul t area, was compounded by th e
units pay a heavy price . strength of a northerly current flow
The first assault wave contained which caused the assault battalion s
armored amphibian tractor s of the 6th and 8th Marines to lan d
(LVT[A]s) with their 75mm guns fir - about 400 yards too far north . Thi s
ing rapidly. They were accompanied caused a gap to widen between th e
by light gunboats firing 4 .5-inc h 2d and 4th Marine Divisions . A s
rockets, 20mm guns, and 40m m Colonel Robert E . Hogaboom, the
operations officer of the Expedi -
tionary Troops commented : "Th e
On the Cover : A Marine enters the out - opposition consisted primarily o f
skirts of Garapan, Saipan, through the tori i artillery and mortar fire fro m
gate of a Shinto Shrine . Department of De- weapons placed in well-deploye d
fense Photo (USMC) 9299 3 positions and previously registere d
to cover the beach areas, as well a s
At left: The first assault wave has hit th e
beach from the LVT (amphibious tractor ) fire from small arms, automati c
that brought it ashore, and the Marines now weapons, and anti-boat guns site d
prepare to fight their way inland . Depart- to cover the approaches to an d
ment of Defense Photo (USMC) 8326 1 the immediate landing beaches . "

As a result, five of the 2d Ma- (first objective) line, the deluge of mangled and grotesque posi-
rine Division assault unit corn- Japanese fire and natural obstacles tions; blasted and burnt-ou t
manders were soon wounded in prevented this . A few units in the pillboxes; the burning wrecks
the two battalions of the 6th center of the 4th Division made it, of LVTs that had been knocke d
Marines (on the far left), and in the but fierce enemy resistance pinned out by Jap high velocity fire ;
two battalions of the 8th Marines . down the right and left flanks . The the acrid smell of high explo -
With Afetan Point in the middle two divisions were unable to make sives ; the shattered trees ; and
spitting deadly enfilade fire to the direct contact . the churned-up sand littere d
left and to the right, the next units A first lieutenant in the 3d Battal- with discarded equipment .
across the gap were two battalions ion, 24th Marines, John C . Chapin, When his company moved i t
of the 23d Marines and, finally, on later remembered vividly the extra- land a short distance, it quickly e )
the far right, two battalions of the ordinary scene on the beach when perienced the frightening precisi o
25th Marines . he came ashore on D-Day : of the pre-registered Japanese a i
Although the original plan had All around us was the tillery fire :
been for the assault troops to ride chaotic debris of bitter combat : Suddenly, WHAM! A shel l
their LVTs all the way to the 0-1 Jap and Marine bodies lying in hit right on top of us! I was too
surprised to think, but instinc-
"D-Day at Saipan" tively all of us hit the deck an d
Watercolor by SSgt John Fabion in Marine Corps Art Collection
began to spread out . Then the
shells really began to pou r
down on us : ahead, behind, o n
both sides, and right in ou r
midst . They would come rock-
eting down with a freight-trai n
roar and then explode with a
deafening cataclysm that is be-
yond description .
It finally dawned on m e
that the first shell bursts we' d
heard had been ranging shots ,
and now that the Japs wer e
"zeroed in" on us, we wer e
caught in a full-fledged bar -
rage . The fire was hitting u s
with pin-point accuracy, and i t
was not hard to see why —
towering 1500 feet above us

insisting, "Wake up!" I jerke d


bolt upright—in combat you r
reflexes act fast and you neve r
go fully to sleep . A glance a t
my watch showed that it wa s
almost dawn .
I turned to my runner who
was lying against me, asleep .
"Let's go!" I said, "Pass th e
word to the squad leaders to
get set ." He didn't stir. I shook
him . He still didn't move . H e
was dead . With the callousnes s
that war demands, I rolled hi m
over, reached for his canteen ,
and poured the precious water
into my own canteen . Then I
left him lying there . . . .
All the assault regiments were
taking casualties from the constan t
shelling that was zeroed in by spot -
ters on the high ground inland .
Supplies and reinforcing units pile d
up in confusion on the landin g
beaches . Snipers were everywhere .
Supporting waves experienced th e
same deadly enemy fire on thei r
way to the beach . Some LVTs lost
their direction, some received direct
hits, and others were flipped o n
their sides by waves or enemy fire
spilling their equipment and per-
sonnel onto the reef . Casualties i n
both divisions mounted rapidly .

was Mt . Tapotchau, with Jap Marines dig in on the beachhead, consolidating their positions, and at the same time
observation posts honeycomb- preparing to move out on the attack inland .
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8191 7
ing its crest .
That night the lieutenant and hi s
runner shared a shallow foxhol e
and split the watches betwee n
them . Death came close :
Slowly, very slowly, th e
hours of my watch passed ,
and at last I leaned over an d
shook my runner awake . "It' s
time for your watch," I whis-
pered . "Look out for that plac e
over there, maybe Japs in it .
Keep awake ." With that I
rolled over on the ground an d
was asleep in an instant .
Right away, it seemed ,
someone was shaking me and
out of our zone of action . We
were washing up and restin g
when all of a sudden morta r
shells started to fall on us . We
didn't know it at the time, but
in a tall smokestack nearb y
was a Japanese forward ob-
server. He was directing th e
fire, looking right down on us .
It didn't occur to us that some-
body could be up in tha t
smokestack after all th e
preparatory naval gunfire and
everything that had been fired
into the area, but he was u p
Col James A . Donovan Collection there all right . He reall y
Members of the Japanese garrison on Saipan pose for a photograph during a more peacefu l caused a great number o f
time before the Marine landing .
casualties in G Company .
He caught us without fox -
Evacuating them to the ships wa s command post during that time did holes . We had that false sense
extremely dangerous and difficult . not function very well . It was th e of security from having bee n
Medical aid stations set up ashore hottest spot I was in durin g pinched out of the line . We
were under sporadic enemy fire . the war . . . . " thought we had a chance t o
As the Marine artillery als o Major James A . Donovan, execu- relax . We didn't. So all had to
landed in the late afternoon of D - tive officer of the 1st Battalion, 6th dig holes in a hurry, and it' s
Day and began firing in support of Marines, endured a mortar barrage hard to dig a hole when you'r e
the infantry, it received deadly ac- that had uncanny timing an d lying on your stomach diggin g
curate counter-battery fire from the precision : with your chin, your elbows ,
Japanese . The commander of th e We entered a little villag e your knees, and your toes . It is
4th Division, Major General Harry called Charan-Kanoa . We possible to dig a hole that way,
Schmidt, came ashore at 1930 an d paused there to get som e I found, but we lost far more
later recalled, "Needless to say, the water. We had been pinched Marines than we should have

ieutenant General Holland M . somewhat scraggly . He wore steel -

L Smith, one of the most famou s


Marines of World War II, wa s
born in 1882 . He was commissione d
rimmed glasses and he smoked cigar s
incessantly." There was one other fea -
ture that characterized him : a fero-
a second lieutenant in 1905 . There cious temper that earned him th e
followed a series of overseas assign- nickname "Howlin' Mad" Smith, al -
ments in the Philippines, Nicaragua , though his close friends knew hi m
Santo Domingo, and with the Marin e as "Hoke . "
Brigade in France in World War I . Be- This characteristic would usuall y
ginning in the early 1930s, he becam e emerge as irritation at what he fel t
increasingly focused on the develop- were substandard performances . One
ment of amphibious warfare con- famous example of this was his relie f
cepts . Soon after the outbreak of war of an Army general on Saipan . A huge
with Japan in 1941, he came to a cru - interservice uproar erupted !
cial position, command of al l Less than two years later, after 4 1
Marines in the Central Pacific . years of active service, during whic h
As another Marine officer later de - he was awarded four Distinguishe d
scribed him, "He was of mediu m Service Medals for his leadership i n
height, perhaps five feet nine or te n four successive successful amphibious Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8988 3
inches, and somewhat paunchy. Hi s operations, he retired in April 1946 , LtGen Smith in his command post ashore o n
once-black hair had turned gray . Hi s as a four-star general . He died i n Saipan uses a high-powered telescope to ob-
once close-trimmed mustache was January 1967 . serve his troops in action .
The 2d Marine Division
he origins of this division lay Tarawa for which it was awarded a

T in the activation of the 2d Ma-


rine Brigade as part of th e
Fleet Marine Force on 1 July 1936 . A
Presidential Unit Citation, and on t o
Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa .

year later the brigade deployed to


Shanghai, China, returning in 193 8 The 2d Marine Division Patch
to San Diego, California .
On 1 February 1941, the unit wa s This 2d Marine Division shoulder patch
redesignated as the 2d Marine Divi- was worn on Saipan. Designed and ap -
sion . Its component regiments, th e proved in late 1943, the insignia is i n
2d, 6th, 8th, and 10th Marines , the official Marine Corps colors of scar -
brought with them impressive histo - let and gold . The insignia displays a
ries of service in Vera Cruz (Mex- spearhead-shaped scarlet background
ico), World War I in France, and the with a hand holding aloft a lighted gold
Caribbean . torch . A scarlet numeral "2" is superim -
In World War II, elements of the posed upon the torch, and the torch
division served in Iceland, in Hawaii and hand are encircled by five whit e
during the attack on Pearl Harbor, stars in the arrangement of the South -
and on Samoa, then the full divisio n ern Cross constellation ; under this th e
in the Guadalcanal campaign, fol- division's first World War II comba t
lowed by the bloody assault of took place at Guadalcanal . Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A41299 2

before someone finally located hatch . A bullet had gone straight up a strategic strike on a crucial Japan-
that observer up in the smoke - his bugle ! ese stronghold. The opportunity fo r
stack . I don't know how tal l One of the crucial assets for the this sprang from earlier Central Pa-
the smokestack was, but I Marine defense that night (and o n cific victories .
would say probably the equiv- many subsequent nights) was the il- The Marine conquest of Taraw a
alent of two or three storie s lumination provided by star shells in the Gilbert Islands in Novembe r
high. From up there he coul d fired from Navy ships . Japanes e 1943, followed by the joint Marine -
see the entire picture, and he records recovered later from thei r Army capture of Kwajalein an d
really gave it to us . Thirty-first Army message file re- Eniwetok atolls in the Marshall Is -
The night of D-Day saw continu- vealed, " . . . as soon as the night at- lands in January-February 1944 ,
tack units go forward, the enem y had broken the outer ring of Japan-
ous Japanese probing of the Marin e
points out targets by using the larg e ese defenses and set the stage fo r
positions, fire from by-passe d
star shells which practically tur n succeeding operations .
enemy soldiers, and an enemy at -
night into day. Thus the maneuver- These earlier victories ha d
tack in the 4th Division zon e
ing of units is extremely difficult . " moved up the entire American op-
screened by a front of civilians . The As the weary Marines finall y erational timetable for the Centra l
main counterattack, however, fel l tried to get some sleep, all alon g Pacific by three valuable months .
on the 6th Marines on the far left o f their irregular line of foxholes, tw o After discussions of various alterna-
the Marine lines . About 2,00 0 things were very clear to them : tives (such as an attack on the vas t
Japanese started moving south fro m they had forced a precarious beach- Japanese base at Truk), the Join t
Garapan, and by 2200 they wer e head in the teeth of bitter enem y Chiefs of Staff had settled on th e
ready to attack . Led by tanks th e fire, and a long, tough battle obvi- next objective : the Mariana Islands .
charge was met by a wall of fir e ously lay ahead . There were to be three principa l
from .30-caliber machine guns , While the thoughts of the rifle - targets : Saipan, Tinian, and Guam . It
37mm antitank guns, and M-1 ri- men focused on survival and the was a daring decision, for Saipan wa s
fles . It was too much and they fel l immediate ground in front of them , 1,344 miles from the Marshalls and
back in disarray. In addition to 70 0 the senior command echelons sa w 3,226 miles from Hawaii, but onl y
enemy dead, they left one tank . The the initial success of the landings as 1,250 miles from Japan . Furthermore,
body of the bugler who blew th e a culmination of months of plan- the islands were linchpins in the re-
charge was slumped over the open ning, training, and organization for vised inner defense line which the

5
The 4th Marine Division
his division had its roots in th e Pendleton by train and also by shi p

T shifting and redesignation o f


several other units . The 23 d
Marines began as infantry detached
through the Panama Canal in July an d
August 1943. All the units were now fi-
nally together, and thus the 4th Marine
from the 3d Division in Februar y Division was formally activated on 1 4
1943, the same month that an artillery August 1943 .
battalion became the genesis of th e After intensive training, it shipped
14th Marines and engineer elements out on 13 January 1944, and in 1 3
of the 19th Marines formed the star t short months made four major assaul t
of the 20th Marines . In March the landings : Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian ,
24th Marines was organized, an d and Iwo Jima, suffering over 17,000
then in May it was split in two t o casualties . It was awarded two Presi-
supply the men for the 25th Marines . dential Unit Citations and a Nav y Department of Defense Photo (USMC )
This war-time shuffling provided Unit Commendation, and then deacti - of the U .S . Marine Corps . Thi s
the major building blocks for a ne w vated 28 November 1945 . In Februar y emblem was designed by SSgt Joh n
division . The units were originally 1966, however, it was reactivated a s Fabion, a member of the division' s
separated, however, with the 24t h the lead division in the Marine Corp s public affairs office before the Mar-
Marines and a variety of reinforcing Reserve, and it furnished essentia l shalls campaign . His commandin g
units (engineer, artillery, medical , units to Desert Storm in the liberatio n officer was astonished to find that,
motor transport, special weapons , of Kuwait . when the division attacked Roi islet
tanks, etc .) at Camp Pendleton i n in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall
California . The rest of the units were The 4th Marine Division Patc h Islands (January 1944), the layout o f
at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina . Worn on Saipan, it had a gold "4" on a the runways on the Japanese airstri p
This East Coast echelon moved to scarlet background, the official colors there were an exact replica . "

Japanese felt they absolutely had t o bled . Admiral Raymond A . Spru- islets) for some of its regiment s
hold after their previous losses i n ance was in overall command of th e and battalions .
the Central and Southwest Pacific . force detailed to invade the Mari- The intensive training for thes e
Saipan represented a wholly new anas as well as the naval unit s three divisions took place in th e
kind of prickly problem for a n needed to protect them . Admira l Hawaiian Islands with Major Gen-
American assault. Instead of a small, Turner was in command over the eral Harry Schmidt's 4th Marine Di-
flat coral islet in an atoll, it was a amphibious task force, while Ma- vision on Maui, Major Genera l
large island target of some 72 square rine Lieutenant General Holland M . Thomas E . Watson's 2d Marine Di -
miles, with terrain varying from fla t Smith was to direct the landin g vision on the "Big Island" o f
cane fields to swamps to precipitous forces on Saipan and then on th e Hawaii, and Army Major Genera l
cliffs to the commanding 1,554-foot- neighboring island of Tinian . (A Ralph C . Smith's 27th Infantry Divi-
high Mount Tapotchau . Moreover, similar command structure, bu t sion on Oahu . As Lieutenan t
the Japanese considered it "thei r with different combat units, was set Chapin described it :
own territory," in spite of the fac t up for the attack on Guam t o (These) months were busy,
that it was legally only a mandat e the south . ) hard-working ones . The re -
provided by the terms of the Ver- The operation plan for Saipan , placements that arrived to fil l
sailles Treaty following World War I . code-named Forager, called for a n the gaps left by Namur's casu-
The fact that Japan held the islands assault on the western side of the is - alties (in the Kwajalein battle)
led it to install a policy of exclusio n land, with the 2d Marine Divisio n had to be trained in all th e
of all outsiders and the start of mili- on the left and the 4th Marine Divi- complexities of field work .
tary construction, forbidden by th e sion on the right . The Army's 27t h Most of these replacement s
treaty, as early as 1934 . Infantry Division was in reserve , were boys fresh from boo t
Attacking a formidable objectiv e ready to be fed into the battle i f camp, and they were ignoran t
such as Saipan called for comple x needed. While each of the two Ma- of everything but the barest es-
planning and much greater forc e rine divisions had previousl y sentials . Week after week wa s
than had previously been needed i n fought as a complete unit, the 27t h filled with long marches, fiel d
the Central Pacific . An elaborate or- had experienced only two mino r combat problems, live firing ,
ganization was therefore assem- landings (at Makin and Eniwetok obstacle courses, street fight-

6
sawdust ; the weather go t
rougher and rougher. Some o f
The Army 27th Infan try Divisio n the men got seasick, and all o f
his division, before the na- time . Then in midsummer 1943, or - us were soaking wet and cold .

T tional emergency was de-


clared in 1940, was a State o f
New York National Guard organiza -
ders came to prepare the 165th In -
fantry Regiment, reinforced by a bat -
talion of the 105th Infantry and an
Finally we headed back t o
our transport and clambere d
up the cargo net with a sigh o f
tion . It contained many famous ol d artillery battalion, for an assault t o relief. The next day it was the
regiments, some dating from the Rev - capture the coral atoll of Makin, i n
same thing all over again, ex-
olutionary and Civil Wars . In Worl d the Gilbert Islands chain . Followin g
a four-day battle there, in Novembe r cept that this time we wen t
War II, the division's 165th Infantry
1943, the division furnished a battal- ashore . This, too, had an aw-
had been the renowned old 69th Ne w
York Infantry, also known as th e ion of the 106th Infantry for the un- fully familiar feeling : wadin g
"Fighting 69th" and "Fighting Irish" o f opposed occupation of Majuro in th e through the surf, getting your
World War I fame . The first unit o f Marshall Islands in January 1944 . only pair of shoes and socks
this regiment was organized in 1775 . The final prelude to Saipan fo r wringing wet, and then ont o
As the war in Europe grew in in- units of the 27th came the nex t
the beach where all the sand
tensity, the Selective Service Act gav e month . Two battalions of the 106t h
fought at Eniwetok Atoll in th e migrated inside your shoes . A
the President the power to federaliz e
Marshalls . series of conflicting and confus-
the National Guard . Thus, the 27t h
After the division's struggle o n ing orders flowed dow n
Division was activated by President
Roosevelt on 25 September 1940 . I t Saipan, it went on to the battle fo r through the chain of command :
was first sent to Fort McClellan, Al- Okinawa in April 1945, and the n halt and move on, halt an d
abama, for intensive training, and to the occupation of Japan in Sep- move on, go here, go there .
then, in December 1941, to California . tember 1945 .
On 28 February 1942, the first ele- The final chapter came in Decem -
The vast attack force now gath-
ments of the division sailed from Sa n ber 1946 when the 27th Infantry
Division was deactivated . ered at Pearl Harbor . Althoug h
Francisco and landed at the town of there were unfortunate accidents t o
Hilo on the "Big Island" of Hawaii .
some of the landing craft, over 80 0
During the next two months, the di-
vision units were scattered through - ships set out in the naval compo-
out the island for local defense and nent, some for direct fire suppor t
training . That was the start of th e of the troops, some for transport ,
longest wartime overseas service o f and some (the fast carrier tas k
any National Guard division in th e force) to make advance air strikes
United States Army. and then to deal with the attac k
In the fall of 1942, the divisio n which the landing probably woul d
was directed to assemble on the is -
incite from the Japanese Navy .
land of Oahu . MajGen Ralph C .
Smith took over command at that Holland Smith's V Amphibiou s
Corps, totalling 71,034 Marine an d
Army troops, sailed with som e
ing, judo, calisthenics, nigh t In practice it looked different t o slow elements starting on 25 May.
and day attacks and defenses , that lieutenant : The specialized craft for th e
etc . There were also lecture s To us in the lower echelon s ground forces ran the gamut o f
on the errors we'd made a t it was just the same old stuf f acronym varieties . After stagin g
Namur. Added emphasis wa s that we'd been doing for a through the Marshalls, the armada
placed on attacking fortifie d solid year : filing up from com- headed for the target : Saipan .
positions . We worked with de- partments below decks to you r At sea the troops got their fina l
molition charges of dynamite, assigned boat station, goin g briefings : maps of the island (based
TNT, and C-2 [plastic explo- over the side, hurrying dow n on recent American aerial and sub-
sive], and with flame thrower s the net to beat the stopwatch , marine photographs of a hithert o
till everyone knew them for - into the heaving LCVP (Land- "secret island"), estimates of 15,00 0
ward and backward . ing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) , enemy troops (which turned out i n
The month of May 1944 brough t and away . Then the inter - the end to be 30,000 under the com -
final maneuvers and practice land- minable hours of circling , mand of Lieutenant General Yoshi-
ings for all three divisions . The op- meanwhile getting wet, hun- tsugu Saito and Vice Admiral Chi-
eration plan looked neatly an d gry and bored . The K ration s uchi Nagumo), and detailed attack
efficiently organized on paper . (in a waxed box) tasted like plans for two Marine divisions .

7
Simultaneously, the America n manding the 3d Battalion, 25t h We had, as we had ad-
fast carriers' planes began, on 1 1 Marines in the 4th Division late r vanced, uncovered vario'i s
June, their softening-up bombing , described two of his experience s Japanese supply caches . One
combined with attacks on Japanes e on D + 1 : of these was an ammunitio n
land-based air. Two days later, th e We came to a big bom b dump . . . . About 1505 th e
main enemy fleet headed for th e crater . The soil had all bee n Japs blew the large dump near
Marianas for a decisive battle . Then, thrown up, and around it there where I was standing an d
on 14 June, the "old battleships" o f were three Marines protecte d caused numerous concussion
the U .S . Navy, reborn from th e by the dirt . I called up to one casualties including mysel f
Pearl Harbor disaster, moved i n of these Marines and aske d . . I don't remember a thin g
close to Saipan to pound the Japan- him what was going on . One about it. The boys tell me that ,
ese defenses with their heavy guns . of them said that there was a n when the blast went off, I wa s
That night underwater demolitio n antiaircraft gun right down i n thrown right up in the air, an d
teams made their dangerous swi m front of them . I crawled u p I turned a complete flip an d
in close to the assault beaches t o within two or three feet of th e then landed on my face .
check on reefs, channels, mines, and top of the dirt and raised up on On the night of D + 1, th e
beach defenses . All was now i n my hands to see what wa s Japanese again launched a majo r
readiness for the landings . down there . attack on the 6th Marines, thi s
The bloody business of D-Da y Within about 25 to 30 yards , time with 44 tanks . Major Dono-
was, as the troops well realized , I was looking right into th e van later described the wild clash :
only a beginning, for the long, gru- muzzle of an 88mm antiair- "The battle evolved itself into a
elling fight which began the next craft/antitank gun . They ha d madhouse of noise, tracers, an d
morning. swung the damn thing around , flashing lights . As tanks were hi t
and it was pointing right u p and set afire, they silhouette d
D+1-D+2,16-17 Jun e
the hill . I was looking righ t other tanks coming out of th e
The next two days saw the Ma- down its muzzle . I dropped a s flickering shadows to the front o r
rine attack resumed all along the ir- hard as I could and then th e already on top of the squads ." Th e
regular front . The 2d Division, afte r damn gun went off . The shell Marines poured in their fire, now
reorganizing, pushed its 6t h tore through the far side of th e with 2 .36-inch rocket launchers ,
Marines northeast toward Moun t bomb crater, came through the grenade launchers, self-propelle d
Tipo Pali, its 2d Marines north to- dirt on the near side of th e 75mm guns, and their own ar-
wards Garapan, and its 8th Marine s bomb crater where I was . I t tillery and tanks adding to th e
east into the swamps around Lak e took the head off the Marin e din . When dawn broke, it wa s
Susupe . Direct contact with the 4th with whom I had been talking . over and the shattered hulks of 24
Division was finally established . The shell went on back and Japanese tanks lay there smoking .
Close combat was the norm . landed about 20 or 30 feet be- In the 4th Division zone of ac-
There were no exceptions for bat- yond us where it detonated . tion, the left regiment, the 23d ,
talion commanders . Lieutenan t Later thjat same day, he had also had a difficult time in th e
Colonel Justice M . Chambers, corn - another close call Susupe swamp . The 24th and 25t h

General Harry Schmid t of Honor), interspersed with repeate d

M was the leader of the 4th Ma-


rine Division in the assaults at
Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands and
stays in China, were the marks of a
diverse overseas career. At home there
were staff schools, paymaster duties ,
then at Saipan in the Marianas . and a tour as Assistant Commandant .
Born in 1886, he entered the Corps as By the end of World War II, he ha d
a second lieutenant in 1909 . By extraor- been decorated with three Distin-
dinary coincidence, his first foreig n guished Service Medals . Retiring i n
duty was at Guam in the Marianas Is - 1948 after 39 years of service, he wa s
lands, an area he would return to 3 3 advanced to the four-star rank of gen-
years later under vastly different cir- eral . His death came in 1968 .
cumstances ! A contemporary described him as "a
The Philippines, Mexico, Cuba, an d Buddha, a typical old-time Marine : he'd
Nicaragua (where he was awarded a been in China ; he was regulation, Old
Navy Cross—second only to the Medal Establishment, a regular Marine . "

8
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8355 1
This Japanese soldier and tank are both permanently finished after an attack on Marine lines .

drove inland to the east toward s Smith came ashore to take com- ture it, decided to wait until th e
the key objective of Aslito airfield . mand of the additional Army unit s next day.
With a danger looming of overex- of his 27th Division as they landed . The division had finally ap-
tended lines, Lieutenant Genera l With the 165th Infantry on it s proached the 0-1 line, except o n
Holland Smith pulled the 165t h right flank and the 24th Marine s the left flank where contact wit h
Infantry out of his reserve (th e to its left, the 25th Marines wa s the 2d Division was again broken,
Army's 27th Infantry Division ) poised on the north edge of Aslit o this time near Mount Fina Susu .
and sent it ashore on D+2 to rein - airfield late on D+2 . Its patrol s This same day, 17 June, saw a
force the 4th Marine Division . Thi s found the strip was abandoned , crucial command decision b y
same day, Major General Ralph but the 165th, assigned to cap - Admiral Spruance . With the power-

ajor General Thomas E . Wat- With a birth date of 1892, and an en -

M son, as a brigadier genera l


and commander of Tactica l
Group-1, built on the 22d Marines, le d
listment date of 1912, he fully qualified
as a member of "the Old Corps ." Afte r
being commissioned in 1916, he served
his men in the conquest of Eniweto k in a variety of Marine assignments in th e
Atoll in the Marshall Islands in Febru- Caribbean, China, and the United States .
ary 1944 . For this he was awarded a Given the nickname "Terrible
Distinguished Service Medal, and th e Tommy," Watson's proverbial impa-
22d Marines was awarded a Navy Uni t tience later was characterized by Gen-
Commendation . eral Wallace M . Greene, Jr., as follows :
He took command of the 2d Marin e "He would not tolerate for one minut e
Division in April 1944 . In June h e stupidity, laziness, professional incom-
directed his men in the conquest o f petence, or failure in leadership . . . . His
Saipan and then Tinian, receiving a sec - temper in correcting these failings coul d
ond DSM . be fiery and monumental," as both Ma -
Retirement came in 1950, and he die d rine and Army officers found out at Eni -
in March 1966, as a lieutenant general . wetok and later Saipan! Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 30324 0

9
tank-led Japanese counterattacks
on both flanks but was able to
Divisional Reorganization reach 0-3 before dark.
The 23d Marines, however, was
he training before Saipan was based on a new Table of Organization

T for the Marine divisions. Their size was reduced by 2,5th) men lo
17,465. The artitlety regiments each lost one of its 75mm pack howitzer
battalions, but the infantr r timed its previous units Rifle squads, howeer
stopped by intense enemy mortar
and machine gun fire coming from
southeast of Lake Susupe right on
were reorganized to total 13, using three tire ftams of tour men with tah the boundary line between the two
team built around a Browning automatic rifle (BAR), a 50 percent increase in Marine divisions, making it un-
the division of this valuable weapon. The number of 60mm mortars in the di- clear which division had responsi-
vision table of equipment was similarly expanded, white the number of bility for wiping out these enemy
tlamethrowers grew ten-fold. In addition, the tank battalions were able to re- positions. At the same time, it was
place their antiquated light tanks with mediums. impossible to fire artillery on them
for fear of hitting friendly troops.
ful main Japanese fleet now already been unloaded when the As a result, the 23d Marines suf-
fered heavy casualties. So, by the
approaching Saipan, he ordered ships withdrew. end of the day, although all of the
his fast carriers to meet the enemy Both Marine divisions went on 4th Marine Division's regiments
ships, and that night withdrew the attack, while the 105th Infantry were in contact, a gap still existed
his transports and supply joined the 165th on the far right between the two Marine divisions.
ships from their offshore support po- flank, enabling Ralph Smith to put The bizarre becomes common-
sitions to a safe distance from the his 27th Division into motion to oc- place in combat. For instance, one
Japanese threat. cupy Aslito airfield and attack of the 23d Marines' 75mm half-
along the southern coast. tracks fired into a Japanese cave
D+3, 18 June That same morning, 18 June, the that day, and a dense cloud of nox-
4th Marine Division attack objec- ious fumes came pouring out. A
When the infantrymen ashore tive was the seizure of the 0-3 line. gas alarm was sounded. This meant
woke the next morning, they This would mean reaching the east serious trouble, for all the riflemen
looked out in amazement at the coast of Saipan and splitting in two had long since jettisoned their bur-
empty ocean and a wave of uneasy the Japanese forces. First, however, densome gas masks. Relief flooded
questions raced through their the 23d Marines, reinforced by a through the men as it was estab-
minds: "Where in hell are our battalion of the 24th Marines, had lished that the fumes were not poi-
ships? What about food and ammu- to seize the portion of the 0-2 line sonous and came from picric acid
nition we've got to have? Will we in its zone. This was to be the divi- the Japanese had stored in the cave.
get back the daytime naval support- sion's line of departure. The entire Over in the 2d Division's zone,
ing gunfire and also the star shell il- division, with three infantry regi- the 8th Marines saw some bitter
lumination?" The men in frontline ments abreast, jumped off at 1040. fighting over Hill 240. A heavily de-
combat had no way of knowing At 1340 the 25th Marines had fended coconut grove required satu-
that over 33,000 tons of cargo had reached 0-3. The 24th Marines had ration fire from the artillery of the

Ground Command List


The Marine and Army uniL assigned ftc aipan 20th Marines - LtCol Nelson K. Brown
operation ..vere under these senior commanders: 2d Marines- Cot Louis R. Jones
\ Amphibious Corps - LtGen Holland M, Smith 24th Marines - Cot Franklin A. 1-lart
2d Marine Division - Ma jGen Thomas F. Watson 25th Marines - Cot Merton J. Bat,helder
2d Marines - Col Walter 1. Stuart 27th Infantry )ivI'-lon - MajGen Ralph C. Smith, USA
6th Marines - Col James P. Riseley 105th Infantry - Col Leonard A. Bishop, USA
8th Marines -0,1 Clarence R. Wallace 106th Infantry - Cot Russell G, Ayres, LJ'-k
10th Marines - Cot Raphael Griffin I th Infantry - Cot Gerard W. Kelkv., USA
18th Marines - LtCol Russell Lloyd Division Artillery - BGen Redmond F Keman, Jr., USA
4th Marine Division - MajGen I-larry Schmidt XXIV Corps Artillery - BGen Arthur NI. Harper, USA
14th Marines - Col Louis G. DeHaven Saipan Garrison Forces - MajGen George W. Griner. USA

10
10th Marines before the rifleme n and additional carrier plane attack s can troops . Pivoting on the 2 d
could smash their way in and clean the next day, the Japanese attemp t Marines on the far left flank alon g
out the grove . to relieve Saipan by a decisive nava l the western shore, the other Marine
The price for the two Marine divi- victory was smashed . As an officia l regiments swung around from thei r
sions had been heavy. By the nigh t account summarized the impac t drive which had reached the eas t
of D+3 they had been bled by mor e ashore, "the eventual doom of th e coast to face north, with their righ t
than 5,000 casualties . enemy garrison was assured ." And flank on Magicienne Bay.
the American supply ships were On 20 June, the 4th Division con-
able to return offshore to unloa d fronted a key objective. Lieutenant
D+4-D+7, 19-22 June
their vital cargoes . Chapin had a ringside seat :
During the four-day span of D+4 We had a perfect chance t o
The most critical event of 19 Jun e
to D+7, the 105th Infantry move d watch a battalion of the 25th
(and perhaps the most important o f
slowly along the south coast an d making an attack . . . . It wa s
the whole Saipan campaign) too k then joined the 165th Infantry i n in action about a quarter of a
place at sea, well out of sight of th e sealing off the die-hard Japanes e mile from us, and the whol e
infantrymen ashore . The opposin g survivors in Nafutan Point, in th e panorama was spread out be -
carrier task forces clashed in a gi- southeastern corner of the island . fore us . They were assaultin g
gantic air battle . When it was over Once the enemy was penned in, the Hill 500, the dominant terrai n
that night, the Japanese had suffered 105th was assigned to eliminate him . feature of the whole area, and
the catastrophic loss of 330 out o f The rest of the 27th Division, now it was apparent that they were
430 planes they had launched . Exul- including the 106th Infantry, was or - running into a solid wall o f
tant U.S. Navy fliers labelled it "Th e dered north to be the Corps reserve . Jap fire . But, using [artillery ]
Great Marianas Turkey Shoot ." With This period, 19-22 June, marked a timed fire, smoke, and tanks ,
the help of American submarines total shift in direction for the Ameri - they finally stormed the to p

Marine Artillery Regiments


he 10th Marines and the 14th Marines supporte d tratively attached to the 10th and 14th Marines . Thus th e

T the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions respectively. They


had each had a significant reorganization befor e
Saipan . In early spring, the 5th Battalion in each change d
10th and 14th Marines each contained two 75mm pac k
howitzer battalions (1st and 2d), two 105mm howitze r
battalions (3d and 4th), and a 155mm artillery battalion ,
its designation . They were redesignated the 2d and 4th armed with the new Ml 155mm howitzers, the first to b e
155mm Artillery Battalions, Corps Artillery, but adminis - received by the Marine Corps in the Pacific .
Friendly artillery fire was a major asset for the America n Japanese sorties . This camouflaged emplacement holds a Ma-
troops, both in supporting their attacks and smothering rine 105mm howitzer .
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8255 0

11

tions . Did they ever taste good to


our hungry palates, surfeited a s
they were with K rations! "
Simultaneously, intensive prepa-
rations were made for a coordi-
nated attack by both Marine divi-
sions the next morning . A total o f
18 artillery battalions were masse d
for supporting fire . Combat effi-
ciency was officially rated as "ver y
satisfactory," in spite of a soberin g
total of 6,165 casualties .
The following day saw th e
Marines attack all along the line .
The 6th Marines overran parts o f
Mount Tipo Pali, while the 8t h
Marines worked its painful wa y
into the maze of ridges and gullie s
that formed the foothills of Moun t
Tapotchau . On the right, the 24t h
Marines was forced into the mess y
business of blasting caves honey -
combed along Magicienne Bay .
In one of the mortar platoons, a
weird encounter took place, as de -
scribed at the time to this autho r
by the participant, First Lieutenan t
Joseph J . Cushing :
[I] was bending over one o f
[my] mortars, checking the lay
of it, when [I] felt a tap on my
shoulder, and a guy aske d
[me], "Hey, Mac, are you a Ma-
rine?" [I] turned around an d
and took it . The use of those The Marine divisions were now there was a Jap officer stand -
supporting arms provided a facing two major problems . First, ing about a foot from [me] . [I ]
dropped to the ground ,
magnificent spectacle . From their drive north was confronted by
speechless with amazement ,
our vantage point, we could General Saito's main line of de
and [my] men riddled the Ja p
see the timed fire bursting in fense, running west to east across
from head to toe .
cave entrances, and moving the island . Secondly, the terrain into
On the left of the 4th Division,
down the face of the hill as which the attack had to go was a
the 25th Marines made a major ad -
precisely as if . . . . it were nightmare of ravines, caves, hills, vance of 2,400 yards
. The forward
going down a stepladder . On valleys, and cliffs — all fortified lines were now reaching an are a
the lower levels, the flame- and defended to the death by where the Kagman Peninsula jutte d
thrower tanks were spouting the Japanese . out to the east . This resulted in a
their napalm jets upward June 21 brought a respite for the substantially increased frontag e
into other caves . It was quite front line troops : "D+6 was enjoyed that the two Marine divisions could
a sight! by all— for a change! We rested on not properly cover . To deal wit h
Over in the area of the 2d Divi- our positions ; caught up on sorely this, Holland Smith decided to com-
sion, the 8th Marines wheeled from needed sleep ; got some water mit his reserve, the 27th Infantr y
facing east to attack northward into (which had been conspicuous by its Division, to the center of the line ,
the foot hills leading to Mount absence) ; and even had a good hot leaving just one battalion of th e
Tapotchau . meal . For we got our first 10-in-1 ra- 105th Infantry way back in the rear
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8391 8
Still another cane field, with its hidden Japanese defenders lying in wait, confronts these Marine riflemen .

to continue its long drawn-out at - up and go on duty . Then fo r hit . The tremendous strain o f
tempt to eliminate the Japanes e hours I alternated betwee n the previous night did funny
pocket on by-passed Nafutan Point. fighting off my sleepiness and things to your mind . . . .
This day (D+7) was also marke d sweating out the noises an d
by the arrival of P-47 Thunderbolts movements that were al l D+8-D+15, 23-30 June
of the 19th Fighter Squadron, U .S . around us .
Army Air Forces, which landed a t After a while, I spotted a Complications of a serious nature
Aslito Field . They had bee n shape, darker than the rest of arose in the execution of the battle
launched from Navy escort carriers . the surrounding shadows . I t plan for 23 June . The battalion o f
When landed, they were fitted with was the size of a man's head . I the 105th Infantry still had no t
launching racks for rockets b y watched it for a long time , cleaned out Nafutan Point ; ther e
ground crews who had come in ear- nerves on edge, finger on m y were semantic and communication s
lier . Later that day, eight plane s carbine trigger . Finally i t differences between the two Smith
took off on their first support mis- seemed to move . I fired a shot . generals as to orders about wh o
sion of the Saipan campaign . (Only Nothing happened . I t would do what and when; the 106th
two Marine observation squadrons , would've been suicide to g o and 165th Infantry got all tangled
VMO-2 and VMO-4, were involve d over and investigate . In tha t up in themselves during a march to
in the battle for Saipan, but the y darkness and jungle my own take over the center portion of th e
provided invaluable artillery spot- men would've shot me in a American lines and were too late to
ting for the two Marine divisions . ) second . So when it came tim e jump off in the attack, thus delaying
While these developments were for my relief, I pointed out th e the attacks of the Marines . Whe n
taking place in the upper echelons , suspicious object to the nex t the Army regiments did move out,
down in the rock-bottom basic life man, told him to watch i t they found that the rugged terrain
of infantry platoons, the days of re- closely, and collapsed into a in their sector and the determine d
lentless combat pressure were ex- dead-tired sleep . enemy in camouflaged weapon s
emplified by their impact on th e When dawn came on D+8, I positions in caves of the steep slop e
constant duties and high stress lev- was awakened, and the firs t leading up to Mount Tapotcha u
els on a platoon commander : thing I did was to look ove r made forward progress slow an d
I made a final inspection o f where I'd shot on the night be- difficult . The 27th Infantry Divisio n
the platoon position and the n fore . There, lying on top of a was stalled .
sacked in—exhausted . When i t rock, was the gas mask of on e The corps commander, Hollan d
came my turn to stand watch, of my men! The owner ha d Smith, was very displeased wit h
it took every last reserve o f been sleeping right beside it. It this situation . It had started wit h
willpower and strength to get was a miracle he hadn't been the difficulties experienced in get -

13
ting that division ashore ; it was ex - tion . He further indicated to m e sions on the flanks of the 27t h
acerbated by the time it was takin g that he was going to be presen t in order to prevent dangerou s
to secure Nafutan Point and th e tomorrow, 24 June, with his di- exposure of their interio r
mix-up in orders there ; now the ad - vision when it made its jump-off flanks . It is directed that im-
vancing Marine divisions were get- and he would personally see t o mediate steps be taken t o
ting infiltration and enfilading fir e it that the division went forward cause the 27th Division to ad-
on their flanks because of the 27th' s . . . . He appreciated the situa- vance and seize the objectives
lack of progress . tion and thanked me for coming as ordered .
Accordingly, Lieutenant Genera l to see him and stated that if he These objectives were given dra-
Holland Smith met that afternoo n didn't take his division forward matic names by the Army regi-
with Major General Sanderfor d tomorrow he should be relieved . ments : Hell's Pocket, Death Valley,
Jarman, USA, who was slated to b e This blunt meeting was followe d and Purple Heart Ridge . It was cer -
the island garrison commander, the next morning (D+9) by an eve n tainly true that the terrain was per -
and asked him to press Majo r blunter message from Hollan d fect for the dug-in Japanese de -
General Ralph Smith for muc h Smith to Ralph Smith : fenders : visibility from the slope s
more aggressive action by the 27th . Commanding General i s of Mount Tapotchau and from th e
Jarman later stated : highly displeased with th e ridge gave them fields of fire t o
I talked to General (Ralph ) failure of the 27th Division o n rake any attack up the valley. Hol-
Smith and explained the situa - June twenty-third to launch its land Smith didn't fully recogniz e
tion as I saw it and that I fel t attack as ordered at King hou r the severity of the opposition, and ,
from reports from the corp s and the lack of offensive ac- by the end of the day, the 106t h
commander that his divisio n tion displayed by the divisio n Infantry had gained little, whil e
was not carrying its full share . in its failure to advance an d the 165th Infantry had bee n
He immediately replied tha t seize objective 0-5 when op - "thrown back onto the original lin e
such was true; that he was in no posed by only small arms an d of departure . "
way satisfied with what his regi - mortar fire . Meanwhile, the 2d Marine Divi-
mental commanders had don e The failure of the 27th to ad - sion on the left was painfully slug-
during the day and that he ha d vance in its zone of action re- ging its way forward in the tortu-
been with them and ha d sulted in the halting of attack s ous environs around Moun t
pointed out to them the situa- by the 4th and 2d Marine Divi- Tapotchau . The 4th Marine Divi -
From left, BGen Merritt A . Edson, Assistant Division Comman- utive officer, respectively, during a pause in the action . LtCo l
der of the 2d Marine Division, confers with Col James P . Riseley McLeod was killed several days after this photograph .
and LtCol Kenneth F. McLeod, 6th Marines commander and exec -
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8248 1

14
sion (on the right) pivoted east , Some of the fields had bee n for hours . Everyone was ab-
driving fast into the Kagma n burnt out by the napalm - solutely parched . . . . Finall y
Peninsula . There the ground wa s bombing of our planes . Thi s we did stop, as the effects o f
level, a plus, but covered with can e gave us greatly increased ob- heat exhaustion and lack o f
fields, a big minus, as the rifl e servation as we went through water started to become ap-
companies well knew . them, but clouds of chokin g parent . [Our company com-
A platoon leader remarked : dust arose from the ashes t o mander] arranged for som e
The terrain here consisted of plague us and dirty ou r water to be brought up to ou r
countless cane fields—on e weapons . With water s o position . When the can s
after another . And it was th e scarce, one of our chief source s arrived, everyone crowde d
same old story : in every field of liquid sustenance was suga r thirstily around, and w e
the company would lose a cane juice . We'd whack off a had to order the men to dis-
man or two . It was wonder - segment of the cane with our perse . . . . Then each platoo n
fully quieting to the nerves t o combat knives, then chew and leader rationed out a can of th e
start into a growth of head - suck on it till only the dr y precious liquid amongst hi s
high cane, and wonder wh o fibers were left. In these burnt - men . As was the age-old Marin e
would not be coming out o n out fields we weren't eve n tradition, we waited till all ou r
the other side! The Jap sniper s able to do this, as the cane wa s men had their share before w e
who were doing the damag e spoiled and tasted lousy. took ours . The water was luke-
were dug in so deeply, an d Along with the death toll in th e warm, rusty, and oily as it came
camouflaged so well, that i t cane fields came the physical de- out of the cans, but it still tasted
was impossible to locate them mands placed on the troops by th e like nectar !
before they fired . And then i t hot tropical climate . Lieutenan t While these local events tran-
was too late ; you were right o n Chapin noted small, human issue s spired on the front lines, a majo r
top of them, and they ha d that loomed large in the minds o f upheaval was taking place in the
nailed another one of you r the assault troops : rear . Seeing that the corps lin e
men - or maybe you! The n All this time the sun wa s would be bent back some 1,50 0
there was always that nex t broiling down on top of us . yards in the zone of the 27th In-
cane field up ahead . . . . Our canteens had been empty fantry Division, Holland Smith ha d

This Marine is demonstrating the dimensions of a large enemy Japanese were not able to complete construction .
gun emplacement and undoubtedly giving thanks that the
Denartment of Defense Photo (USMC) 85336

15
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8184 5
As the fighting reached the interior of Saipan, the troops encoun- Note the tops of the helmets of Marines peering from their foxholes .
tered difficult foliage and terrain which impeded their movement .

had enough . He went to see Admi- While the Army's Deputy Chie f the morning of 23 June—even
rals Spruance and Turner to obtai n of Staff, Lieutenant General Josep h though not so late as Hollan d
permission to relieve Ralph Smit h T. McNarney, reviewed the matter, Smith charged . On the 23d an d
of command of his division . he found some faults with Hollan d again on the 24th, the Arm y
After reviewing the Marin e Smith, but then went on to say tha t troops attacking Death Valley
general's deeply felt criticism o f Ralph Smith failed to exact the per- were slow and faltering in .
the 27th Infantry Division's "de- formance expected from a well - their advance . According t o
fective performance," the admi- trained division, as evidenced b y the testimony of General Jar -
rals agreed to the requeste d poor leadership on the part of som e man, who took over the divi-
change, and Ralph Smith was su- regimental and battalion comman - sion from Ralph Smith, the uni t
perseded by Major General Jar- ders, undue hesitancy to bypas s leaders of the 106th Infantr y
man on 24 June . snipers "with a tendency to alibi be - were hesitant and apparentl y
A furor arose, with bitter inter- confused . Although the Arm y
cause of lack of reserves to mo p
service recriminations, and th e troops in Death Valley sus-
up," poor march discipline, an d
tained fairly heavy casualties ,
flames were fanned by lurid pres s lack of reconnaissance .
reports . Holland Smith summa- the two Marine divisions o n
The Army's official summary,
the flanks suffered greate r
rized his feelings three days after United States Army in World War II ,
ones . Yet the Marines mad e
the relief. According to a unit his- The War in the Pacific, Campaign i n
considerable advances whil e
tory, The 27th Infantry Division i n the Marianas (published 15 year s
the 165th Infantry registered
World War II, he stated, "The 27th after the operations) attribute d only small gains—the 106th In-
Division won't fight, and Ralp h some errors to Holland Smith' s fantry almost none at all .
Smith will not make them fight . " handling of a real problem, and i t No matter what the extenu-
Army generals were furious, and i n also gave full recognition to the dif- ating circumstances were—an d
Hawaii, Lieutenant General Rober t ficult terrain and bitter resistanc e there were several—the con-
Richardson, commander of the U .S. that the Army regiments faced . The clusion seems inescapable tha t
Army in the Pacific (USARPAC ) history stated that : Holland Smith had good rea-
convened an Army board of in- . . . there is no doubt tha t son to be disappointed wit h
quiry over the matter . The issu e the 106th Infantry Regiment of the performance of the 27th In-
reached to the highest military lev- the 27th Division was late in fantry Division on the tw o
els in Washington . jumping off in the attack on days in question . . . .

16
Back where the conflict was wit h there on their wooden skids , caves . A 20-year-old private firs t
the Japanese, the 4th Marine Divi- thickly coated with grease , class in Company E, 2d Battalion ,
sion had overrun most of the Kag- wrapped in burlap—impotent . 23d Marines, Robert F . Graf, de -
man Peninsula by the night o f This unfinished state of the Japan- scribed the Marine system fo r
D+10 . The shoreline cliffs provoke d ese defenses was, in fact, a critical dealing with these and the other s
sobering thoughts in a young offi- factor in the final American victory that were found all through th e
cer in the 24th Marines : on Saipan . The blockading success o f bitter campaign :
We were close to the north - far-ranging submarines of the U .S . The firepower was in -
ern shoreline of the peninsula . Navy had drastically reduced , the tense, and we were workin g
And right there the Japs ha d supplies of cement and other con- our way up to where th e
dug a big emplacement . They struction materials destined for elab- shots originated . Quit e
hadn't had time to finish it, orate Saipan defenses, as well as th e often there would be mult i
but we could see that it wa s number of troop ships carryin g cave openings, each protect-
situated so as to fire righ t Japanese reinforcements to the is - ing another . Laying dow n
down the beach-line . An y land . Then the quick success of th e heavy cover fire, our spe-
troops landing on that beac h Marshalls campaign had speeded u p cialist would advance t o
would have received a terrible the Marianas thrust by thre e near the mouth of the cave .
enfilading fire from this gun months . This was decisive, for "on e A satchel charge woul d
position . Not far from the em - prisoner of war later said that, ha d then be heaved into th e
placement were the guns tha t the American assault come thre e mouth of the cave, followe d
had been destined to go int o months later, the island would hav e by a loud blast as the dyna-
it : huge, 5-inch, dual-purpos e been impregnable . " mite exploded . Other time s
naval guns . They were deadly The 4th Marine Division en - it might be grenades throw n
things, and I was glad th e countered more than cane fields i n inside the cave, both frag-
enemy had never gotten the m the Kagman Peninsula—the cliff s ment type which explode d
into action . Now they lay near the ocean were studded with sending bits of metal al l

When a Japanese survivor did emerge from a cave, Marines were dynamite in his hands, but was shot before he could throw it .
always on the alert for treachery . This enemy soldier had a stick of
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87137

17
throughout the cave, an d Graf went on to picture the us e have blasted it open, bu t
other times [white] phos- of flame-throwing tanks, the ulti- nothing else .
phorous grenades that burned mate weapon for dealing with th e A fellow rifleman from Graf' s
the enemy. enemy deep in his hideouts . H e company told him this story :
Also the flame thrower was continued : You should go up and see th e
used, sending a sheet of flam e Some of the caves had ar- huge cave that I was just in .
into the cave, burning anyon e tillery mounted on track s It was large and contained a
that was in its path. Scream s that could be wheeled to th e completely equipped operat-
could be heard and on occa- entrance, fired and pulle d ing room, all the medica l
sions the enemy would emerg e back, unobserved . Ther e equipment, surgical tools ,
from the caves, near the en - were caves with reinforce d etc . The tools were mad e
trance, we would call upon the . metal doors that protecte d from German surgical steel .
tanks, and these monster s them from our artillery . When the battalion an d
would get in real close an d Perhaps a direct hit from a regimental doctors were told
pump shells into the opening . 16-inch naval gun could about it, they almost wen t

Displaying the bazooka which knocked out four Japanese light grabbed some grenades, approached one tank from the side, an d
tanks are bazooka men PFC Lauren N . Kahn, left, and PFC Lewis tossed the grenade into its open turret . Their action saved a 37m m
M. Nalder. The two Marines fired all their ammunition at Japanese gun crew, the objective of the tank . The gun crew, with its men
tanks advancing in a counterattack on the night of D+1 . Kahn then wounded, was also out of ammunition .
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8516 7

18
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8356 6
Some of the Japanese caves, such as this one, had been carefully reinforced . Marine riflemen move warily to inspect it .

crazy over finding such excel- Japanese civilians were also water for her dead child. She
lent equipment . Each docto r captured . The Japanese tradi - pointed to a wicker baske t
wanted some tools for his use . tion was that the male members that contained her dead in-
These attacks on caves were a of the family were the dominan t fant . I gave her what she re-
tricky business, because of order s members . Several times when quested, and she placed the
not to kill any civilians who wer e we tried to feed newly capture d food and water in the baske t
also inside many of them, hidin g women and children first, the so that the child could hav e
from the fighting . Graf recounted male would shove them asid e nourishment on the way to
and demand to be first for ra- meet the baby's ancestors .
his experiences further :
tions . A few raps to the ches t Physical conditions o f
Throughout the campaig n
with a rifle butt soon cure d many were pitiful . Every ill-
we were taking prisoners .
them of that habit . ness that we had bee n
Seldom were they Japanes e
As the sick, scared, and ofte n briefed on was observed :
soldiers, instead Korean and
starving civilians would emerg e leprosy, dengue fever, yaw s
Chamorro laborers, both me n from their hideouts, there wer e and many cases of elephanti-
and women, who mostl y many pitiful scenes : asis . Most of them wer e
worked in the sugar cane fields One sad incident I recall wa s skeleton thin, as they had no
and processing plants . Chamor- when a captured civilian Japan - nourishment for many days .
ros were natives of the islands , ese woman came up to me . She Many were suffering fro m
while the Koreans, of course , was crying and when she go t shock caused by the shelling
were brought over as force d close to me she started hitting and bombing, and fright be-
labor. Approaching us, hands me on the arm and pointing to cause they did not have th e
up, and smiling and bowing the my pack . I did not know wha t vaguest idea as to what w e
Koreans would say in under- she wanted until an interpreter would do to them . Civilians
standable broken English, "M e came over and explained tha t caught in a war that was no t
Korean, not Japanese ." Some she wanted some food and of their making . . . .

19
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8326 6
Marine talks a terrified Chamorro woman and her children into leaving her refuge .

Civilians are escorted back to safety, food, and medical care .


Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8301 3

20
One of the captured persons im-
pressed Graf so very much that th e
memory was vivid many years later.
A Japanese woman, obviously an
aristocrat, probably a wife or mis-
tress of a high-ranking officer, "wa s
captured . She was dressed in tradi-
tional Japanese clothing : a brilliant
kimono, a broad sash around the
waist, hair combed, lacquered and
spotlessly clean . Although," as Gra f
remarked, "she knew not what her
fate would be in the hands of us, the
barbarians, she stood there straight ,
proud, and seemingly unafraid. To
me, she seemed like a queen . "
Over on the west side of Saipan ,
the 2d Marine Division had a memo -
rable day on 25 June. Ever since the Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 83989
landing, the towering peak of Moun t The 37mm gun was a workhorse for the Marines in a wide variety of firing missions . Thos e
Tapotchau had swarmed with Japan - are Japanese bullet holes in its "shield . "
ese artillery spotters looking straight
down on every Marine move an d Aslito airfield and there was chao s the junior officers in the front line s
then calling in precisely accurate fire initially there . One P-47 plane wa s had their own, more immediate ,
on the American troops . Now, how- destroyed and two others damaged . daily concerns . As the autho r
ever, in a series of brilliant tactica l The Japanese quickly continued on recalled :
maneuvers, with a battalion of th e to Hill 500, hoping to reunite there I had worked out a pre -
8th Marines clawing up the easter n with their main forces . What they sleep routine which I fol-
slope, a battalion of the 29th Marines found instead was the 25th Marine s lowed every night withou t
(then attached to the 8th Marines) resting in reserve with an artillery fail . Before I lay down, I
was able to infiltrate around the righ t battalion of the 14th Marines . The es - would make careful menta l
flank in single file behind a screen of caping Japanese were finished off the notes of where the compan y
smoke and gain the dominating peak following morning . Command Post [CP] was an d
without the loss of a single man . On the front lines in the center of where my squad leaders' fox-
Meanwhile, back at Nafuta n the island, General Jarman, now in holes were . Then I woul d
Point, the battalion of the 105th In- temporary command of the 27th In- work out the rotation of th e
fantry assigned to clean out the by- fantry Division, took direct action watches with my CP group .
passed Japanese pockets had ha d that same day (D+11) . An inspection Next came a check of my car-
continuous problems . The officia l by two of his senior officers of the bine to make sure it was i n
Army account commented, "The at - near edge of Death Valley reveale d perfect operating condition .
tack of the infantry companies was that battalions of the 105th Infantry When all this had been done,
frequently uncoordinated ; units re- "were standing still when there wa s I'd lie down, adjusting m y
peatedly withdrew from advance d no reason why they should no t helmet to serve as a pillow .
positions to their previous night' s move forward ." That did it. Jarman Last, and most important ,
bivouacs ; they repeatedly yielde d relieved the colonel commandin g was the placing of m y
ground they had gained . " the 106th and replaced him with hi s weapons : my carbine la y
The stalemate came to a climax o n division chief of staff . (Ninetee n across my body so my hand
the night of D+11 . Approximatel y other officers of the 27th Infantry Di - would fall naturally on th e
500 of the trapped Japanese, all th e vision were also relieved after th e trigger ; my combat knife wa s
able-bodied men who remained , Saipan battle was over, althoug h stuck in the ground where m y
passed "undetected" or "sneake d only one of them had commanded a right hand lay ; and m y
through" (as the Army later re - unit in battle . ) grenades were carefully ar-
ported) the lines of the encircling bat - While these developments were rayed at my left hand . The n
talion. The enemy headed for nearby taking place in the upper echelons, I'd drift off to sleep .

21
AS
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For the next several days, the A Marine 81mm mortar crew keeps lobbing shells into enemy positions ahead of the unit it
27th Infantry Division probed and is supporting by fire.
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 82260
maneuvered and attacked at Hell s
Pocket, Death Valley, and Purple


Heart Ridge. On 28 June, Army
Major General George W. Griner,
who had been quickly sent from
Hawaii upon the relief of Ralph
Smith, took over command of the
division, so Jarman could revert to
his previous assignment as garrison
force commander. The 106th
marked the day by eradicating the
last enemy resistance in the spot
that had caused so much grief:
Hell's Pocket.
The 2d Marine Division mean-
while inched northward toward the
town of Garapan, meeting ferocious
enemy resistance. Tipo Pali was
now in 6th Marines' hands. The 8th
Marines encountered four small
22
!i
To the right, the 6th Marine s
mopped up its area and now hel d
the most commanding ground, with
all three of its battalions in favor -
able positions . In fact, since replace-
ment drafts had not yet arrived, the
2d Marine Division had all three o f
its infantry regiments deployed o n
line . Thus it was necessary for it s
commander, Major General Watson ,
to organize a division reserve fro m
support units .
The pressure on manpower wa s
further illustrated by the fact that ,
in this difficult terrain, "eigh t
stretcher bearers were needed t o
evacuate one wounded Marine ." In
addition, there was, of course, the
deep-seated psychological an d
physical pressure from the constant ,
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8328 1
day after day, close combat. "Every-
With the Japanese well dug in, hidden in their well camouflaged positions, a satche l
one on the island felt the weight o f
charge of high explosive is tossed into their laps . If any of them bolt out, the Marine rifle -
fatigue settling down . "
men are ready .

hills strongly defended by th e During a break in the fighting, Marines of a flamethrower and demolitions team pose wit h
enemy. Because of their size in com - the Japanese flag captured during action after the American landing .
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 82608
parison with Mount Tapotchau ,
they were called "pimples ." Eac h
was named after a battalion com-
mander. Painfully, one by one, they
were assaulted and taken over the
next few days .
Near Garapan, about 500 yard s
to the front of the 2d Marines' lines ,
an enemy platoon on what wa s
named "Flame Tree Hill" was wel l
dug in, utilizing the caves maske d
by the bright foliage on the hill . Th e
morning of 29 June, a heavy ar-
tillery barrage as well as machin e
gun and mortar fire raked th e
slopes of the hill . Then friendl y
mortars laid a smoke screen . Thi s
was followed by a pause in all fir-
ing . As hoped, the enemy race d
from their caves to repel the ex-
pected attack . Suddenly the mortar s
lobbed high explosives on the hill .
Artillery shells equipped with time
fuses and machine gun and rifle fir e
laid down another heavy barrage .
The enemy, caught in the open, wa s
wiped out almost to a man .

23

On the 4th Division front, th e


drive forward was easier, but its left
flank had to be bent sharply back -
ward toward the 27th Infantry Divi -
sion . By nightfall on 28 June, th e
Marine division's lines formed a n
inverted L with the 23d Marine s
and part of the 165th Infantry facing
north, while the rest of the Arm y
regiment and two battalions of the
24th Marines faced west . Thi s
strange alignment was a focus of at-
tention when each battalion was is -
sued its nightly overlay from corps
headquarters showing the lines o f
the corps at that time, so tha t
friendly fire from artillery and sup -
porting Navy destroyers would not
hit friendly troops . Once again ,
enemy planes raided, hitting bot h
the airfield and anchorage . As usual,
enemy night patrols were active .
The end of the saga of Nafuta n Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 85222
Point, way to the rear, had come the Moving on the double, Marines go yard by yard through skeletal Garapan, flushing out the
day before (27 June) . The Japanes e Japanese defenders .
breakout had left almost no fighting
men behind there . Accordingly, the Amidst the horrors of war, someone retained a sense of humor, and put up this pre-Worl d
battalion of the 105th Infantry at War II Marine recruiting poster in Garapan .
last overran the area after enduring Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 87109

a final banzai charge . The soldiers


found over 500 enemy bodies in th e
area, some killed in the charge and
some by their own hand .
D+15 (30 June) marked a goo d
day for the Army. After fierce fight-
ing, the 27th Infantry Division fi-
nally burst through Death Valley ,
captured Purple Heart Ridge, an d
drew alongside the 8th Marines .
Holland Smith gave due recogni-
tion : "No one had any tougher jo b
to do ." The gaps on the flanks with
the 2d and 4th Marine Division s
were now closed . In doing so, the
Army had sustained most of th e
1,836 casualties inflicted upon i t
since D-Day . The 4th Marine Divi-
sion, however, had suffered 4,45 4
casualties to date, while the 2d Ma -
rine Division had lost 4,488 men .
The corps front now ran fro m
Garapan, past the four pimples, to
the 4th Marine Division's lef t
boundary . Here, it ran sharply

24
cONTOUR INTERL P00 FEET
bOO 0 ___

Y*ADS

... HILL
;'b-T

rANAPAG
HARBOR

— -I,

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SAl PAN
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_f -'
I,A1 LOAF PROGRESS AT 1800
06 E io
'REF —.
2 JULY

I-
000De 3 JULY
4 JULY
2 ,y/•-- -
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northward to Hill 700. From there it res Point, the 2d Marine Division was a terrible place: the rocks
ran to the east coast. Central Saipan would be pinched out and become and creepers were so interwo-
was in American hands. Most of the the corps reserve. That would leave ven that they formed an al-
replenishment supplies had been the 27th Infantry Division and the most impenetrable barrier;
unloaded. The enemy had begun 4th Marine Division to assault Gen- visibility was limited to a few
withdrawing to his preplanned final eral Saito's final defenses. feet. After what had happened
defensive lines. The Army's official The easiest assignment during to [my wounded sergeant],
history summed up these days' this period fell to the 4th Marine the atmosphere of the place
costly victories this way, "The battle Division on the east coast. It ad- was very tense. We located
for central Saipan can be said to vanced 3,500 yards against light op- some rock crevices we
have come to a successful end." position, veering to its left, ending thought the Japs might be in,
on 4 July with its left flank some and I tried calling to them in
D+16-D+19, 1-4 July 2,000 yards north of Tanapag, right our Japanese combat phrases
on the west coast. to come out and surrender.
Now Holland Smith turned his As usual, what looked like "light This proved fruitless, and it let
attention to operation plans to drive opposition" to General Schmidt in the Japs know exactly where
through the northern third of his divisional CP looked very dif- we were, while we had no
Saipan and bring the campaign to a ferent to that tired, tense lieutenant idea of their location. Then I
successful, albeit a bloody, conclu- who described a painfully typical tried to maneuver our flame-
sion. His next objective line ran rifle platoon situation on D+16: thrower man into a position
from Garapan up the west coast to I took the rest of my men where he could give the
Tanapag and then eastward across and we proceeded—very cau- crevice a blast without becom-
the island. Past Tanapag, near Flo- tiously—to comb the area. It ing a sitting-duck target him-

25
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8488 5
The only way to deal with some Japanese in their well-protected defenses was to blast them with a flame-thrower .

self . Because of the configura - feet away. Under cover of that, the report to [our company com-
tion of the ground, thi s Marines worked a rifleman forward a mander] on the phone . If I
proved impossible . couple of yards to try to get a bead on could get his OK, I woul d
Right about now, there wa s the Japanese, but he was unable t o then contact [another one o f
a shot off to our left . W e spot them and the enemy fire seeme d our platoons] for reinforce-
started over to investigate an d to grow heavier. ments, and we could mov e
all hell broke loose! A Jap au- Now the lieutenant began to get back into this area and clea n
tomatic weapon opened u p very worried : out the Jap pocket.
right beside us . We all hit the Here we were—completel y Pressing hard against th e
deck automatically . No on e isolated from the rest of th e Japanese defenses constantly re-
was hit (for a change), but w e company—only half a doze n sulted in these kinds of face-to -
couldn't spot the exact loca- of us left—our flank man ha d face encounters . Three days late r
tion of the weapon (as usual) . I disappeared and now w e (D+19), Lieutenant Colone l
called to the man who'd been were getting heavy fire from Chambers observed a memorabl e
over on the left flank . No an- an uncertain number of Jap s act of bravery :
swer. What had happene d who were right in our middle Three of our tanks cam e
to him? and whom we couldn't locate ! along the road . . . . The y
At this point more enemy fire spat - Some of the men were gettin g made the turn to the south
tered around the small group o f a little jittery I could see, so I and then took the wron g
Marines . The source seemed to b e tried to appear as calm an d turn, which took them of f
right on top of them, so the lieutenant cool as I could (although I the high ground and into a
told two of his men to throw som e didn't feel that way inside!) . I cave area where ther e
grenades over into the area he thought decided to move back to the were literally hundreds o f
the fire was coming from—about 20 other end of the hilltop and Japs, who swarmed all ove r

26
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 85221

He may have started out sitting on a dud 16-inch Navy shell, en- by the end of the campaign, three weeks later, he had had too littl e
joying a smoke while emptying sand from his "boondockers," but sleep, too many fire fights, and too many buddies dead .

"Patrol, Saipan. " the tanks . We were watchin g Mee turned around to hi s
By Richard Gibney in Marine Corps Art Collection
and heard on the radio tha t battalion CP, who were al l
(the lieutenant) who com- staff people . He just pointe d
manded the tanks was holler- and said, "Let's get going . "
ing for help, and I don't blam e He turned and took off . I ca n
him . They had formed a trian- still see his face—he figure d
gle and covered each othe r he was going to get killed .
with the co-axial guns as bes t They got there and the Jap s
as they could . pulled out . This let the tanks
The commanding officer of th e get out, and they were saved .
1st Battalion, 25th Marines, Lieu - It was one of the braves t
tenant Colonel Hollis U . ("Musty" ) things I ever saw people do .
Mustain was nearest the crisis . Chambers also noted that, b y
Chambers went on : D+19, out of 28 officers and 690 en -
Mustain's executive officer listed men in his rifle companies a t
was a regular major by th e the start of the campaign, he now
name of Fenton Mee . Must y had only 6 officers and 315 men left
and I were together, an d in those companies . Counting hi s
when radio operators told u s headquarters company, he had jus t
what was going on, Must y 468 men remaining of the battal -
turned to Mee and said, "Get ion's original total strength of 1,050 ,
some people there and ge t so one rifle company simply had to
those tanks out ." be disbanded . The grim toll was re -

27

peated in another battalion which The official Marine history pic- filthy uniforms, stiff wit h
had had 22 out of 29 officers and 490 tures the scene : sweat and dirt after over tw o
enlisted men either killed or Twisted metal roof tops now weeks of fierce fighting, th e
wounded in action . littered the area, shielding Marines joyfully dipped thei r
Next to the 4th Marine Division Japanese snipers . A number of heads and hands into the coo l
was the 27th Infantry Division in deftly hidden pillboxes were ocean waters .
the center of the line of attack . It, scattered among the ruins . As- With the other two divisions al-
too, had a far easier time than in the sault engineers, covered by ready having veered their attack to
grinding experiences it had just riflemen, slipped behind such the left and reached the northwes t
come through . Its advance also obstacles to set explosives while coast, the 2d Marine Division was
veered left, and was "against negli- flamethrowers seared the front. now able to go into corps reserve ,
gible resistance" with "the enemy Assisted by the engineers, and as planned, on 4 July . (Hollan d
in full flight ." Thus it reached the supported by tanks and 75mm Smith, seeing the end in sight on
west coast, pinching off the 2d Ma- self-propelled guns of the regi- Saipan, wanted this division rested
rine Division and allowing it to go mental weapons company, the for the forthcoming assault o n
into reserve . 2d Marines beat down the scat- neighboring Tinian Island . )
There was a different story in the tered resistance before nightfall . The Japanese, meanwhile, wer e
2d Marine Division zone of action at On the beaches, suppressing falling back to a final defensive lin e
the beginning of this period . On 2 fire from the LVT(A)s of the 2d north of Garapan . The American at-
July Flametree Hill was seized and Armored Amphibian Battalion tack of the preceding weeks had no t
the 2d Marines stormed into Gara- silenced the Japanese weapons only shattered their manpower ,
pan, the second largest city in the located near the water. their artillery, and their tanks, bu t
Mariana Islands . What the regiment Moving past the town, the the enemy also was desperate for
found was a shambles ; the town had 2d Marine Division drove to- food . "Many of them had been s o
been completely leveled by naval wards Flores Point, halfway to pressed for provisions that they were
gunfire and Marine artillery. Tanapag . Along the way, with eating field grass and tree bark ."
D+20-D+23, 5-8 July men from A Company wer e out these civilians . The minute
riddled as the ruse succeeded . they got them out, they bega n
Any Japanese "withdrawal " This kind of treacherous actio n to feed them, give them part o f
meant that some of their men were by the Japanese was demonstrate d their rations, and offer thei r
left behind in caves to fight to the in a different form on the follow- cigarettes to the men . It mad e
death . This tactic produced agai n ing day (D+21) . Lieutenan t you feel proud of the boys for
and again for the American troop s Colonel Chambers described ho w doing this .
the life-threatening question o f he dealt summarily with it —and, Once the 2d Marine Division be -
whether there were civilians hid - by contrast how his men treate d came corps reserve, it was obviou s
den inside who should be saved . genuine civilians who had bee n to General Smith that the time wa s
There was a typical grim episod e hiding : ripe for a banzai attack . He dul y
at this time for First Lieutenan t . . . .a few of the Japs ha d warned all units to be alert, an d
Frederic A . Stott, in the 1st Battal- played possum by smearin g paid a personal visit on 6 July t o
ion, 24th Marines : blood of other Japs on them- General Griner, of the 27th Infantry
On this twenty-first day o f selves and lying still as th e Division, to stress the likelihood o f
the battle we trudged along a Marines came up . However, an attack coming down the coast -
circuitous route to relieve th e within the battalion my in- line on the flat ground of the Tana -
23d Marines for an attac k structions were "if it didn' t pag Plain.
scheduled for 1300 . A norma l stink, stick it ." [My officer ] General Saito was now cor-
artillery preparation preceded just laughed and said th e nered in his sixth (and last) com-
it, followed by the morale-lift- Marines had bayoneted al l mand post, a miserable cave i n
ing rockets, but neither the y the bodies . You had to do it ! Paradise Valley north of Tanapag .
nor mortar fire could eliminate We also picked up severa l The valley was constantly rake d
many cave-dwelling Japs . An d civilian prisoners, includin g by American artillery and nava l
again the cost was heavy . some women and children. Th e gunfire ; he had left only fragmen-
Using civilian men, women , thing that really got to me was tary remnants of his troops ; h e
and children as decoys, the Ja p watching these boys of mine ; was himself sick, hungry, an d
soldiers managed to entice a they'd take all kinds of risks ; wounded . After giving orders fo r
volunteer patrol forward int o they'd go into a cave neve r one last fanatical banzai charge ,
the open to collect additional knowing whether there would he decided to commit hara-kiri in
civilian prisoners . A dozen be soldiers in there, to bring his cave . At 10a .m . on 6 July, fac -

A salvo from the truck-mounted rockets was a welcome prelude to any Marine attack .
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 8840 3

29
Medal of Honor Recipient s
rivate First Class Harold Christ rivate First Class Harold Glen n ergeant Grant Frederick Tim -

P Agerholm was born on 29 Jan-


uary 1925, in Racine, Wiscon-
sin . "For conspicuous gallantry and
P Epperson was born on 14 Jul y
1923, in Akron, Ohio . "For con-
spicuous gallantry and intrepidity a t
S merman was born on 14 Febru-
ary 1919, in Americus, Kansas .
"For conspicuous gallantry and intre -
intrepidity at the risk of his lif e the risk of his life above and beyond the pidity at the risk of his life above and
above and beyond the call of dut y call of duty while serving with the Firs t beyond the call of duty as Tank Com -
while serving with the Fourth Battal- Battalion, Sixth Marines, Second Ma- mander serving with the Second Bat -
ion, Tenth Marines, Second Marin e rine Division, in action against enem y talion, Sixth Marines, Second Marine
Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on the Island of Saipa n Division, during action agains t
Japanese forces on Saipan, Mariana s in the Marianas, on 25 July 1944 . Wit h enemy Japanese forces on Saipan ,
Islands, 7 July 1944 . When the enemy his machine-gun emplacement bearin g Marianas Islands, on 8 July 1944 . Ad -
launched a fierce, determined coun- the full brunt of a fanatic assault initi- vancing with his tank a few yard s
terattack against our positions an d
ated by the Japanese under cover o f ahead of the infantry in support of a
overran a neighboring artillery bat-
predawn darkness, Private First Clas s vigorous attack on hostile positions ,
talion, Private First Class Agerhol m
Epperson manned his weapon with de- Sergeant Timmerman maintaine d
immediately volunteered to assist i n
termined aggressiveness, fighting furi- steady fire from his antiaircraft sk y
the effort to check the hostile attac k
ously in the defense of his battalion' s mount machine gun until progres s
and evacuate our wounded . Locating
position and maintaining a stead y was impeded by a series of enem y
and appropriating an abandone d
stream of devastating fire agains t trenches and pillboxes . Observing a
ambulance jeep, he repeatedly mad e
extremely perilous trips under heav y rapidly infiltrating hostile troops to ai d target of opportunity, he immediatel y
. . . in breaking the abortive attack . Sud- ordered the tank stopped and, mind -
rifle and mortar fire and single-hand -
edly loaded and evacuated approxi- denly a Japanese soldier, assumed to b e ful of the danger from the muzzl e
mately 45 casualties, working tire- dead, sprang up and hurled a powerfu l blast as he prepared to open fire with
lessly and with utter disregard fo r hand grenade into the emplacement . the 75mm, fearlessly stood up in the
his own safety during a gruelling pe- Determined to save his comrades, Pri- exposed turret and ordered the in-
riod of more than 3 hours . Despit e vate First Class Epperson unhesitat- fantry to hit the deck . Quick to act a s
intense, persistent enemy fire, he ra n ingly chose to sacrifice himself and , a grenade, hurled by the Japanese ,
out to aid two men whom he be- diving upon the deadly missile, ab- was about to drop into the open tur-
lieved to be wounded Marines, bu t sorbed the shattering violence of the ex - ret hatch, Sergeant Timmerman un-
was himself mortally wounded by a ploding charge in his own body. Stout- hesitatingly blocked the opening wit h
Japanese sniper while carrying ou t hearted and indomitable in the face of his body, holding the grenade agains t
his hazardous mission . Private Firs t certain death, Private First Class Epper - his chest and taking the brunt of th e
Class Agerholm's brilliant initiative, son fearlessly yielded his own life tha t explosion . His exceptional valor an d
great personal valor and self-sacrific- his able comrades might carry on . . . . loyalty in saving his men at the cos t
ing efforts in the face of almost cer- His superb valor and unfaltering devo- of his own life reflect the highes t
tain death reflect the highest credi t tion to duty throughout reflect th e credit upon Sergeant Timmerma n
upon himself and the United State s highest credit upon himself and upo n and the United States Naval Service.
Naval Service . He gallantly gav e the United States Naval Service. He gal- He gallantly gave his life for hi s
his life for his country. lantly gave his life for his country . " country. "
Harold Christ Agerholm Harold Glenn Epperson Grant Frederick Timmerma n

30
Navy Chaplains
wo types of non-combatants are attached to Marin e One other regimental chaplain used a special type o f

T
1
units: members of the Navy Medical Corps an d
Navy Chaplain Corps . Whenever the Marines are
in combat, they are well tended to in body and soul on
ministration . He had a canvas gas-mask carrier slun g
over each shoulder. In one carrier he had Scotch whiskey,
in the other fried chicken . As he knelt by each young ,
the front lines . Navy Lieutenant John H . Craven, Chap - frightened, wounded Marine, he was invariably asked ,
lain Corps, earned the Bronze Star for his actions unde r "Am I going to be O .K.?" "Sure you are!" was the cheerful
fire on Saipan . Later he summarized activities : answer. "While you are waiting to be evacuated, woul d
"In combat our main action was to go from place to you rather have a drumstick or a wing?" The young Ma-
place, unit to unit, and start out early in the morning and rine would be so surprised he would forget about him-
go till dark, just visiting one unit after the other and self. Then, when the chaplain asked if he wanted to was h
many times just have a very brief service. We had some it down with a swig of Scotch, he couldn't believe he wa s
very small hymn books . and some Testaments I could hearing correctly amidst all the confusion, noise, and
carry in my map case, and we would just gather a fe w death all around him.
men together in a bomb crater or defilade . ; . and I would A young doctor, hearing about this chaplain, said ,
have one service after the other . Sometimes we had "That man probably saved more young lives from dyin g
twelve, thirteen, or fourteen of those in one day, espe- of shock than will ever be known ."
cially on Sunday. . . .
"Then we had to take our turn at the cemetery. Each
chaplain from different units would go down and take his
turn for burial . We had a brief committal service for each
one as they brought the bodies in . And I set myself up to
try to keep up with all of the men of our units : where they
were, whether they were in the hospital. I worked closely
with a sergeant major and it was amazing how we were
able to keep up with men, and when they were killed and
when and where they were buried ."
Craven kept a notebook listing all the casualties, an d
he would keep that current from day to day. Eac h
evening he would compare notes with the regimenta l
sergeant major. It was a help to any chaplain to know
who were casualties and where, and to report and work
with their friends, and it was also a help to the sergeant 0
major because it verified reports he got .
When Chaplain Craven and the other chaplains re- a0
turned to the rear areas with their units, they started writ -
ing letters to the families of everyone who was killed in
the regiment, and added their letters to those the com-
manding officers were required to write. The Saipan cemetery was dedicated after the battle .

ing east and crying "Tenn o The threat of a mad, all-ou t For hours, we could hea r
Haika! Banzai! [Long live th e enemy charge was nothing new t o them preparing for their ban-
Emperor! Ten thousand ages!]," he the troops on Saipan. A rifleman re - zai attack, as it was the end for
drew his own blood first with hi s counted one such experience : them and they knew it . Be-
own sword and then his adjutan t Whenever we cornered the cause it was against their her-
shot him and Admiral Nagumo i n enemy and there was no wa y itage, their training, and thei r
the head with a pistol, but not be - out, we faced the dreaded ban- belief, they would not surren-
fore he said, "I will meet my staf f zai attack . The 23d Marines der . All that was left was a
in Yasakuni Shrine 3 a .m., 7 July! " had a few of these during our final charge, a pouring in of al l
This was to be the time ordere d Saipan adventure, as did all the their troops in one concen-
for the commencement of th e other outfits. I dreaded these trated place with their pledg e
final attack . attacks and yet welcome d to take as many of us wit h
The ultimate outcome was clea r them, which is quite a paradox . them as possible .
to Saito : "Whether we attack, o r They generated a great deal o f His account continued with a
whether we stay where we are , fear but, when it was over, tha t dramatic description of the tense
there is only death ." particular sector was Jap-free. waiting he endured, while he lis-

31
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 81846
Navy corpsmen risked their lives daily to treat wounded Marines .

tened to the enemy "yells an d Suddenly there is wha t tion goes through that gun, the
screams going on for hours ." The sounded like a thousand peo- gunner swinging the barre l
noise increased as Marine artillery ple screaming all at once, as a left and right . Even though Ja p
and mortars, pounding in the direc - hoard of "mad men" broke out bodies build up in front of us,
tion of the Japanese sounds, adde d of the darkness before us . they still charged us, running
to the deafening din . The Marine s Screams of "Banzai" fill the air, over their comrades' falle n
were waiting in their foxholes with Japanese officers leading th e bodies . The mortar tubes be-
clips of ammo placed close at han d "devils from hell," thei r came so hot from the rapi d
so that they could reload fast, fixin g swords drawn and swishing in fire, as did the machine gu n
their bayonets onto their rifles, en- circles over their heads . Ja p barrels, that they could n o
suring that their knives were loos e soldiers were following their longer be used .
in their scabbard all in anticipatio n leaders, firing their weapon s Although each [attack] ha d
of the forthcoming attacks . Listen- at us and screaming "Banzai " taken its toll, still they came i n
ing to the screaming, all sense s as they charged toward us . droves . Haunting memorie s
alert, many of the men had prayer s Our weapons opened up , can still visualize the enem y
on their lips as they waited . Unex- our mortars and machine guns only a few feet away, bayone t
pectedly, there was silence, a silenc e fired continually. No longer d o aimed at our body as w e
that signaled the enemy's advance . they fire in bursts of three o r empty a clip into him . The mo-
Then : five . Belt after belt of ammuni- mentum carries him into ou r

32
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 84474
The cost of battle . Fellow Marines mourn as a buddy is to be buried .

foxhole, right on top of us . ese . And it came indeed in th e two forward battalions had left a
Then pushing him off, we re - early morning hours of 7 Jul y 500-yard gap between them, whic h
load and repeat the procedure . (D+22), the climactic moment o f they planned to cover by fire .
Bullets whiz around us , the battle for Saipan . The theoreti- The Japanese found this gap ,
screams are deafening, th e cal Japanese objective was t o poured through it, and headed pell -
area reeks with death, and the mell for the regimental headquar-
smash through Tanapag and Gara-
smell of laps and gunpowde r ters of the 105th . The men of th e
pan and reach all the way down t o
permeate the air . Full of fea r frontline battalions fought valiantl y
Charan-Kanoa . It was a "fearfu l
and hate, with the desire t o but were unable to stop the banza i
charge of flesh and fire, savage and
kill . . . . [Our enemy seems t o onslaught .
primitive . . . . Some of the enem y
us now to be] a savage ani- Three artillery battalions of th e
mal, a beast, a devil, not a were armed only with rocks or a
10th Marines behind the 105th wer e
human at all, and the onl y knife mounted on a pole . " the next target . The gunners coul d
thought is to kill, kill, kill . . . . The avalanche hit the 105th In- not set their fuses fast enough, eve n
Finally it ends . fantry, dug in for the night with tw o when cut to four-tenths of a second,
This was the wild chaos tha t battalions on the main line of resis - to stop the enemy right on top of
General Smith predicted as th e tance and the regimental headquar- them . So they lowered the muzzle s
final convulsive effort of the Japan - ters behind them . However, those of their 105mm howitzers an d

33
Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 84474

A Marine moves out to catch up with his unit after he has covered a dead comrade with a poncho liner and marked his position with his bayoneted rifle .

spewed ricochet fire by bouncin g The guns were overrun and the Ma - finally starting to move to the relie f
their shells off the foreground . rine artillerymen, after removin g of the shattered 105th, the 165t h
Many of the other guns could no t the firing locks of their guns, fel l "was still 200 to 300 yards short" of
fire at all, since Army troops ahea d back to continue the fight as in- making contact. This tardiness wa s
of them were inextricably inter - fantrymen. unfortunately matched by "the long
twined with the Japanese attackers . The official history of the 27t h delay in the arrival of the 106th In -
However, other Marines in the ar- Infantry Division recounts sadl y
fantry" to try to shore up the bat-
tillery battalions fired every type o f the reactions of its fellow regiments
tered troops of the 105th .
small weapon they could find . The when the firestorm broke on th e
The extraordinarily bitter hand-
fire direction center of one of their 105th . The men of the nearby 165th
battalions was almost wiped out , Infantry chose that morning t o to-hand fighting finally took th e
and the battalion commander wa s "stand where they were and shoot momentum out of the Japanes e
killed . The cane field to their fron t Taps without any effort to move for - surge, and it was stopped at last a t
was swarming with enemy troops . ward ." By 1600 that afternoon, after the CP of the 105th some 800 yard s

34
south of Tanapag. By 1800 most of The next day, D+23, 8 July, sa w would not permit the civil-
the ground lost had been regained . the beginning of the end . Th e ians to surrender . I saw with
It had been a ghastly day. Th e Japanese had spent the last of thei r my own eyes women, som e
105th Infantry's two battalions ha d unit manpower in the banza i carrying children, come ou t
suffered a shocking 918 casualtie s charge ; now it was time for the fina l of the caves and start towar d
while killing 2,295 Japanese . One of American mop-up . LVTs rescue d our lines . They'd be sho t
the Marine artillery battalions ha d men of the 105th Infantry who ha d down by their own people . I
127 casualties, but had accounted waded out from the shore to th e watched any number o f
for 322 of the enemy. A final count reef to escape the Japanese . Hollan d women carrying childre n
of the Japanese dead reached th e Smith then moved most of the 27t h come down to the cliffs tha t
staggering total of 4,311, some due Infantry Division into reserve, and dropped to the ocean .
to previous shell-fire, but the vas t put the 2d Marine Division back o n They were very steep, ver y
majority killed in the banzai charge . the line of attack, with the 105th In - precipitous . The wome n
Amidst the carnage, there ha d fantry attached . Together with th e would come down and throw
been countless acts of bravery. Two 4th Marine Division, they swep t the children into the ocean and
that were recognized by late r north towards the end of the island . jump in and commit suicide . I
awards of the Army Medal o f Along the coast there wer e watched one group at a dis-
Honor were the leadership an d bizarre spectacles that presaged a tance of perhaps 100 yards ,
"resistance to the death" of Army macabre ending to the campaign . about eight or ten civilia n
Lieutenant Colonel William J . The official Marine history pictured men, women and children get
O'Brien, commander of a battalio n the scene : into a little huddle and blo w
of the 105th Infantry, and one o f The enemy pocketed in the themselves up . . . . It was a
his squad leaders, Sergean t area had destroyed themselve s sad and terrible thing, and ye t
Thomas A . Baker. in suicidal rushes from th e I presume quite consisten t
Three Marines each "gallantl y high cliffs to the rocky beach with the Japanese rules o f
gave his life in the service of hi s below. Many were observed , Bushido .
country" and were posthumously along with hundreds of civil- Lieutenant Stott in that same di-
awarded the Navy Medal of Honor. ians, wading out into the se a vision witnessed other unbelievabl e
They were Private First Clas s and permitting themselves t o forms of self-destruction :
Harold C . Agerholm, Private Firs t be drowned . Others commit- Interpreters were sum-
Class Harold G . Epperson, an d ted hara-kiri with knives, o r moned, and they pleaded b y
Sergeant Grant F. Timmerman . killed themselves wit h amplifier for the civilians t o
The 3d Battalion, 10th Marines , grenades . Some officers, usin g come forward in surrender .
which had fought so tenaciously in their swords, decapitate d No movement followed . . .
the banzai assault, received th e many of their troops . The people drew closer to-
Navy Unit Commendation . Fou r gether into a compact mass . It
years later, the 105th Infantry an d D+24, 9 July was still predominantly civil-
its attached tank battalion wer e ians, but several in uniform
awarded the Army Distinguishe d It was to be the final day of a could be distinguished circling
Unit Citation . long, grueling campaign . The 6th about in the throng and using
While attention centered on th e and 8th Marines came down fro m the civilians for protection. As
bloody battle on the coast, the 23 d the hills to the last western beaches , they huddled closer, sounds of
Marines was attacking a stron g while the 4th Marine Division, wit h a weird singing chant carrie d
Japanese force well protected b y the 2d Marines attached, reache d up to us . Suddenly a wavin g
caves in a cliff inland . The key to Marpi Point, the northern end o f flag of the Rising Sun was un-
their elimination was an ingeniou s the island . furled . Movement grew mor e
improvisation . In order to provid e There a final drama of horro r agitated ; men started leapin g
fire support, truck-mounted rocke t was played out. Lieutenant Colone l into the sea, and the chanting
launchers were lowered over th e Chambers watched, amazed: gave way to startled cries, and
cliff by chains attached to tanks . During this day as w e with them the popping soun d
Once down at the base, their fire , moved along the cliffs an d of detonating grenades . It wa s
supplemented by that of rocke t caves, we uncovered civilians the handful of soldiers, deter-
gunboats off shore, snuffed out the all the time . The Jap soldiers mined to prevent the surrende r
enemy resistance . would not surrender, and or escape of their kinfolk, who

35
tossed grenades into th e The proof of these fundamenta l rassing fire on the beaches, but als o
milling throng of men, women, judgements was dramatized fou r because of the corps' hard-driving ,
and children, and then dive d months later, when 100 B-2 9 rapid attack, the estimate of resup-
into the sea from which escap e bombers took off from Saipa n ply requirements was far too small .
was impossible .The explodin g bound for Tokyo . For example, a shortage of radi o
grenades cut the mob int o There were other fateful results . batteries was never corrected. There
patches of dead, dying, an d The United States now had a secur e was insufficient time to sort an d
wounded, and for the firs t advanced naval base for further pun- separate equipment and supplie s
time we actually saw wate r ishing strikes close to enemy shores . adequately . Consequently, ther e
that ran red with huma n Emperor Hirohito was now forced to were mix-ups, with Marine uni-
blood . consider a diplomatic settlement o f forms getting into Army dump s
With this kind of fanaticism char- the war. The militaristic General Tojo, and Army supplies showing up in
acterizing the Japanese, it is not sur- the Premier, and his entire cabinet fel l Marine dumps .
prising that 23,811 of the enem y from power on 18 July, nine day s It was after the beach confusio n
after Saipan's loss. at Saipan that the Navy decided a
were known dead, with uncounte d
The lessons learned in this cam- permanent corps shore part y
thousands of others charred b y
paign would be observed in futur e should be organized . It would b e
flamethrowers and sealed forever i n
American operations, as flaws wer e solely responsible for the move-
their caves . Only 736 prisoners of
analyzed and corrected . The clea r ment of all supplies from the beac h
war were taken, and of these 43 8
need to improve aviation support for to the dumps and for the subse-
were Koreans . American casualties
the ground troops led directly to the quent issue to the divisions .
numbered 3,225 killed in action ,
better results in the Philippine Island s Tactical lessons learned were also
13,061 wounded in action, and 326
and on Iwo Jima and Okinawa . The new to the Central Pacific war. In-
missing in action .
artillery-spotting missions flown by stead of a small atoll, the battle had
The island was officially declare d
VMO-2 and -4, set a pattern for th e been one of movement on a sizabl e
"secured" at 1615 on 9 July (al - use of the light planes in the future. land mass, and it was further com-
though "mopping up" continued af- Naval gunfire support was als o plicated by the numerous caves and
terwards) . The 4th Marine Divisio n closely reviewed . General Saito ha d the defensive systems they pro-
was later awarded the Presidentia l written, "If there just were no nava l vided for the Japanese . The enemy
Unit Citation for its "outstandin g gunfire, we feel we could fight it ou t had defended caves before, bu t
performance in combat" on Saipa n with the enemy in a decisive battle . " never on such a large scale . O n
and its subsequent assault on th e While more than 8,500 tons of am - Saipan, these caves were both nat-
neighboring island of Tinian . munition were fired by U .S . Navy ural and man-made . Often natura l
ships, the flat trajectory of the nava l vegetation gave them excellen t
Saipan's Legacy guns "proved somewhat limiting, " camouflage . Some had steel doors
as the shells didn't have the plung- which could be opened for an ar-
ing and penetrating effect whic h tillery piece or machine gun to fire ,
The campaign on Saipan ha d
was needed against Japanes e and then retreat behind the door be -
brought many American casualties ,
strongholds . fore return fire could take effect .
and it also heralded the kind of fight-
Finally, there were lesson s The flame-throwing tanks coul d
ing which would be experienced in
learned from the supply confusio n reach many of these caves and s o
subsequent operations in the Centra l
that had marred the early days o n proved very useful . Unfortunately,
and Western Pacific in the days tha t
the beaches and hadn't improve d their range was limited on Saipan ,
lay ahead in the Pacific War . Holland
much since the days of the Guadal- but this was later improved .
Smith declared it "the decisive battle canal landing . Logistic problem s Thus it was that the hard expe-
of the Pacific offensive" for i t had arisen because, once a beac h riences on Saipan led to a variet y
"opened the way to the home is - was in friendly hands, the ship s of changes which paid valuabl e
lands ." Japanese General Saito ha d were unloaded as rapidly as possi- dividends in saving America n
written that "the fate of the Empir e ble and the sailors in the landin g lives in the future Pacific cam-
will be decided in this one action ." A craft were in a hurry to get into the paigns . And the loss of the islan d
Japanese admiral agreed, "Our wa r beaches and back out again . Sup - was a strategic strike from whic h
was lost with the loss of Saipan ." It plies were spread all over th e the Japanese never recovered, a s
had truly been a "strategic strike" fo r beach, partly because of th e the United States drove forward t o
the United States . enemy's artillery and mortar ha - ultimate victory.

36
Sources About the Author
aptain John C . Chapin earned a bachelor of art s
There are five principal offici a
sources for the facts about the unit a c
tions on Saipan . These range from pre
C degree with honors in history from Yale Univer-
sity in 1942 and was commissioned later that year . H e
liminary, condensed accounts to ma = served as a rifle platoon leader in the 24th Marines ,
sive, detailed final studies which react 4th Marine Division, and was wounded in actio n
down to the level of company oper a during the assault landings on Roi-Namur an d
tions . In the interests of brevity, the a u Saipan .
thor of this monograph has limite n Transferred to duty at the Historical Division ,
himself to covering the actions of reg i Headquarters Marine Corps, he wrote the first officia l
ments and divisions, with minor speci a histories of the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions . Moving
exceptions . to reserve status at the end of World War II, he earned a master's degree in his -
The five sources are : tory at George Washington University with a thesis on The Marine Occupatio n
1) Henry I . Shaw, Jr ., Bernard C of Haiti, 1915-1922 . "
Nalty, and Edwin T . Turnbladh, Centre Now a captain in retired status, he has devoted major portions of 10 years t o
Pacific Drive, vol . 3, History of U .S . Ma writing history as a volunteer at the Marine Corps Historical Center . His firs t
rive Corps Operations in World War 1 publication there was an official monograph, A History of VMFA-115, for one o f
(Washington : Historical Branch, G-3 D i the Marine Corps' better-known squadrons . With support from the Historica l
Center and the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, he then spent some year s
vision, Headquarters, U .S . Mari n
researching and interviewing for the writing of a new book, Uncommon Men —
Corps, 1966) .
2) Philip A . Crowl, Campaign in th The Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps . This was published by the White Man e
Publishing Co .
Marianas, vol 9 ., United States Army i
Acknowledgement is gratefully made to Lieutenant General William K .
World War II, The War in the Pacifi Jones, USMC (Ret), for his first draft of an account of the Saipan operation .
(Washington : Office of the Chief a
Military History, Department of t h
Army, 1960) .
3) Maj Carl W . Hoffman, USM (
Saipan : The Beginning of the End (Wash
ington : Historical Division, Headqua i
ters, U .S . Marine Corps, 1950) .
4) Capt James R . Stockman, USM C
Campaign for the Marianas (Washingto r
Historical Division, Headquarters, U .
Marine Corps, 1946) .
5) Capt Edmund G . Love, USA, T h
27th Infantry Division in World Wa r THIS PAMPHLET HISTORY, one in a series devoted to U .S. Marines in the
(Washington : Infantry Journal Pre s World War II era, is published for the education and training of Marines by
1949) . the History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U .S . Marine Corps ,
In addition, there is a wide variety c Washington, D .C ., as a part of the U.S . Department of Defense observanc e
other literature on the Saipan operatio r of the 50th anniversary of victory in that war .
This material ranges from a 19-pa g Editorial costs of preparing this pamphlet have been defrayed in part b y
essay by a Naval Academy midshi F a bequest from the estate of Emilie H . Watts, in memory of her late husband ,
man, to first-hand accounts appearin Thomas M . Watts, who served as a Marine and was the recipient of a Purpl e
in the Marine Corps Gazette, to wild l Heart .
subjective books dealing with individ
WORLD WAR II COMMEMORATIVE SERIE S
ual experiences or the "Smith vs Smit h
controversy. DIRECTOR OF MARINE CORPS HISTORY AND MUSEUM S
To supplement the framework of un Brigadier General Edwin H . Simmons, USMC (Ret)
tactics, vignettes of individuals ha v
GENERAL EDITOR ,
been drawn from two principal sources :
WORLD WAR II COMMEMORATIVE SERIES
1) The Personal Papers Collection c Benis M. Frank
the Marine Corps Historical Center h a
useful memoirs, particularly those c CARTOGRAPHIC CONSULTAN T
George C . MacGillivray
Frederick A . Stott (473-4A32), John (
Chapin (671-4A44), and Robert F. Gr a EDITING AND DESIGN SECTION, HISTORY AND MUSEUMS DIVISIO N
(1946-6B12) . Robert E. Struder, Senior Editor ; W. Stephen Hill, Visual Informatio n
2) In the Center's Oral History Colle ( Specialist ; Catherine A . Kerns, Composition Services Technicia n
tion, the author examined well over Marine Corps Historical Cente r
dozen reminiscences and found on l Building 58, Washington Navy Yard
four that involved front-line experience: Washington, D.C . 20374-5040
Lieutenant Colonel Justice M . Chamber:
USMCR (C2) ; Captain Carl W. Hoffma i 1994
USMC, (H2) ; Lieutenant Colon E PCN 190 003123 00
William K . Jones, USMC, (J2) ; and Lie f
tenant John H . Craven, ChC, USN, (C3) .