In the capture of the southern Marianas, including the recapture of Guam, during the summer of 1944, Army ground and air forces played an important, though subordinate, role to that of the Navy and its Marine Corps. Marine personnel constituted the bulk of the combat troops employed. The objective of this campaign was "to secure control of sea communications through the Central Pacific by isolating and neutralizing the Carolines and by the establishment of sea and air bases for operations against Japanese sea routes and long-range air attacks against the Japanese home land." Its success would provide steppingstones from which the Americans could threaten further attack westward toward the Philippines, Formosa, and Japan itself, and would gain bases from which the Army Air Forces' new very long range bombers, the B-29's, could strike at Japan's heartland. Recognizing and accepting the challenge, the Japanese Navy suffered heavy and irreplaceable losses in the accompanying Battle of the Philippine Sea; and the islands after capture became the base for all the massive air attacks on Japan, beginning in November 1944.
In the operations described in the present volume, landings against strong opposition demonstrated the soundness of the amphibious doctrine and techniques evolved out of hard experience in preceding Pacific operations. Bitter inland fighting followed the landings, with Army and Marine Corps divisions engaged side by side. The author's account and corresponding Marine Corps histories of these operations provide ample opportunity to study the differences in the fighting techniques of the two services. Dr. Crowl also deals frankly with one of the best-known controversies of World War II, that of Smith versus Smith, but concludes that it was the exception to generally excellent interservice co-operation.
With team effort among the military services the order of the day, this record of the Army's experience in working with the Navy and the Marine Corps should be particularly valuable both now and in the future.
16 March 1959
WARREN H. HOOVER
Acting Chief of Military History
Philip A. Crowl, who has an M.A. from the State University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University, taught History at the Johns Hopkins University and at Princeton. Commissioned in the Navy in World War II, he became a lieutenant (senior grade) and commanding officer of an LCI gunboat that was in action at Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf, and Okinawa. From 1949 through 1956, Dr. Crowl was a historian with the Office, Chief of Military History. He was awarded the James V. Forrestal Fellowship for 1953-54 to study command relationships in amphibious warfare in World War II. Since 1957 he has been in Department of State Intelligence. Dr. Crowl is author of Maryland During and After the Revolution (1943) and coauthor of The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War (1951) and Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls (1955).
This volume is a companion piece to Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls by Philip A. Crowl and Edmund G. Love, also published in the Pacific subseries of the UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Together, the two volumes cover the beginning and climax (although not the conclusion) of the Central Pacific phase of the war against Japan, with special emphasis, of course, on the U.S. Army's contribution to the victories won in that area.1 Specifically, Campaign in the Marianas treats of the capture of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the southern Marianas; the strategic and tactical plans leading thereto; supporting operations by naval and air units; and the final development and exploitation of these islands as bases for furtherance of American joint operations against the Japanese homeland.
The word joint cannot be overemphasized in connection with any consideration of U.S. operations in the Central Pacific. It was predominantly a U.S. Navy theater under the command of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The main burden of the amphibious and ground fighting in the Marianas, as in the Gilberts and Marshalls, fell on the shoulders of the U.S. Marine Corps, whose troops far outnumbered those of the U.S. Army. The author recognizes this and recognizes also that, by concentrating on the activities of the Army, this volume in a sense presents a distorted picture. The distortion is deliberate. The book represents, by definition, one segment of the history of the U.S. Army in World War II. Excellent official and semiofficial histories of U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps operations in the Marianas have already been published. The present narrative of Army activities should add in some measure to what has already been written about the campaign. The reader may also gain additional insight into the nature of joint operations and interservice co-ordination.
Because the number of Army troops participating in the Marianas Campaign was comparatively small, it has been possible to devote more attention here to small unit actions than in the volumes of the series that deal with the movements of great armies and corps over large continental land masses. In much of this narrative the spotlight centers on the infantry company. Ideally, as much attention should have been devoted to equivalent artillery units, especially since Army artillery played a major role in the Marianas Campaign. Unfortunately, the records kept by artillery units during the campaign were--to understate the matter--terse. Unfortunately also, Army field historians who
accompanied the troops and who were to supplement and correct the official records by conducting on-the-spot interviews, mostly neglected the artillery in favor of the more mobile infantry.
No really adequate acknowledgment can be made to the many kind and industrious people who helped to bring this book to completion. On substantive matters of strategy and tactics, Dr. Louis Morton, Chief of the Pacific Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, during the preparation of this volume, was a tireless and able critic. On questions of literary style, Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, formerly Chief Historian, Department of the Army, was the same. The final editing of the manuscript was performed by Miss Mary Ann Bacon, whose eye for detail is remarkable. None of them is responsible for any errors of fact and interpretation or gaucheries of style I may have persisted in despite their stern warnings. To all I am very grateful.
I owe a special debt of gratitude to Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff whose services went far above and beyond the call of his duties as Deputy Chief Historian for Cartography. His maps speak for themselves. What is not so apparent is his meticulous scrutiny of the written narrative presented here and his expert advice on all matters tactical--advice based on almost a half-century's intensive study of military tactics.
Maj. Gen. A. C. Smith, formerly Chief of Military History, Col. George G. O'Connor, formerly Chief of War Histories Division, and the military members of their staffs were liberal in their technical assistance and made it possible for me to have access to the classified source material upon which this volume is based. Mr. Thomas Wilds is responsible for unearthing, in some cases translating, and in most cases interpreting the widely scattered and often obscure Japanese source material upon which is based the account of enemy plans, defensive preparations, and combat activity. Miss Margaret Plumb began and Mr. Stanley L. Falk completed a highly useful study of the Guam phase of the campaign. Mr. Falk's excellent draft narrative of the operations of the 77th Infantry Division on Guam forms the basis for the account of that division's actions presented here. Loretto Carroll Stevens was copy editor for the volume and Norma Heacock Sherris was responsible for the selection of photographs. The Index was compiled by Nicholas J. Anthony. Mr. Israel Wice, Chief Archivist, General Reference Branch, and his staff and Miss Lois Aldrich of the World War II Records Division, NARS, were unfailingly patient and courteous. The debt to officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps who read and criticized various portions of the manuscript or corresponded with the author is acknowledged in the Bibliographical Note appended to the volume.
Since so much of this volume deals with Marine Corps operations, I have been particularly dependent on the co-operation of members of the Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Special thanks are due to the late Lt. Col. Frank O. Hough, USMCR, Lt. Col. Harry Edwards, USMC, Lt. Col. Carl W. Hoffman, USMC, and Maj. O. R. Lodge, USMC.
16 March 1959
PHILIP A. CROWL
1. The conclusion of this phase of the war is covered in Roy E. Appleman, James M. Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, and John T. Stevens, Okinawa: The Last Battle, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1948).