This history is based principally on official Marine Corps records: the reports, diaries, orders, etc., of the units or activities involved in the specific operations described. Records of the other armed services have been consulted where pertinent. On matters pertaining to operations at high strategic level, the authors have drawn on the records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
Appendix A: Bibliographical Notes
Because this volume spans a considerable period of time and deals with a wide variety of activities, the same records seldom overlap from one part of the book to another. These are fully cited in the text and will be discussed separately as applicable to specific parts. Except as otherwise noted such records are on file at, or obtainable through, the Records and Research Section, Historical Branch, G-3, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.
There are, however, a number of published works of general interest more widely cited throughout this volume. The more important of these are listed below
BooksPeter A. Isely and Philip A. Crowl, The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951. This deals with the evolution of amphibious doctrines, tactics, and materiel and their application in the Pacific. This excellent study was undertaken by the history faculty of Princeton University at the behest of the Marine Corps. In no sense an official history, the conclusions it contains were arrived at independently by the authors and researchers who compiled it.
Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volumes III, IV, V. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1948, 1949, 1950. The volumes cited bear the individual titles: The Rising Sun in the Pacific; Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions; and The Struggle for Guadalcanal. Although he disclaims his work as official, Rear Admiral Morison (USNR, Retired) undertook the monumental project on naval order and has carried it through with all possible support of the Navy. The author ranks as one of our leading writers and historians, and the whole series is highly readable and reliable. A few minor errors of fact that crept into the first editions are being corrected in subsequent printings.
Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington: Combat Forces Press, 1952. This is another unofficial history undertaken at the request and with the support, of the Marine Corps. The title is self-explanatory, but the author gives some account of the earlier days of Marine Corps Aviation. It is by far the most comprehensive treatment of this subject now in existence.
E.B. Potter (Editor), This United States and World Sea Power. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1955. This large (963 pages) single-volume history is the work of twelve faculty members of the Department of English, History and Government, U.S. Naval Academy. It is extremely comprehensive in scope, covering naval history from ancient operations to today. As a result comparatively few of its chapters are applicable to Marine Corps operations in World War II. It furnished the authors of this book, however, much valuable background.
Ernest J. King and Walter Muir Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1952. This somewhat heavy-handed tome sheds many interesting sidelights on high-level decisions and how they were arrived at.
William F. Halsey and J. Bryan, III, Admiral Halsey's Story. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1947. This popular treatment of one of the most spectacular figures in the Pacific war presents eyewitness descriptions of many striking and important events.
Masu Kato, The Lost War. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946. Kato, a Japanese new correspondent
in Washington at the time of Pearl Harbor, was interned and then repatriated in the civilian exchange ship. He understands thoroughly both Japanese and U.S. points of view. His "inside story" presents vividly political, military, and civilian conditions in Japan as the war developed and sheds much light on why they developed as they did on the enemy's side.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Campaigns of the Pacific War. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946. This is a report os the USSBS (Pacific) Naval Analysis Division. It attempts to present the broad picture of the war through brief descriptions of the various campaigns, but unfortunately was prepared too soon after the event to gain deep perspective. The text contains many factual inaccuracies. This book is of great value, however, in presenting translations of many enemy documents that reveal Japanese wartime thinking.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Interrogations of Japanese Officials, 2 vols. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946. This is a companion report to Campaigns (above) and similarly is of value in telling the Japanese side of the story.
Part I: Introduction to the Marine Corps
Official DocumentsAnnual Reports of the Commandant of the Marine Corps constitute the basic primary source relied upon in tracing the growth and development of the Marine Corps throughout the period under consideration. These are supplemented by pertinent reports at lower levels, as indicated in the text. More detailed breakdown of personnel statistics derives from study of contemporary muster rolls.
In dealing with the evolution of amphibious doctrine Marine Corps and Navy manuals pertaining to landing operatons, issued during the period under discussion, are the principal sources. Files of Headquarters Marine Corps have been consuulted in tracing the origin and development of the Fleet Marine Force. These files, together with those of the Navy Department Bureau of Ships and Senate Report No. 10, Part 16, 78th Congress, 2d Session, Additional Report of the Special Committee Investigating the National Defense Program, form the basis for the discussion of the development of landing craft and amphibious vehicles.
The reports of the units assigned to the Iceland occupation force, supplemented by command correspondence files, provided the thread of the narrative. Especially valuable are the official letters written by General Marston to various officers at Headquarters Marine Corps giving his personal and professional commentary on the operation.
Unofficial SourcesLetters of comment on draft manuscripts, interviews, and in the case of the Iceland operation, the extensive notes, correspondence, and draft narratives of Lieutenant Colonel John L. Zimmerman, have supplemented official material. Especially useful in providing background information on the amphibious tractor was an interview with Lieutenant Colonel Ernest E. Linsert, a participant in most of the initial stages of its development.
It was permissible to keep a diary in an overseas theatre for the first few months of the war; there was no prohibition, naturally, against the keeping of diaries in peacetime. General Oliver P. Smith, who served as battalion commander of 1/6 throughout the Iceland occupation, kept such a diary and made a copy of it available to the Historical Branch, G-3, Headquarters Marine Corps. The diary is doubly valuable because General Smith has included extensive comments elaborating on the necessarily brief daily entries. The resulting 132-page typescript goes far toward giving the reader the on-the-spot "feel" of the operation.
Books and PeriodicalsWilliam H. Russell, "Genesis of FMF Doctrine: 1879-1898," Marine Corps Gazette, April-July 1951. In this four-part article, Professor Russell of the Naval Academy discusses the earliest recorded debates within the naval establishment on the amphibious problems which developed following the Navy's transition from sail to steam.
General Holland M. Smith, "Development of Amphibious Tactics in the U.S. Navy," Marine
Corps Gazette, June-October 1948. General Smith probably contributed more than any single individual to the developments which he discusses in this authoritative five-part article.
John H. Russell, Jr., "Birth of the Fleet Marine Force," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1946. An Assistant Commandant, General Russell conceived the FMF essentially as it exists today; as Commandant, he guided it through its early formative years.
Holland M. Smith and Percy Finch, Coral and Brass. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949. In this autobiographical volume, General Smith touches again on the early struggles dealt with in his Gazette series and carries the story through the Pacific war.
Major General John A. Lejeune, "The United States Marine Corps," Marine Corps Gazette, December 1923. In this article, General Lejeune, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, expresses the prevailing Marine Corps thought on advance base operation.
Brigadier General Dion Williams, "Blue Marine Corps Expeditionary Force," Marine Corps Gazette, September 1925. In this article, General Williams discusses the Army-Navy amphibious maneuver held in Hawaiian waters in 1925.
Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Croizat, "The Framework of Hemisphere Defense," MS of a forthcoming volume in the series, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, has been most useful in presenting the Army's viewpoint of the problems presented by the Iceland operation. Dr. Fairchild also made available the final draft manuscripts of several chapters he wrote for a further OCMH volume on Army operations in the Eastern Atlantic (as yet untitled) which detail the progress of the occupation and examine Iceland's peculiar command situation.
Part II: War Comes
Official DocumentsReports of the units involved, as cited in the text, form the basis of the narrative of Marine garrison activities in Samoa and the 14th Naval District. All Marine records on Guam were either destroyed or captured and the reconstruction of the action on 8-10 December is largely taken from the post-captivity report of the island's governor.
The primary source of information on the actions of the United States and Japan in the period immediately before, during, and just after the Japanese raid on Pearl is Senate Document No. 244, 79th Congress, Report of the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack. In addition to the basic report of the findings of the committee, there are 39 volumes of hearings, testimony, and exhibits which touch on every facet of the story. The record of the hearings and the appended documents constitute a unique 10,000,000-word examination of a military disaster.
Unofficial DocumentsUnofficial reports, personal letters, notes and interviews of numerous individuals, and on occasion unpublished manuscripts, have been drawn upon to supplement official material where pertinent. An especially valuable source of information has been the comments of key participants in the actions described who reviewed draft manuscripts of this history as well as drafts of previous campaign monographs. Unofficial comments of this type, as cited in the text, has been especially helpful in developing a fuller story of the initial action at Midway.
Books and PeriodicalsIn dealing with the broader aspects of the war and decisions and events on a high strategic plane, two columes of the Army's official history United States Army in World War II have been most useful. They present a lucid account of thought and planning at Chief of Staff level with very detailed citation of sources consulted:
Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations. Washington: Historical Division, Department of the Army, 1950.
Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1953.
Major O.R. Lodge, The Recapture of Guam. Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division,
Headquarters Marine Corps, 1954. While this monograph is primarily concerned with the operations on Guam in the summer of 1944, it does include a narrative of the Japanese capture of the island which is the basis for this volume's story.
Thomas Wilds, "The Japanese Seizure of Guam," Marine Corps Gazette, July 1955. This article by an accomplished Japanese translator is the only published narrative taken from enemy sources of the capture of the island and is essential to a clear picture of the operation.
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Part III: Defense of Wake
Official DocumentsOfficial records pertaining to he defense of Wake ceased to exist with the atoll's capture by the Japanese, save for the dispatches which got through to Pearl Harbor and the reports carried out by Major Bayler several days prior to the final struggle, as related in the narrative.
Upon his return after release from Japanese prison camp, Colonel Devereux requested each of his surviving officers to submit to him an informal report concerning his part in the operation. From study of the material thus obtained and the promptings of his own memory, Devereux then prepared his official report for submission to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Colonel Paul A. Putnam submitted a similar report as CO of VMF-211. These comprise the basic sources from which the version of the operation contained herein derives.
Unofficial DocumentsEighteen officers submitted informal reports to Colonel Devereux, and six of these later filled out a special questionnaire prepared by the Historical Branch. These papers, together with copies of pertinent correspondence and notes and transcriptions of interviews with individuals, are on file in Marine Corps Archives.
Books and PeriodicalsThe defense of Wake figures more or less incidentally in all of the works of general interest previously described. But comparatively little has been published about the details of the operation itself. Since it was no narrowly a Marine action, the other services have shown little interest in studying it, and within the Corps few remain who know much about it. The following works, however, are deemed worthy of mention:
Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., The Defense of Wake, Washington: Historical Section, Division of Public Information, Headquarters Marine Corps, 1947. This is the official Marine Corps historical monograph from which the version in this book has been adapted.
James P.S. Devereux, The Story of Wake Island, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1947. This work prepared by the commander of the Wake defense with some professional literary assistance does not pretend to be a history, but it does contain a number of human interest sidelights not found elsewhere.
Lieutenant Colonel Walter L.J. Bayler, Last Man off Wake Island. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943. This book was rushed to publication to shed timely light on an event currently before the public eye. Memories of the events during his stay on Wake were still fresh in Colonel Bayler's mind at the time of writing; but, of course, he did not see the final battle.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., "We're Headed for Wake," Marine Corps Gazette, June 1946. Lieutenant Colonel Heinl, then a first lieutenant, was a member of the abortive relief expedition and here gives a full account of that little understood event from the point of view of those engaged in it.
[HyperWar histories of the loss of Wake]
Part IV: Marines in the Philippines
Official DocumentsJust before the fall of Corregidor an American submarine took off a load of escapees and a scant haul of the records of units that had fought the Japanese on Luzon. Fortunately, these records included the daily journals of the 4th Marines operations and intelligence sections plus a very few other papers and reports, mostly interleaved in the journal copy books. For some reason, not now know, this contemporary material has been ignored until the writing of this volume. In the
few previous accounts which mention Marine action in the Philippines, there are a number of direct contradictions to the entries in these journals. None of these errors are particularly serious, however, and where it was possible they have been corrected in this version of the action.
A number of the official reports cited, including that of the 4th Marines, were drawn up long after the events they describe by participants who survived captivity. The details of these reports are somewhat suspect since the accounts are distillations of memory, carefully hidden notes, and those few official papers of the period that were available when the reports were prepared. It is not difficult to find minor errors in these reports, but on the whole they are quite valuable.
The cited narratives compiled by Admirals Hart and Rockwell, together with their supplementary postwar comments on naval activities in Asiatic waters, have been very helpful in establishing the background of the Navy and Marine Corps contribution to the defense of the Philippines.
Unofficial DocumentsA number of undated informal reports submitted by survivors of the 4th Marines, presumably written right after the war, form the largest body of information about the Marine part in the Philippines operation. These reports are frequently cited in the text. Of almost equal importance are the letters of comment received from over 25 survivors who read the preliminary draft of this part. These men were able to clear up many puzzling matters of command relationship and small unit action that were left unanswered in official documents and the personal accounts mentioned above. The narrative of the fighting in the East Sector on Corregidor is drawn in large part from these letters and unofficial reports.
A Marine reserve officer, Captain Grant J. Berry, has compiled an interesting story of the 4th Marines in the Philippines, much of it based upon correspondence with survivors. He used this material to write his master's thesis at the University of California in 1951. A copy of the thesis and a portion of his correspondence with former members of the 4th Marines is on file in the Marine Corps Archives.
Japanese SourcesFollowing the close of the war, the U.S. Army's Historical Section, G-2, General Headquarters, Far East Command, sponsored and directed the preparation of a series of monographs entitled Japanese Studies in World War II. These were prepared by Japanese commanders and staff officers who had participated in the various Pacific campaigns; and they were compiled from reports, notes, and consultation with key survivors. These translated studies have been checked carefully against all other available sources and found to be remarkably accurate. In the case of the early Philippines campaign several of these monographs have been consulted and the two-volume study of Fourteenth Army operations has been used frequently to give the enemy viewpoint. This particular monograph is very uneven in quality but it includes a wealth of information available nowhere else.
Books and PeriodicalsLouis Morton, The Fall of the Philippines. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1953. Dr. Morton's book, is another of the volumes of the United States Army in World War II series. It presents what is easily the most comprehensive and thorough treatment of this subject yet to appear in print.
Wesley Crave and James L. Cate (Editors), Plans and Early Operations, January 1939 to August 1942 -- The Army Air Forces in World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948. This is the first of a series of official histories, subsequent volumes of which will be cited throughout this history when Army air operations have a bearing on the narrative of Marine action.
General Jonathan C. Wainwright, General Wainwright's Story, Robert Considine (Editor). Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1946. Although much of this book is devoted to General Wainwright's experiences as a Japanese prisoner, the early portions shed some interesting first-hand sidelights on the fighting on Bataan and Corregidor.
Kazumaro Uno, Corrigidor: Isle of Delusion. Shandhai: Press Bureau of the Imperial japanese Army Headquarters in China, 1942. This
propaganda booklet, printed in English, contains a number of second-hand accounts of enemy experiences in the seizure of Corregidor. The book has been used principally to give personality to the enemy side of the action. A photostatic copy of this book is held by the Office of the Chief of Military History.
Hanson W. Baldwin, "The 4th Marines at Corregidor," Marine Corps Gazette, November 1946-February 1947. One of today's leading analysts and writers on military subjects carefully combed the 4th Marines' report, the personal narratives of survivors mentioned above, and consulted numerous individual participants in compiling his detailed four-part article on the stand of the regiment on Corregidor. The primary fault of the study is that it failed to utilize the existing 4th Marine journals and therefore has perpetuated a number of minor errors regarding the combat organization and strength of the regiment.
First Lieutenant William F. Hogaboom, "Action Report--Bataan," Marine Corps Gazette, April 1946. Lieutenant Hogaboom died while he was a prisoner of war but his narrative, secretly compiled during captivity, survived him and was published under this title. Hogaboom participated in both of the major Marine actions in the Philippines, Longoskawayan Point and Corregidor's defense.
Lieutenant Colonel William F. Prickett, "Naval Battalion at Mariveles," Marine Corps Gazette, June 1950. This article by a survivor of 3/4 who talked to many participants in the Longoskawayan action disagrees in some few respects with the official version of this action given in Commander Bridget's report. Prickett's story is in much more detail, however, than any official history, and well worth reading.
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Part V: Decision at Midway
Official DocumentsThis account of Marine activities on Midway is based mainly on the reports and diaries of the units participating: the 6th Defense Battalion and MAG-22. Also consulted were reports, plans, and official correspondence at higher levels: CinCPac, Commandant Fourteenth Naval District, etc., some of which are cited in the text.
Unofficial DocumentsIn course of preparation of the historical monograph on which this account is mainly based, Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., carried on extensive correspondence with individuals who held key positions on Midway before and during the attack. Many of these he interviewed personally. Some of this documentation is cited in the text; much more, of incidental interest, is on file in Marine Corps Archives.
Books and PeriodicalsAs with preceding descriptions of naval operatons, the previously cited sources have been relied on. In addition, the following works have been extensively consulted and used for this part:
Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., Marines at Midway. Washington: Historical Section, Division of Public Information, Headquarters Marine Corps, 1948. This is the historical monograph which, muich-edited and re-worked, forms the foundation for the present acccount.
M. Fuchida and M. Okumiya, Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1955. This is an excellent account of the battle from the Japanese side of the action.
Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, IJN, "Action Report by C-in-C of the First Air Fleet," ONI Review, May 1947. This article is simply a translation of what must stand as one of the most revealing documents obtained from the Japanese following the war. It is Admiral Nagumo's official report of the debacle in which he played the leading part. It is frank and factual to a surprising degree, and detailed to the extent of including charts showing the exact location of each bomb hit on each of the four carriers destroyed. It also includes a chronological log of all messages sent and received during the entire period of the approach, action, and withdrawal.
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Part VI: Guadalcanal
Official DocumentsIn coverage of the strategic planning for Guadalcanal this text cites much official correspondence
and planning at top level. The correspondence between Admiral King and General Marshall was obtained from the Naval History Division; material pertaining to the Joint Chiefs of Staff was furnished by the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army.
As in all operations discussed in this history, those in Part VI are based on the reports of the units concerned. These include action reports, war diaries, etc., of tactical units, and the journals of the various staff sections. At this stage of the war, however, Marines were less experienced in preparing reports than they became later. Command and staff personnel believed fighting to be more important than writing. Thus the documentation on many phases of early operations is fragmentary and incomplete. The 1st Marine Division's "Final Report on the Guadalcanal Operation" was not compiled until several months after the campaign, although much of the material it contains was prepared on the scene.
The Army and Navy were little better than the Marine Corps in this respect; their official documentation also leaves much to be desired. Generally speaking, the records of reporting units are in the custody of the service to which they belong.
Unofficial DocumentsIn the course of preparing the Marine Corps preliminary monograph on Guadalcanal, Major John L. Zimmerman circulated copies of his preliminary draft among many individuals who participated in that operation. These elicited many factual corrections and cogent comments which are included in the text. He also interviewed some of these officers. Notes or transcriptions of these interviews, together with all pertinent correspondence, are available through Marine Corps Archives.
Books and PeriodicalsAs the first protracted ground operation of the war, Guadalcanal elicited a spate of published material. Much of this was journalistic in nature; but in addition to these works of general interest, the following apply more narrowly to the historical examination of the campaign:
Major John L. Zimmerman, The Guadalcanal Campaign. Washington: Historical Division, Headquarters Marine Corps, 1949. This is the Marine Corps' preliminary study which serves a the groundwork for the present, completely revised and much more complete, account of the battle.
John Miller, Jr., Guadalcanal: The First Offensive. Washington: Historical Division, Department of the Army, 1949. This excellent volume is one in the series United States Army in World War II, and it has been relied on for much of the interpretation of material pertaining to Army command and operations of Army units.
Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate (Editors), The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1950. Volume IV of the series The Army Air Forces in World War II, this deals in greater detail with aviation operations than is practical in a general history of the campaign.
Herbert L. Merillat, The Island. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1944. The author participated in operations on Guadalcanal and writes at first hand, and with much human interest, of what he and his fellow Marines experienced there.
Eric A. Feldt, The Coastwatchers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946. Commander Feldt, RAN, organized and commanded that hardy band of rugged individualists who lurked in the jungle behind the Japanese lines and radioed out invaluable information to the Allied forces. Here he tells for the first time the story which was top secret during the war.
Many articles in periodicals were likewise journalistic in nature. They provide valuable sources for information which helps fill the gaps of the official accounts, however, and they have been cited where used in the text. One article bears special mention: Vice Admiral R. Tanaka with R. Pineau, "Japan's Losing Struggle for Guadalcanal," two parts, USNI Proceedings, July and August 1956. This excellent article sheds much light on the Japanese side of the Guadalcanal operation, particularly on the dramatic comings and goings of the Tokyo Express, those determined destroyers and cruisers which guarded the convoys shuttling supplies and reinforcements from Rabaul and the Shortlands to Guadalcanal. With the kind permission of the Proceedings, the volume quotes many passages from this article.
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