This history is predominantly based on official Marine Corps records comprising the diaries, reports, plans, journals, and orders of the commands and units that participated in the operations covered by this volume. Such records of the other Services as were pertinent to the subject matter have been consulted and used. Activities on high strategic levels have been reconstructed with the help of the records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or official publications that derived a considerable portion of their basic data from JCS records.
Since this volume deals with a number of seemingly unrelated topics, ranging from an administrative history of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, to major operations in the Western Pacific, not to mention aviation activities in widely separated areas, a large number of sources had to be consulted. Some of these were pertinent to only one area or period of time while others offered detailed information on a scope encompassing the entire volume. Unless otherwise noted, all of the official records cited are on file with or obtainable through the Library and Documentation Sections, Reference Branch, Historical Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps.
A number of published works of general interest have been consulted frequently during the preparation of this volume. The more important of these are listed below. In order to bridge the inevitable gaps and inadequacies that occur in the sources consulted, extensive use was made of the knowledge of key participants in the actions described. These men, representing all Services, generously offered time and effort in replying to specific questions, making themselves available for interviews, and furnishing critical comments on draft manuscript of this volume and preliminary monographs. The historical offices of the Army, Navy, and Air Force have conducted a detailed review of draft chapters and furnished much material of value to this history. The War History Office of the Defense Agency of Japan has read and commented on the passages dealing with Japanese operations on Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and in the Philippines, providing valuable information that has been incorporated into the narrative.
BooksWesley Frank Craven and James Lee Cate, eds. The Pacific: MATTERHORN to Nagasaki, June 1944 to August 1945--THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II, v. 5. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953. The Air Force official history covering the final year of World War II with particular emphasis on the development and employment of the B-29 bomber and operations in the Western and Southwestern Pacific. This well documented book is a reliable source for the operations of Army Air Forces units in the Pacific and their vital part in the defeat of Japan.
Jeter A. Isely and Philip A. Crowl. The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951. An outstanding source of information dealing with the adoption, development, and perfection of amphibious warfare and application of these techniques during various phases of World War II. The authors' critical comments on each major operation and their conclusions are invaluable for a clear perspective of warfare in the Pacific Theater.
VAdm E. P. Forrestel. Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN--A Study in Command. Washington: Department of the Navy, 1966. Record of a naval leader's service to his country in war and peace. This well documented and illustrated biography not only tells the story of a man and his brilliant career in the Pacific during World War II but also outlines some of the major naval operations of World War II.
FAdm William F. Halsey and LCdr J. Bryan
III. Admiral Halsey's Story. New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, Inc., 1947. The life and service of one of the most prominent American naval commanders in World War II. In addition to gaining a close look at the human side of this great naval leader, the reader is also presented with the background and development of some of the great naval actions in the Western Pacific during World War II.
FAdm Ernest H. King and Cdr Walter M. Whitehill. Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1952. An autobiography covering the entire span of service of this great naval leader, highlighting his part in the formulation of American strategy within the high-level command structure employed in World War II.
FAdm William D. Leahy. I Was There. New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1950. The autobiography of another high-ranking naval officer who served as Chief of Staff under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. In addition to highly relevant comments on top-level Allied conferences which the author attended, a sizable portion of the book deals with his most delicate prewar appointment as American Minister to the Vichy Government and his official and personal relations with prominent Vichy persons.
Samuel Eliot Morison. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, v. XII, XIII, XIV. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1958, 1959, 1960. These three volumes by Rear Admiral Morison, Leyte, June 1944-January 1945, The Liberation of the Philippines, 1944-1945, and Victory in the Pacific, 1945 give an excellent account of Navy operations in the Southwestern and Western Pacific. Though prepared with Navy collaboration and support, these volumes nevertheless bear the personal imprint of the author, whose masterful description of the naval operations of this period is without equal.
Robert Sherrod. History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington: Combat Forces Press, 1952. An unofficial history, but prepared with substantial research support from the Marine Corps, this work contains information on Marine aviation units not to be found elsewhere. It represents the most comprehensive source in its field published to date.
Robert Ross Smith. The Approach to the Philippines--The War in the Pacific--UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1953. An excellent account of the strategy and tactics that were employed in laying the basis for the recapture of the Philippines, specifically during amphibious and ground operations in New Guinea and the southern Palau Islands.
United States Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific), Naval Analysis Division. The Campaigns of the Pacific War, 1 vol. and Interrogations of Japanese Officials, 2 Vols. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1946. The three volumes give an interesting account of World War II as seen through Japanese eyes. Prepared shortly after the end of hostilities, this series is deficient in accuracy and perspective. Yet the information and viewpoints provide an insight into Japanese military thinking, both through translation of pertinent documents and through interviews.
The War Reports of General of the Army George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, General of the Army H. H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces; Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations. Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1947. Collection of the official reports of the chiefs of the armed services, issued during World War II and the immediate postwar period. Excellent material for reviewing the big picture of World War II operations.
Official DocumentsThe operational span of ground operations in this volume covers the invasion of the southern Palaus as a preliminary step in the reconquest of the Philippines and the subsequent decision to seize Iwo Jima in the Volcano- Bonins as an advanced base in the direction of the Home Islands. For the strategy and tactics employed by the United States during this crucial period of the war in the Southwestern
and Western Pacific during the latter part of 1944 and early 1945, a variety of sources were required. These ranged from records of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff as cited in previously published official histories to the minutes of CominCh-CinCPac Conferences conducted during the summer of 1944. In some instances, copies of reports and minutes portraying the evolution of Anglo- American strategy can be found in the files of the World War II Division, Federal Records Center, The National Archives which has recently relocated to Suitland, Maryland.
Information on the status of Marine Corps units and personnel during the period covered has been derived from such tables of organization station lists and status sheets for air and ground units as were readily available in the archives of the Historical Division. Additional sources of information were the monthly FMF air and ground status reports prepared within the Division of Plans and Policies and the Division of Aviation, HQMC, and the Annual Reports of the Commandant of the Marine Corps to the Secretary of the Navy.
Japanese SourcesIn appraising the strategic and tactical situation from the Japanese side, our view is necessarily limited by the factors of time, distance, availability of enemy persons and records, and linguistics. A full exploitation of official Japanese wartime records on a scale even remotely resembling that of captured German military records by the Allies proved impossible. On the tactical level, few of the Japanese garrison commanders and their staffs survived the fighting; as a result, such information as was obtainable had to be gleaned from American intelligence surveys prepared by higher headquarters, mostly based on the interrogation of the few prisoners that were taken or such Japanese military records, mostly of a tactical nature, that fell into American hands.
Fortunately for the historian and researcher, during the immediate postwar period while the occupation of Japan was in full swing, General MacArthur's headquarters utilized its available resources to initiate a study program with the help of former Japanese officials, This program culminated in the preparation of a series of monographs detailing Japanese activities in widespread areas of the Pacific and Asia. These early studies which varied greatly in scope, quality, and accuracy underwent a further process of refinement in the mid-1950s, at which time they were published in the form of monographs under the auspices of the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army. A complete listing of these monographs is contained in Guide to Japanese Monographs and Japanese Studies on Manchuria 19451960 (Washington, 1961) prepared by OCMH, which also exercises custody over this collection.
Of primary interest for the purposes of this volume were those monographs dealing with Japanese preparations for the defense of the Philippines during the summer of 1944. Monograph No. 45 comprising the History of the Army Section, Imperial General Headquarters, gives an insight into the prosecution of the war as seen through eyes of Japanese on the elevated level of command in an exhaustive study of 382 pages. Monograph No. 48, Central Pacific Operations Record, Volume I, (December 1941-August 1945) furnished considerable information on the defense of Iwo Jima, while No. 49, Volume II of the same title, was useful in providing a general outline of the Japanese situation in the Pacific for most of 1944.
Books and PeriodicalsThe first three volumes of this series, Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal, Isolation of Rabaul, and Central Pacific Drive, as well as the last, Victory and Occupation, have served as a useful basis for the background information that had to be incorporated into the fourth, particularly with respect to the development and employment of amphibious doctrine. An appropriate setting was arrived at with the help of the following:
Ray S. Cline. Washington Command Post: The Operations Division--The War Department--UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1951. An official Army history outlining high-level planning in the Operations Division of the War Department during World War II. An
excellent source based on important primary data.
John Miller, Jr. "The Casablanca Conference and Pacific Strategy," Military Affairs, v. 13, no. 4 (Winter 49). A concise account of this high-level conference and its results.
Walter Minis, ed. The Forrestal Diaries. New York: The Viking Press, 1951. The personal files and papers of the former Secretary of the Navy and later Secretary of Defense dealing with top level planning, decisions, and conferences during the later phase of World War II, An important source for evaluating the Administration's plans in the realm of international affairs, the conclusion of the war in the Pacific, and the formulation of plans for the postwar period.
Louis Morton. "American and Allied Strategy in the Far East," Military Review, v. 29, no. 9 (Dec49). This article deals with planning for the eventual drive across the Pacific towards the Japanese Home Islands.
Adm Raymond A. Spruance. "The Victory in the Pacific," Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, v. 91, no. 564 (Nov46). A brief but well prepared look at World War II operations in the Pacific Theater stressing planning and strategy.
United States Army, War Department. Handbook on Japanese Military Forces. TM-E30480. Washington, 10ct44. A basic source on the organization and equipment of Japanese land forces with useful detail on weapons characteristics and textbook tactics.
FLEET MARINE FORCE, PACIFIC
Official DocumentsThe evolution of amphibious doctrine from the mid-1930s to the end of World War II directly reflects on the size and shape of the organization employed to implement this doctrine. In tracing the origin and development of the Fleet Marine Force, pertinent information was obtained from the official files at Headquarters, Marine Corps.. The material found fruitful for this purpose included the Annual Reports of the Commandant of the Marine Corps which, for the years under consideration, faithfully mirrored the increasing size and complexity of the organization. The evolution of amphibious doctrine is further reflected in Marine Corps and Navy manuals dealing with landing operations, issued between the two world wars, again notably during the 1930s. Information on the development of landing craft and amphibious vehicles was obtained from Headquarters Marine Corps files and those of the Department of the Navy Bureau of Ships. For a look at Fleet Marine Force organization and plans shortly before the United States entered the war, the "Report of the General Board on Expansion of the U. S. Marine Corps," of 7 May 1941, in the custody of the Operational Archives Branch, Naval History Division, proved of great value.
Additional information was obtained from Volume I in this series, Part I, "Introduction to the Marine Corps," which thoroughly discusses this subject matter and the resulting Marine Corps posture on the eve of World War II.
In connection with the parallel growth of Marine aviation several sources proved important. Among these, the Marine Corps Aviation Status Sheets, prepared by the Division of Aviation; an Administrative History of Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific; the War Diary, Marine Aircraft Wings, Pacific, and the War Diary of Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force Pacific made a major contribution in following the expansion of Marine Corps aviation in World War II.
Unofficial SourcesThe official material enumerated above was further supplemented with letters of comment on draft manuscripts obtained mostly from retired officers connected with the Fleet Marine Force following its establishment and those who played a part in it during the succeeding phases of its evolution. Many of the men who occupied leading positions during the two decades covered are no longer among the living. Nevertheless, their views, as expressed in statements, directives, and other correspondence have trickled down to us and have been carefully considered in the development of conclusions. An unpublished
draft entitled "FMFPac Administrative History --The Development of FMFPac" in the custody of the Documentation Section, Reference Branch of the Historical Division served as a valuable guide in the reconstruction of the organizational development.
Books and PeriodicalsRobert D. Heinl, Jr. Soldiers of the Sea--The United States Marine Corps, 1775-1962. Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, 1962. An outstanding labor of love by an author who combines great writing skill with his intricate knowledge of the Marine Corps scene both in peace and war. Not always with the greatest objectivity, the narrative provides comprehensive coverage of the organization and operations of the Marine Corps including its struggles afar and at home.
Once again, Isely and Crowl, U.S. Marines and Amphibious War provided valuable in formation on early amphibious doctrine and the evolution of the Fleet Marine Force.
Clyde H. Metcalf. A History of the United States Marine Corps. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1939. A valuable historical work showing the triumphs and tribulations of the Marine Corps in time of war and peace. Of special interest in this context for its coverage of the lean years following World War I to the beginning buildup in the late 1930s that foreshadowed World War 11.
John H. Russell, Jr., "Birth of the Fleet Marine Force," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, v. 72, no. 515 (Jan/46). An authoritative contribution by a former Assistant Commandant and later Commandant who was closely involved with the Fleet Marine Force in its early years.
General Holland M. Smith, "Development of Amphibious Tactics in the U.S. Navy," Marine Corps Gazette, v. 38, nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Jun-0ct48). A five-part article written by the man who made a major contribution to implementation of amphibious doctrine and the development of the Fleet Marine Force.
Holland M. Smith and Percy Finch, Coral and Brass. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1949. An autobiography in which the author discusses his noteworthy military career with valuable comments on the military operations of World War II and his part in the development of the FMFPac.
THE PALAUS : GATEWAY TO THE PHILIPPINES
Official DocumentsThe seizure of the southern Palaus as finally executed in Operation STALEMATE II resulted in the neutralization of the entire island group. The high level planning that preceded this operation, one of the most vicious and costly to be fought in the Pacific, spanned the period of nearly six months, during which time the progress of the war in the Pacific forced several revisions in the basic operation plan. The planning and execution of STALEMATE II resulted in a wealth of documentation ranging from minutes of the CCS and JCS to detailed plans on the corps and division level. On the tactical level, considerable information was available in the form of war diaries, appendices, and annexes including reports of general and special staff officers and sections, unit journals, and after action reports. While these vary greatly in scope and content, they nevertheless provide a comprehensive basis for an operational narrative, since all fields ranging from personnel, intelligence, and operations to logistics have been covered. If anything, the sheer quantity of material available from official sources, extending from the corps down to battalion level often made the selection of pertinent data a difficult undertaking. In those instances where a conflict existed between accounts on different reporting levels, the version of the unit most closely concerned with the action described has been utilized.
Unofficial DocumentsIn addition to the voluminous official sources, a number of unofficial documents were available in the form of letters that passed between various high-level participants in Operation STALEMATE II, particularly in the correspondence between Generals Geiger and Rupertus, and General Vandegrift, then Commandant of the Marine Corps. These letters are part of a personal correspondence file which the Commandant maintained with general and
flag officers, and which ultimately came to be placed in the custody of the Archives of the Historical Division.
During the preparation of the historical monograph, The Assault on Peleliu, the author, Major Frank O. Hough, prepared numerous notes in the form of a card file. These cards, though no longer complete, contain substantial information on all phases of STALEMATE II and may be examined through the Documentation Section, Reference Branch, of the Historical Division.
MajGen Oliver P. Smith. "Personal Narrative." The personal journal of the Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Marine Division covering the period from 28 January-1 November 1944, including very perceptive comments on the Peleliu campaign.
After the draft chapters of the above monograph had been completed, they were circulated among the higher ranking participants in the operation for critique and comment. The replies received brought to light much additional information of varying quality, ranging from outstanding to average, which were assembled in a folder designated as the Peleliu Comment File. To these comments, dating back to the early 1950s, must be added a similar critique of the chapters in this volume. Both comment files are in the custody of the Historical Division, which will make them available to the serious researcher.
Japanese SourcesCompared to the wealth of official records available from American sources, those from the Japanese side are at best sparse. Among a large cache of documents captured on Saipan a number dealt with Japanese defensive preparations in the Palaus. These were exploited, translated in the rough, and made available to the assault units prior to the invasion. The interrogations of the relatively few prisoners of war taken on Peleliu also provide a source of information, though intelligence obtained in this way is of a conflicting nature, since prisoners frequently made their disclosures with a view towards pleasing their captors, so that material thus obtained must be viewed with a grain of salt.
On a more professional level, the U.S. Army monograph series prepared in Japan in the postwar period offers a wide range of material not to be found elsewhere, particularly Monograph No. 48, Central Pacific Operations Record, v. II. A recently published official Japanese History of World War II numbering several volumes undoubtedly contains much information that could fill existing gaps in the narrative of this volume. Unfortunately, publishing deadlines and lack of resources for the translation and exploitation of this material prevented its utilization.
In the years since the end of World War II, a number of books dealing with operations in the Central and Western Pacific have been published in Japan. Some of these, of varying degrees of quality, have been translated into English and are listed below.
Books and PeriodicalsOnce again Craven and Cate, MATTERHORN to Nagasaki; Isely and Crowl, U.S. Marines and Amphibious War; Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation, and Smith, Approach to the Philippines constitute invaluable sources. Other works which shed considerable light on the Peleliu operation are:
LtCol Kimber H. Boyer. "The 3d Armored Amphibian Battalion--Palau Operation, 15 September-20 October 1944." Quantico: Marine Corps Schools, Amphibious Warfare School, Senior Course, 1948-49. A brief historical tactical study of the Peleliu operation on the battalion level.
RAdm Worrall R. Carter. Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1953. Official history of Navy logistics in the Pacific during World War II.
Burke Davis. Marine!--The Life of Lieutenant General Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1962. The story of one of the great fighting men of the Corps and the experiences of the 1st Marines, which he commanded, in the Peleliu assault.
Saburo Hayashi and Alvin D. Coox. Kogun. Quantico: Marine Corps Association, 1959. Translated from the Japanese, this account of the plans and activities of the Japanese Army High Command during World War II was prepared by a former staff officer in the Imperial General Headquarters.
Maj Frank O. Hough. The Assault on Peleliu. Washington: Historical Division,
HQMC, 1950. This official monograph contains a detailed account of Operation STALEMATE including interesting appendices on Japanese cave positions and the role of Marine Corps aviation on Peleliu.
George P. Hunt. Coral Comes High. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1940. An account of Pacific operations including Peleliu from the company commander's point of view. More human interest than history, but nevertheless important in portraying the feelings of men in battle.
George McMillan. The Old Breed: A History of the First Marine Division in World War II. Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1949. A unit history describing the performance of the units and men of the 1st Division, without which the complete story of the Peleliu operation could not be told.
MajGen Paul J. Mueller (USA), Chairman, 81st Wildcat Division Historical Committee, et al. The 81st Infantry Wildcat Division in World War II. Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1948. A detailed account of the 81st Division's operation on Angaur Island and the subsequent employment of its regiments on Peleliu.
Jeremiah A. O'Leary. "Hell in the Umurbrogol," True Magazine, v. 17, no. 101 (Oct45). Human interest story of the ferocious fighting that took place on Peleliu.
MARINES IN THE PHILIPPINES
Official DocumentsBeyond the employment of the V Amphibious Corps Artillery on Leyte, the story of Marines in the Philippines is primarily one of Marine aviation in support of U.S. Army units. A variety of sources were consulted in order to obtain a balanced product. On the strategic level, heavy reliance was placed on minutes and records of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff, reports, plans, and official correspondence on the CinCPac level. On the tactical level, records of the U.S. Sixth Army proved valuable for the Leyte and Luzon Campaigns, while Eighth Army records were consulted for a reconstruction of operations in the Southern Philippines. The bulk of this material, including war diaries and journals and after action reports of the U.S. Army corps and divisions involved are in the custody of the World War II Records Division, NARS, Suitland, Maryland.
Records of the Marine Corps consulted are predominantly those of aviation units on the aircraft group and squadron level. There is great variance in the coverage of events as to depth and scope between units, which resulted in gaps that had to be bridged through the use of both official and unofficial published works.
Unofficial DocumentsUpon completion of a historical monograph on Marine Aviation in the Philippines, the draft manuscript was circulated for comment and critique to interested parties who had taken part in the operation. Many of these individuals responded and their comments have been cited throughout this section. Similarly, the draft chapters of this volume were sent to key participants and to the historical agencies of the other services, and the replies received have been used as applicable in revising the narrative. All such comments are retained in the files of the Documentation Section, Reference Branch of the Historical Division.
By no means all of the material uncovered by draft comments has been used in this book or in the historical monograph that preceded it. The files contain much unpublished information that may be of value to the future researcher or student of this phase of Marine aviation activities, particularly with regard to the doctrine of Marine close air support that evolved from childhood to adolescence during this phase of the war.
Japanese SourcesOnce again, the number of official Japanese sources is quite limited when compared to the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps records available dealing with this subject matter. Nevertheless, the OCMH monograph series does provide information in its Philippines Operations Record, Phases II and III, that bridges the gap to some extent. Additional information is available from 35th Army Operations, 1944-45 and the interrogation of senior Japanese commanders in the postwar
era. On the higher level of command, Monograph No. 45, History of the Army Section, Imperial General Staff, 1941-45 provides valuable clues in portraying the strategy employed by the Japanese High Command during this period of the war.
Books and PeriodicalsIn addition to the overall sources, particularly the previously cited Morison volumes on Leyte and The Liberation of the Philippines, Craven and Cate, The Pacific--MATTERHORN to Nagasaki, and Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, the following were extensively consulted:
Maj Charles W. Boggs, Jr. Marine Aviation in the Philippines. Washington: Historical Division, HQMC, 1951. An official monograph depicting Marine close support of Army units in the Philippines, outlining in detail the development of the Marine doctrine of close air support. The narrative covers the entire period of liberation of the Philippines from the Leyte landings to the end of the war.
John A. DeChant. Devilbirds: The Story of United States Marine Corps Aviation in World War Il. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1947. Relatively brief but good description of Marine dive bomber operations on Luzon.
M. Hamlin Cannon. Leyte: The Return to the Philippines=-The War in the Pacific--UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1953. Excellent account and official Army history of the recapture of Leyte, the first island to be liberated in the Philippines. Useful as a background for the movements and operations of the VAC artillery on Leyte.
General Robert L. Eichelberger and Milton Mackaye. Our Jungle Road to Tokyo. New York: The Viking Press, 1950. The march across the Southwest Pacific as seen through the eyes of the Commanding General of I Corps and subsequently of the Eighth Army. Based on an earlier series in the Saturday Evening Post, the volume furnishes interesting details on Eighth Army operations in the Philippines.
Frank O. Hough. The Island War: The United States Marine Corps in the Pacific. Philadelphia and New York: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1947. Relatively brief description of Marine aviation activities in the Philippines is of primary importance in this context.
General George C. Kenney. General Kenney Reports. New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1949. The personal history of the Commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific. A sizable portion of this book deals with the Philippines and thus serves as valuable background material for this section.
Capt Samuel H. McAloney, "Is Air Support Effective?" Marine Corps Gazette, v. 29, No. 11 (Nov45). One of the members of an air liaison party discusses his experiences in obtaining close air support for Army troops on Luzon.
Robert Ross Smith. Triumph in the Philippines--The War in the Pacific-UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1963. The official Army history dealing with the liberation of the Central and Southern Philippines was of great value for providing the setting in which Marine aviation operated during the final phase of World War II.
Maj Bertram C. Wright, USA. The First Cavalry Division In World War II. Tokyo: Toppan Printing Company, Ltd., 1947. This division history furnishes an excellent account of the drive that culminated in the liberation of Manila and the support given to the division by Marine aviators.
MARINE AVIATION IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC
Official DocumentsThe discussion of Marine aviation activities in the Western Pacific is largely based on the records of the units concerned. Included in the documents are special action reports, war diaries, and informal combat reports on the wing, aircraft group, and squadron level. It should be remembered that the type of information contained in the official documents is but a reflection of the mission entrusted
to Marine aviation in the Central and Western Pacific, which in 1944 and almost to the end of the war consisted primarily of neutralizing Japanese bases and involved little of the close air support envisioned by Marine planners and subsequently used in the Philippines in support of Army units, There is also a wide variance in quality and detail of coverage, depending on the skill of the personnel assigned to the task and the value placed by the command on the importance of maintaining official records. Nevertheless, despite occasional gaps, the overall coverage is adequate to permit a comprehensive view of the part played by Marine aviation in the trek of the American forces across the Pacific, All of the official records used are in the custody of the World War II Records Division, National Archives and Records Service, Suitland, Maryland and may be obtained from that agency, or through the Historical Division, HQMC.
Unofficial DocumentsThere is no body of letters and interviews in the Marine Corps Historical Division archives relating to air operations against the bypassed islands in the Central and Western Pacific as there is in the case of other campaigns which have been covered in historical monographs. A few pertinent letters among the papers acquired from the Sherrod aviation history project are of limited value to a history of a wide scope.
During the preparation of this volume, the two chapters comprising this section were sent out to a number of individuals who had participated in the operations covered therein. In response, numerous written comments were received to round out the strategical and tactical picture. Certain key individuals in their comments helped to clarify command problems that were encountered during this phase of the war in the area involved. Generally, as seen from the vantage point of time and experience, the comments received proved an invaluable source of information to supplement the material found in official sources.
Japanese SourcesJapanese records used in this account consisted primarily of monographs touching upon enemy air operations and defensive preparations in the Marshalls, Marianas, and Palaus. Once again, an English translation of the official Japanese Army history of World War II would have been invaluable, since official World War II records dealing with this subject matter were not available. Much of the information from the Japanese side was obtained from postwar interrogations of Japanese officials contained in the USSBS Interrogations and the postwar writings of Japanese who had participated in these operations.
Books and PeriodicalsValuable background material for this section was obtained from the previously cited Isely and Crowl, U.S. Marines and Amphibious War; King and Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King; Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II; Heinl, Soldiers of the Sea; and Morison, Victory in the Pacific. In addition to these, the following proved valuable in the preparation of this section:
Major Carl W. Hoffman. Saipan-The Beginning of the End. Washington: Historical Division, HQMC, 1950. A detailed historical monograph dealing with the Saipan operation, of value as background material for the establishment of an airfield that was to become of vital importance in the conduct of air operations in the Pacific.
Major Carl W. Hoffman. The Seizure of Tinian. Washington: Historical Division, HQMC, 1951. Excellent account of the Tinian operation, which furnishes valuable background material for the subsequent use of the island as a base from which the major attacks against the Home Islands were launched that brought an end to the war.
Major Orlan R. Lodge. The Recapture of Guam. Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 1954. The official Marine Corps monograph concerning the Guam operation, furnishing valuable background material for an appreciation of the air situation in the Central Pacific during the final phase of World War II.
Japanese SourcesMasatake Okumiya, Jiro Horikoshi, and Martin Caidin. Zero! New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, Inc., 1956. The title of this
well-researched and written work is misleading, in that its scope goes far beyond a discussion of the well known Mitsubishi fighter, its development, and its employment. The book dwells on Japanese air operations in the Pacific throughout the war and provides a valuable insight into Japanese internal and foreign policy during the war years.
Official DocumentsOperation DETACHMENT probably received closer study in its inception and planning, more detailed analysis by the numerous staff sections of headquarters of varying levels for historical purposes, and extensive coverage by the news and information media than any of the Pacific amphibious assaults previously executed in World War II. Since this was an all-Marine operation involving three divisions at the very threshold of Japan, in fact against a target administratively a part of the Home Islands, the importance attached to DETACHMENT is reflected both in the volume and quality of the available material. Where gaps are readily apparent in other operations, none appear in this instance; to the contrary, the data available for research on Iwo Jima tends to be overwhelming. Instead of being compelled to bridge gaps, the researcher is nearly overwhelmed with a profusion of action reports, unit diaries and journals, operation plans and orders, dispatches, letters, and preoperation studies by units that took part in the campaign. Mindful of criticism voiced as to excessive casualties after Tarawa, every precaution was taken at Iwo Jima to avoid any gap in the planning of the operation. This care is reflected in every facet of the planning phase, from the amount of intelligence collected to the evacuation of the wounded and burial of the dead.
In order to avoid repetition and to obtain a balanced account of the operation, the reports of the higher echelons were used to reconstruct the "big picture," while on the lower level the records of the unit most directly involved in the action were utilized. In addition to the voluminous records dealing with Operation DETACHMENT, the very length and difficulty of the campaign gave rise to much soul-searching on the division and corps level, which is reflected in very detailed reports on the performance of men and equipment under the conditions peculiar to the operation, as well as on organizational problems encountered. All of the official documents pertaining to Operation ETACHMENT are in the custody of the World War II Records Division, National Archives and Records Service, Suitland, Maryland.
Unofficial DocumentsThe vast lode of official material is supplemented by a large quantity of information from unofficial sources. Thus, in the course of preparing the official monograph Iwo Jima-- Amphibious Epic, its author, Lieutenant Colonel Whitman S. Bartley, requested comments from individuals who had taken part in the campaign. In response, approximately 175 participants in the operation contributed to the finished product through written comments or personal interviews. The information thus obtained was used to supplement or corroborate the hundreds of documents consulted during the preparation of the monograph. In the same way, valuable information was received that had never found its way into the official records, though time and space did not permit all of the personal recollections and anecdotes to be incorporated into the narrative. Similarly, comments from participants in the operation were solicited upon completion of the draft chapters of this work. The passage of time had taken its toll among the survivors of the operation, but nevertheless much additional information was obtained in this fashion which otherwise might never have found its way into these pages. All of the comments, both for the historical monograph and for this volume repose in the files of the Documentation Section, Reference Branch of the Historical Division.
Japanese SourcesThere is some variety in the Japanese sources available for Operation DETACHMENT. First, a number of enemy documents,
diaries, and letters were seized in the course of the campaign, which were translated, for the most part on the division level, and either filed with VAC or forwarded to higher headquarters. Additional information on the defense of Iwo Jima was obtained through the interrogation of prisoners of war. For the most part, little information beyond that of a limited tactical nature could be thus obtained with the exception that one of the publishers of one of Japan's major dailies was, for reasons unknown, serving on Iwo Jima in an enlisted status. He was well versed in the realm of the big picture of the Japanese war effort and civilian morale in the Home Islands, and from this vantage point was able to contribute much to an overall appraisal of conditions in Japan during this phase of the war.
Time and resources did not permit the translation and use of the recently published official Japanese History of World War II, which, beyond doubt, would have contributed much to balancing the narrative from the enemy side of the hill. Comments by the War History Office of the Defense Agency of Japan also provided worthwhile information that was incorporated into the narrative.
Help in bringing to life the major Japanese participants in the Iwo Jima campaign arrived from a totally unexpected source, and it is in this respect that the Iwo Jima chapters differ from others in this volume. In writing an excellent book on the Iwo operation, which will be cited below, Richard F. Newcomb had numerous interviews conducted in Japan with members of the families of the long-deceased Japanese commanders, veterans of the campaign in Japan, and others who in some way were either connected with these individuals or the planning for the defense of the island. In making this voluminous file available to the Historical Division for use in this volume, Mr. Newcomb made a major contribution to removing the shadow of anonymity that cloaks these men who fought hard and gave all for their country. This material has been alternately referred to in the narrative as the Newcomb File or Newcomb Notes; a photostatic copy of it reposes in the archives of the Historical Division.
Books and PeriodicalsThe scope, size, and public awareness of the Iwo Jima operation have resulted in much published material on this campaign. As a result, only those sources consulted on a large scale are listed below. Valuable background material was contained in the previously cited Craven and Cate, The Pacific--MATTERHORN to Nagasaki; Isely and Crowl, U.S. Marines and Amphibious War; Hayashi and Coox, Kogun; Heinl, Soldiers of the Sea; Smith and Finch, Coral and Brass; Mills, The Forrestal Diaries; and Morison, Victory in the Pacific.
Robert A. Aurthur and Kenneth Cohlmia. The Third Marine Division. Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1948. One of the division histories published in the wake of World War II. Of primary interest in this context because of coverage of the Iwo Jima operation and the division's part in it.
Howard M. Conner. The Spearhead--The World War II History of the 5th Marine Division. Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1950. An excellent account of the first major operation in which the division took part. Since this was the only campaign for the division, the author was able to devote more detail to this narrative than is the case with the histories of the other two divisions on Iwo. He has put this advantage to good use.
T. Grady Gallant. The Friend[y Dead. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1964. A participant's account of the horrors of the battle that saw heroism, gallantry, and brutal death on an unprecedented scale.
Col Robert D. Heinl, Jr. "Target Iwo," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, v. 89, no, 7 (Jul 1963). Well written account of the factors affecting the preliminary bombardment of the objective, prepared by one who was intimately involved in this aspect of the operation.
Capt Raymond Henri. Iwo Jima--Springboard to Final Victory. New York: U.S. Camera Publishing Corporation, 1945. Pictorial account with brief narrative of the Iwo campaign, outstanding for its pictorial coverage.
Capt Raymond Henri et at. The U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima. Washington: The Infantry Journal, 1945. The operation as seen through the eyes of five official Marine combat correspondents.
An interesting human drama account of one of history's large, impersonal battles. Also contains numerous interesting photographs of the action.
Clive Howard and Joe Whitley. One Damned Island After Another. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1946. The history of the U.S. Army Seventh Air Force, written mostly from a public relations point of view. Nevertheless of value to this narrative because of its account of pm-invasion bombings of Iwo Jima.
Robert Leckie. Strong Men Armed. New York: Random House, 1962. Well illustrated human interest account of the Marines in World War II; its coverage of Iwo Jima added considerable flavor to the narrative.
Capt Clifford P. Morehouse. The Iwo Jima Operation. Washington: Historical Division, HQMC, 1946. Detailed historical monograph on the Iwo Jima operation containing some information on units and casualties not covered elsewhere.
Richard F. Newcomb. Iwo Jima. New York, Chicago, and San Francisco: HoIt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1965. An outstanding reconstruction of the battle as seen from both sides, covering both the operational aspects and the human side. This book and the author's notes made a major contribution to the writing of this volume.
Carl W. Proehl. The Fourth Marine Division in World War II. Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1946. Well written and illustrated account of the division's exploits in World War II, with good coverage of the Iwo Jima campaign. The color photography is outstanding and the map work superior.
Saburo Sakai, Martin Caidin, and Fred Saito. Samurai!] New York: Ballantine Books, 1957. An account by one of Japan's air aces of his experiences on Iwo prior to the invasion. A much needed bit of writing that helped to balance the account of the action.
Col Donald M. Weller. "Salvo-Splash!--The Development of NGF Support in World War II." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, pt 1, v. 80, no. 8 (Aug/54). Valuable account of the experiences of a Marine officer who played a leading part in this aspect of Operation DETACHMENT.
Official DocumentsThe period covered by the ground operations in this volume extends from mid-September 1944 to the end of March 1945. The Peleliu and Iwo Jima campaigns which fall within this time frame were not isolated operations; momentous events were under way in other theaters of operations that eventually paved the way for final victory. The road to Peleliu and Iwo Jima had begun as a tortuous path that led from Guadalcanal to Tarawa. The lessons learned on each island and paid for with the blood of countless Americans paved the way for the seizure of the Marshalls and Marianas, which in turn served as springboards for the continued advance into the western Pacific.
In itself, this volume shows neither the beginning of the war nor its conclusion. The bloody battles fought in two major operations were but signposts pointing the way to the heart of the enemy's defenses. With the introduction of new defensive tactics by the Japanese and progress made in the art and science of amphibious warfare by the Marines, Peleliu was to become a struggle of endurance, Iwo Jima a contest of the will. Beyond the immediate tactical results of these operations, there were political overtones, both in Japan, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Progress of the war in the Pacific influenced Allied operations in Europe, where events, in turn, had a measurable effect on Allied resources in the Pacific.
Since the concluding part of this volume was designed to bring the two major operations described into balance with the big picture of the war, the sources, of necessity, had to be obtained from the policy-making level. These include the records of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff as cited in previously published official histories, as well as the minutes of such high-level and far-reaching conferences as those held at Teheran in November 1943 and Quebec in September 1944, not to mention the important Roosevelt-Nimitz-MacArthur meeting in Hawaii in late July of the same year. The Iwo Jima campaign nearly coincided with the Yalta Conference, which
set the tone for the overall strategic concept of the war, including that phase beyond the unconditional surrender of Germany to the ultimate surrender of Japan to be brought about in cooperation with other Pacific powers and the Soviet Union.
Unofficial DocumentsThe brevity of this part of the volume did not permit the discussion of foreign policy and the political overtones dictating strategy during the phase of the war to be covered in more than very general terms. The unofficial documents pertinent in this context are the numerous comments received on the draft chapters of this volume, as well as some of those submitted on Volume III of this series, Central Pacific Drive and Volume V, Victory and Occupation. All of these comments are filed in the archives of the Historical Division.
Books and PeriodicalsAmong the books most widely used in the preparation of this section were the previously cited Cline, Washington Command Post; Craven and Cate, The Pacific--MATTERHORN to Nagasaki; Halsey and Bryan, Admiral Halsey's Story; Isely and Crowl, U.S. Marines and Amphibious War; Hayashi and Coox, Kogun; Leahy, I Was There, and Morison, Victory in the Pacific. In addition, the following contributed substantially to this section.
Hugh M. Cole. The Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge--THE U.S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1965. An excellent account of the last major German counteroffensive of the war with resulting implications for the defeat of Germany.
Benis M. Frank and Henry I. Shaw, Jr. Victory and Occupation--HISTORY OF U.S. MARINE CORPS OPERATIONS IN WORLD WAR II, v. V. Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 1968. The official Marine Corps history of the Okinawa campaign and the occupation of Japan and North China.
Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Bernard C. Nalty, and Edwin T. Turnbladh. Central Pacific Drive--HISTORY OF U.S. MARINE CORPS OPERATIONS IN WORLD WAR II, v. III. Washington, Historical Branch, G-3 Division, HQMC, 1966. The official Marine Corps history of the campaigns in the Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas, which formed the basis for continued operations in the Western Pacific.
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