Throughout a series of high-level international military conferences in 1943 various ideas for speeding up the Pacific war were presented and discussed. Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, championed a plan to throw the power of the Navy behind a drive through the Central Pacific. Consistently, he presented the Marianas to the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) of the Allies and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as a key objective. He felt it was necessary to have these islands to control the Central Pacific routes of advance to the Philippines and the Japanese home islands. Just as consistently, his concept was challenged by those feeling that a powerful thrust up from the Southwest Pacific would better achieve, and with fewer casualties, the same end result. It became apparent by late 1943 that a decision must be made to assign priority to one or the other of these conflicting strategies.
During JCS conferences in mid-November, the admiral's plan gained a powerful advocate, General Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces. Air Force planners felt the B-29 fields that existed in China would not be adequate for the projected air war of attrition against Japan. Proposed bases at Chengtu and Chungking would require the big planes either to refuel at supplemental bases or carry a reduced bomb load. Airstrips closer to the China coast could not be considered because the Japanese either had captured them or were threatening them. General Arnold felt that the Marianas would offer base security, and at the same time reduce the round trip flight to Japan by 1,200 miles.1 These factors, added to Admiral King's concept, tipped the scale in favor of the Central Pacific route.
The Combined Chiefs gave their approval of the JCS agreements at a conference in Cairo in early December 1943. President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill indorsed a plan for specific operations to defeat Japan, which included the campaign to seize Guam and the Japanese Marianas. Concurrent operations in both the Central and Southwest Pacific theaters were approved. However, should there be an unavoidable contest for troops, ships, or supplies the Central Pacific would be favored.2
With the go-ahead signal given by top Allied leaders, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, acting in his dual capacity as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet (CinCPac) and Pacific Ocean Areas
(CinCPOA),4 could issue his plan for Central Pacific operations during 1944. This campaign plan, GRANITE, published 27 December 1943, contained a tentative schedule of targets for the coming year. In it the Marianas were listed for mid-November as the 1944 finale for CinCPOA's forces. Seventeen days later, 13 January 1944, another issue of GRANITE set the time for the first phase of the Marianas campaign, capture of Saipan and Tinian, as 1 November. The attack on Guam, the second phase, was scheduled to be launched by 15 December.
Soon, however, planners revised their original estimates. Marine and Army troops smashed ashore on the islands of Kwajalein Atoll and scored a speedy victory at surprisingly little cost. As a result, Admiral Nimitz advanced the date for the Eniwetok assault from 1 May to 17 February. Five days after the initial landing this atoll was in American hands.5 During the same period, on 16-17 February, Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force's (TF 58) covering strike against Truk revealed the vaunted Japanese naval base much weaker than had been supposed.6 It now became obvious that air strikes could contain the Japanese remaining on Truk,7 thus removing the threat to the flank of the Central Pacific drive. Seizure of the Admiralties in the spring of 1944 assured neutralization of the Japanese strong point by land-based aircraft and cleared the path for the capture of the Southern Marianas.
As a result of re-evaluation of the progress of the Pacific war in light of the early 1944 successes, JCS had issued a directive on 12 March 1944 covering future Pacific operations. With it came a definite end of any debate on the inevitability of the Marianas campaign. In the Southwest Pacific, in order to expedite the development of the Admiralties as a forward base, General MacArthur (CinCSWPA)8 had been ordered to advance the date of his attack on Hollandia, New Guinea. He also had received directions to cancel the proposed operations against Kavieng9 and after seizing bases in the Admiralties to isolate that Japanese base and the one at Rabaul. All ships of the Pacific Fleet allotted for Kavieng were to be returned to CinCPac's control by 5 May.
Under terms of the same directive, Admiral Nimitz received instructions to step up carrier strikes against the Marianas, Palaus, and Carolines. The order also called for the seizure of the Southern Marianas for purposes of developing B-29 bases and secondary naval bases and set 15 June as the target date for the operation (FORAGER). Both major Pacific commanders were directed to coordinate their future plans to provide mutual support in all forthcoming operations.10
In keeping with his orders, CinCPOA sent a secret dispatch to major units on 13 March assigning highest priority to preparations for the Marianas campaign. A week later, 20 March, his Joint Staff at Pearl Harbor issued a study to guide commanders in their advance planning. It called for employment of the V Amphibious Corps (VAC), consisting of the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions, and the Army's XXIV Corps Artillery. These units would be charged with responsibility of seizing Saipan and Tinian and mount out from the Hawaiian area. In addition, another Marine amphibious corps, IIIAC,11 would mount for the operation from Guadalcanal and recapture Guam. Integral parts of the corps included the 3d Marine Division, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, and IIIAC Artillery. The Army's 27th Infantry Division, although under operational control of VAC, was to be Expeditionary Troops Reserve. Loading from the Hawaiian area, the 27th had the mission of being prepared to support either corps. Assigned as area reserve for FORAGER and alerted for movement to the target 20 days after D-Day at Saipan was the 77th Infantry Division, scheduled to arrive soon in the Hawaiian Islands from the United States. For the important assignment of Commander, Expeditionary Troops (TF 56) CinCPOA named Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, Commanding General, VAC.12
Since FORAGER, as well as all other Central Pacific operations came under naval jurisdiction, Admiral Nimitz assigned Admiral Raymond A. Spruance to over-all command. (See Organization Chart, Map Section) Spruance, as Commander Fifth Fleet and Central Pacific Task Forces, designated Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner to control the Joint Expeditionary Force (TF 51) assigned to the Marianas assault. The forces under Turner were further divided into two task forces: one, the Northern Attack Force (TF 52), to land the assault and garrison troops under VAC on the islands of Saipan and Tinian; the other, TF 53, the
IIIAC LEADERS examine a plaster relief map of Guam on board the Appalachian. Left to right: Major General Geiger, Corps Commander; Colonel Silverthorn, Corps Chief of Staff; Brigadier General del Valle, Corps Artillery Commander.
Southern Attack Force (Rear Admiral Richard L. Conolly) to land and protect the troops of the IIIAC on Guam. Admiral Turner would exercise a dual command over TF 51 and 52, just as General Smith would serve concurrently as Expeditionary Troops Commander and Commanding General of the Northern Troops and Landing Force.
Pursuant to directives from higher headquarters, staff planners from Admiral Conolly's Amphibious Group Three met at Pearl Harbor with those from Major General Roy S. Geiger's IIIAC. Also present were representatives of TF 51 and TF 56 with their preliminary drafts to furnish a guide for lower echelon conferees. Work started on the basic plan to recapture STEVEDORE (code name assigned Guam) on 30 March. Four days later (3 April) General Holland Smith approved a tentative operation plan presented by General Geiger, and the following day its provisions were tentatively accepted in turn by Admirals Turner and Spruance.
The plan called for the IIIAC, designated Southern Troops and Landing Force (STLF), to make simultaneous landings at two points on the west coast of Guam. To accomplish this, Admiral Conolly divided TF 53 into Northern and Southern Attack Groups, the former under his own command and the latter under Rear
Admiral Lawrence F. Reifsnider. In the north, the 3d Marine Division would land on beaches between Adelup Point and the Tatgua River; in the south, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, followed by III Corps Artillery, would land on beaches between Agat Village and Bangi Point. Both units were then to advance inland and establish the Force Beachhead Line (FBL) along the commanding ground, Adelup-Alutom-Tenjo-Alifan-Facpi Point. Control over the important Orote Peninsula-Apra Harbor area was to be gained as rapidly as possible, and then further operations conducted to seize the remainder of Guam. In addition, the plan provided that the corps reinforce the Saipan landing if the situation required it.13
One of the major units of III Corps committed to STEVEDORE was in the process of formation at this time. The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade had been activated on 22 March with its skeleton headquarters located at Pearl Harbor. The troop strength of the brigade was not immediately available; the 4th Marines had just occupied Emirau (20 March) and the 22d Marines was still engaged taking the Lesser Marshalls. Both units would be transferred to Guadalcanal upon being released from their respective assignments. A few senior members of the brigade staff, however, were working on the myriad problems entailed in the formation of such a large unit. Along with this gigantic task, a tentative operation plan for STEVEDORE had to be formulated. Despite the short time allotted, the staff submitted a plan and had it approved before General Geiger returned to Guadalcanal on 7 April. Brigadier General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. assumed command of the brigade on 16 April, replacing Colonel John T. Walker who remained as Chief of Staff.14
Eight days after the departure of the corps staff from Pearl Harbor, Admiral Conolly also flew to Guadalcanal in order to facilitate joint planning between the naval support vessels and the corps troops. He and his staff established a temporary CP near the 3d Marine Division at IIIAC Headquarters at Tetere, and detailed planning got under way. Until 27 April the naval officers got an unaccustomed taste of "camping out," at which time CTF 53's flag
REAR ADMIRAL CONOLLY, Southern Attack Force Commander, confers with top leaders of the Northern Attack Group on Guadalcanal. Left to right: Brigadier General Noble, ADC, 3d Marine Division; Commander Buchanan, Commander, Northern Transport Group; Admiral Conolly; Major General Turnage, Commanding General, 3d Marine Division.
USS APPALACHIAN, flagship of Admiral Conolly, command vessel and communication center of the Southern Attack Force. (Navy Photograph.)
ship, USS Appalachian (AGC-1),15 arrived to take the staff onboard. The time was profitably spent, however, in smoothing the rough edges of operation plans and annexes. Also the officers took advantage of the opportunity presented for opposite numbers of staffs to become better acquainted with each other and the specialties of the respective services. With the opening of the 1st Brigade's CP at Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal on 2 May,16 all major landing force units committed to STEVEDORE had elements in the area.
Most of the ships assigned TF 53 had been engaged in transporting and supporting General MacArthur's troops at Hollandia and had not yet arrived in the Guadalcanal area. Drawn largely from the South Pacific Forces of Admiral William F. Halsey, the ships were dispatched to nearby bases in the Solomons for servicing as they returned from the Southwest Pacific Area. This avoided overtaxing the facilities at Guadalcanal and Tulagi. The majority of the ships had returned by 10 May, and the work of replenishing expended supplies and repairing operational damage progressed satisfactorily thereafter.
On 7 May, III Corps received the final operation and administrative plan from Expeditionary Troops Headquarters. Five days later Admiral Turner's operation plan arrived on board the Appalachian. Both planning groups immediately started work on final drafts of orders to be distributed to subordinate units. A good portion of this task was already completed and had been accomplished through the constant efforts of staffs at all levels to coordinate directives from higher headquarters. Perhaps the greatest aid to speedy completion of the planning process was the standard practice followed of making tentative or rough drafts of plans available to lower echelons. This enabled work to proceed concurrently at attack force-corps and attack group-division levels. Corps completed STLF Operation Plan 1-44 with its accompanying administrative order on 11 May, and two days later the 3d Marine Division finished its plan. Both publications, however, lacked annexes giving particulars of air and naval gunfire (NGF) support. But Admiral Conolly's operation plan for the task force, distributed on 17 May, included not only air and NGF support details but also a tentative landing date (W-Day) of 18 June. By the end of the month, brigade had completed its plan, and the missing air and NGF annexes had been added to the division's document.17
From a logistical as well as a tactical standpoint, the Marianas presented some new problems to amphibious planners in the Central Pacific. The campaigns to secure the tiny atolls of the Marshalls and the restricted beachheads of the Solomons had been successfully concluded. Now, a war of maneuver on a limited land mass was contemplated and requirements for supply and resupply,18 evacuation and hospitalization, transportation, and the mission of service troops had to be reevaluated. With lives at stake, the absolute necessity of being right the first time imposed a terrific responsibility on the men mapping out the service functions of the operation.
Although the allotment of shipping for STEVEDORE was adequate to lift the units originally assigned, revisions and additions to the troop list forced a drastic reduction in cargo space available.19 The number of organic vehicles to be brought along was especially limited, and commanders carefully scanned equipment requirements at all levels to eliminate anything that might be classed as "excess baggage." Unexpected orders on 4 May placed an additional burden on TF 53 and IIIAC by giving them responsibility for embarking the entire first garrison echelon. This included 84 officers and 498 enlisted men of Major General Henry L. Larsen's Island Command Headquarters group.20 Thereafter, in view of the shipping available, constant adjustments were necessary to meet combat and service requirements of assault and garrison units. The personnel and equipment additions further curtailed cargo space and acted to limit the capabilities of some units assigned to the assault echelon.21 Close personal cooperation at the higher staff level continued between the various ship commanders and commanding officers of the units to be transported to the target.22 Continual coordination by respective transport quartermasters (TQM's) insured effective loading arrangements best suited to the needs of the embarked units.
Sanitation for troops on board ship, details of casualty treatment and evacuation at Guam, and provisions for adequate medical care at all times were the subject of numerous conferences between landing and attack force medical officers. The plan, as it finally evolved, called for all units to embark with their full medical strength, plus a three to five percent increase over table of organization allowances for corpsmen.23 Levels of medical supply were set so that they would be adequate for both the assault and garrison units. But the shortage of shipping space caused higher headquarters to disapprove the request of the corps surgeon to embark medical supplies for the civilian population.24 Fortunately, the order limiting organic transportation to be lifted to Guam did not include ambulance jeeps, and consequently medical units could take along their full allowance of vehicles.
The transportation picture for amphibious vehicles was also quite a bit better than for most motor transport. The 3d Amphibian Tractor Battalion (180 tractors) had been assigned to the 3d Marine Division, and the 4th with its 178 tractors had been attached to the
1st Provisional Marine Brigade.25 After these LVT's landed the initial assault waves, they would be available for transshipment of cargo and troops over the reef barriers to the beach. In this task they would be assisted by the amphibian trucks (DUKW's) of the IIIAC Motor Transport Battalion. This unit had been converted recently to a DUKW organization for the STEVEDORE operation, and its drivers had been hurriedly trained by civilian technicians and Army personnel furnished by the Commanding General, Forward Area South Pacific. During the landing of the assault waves, the DUKW's would carry in artillery pieces and radio jeeps and then be used for resupply. Of the battalion's 100 DUKW's 60 were assigned to the 3d Division26 while the remainder, one company (C), with 40 DUKW's, supported the brigade.
To assist the amphibious vehicles in their role as cargo carriers and to help bridge the reef-filled gap between deep water and the beach,
PONTOON-LADEN LST prepares to discharge assault troops on W-Day before moving in to unload its temporary piers at the reef's edge.
TF 53 made provisions to take pontoon barges and piers to the target. Their bulk presented a grave transportation problem to already harassed transport quartermasters. It was solved, however, by having them mounted and side-carried to the target by LVT's (landing ship, tank). In the Northern Attack Group, seven LVT's were assigned to carry four self-propelled pontoon barges each, and the Southern Attack Group had four similarly assigned. Twelve pontoon causeways, each with two sections 14 x 100 feet, also were sent along by means of LST carrier, eight to the northern beaches and four to the southern. Once established off the reef at Guam, the pontoons could be used as floating docks, temporary storage points for high-priority gear, and as refueling stations for amphibious vehicles. As a further aid to conquering the fringing reefs, and to provide traction for wheeled vehicles moving ashore, each LST of the attack force carried three reinforced wire mats, 240 square feet in area, to be laid on the coral by men of the shore party.27
In order to coordinate supply activities ashore, corps formed a service group using as a nucleus officers and men from the staffs of the corps engineer and corps quartermaster. Under Lieutenant Colonel Francis M. McAlister, the group would control the corps shore party, engineer, medical, supply, and transport facilities. In addition, it would operate the port to be established in Apra Harbor and the airfields to be built until such time as units of the garrison forces took over. It was contemplated that upon completion of the unloading of assault shipping, those units temporarily attached to the brigade and division as shore party personnel for the landing would revert to group control.
Moreover, the brigade's and division's pioneer and naval construction units were to come under group control as soon as possible after W-Day to assist in the enormous task of converting Guam into an advance base. This centralized control of logistical activity ashore after troops secured the beachhead would have two advantages. It would insure adequate support of
units fighting the Japanese, and at the same time expedite the groundwork in base development. The service group could not hold training exercises since the units to be assigned to it on Guam were tactically attached to assault elements for the landing. Staffs, however, held conferences and all interested unit commanders had a hand in deciding policies.28
The information available regarding Guam and the enemy troops defending it affected all considerations of Naval and Marine planning. Studies which had been prepared periodically for Marine Corps Schools at Quantico, Virginia, which examined the island with a view toward its eventual development as a major base, furnished some intelligence.29 More current knowledge was obtained from officers who had been stationed on Guam and natives who were away serving in the Navy at the time of their homeland's capture.
Considering the length of time the Navy had controlled the island, available topographic maps were surprisingly poor in detail on road nets and ground contours. Hydrographic charts, however, gave an excellent picture of the lay of reefs offshore. In June 1943 the Military Intelligence Service of the War Department gathered all available information and issued a preliminary intelligence guide for planners. After Pacific Ocean Area forces were definitely committeed to FORAGER, the Office of Naval Intelligence compiled a strategic study of Guam. Issued in February 1944, this exhaustive 345-page evaluation, labeled ONI-99, proved to be the prime source of information regarding the island.
The unknown factor to intelligence officers was the Japanese defensive situation. All indications showed the enemy rushing reinforcements to the Marianas, although the exact number of men and the extent of the build-up was indefinite. In the preliminary estimate of the enemy situation, issued in May with the final corps operation plan, an informed guess indicated that units of the Japanese 29th Infantry Division might be on Guam. It was not thought, however, that the entire unit had reached there.30 The estimate turned out to be inaccurate. The division and its reinforcing units had reached the island and had begun the process of building up its defenses. In an attempt to shed some light on the enemy situation and changes in terrain wrought by the Japanese, commanders requested an up-to-date aerial photographic coverage. In this particular, intelligence agencies fell short of expected performance.
Cloud cover lessened the value of pictures taken on the first photo mission on 25 April. Repeated flights, however, in May and June did obtain an adequate coverage of most of the island and the invasion beaches. Even with these better photos, some commanders never did get a clear picture of the ground assigned them to capture.31 Not until the invasion force embarked could a good one-to-five-thousand mosaic be assembled for study. At the same time, stereo-pairs were received and furnished the best analysis of the enemy's beachhead defenses.32
The submarine USS Greenling returned to base on 29 April after 27 days of reconnaissance operations in the Marianas and provided III Corps with its "best obliques" of Guam's beach terrain. Taken during periodic periscope exposures, the photographs gave a clear, close view of the proposed landing beaches and terrain inland. In addition to the photos, the sub had taken depth soundings, checked
prevailing tides and currents, and observed the air traffic from the fields on the island so that planners now had this intelligence available.
This added coverage helped the photographic situation at higher levels, but sufficient pictures were still not available to lower echelons until after the landings. This was not the case with maps, however, as adequate quantities of a
ISLAND OF GUAM as it appears on the rubber terrain map used to familiarize assault troops with their objective.
1:20,000 special air and gunnery target map (11 sheets) with a superimposed grid system had been distributed to lower troop levels. Corps used a 1:62,500 for control purposes, while units of the attack force used charts of one or two inches to the nautical mile during preparation and bombardment phases. The 1:20,000 map was a Marine Corps Schools draft based on Corps of Engineer surveys and revised through April 1944. For military purposes, it had several glaring faults. Vast areas of the ground actually covered by dense vegetation appeared as bare terrain. In many cases, broken ground contour lines indicated the interior had not been thoroughly surveyed. Finally, as troop commanders would soon discover, the map location of roads and trails in northern Guam often turned out to be inaccurate by hundreds of yards. Ironically, the Japanese defenders of the island, improving on the base survey used by the Americans, had furnished their troops with a much more accurate picture of Guam's terrain.33 However, despite its obvious defects from an infantryman's point of view, the map used by III Corps units proved to be sufficiently accurate in most sectors to furnish good artillery data.34
Since good aerial photos were lacking, the 1:20,000 map had to be used as basic control for plaster relief maps of the island. Briefing sessions and planning conferences both used these models to obtain a clearer picture of terrain. Corps distributed sufficient quantities to provide one for every infantry and artillery battalion. In addition, the relief map section prepared 1:5000 plaster copies with a two to
one exaggeration of the immediate beach area to aid assault elements.35
Responsible for the accuracy of these large scale models was Commander R. F. Armknecht (CEC) who had been public works officer on Guam prior to the war. He personally modeled most of this map, which impressed Admiral Conolly so much that he ordered five copies made for distribution to fire support ships. The many rubber terrain maps sent out from the United States, based on the Marine Corps Schools map, proved "inherently inaccurate." Nevertheless, because of their portability, the troops had only these models available on board the invasion transports.36
The tactical concept of the operation formulated by planning groups at Pearl Harbor in early April stood the test of prolonged scrutiny. Measured against available forces for landing, follow-up, and support, it seemed the plan most assured of success. Throughout April, corps attached the necessary reinforcing units to the brigade and division. Even though some of these units, such as the forward echelons of the 5th Field Depot and the 9th and 14th Defense Battalions, were slated for garrison duty on Guam they also received assignments for the assault phase. Other units, like the 1st Armored Amphibian Battalion, were committed only for the operation to provide added fire power during the landing. By the time the STLF received all attachments necessary for the landing the aggregate strength reached 39,080 men. This figure included both the assault elements and those garrison forces to be taken in the first echelon.37
Because initial enemy opposition might be fierce enough to contain the beachheads and prevent the planned link-up on the FBL, successful employment of corps artillery presented a problem. The minimum effective range of the powerful 155mm guns and howitzers was so great that they might be limited to deep support missions should the assault move slowly. To meet this contingency, Brigadier General Pedro A. del Valle and his newly-formed artillery staff38 planned to land two 155mm battalions in the south behind the brigade. This would permit the heavier guns of the 7th 155mm Gun Battalion, with only long range capabilities, to reinforce the fires of the 12th Marines in support of the 3d Division. At the same time, the plan would allow the howitzers of the 1st Battalion, with their shorter range capabilities, to add their fire to those of the brigade artillery and protect the corps south flank.
In addition to approving del Valle's plan for using his 155mm units, General Geiger gave the artillery commander control over all artillery and antiaircraft units in the Southern Landing Force.39 In this manner, coordination of fires with air and naval gunfire could be achieved as soon as corps artillery established its fire direction center ashore. Also, the plan would ensure the massing of fires on a single target if it required the full impact of all artillery on the island.
Naval planners handling their big guns supporting Southern Attack Force paralleled corps artillery in developing an effective fire control concept. Restrictive fire plans were laid for naval gunfire and aerial bombardment to be conducted simultaneously on the same coastal area during the prelanding preparation.40 Although designed primarily as a safety precaution, the system also made substantial improvement in over-all bombardment volume possible. As outlined in the directive, when one area received fire from both agencies, ship's guns would limit their maximum ordinates of shell trajectory to 1,200 feet. At the same time pilots would be required to pull out of their bombing runs at 1,500 feet. The resulting coordination of air and NGF would ensure the
BRIGADE COMMANDERS check the Orote Peninsula-Apra Harbor area on a relief map of Guam. Left to right: General Shepherd, Commanding General; Colonel Walker, Chief of Staff; Lieutenent Colonel Shapley, Commanding Officer, 4th Marines; Colonel Schneider, Commanding Officer, 22d Marines.
landing force of maximum support for their assault.41
Training and Rehearsal
Life for the ground units and the sailors on board attack ships was anything but tranquil during the planning period. Commanders stepped up the normal intensive training of Marine units as embarkation dates approached. Most of the ships of TF 53 had to face the big task of refitting from their last operation and at the same time load for STEVEDORE. There seemed little need to remind the experienced troops and crewmen that continual practice was the key to a successful amphibious assault.
With landings over wide reefs a possibility in the future, and to add to techniques employed at Bougainville, the 3d Marine Division42 had conducted experiments involving transfers of troops and 75mm pack howitzers from LCVP's to LVT's. In addition, tests were made loading 105mm howitzers into DUKW's, studies of the approaches of LVT's and DUKW's to various types of beaches carried on, and checks made on landing tanks from LCM's onto reefs.43 Up to the moment of loading out for final rehearsals, the 105mm battalions of the 12th Marines worked with their newly-assigned DUKW's, planning and investigating the best way to employ the vehicles assigned for the landing.44 In addition to amphibious exercises, the division's men became familiar with the small-unit combat-training areas in the jungle and kunai grass plains surrounding their camp at Coconut Grove, Tetere.
At Tassafaronga, where the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade camped, the training cycle was considerably shortened. The final echelons of the 4th and 22d Marines did not arrive at Guadalcanal from Emirau and Kwajalein, respectively, until late April. Each unit remained heavily reinforced with support and service elements that stayed under regimental control for ease of handling.45 However, the 75mm pack howitzer battalions, which had been under regimental control, were detached and placed under a provisional brigade artillery group commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Edwin C. Ferguson to facilitate the massing of supporting fires.46
The newly formed brigade spent part of its training time ironing out the kinks inevitable in the formation of any large or small unit. Fortunately, the recent combat experience of these Marines made the training task easier. On the other hand, the 22d's recent activities proved detrimental in some respects. As training progressed some of the men began to show the effects of their sojourn on Samoa and their physical efforts in helping capture the
Marshalls. In Samoa many troops had become infected with filariasis47 and the exertions of combat and training induced a severe reaction in a considerable number of cases. In a short period of time it became necessary to replace 1,800 men of the 22d Marines because of this disease, casualties resulting from battle, transfers, and rotation. This was acomplished by transferring 500 men from the 3d Marine Division overage and filling out the remainder with replacements.48 With the injection of these unseasoned Marines into the brigade, training officers had to put more emphasis on small unit tactics.
Both the division and brigade devoted a portion of their combat training to developing an efficient tank-infantry team whose mutual supporting fires could crack the expected strong Japanese defenses. In addition, artillery units trained tankmen in the techniques of forward observation so that fire missions could be directed from as far forward as possible.49
The size and configuration of the maneuver area assigned the brigade considerably hampered training activities. With elements of the brigade, Army, and IIIAC all near Tassafaronga there seemed a "never ending problem of coordination in the use of training areas."50 Despite the difficulties encountered and the element of haste present in its preparation for STEVEDORE, the brigade met the stepped-up schedule.
Final pre-rehearsal training of sea and land elements of the attack force commenced on 12 May. In an area near Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal, allotted to TF 53 by the Commanding General, Forward Areas South Pacific, activities got under way. Six days of ship-to-shore exercises (three for each attack group) gave each combat team and its supporting transport division an opportunity to practice landing techniques. Next followed two days of air support activities in conjunction with regimental landings. And finally, two days of combined air and NGF operations, using live bombs and ammunition, permitted the flagship of each attack group to gain experience in controlling the power of its naval support.51
On 22 May, with the preliminary exercises completed, all major unit commanders reported on board the Appalachian for a conference on the rehearsal and the operation. At the same time, ship captains and gunnery officers received a thorough briefing on their roles in both the practice and actual landing. With the Cape Esperance area suitable for landing only one division at a time, Admiral Conolly decided to spread the final landing drill over a five-day
REAR ADMIRAL REIFSNIDER, Commander of the Southern Attack Group, charged with landing the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade and the 77th Infantry Division. (Navy Photograph.)
period. This allowed both attack groups to complete approach, landing, and follow-up phases.
In the evening of 22 May, TG 53.1 with the 3d Division embarked, sortied from Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Using planned approach formations during the night, the group arrived off the landing beach at 0600 and started to disembark troops. LVT's loaded with men and equipment of assault platoons crawled down LST ramps into the water and started toward the beach. NGF and air worked over the landing area, duplicating procedures planned for Guam. After first waves moved ashore, tractors returned to a pre-determined transfer point and transshipped troops and equipment from landing boats. The absence of a fringing reef, such as the one blocking both assault beaches at Guam, was compensated for in so far as possible by imitating the exact technique to be used in the operation. Ashore, the regiments maneuvered according to the operation plan, supported by token unloadings of heavy equipment. Because of the possibility of malarial conditions in the rehearsal area, troops reembarked before nightfall. In the morning, 24 May, the division reloaded the equipment left ashore and the convoy proceeded to Tetere. Here, over controlled and marked beaches, units of the shore party practiced unloading reserve equipment and supplies.
TECHNIQUES OF TRANSFERRING from LCVP to LVT were practiced during Cape Esperance rehearsals to familiarize troops with the method (as shown above) used at Guam.
During the second phase of the rehearsal starting 25 May, the Southern Attack Group, with the brigade and corps artillery embarked, made its "dry run." Once again Marines assaulted the Esperance beach, but this time troops followed the Agat landing plan. When ships returned to Tassafaronga, the brigade shore party unloaded supplies and set up dumps as they would on Guam. Without a barrier reef to contend with, unloading proceeded smoothly. There was little indication of the trouble that would arise at the target when both corps artillery and the brigade had to be supplied using the same men and vehicles.52
All units of TF 53 participated in the dress rehearsals except two--Cruiser Division 6 (CruDiv-6) remained at Majuro for servicing, and Carrier Division 24 (CarDiv-24) stayed at Espiritu Santo for repairs. CruDiv-12, however, substituted for the missing cruiser division in its fire support role, and the pilots of the air groups of CarDiv-24 flew to Guadalcanal to support the operation from bases ashore. Gunnery officers and ship captains of CruDiv-6 received briefing from TF 53's air and gunnery officers who flew to Majuro. At the same time pilots from carriers of TF 58, who had been working as a striking force for Fifth Fleet and were now present at the atoll anchorage, heard of their role in the STEVEDORE operation. As the day for mounting out the assault approached, Admiral Conolly's task force set about making final arrangements to lift, land, and support the Marines of III Corps.53
After the rehearsal, support units left Guadalcanal for other bases in the Solomons to replenish ammunition and make other logistical preparations for departure. Loading of units in the Guadalcanal area proceeded smoothly
CROWDED LST moves toward Guam showing the makeshift living arrangements made by assault troops that led one observer to compare the sight to that of a "tenement district."
and on 1 June the LST tractor groups left for the staging area at Kwajalein Atoll. The faster transport and support groups, which included the Appalachian with IIIAC Headquarters on board, followed on 4 June, joining the LST group at Kwajalein on 8 June. Fuel, water, and provisions were taken on board at the anchorage as scheduled, and the first LST's cleared the atoll late in the afternoon of 9 June. Three days later, the rest of TF 53 departed from the Marshalls, moving in convoy formation to an assembly area east of Saipan.
Planes from TF 58 had struck Guam on 11 June in the first of a series of preparatory raids on all the Marianas leading up to the landing on Saipan. Four days later, 15 June, while guns and planes of TF 52 pounded the island, assault divisions of VAC landed on Saipain. That evening (1931), Admiral Spruance sent a dispatch to Admiral Conolly confirming W-Day for STEVEDORE as 18 June. At midnight the task force commenced retiring to the eastward preparatory to making the final approach run on 17 June.
In the meantime, submarine sightings had indicated that the Japanese planned to leap at the proffered bait and that their fleet had left the Philippines to attack the American expeditionary force. Consequently, in the face of an imminent fleet engagement, Admiral Spruance cancelled W-Day as 18 June. He stated that the landing date would be redesignated and directed that the preinvasion strikes on Guam by TF 58 be discontinued until further notice.54
Ships of TF 53 spent the period from 16-25 June advancing and retiring in an area 150-300 miles to the eastward of Saipan. Once the threat of the enemy fleet had been eliminated by TF 58, the reason for the delay in assaulting Guam became, not the Japanese surface forces, but the determined defenders of Saipan. Following the commitment of the Expeditionary Troops Reserve (16-20 June), the IIIAC was maintained afloat in case a need arose to reinforce Marines and soldiers battling on that island.
When, on 25 June, Admirals Spruance and Turner decided the 3d Marine Division was no longer needed as a floating reserve, it and most units of corps received orders to return to a restaging area at Eniwetok. Ships loaded with men of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, however, remained in the Saipan area pending an improvement in the situation ashore. On 30 June, with VAC's position more secure, the Southern Attack Group was released and directed to proceed to Eniwetok.55
For men on board the transports and landing ships the reef-islands of the atoll were a welcome sight. Already the troops had spent a month in their "temporary" quarters, and the voyage had lost any novelty appeal it might once have had. Only one incident had broken the dull routine of seemingly endless days. A formation of enemy torpedo bombers attacked TG 53.16, the Northern Tractor Group, on 18 June but the curtain of fire raised by the LST's and LCI's drove the attackers off after downing three of the Japanese planes. LCI(G) 468, the only casualty to the assault force, received a torpedo hit, and after being towed for awhile finally sank.56 Aside from this mishap, the monotonous days at sea followed one after the other with little prospect of anything but more monotony.
At Eniwetok commanders set up a regular schedule of landings which enabled troops to move ashore and regain their land legs. Some units employed debarkation arrangements which would be used at Guam, and the men always disembarked and came back on board over cargo nets. On the many sandspits in the lagoon, troops participated in small-unit tactics and engaged in various forms of athletics. In the evening, back on board the ships, boxing matches and movies helped the men to relax.
LST's in the atoll lagoon presented a weird sight. Tents, tarpaulins, in fact every conceivable type of cover had been rigged on the weather deck to provide some protection from the broiling sun. To one officer it looked like a ". . . tenement district with Marine's bedding strewn everywhere in an effort to find a flat place to lie down."57 At that, the men on the landing ships had it better than those on the transports where quarters were in crowded holds. The tropical sun beating down on the steel decks turned the troop compartments into infernos. Sleeping proved difficult if not impossible, and a much sought after privilege was bedding "topside" under the night sky. Heat rash prevailed but the opportunity to eat good food, including fresh meat, offset the discomfort caused by the skin irritation. A few ships began running low on some supplies but on others the Marines still enjoyed the ice cream that came with life on board most ships.58 All-in-all, the good food, rest, plenty of hard physical exercise by calisthenics each day, and the training and recreation ashore kept the men in comparatively good physical condition.
Nevertheless, the Marines began to get bored with "ship-board" life and all individuals were ready for action. Assault troops had been briefed on their target until "Guam was coming out of their ears."59 One naval officer with the assault force noted that, so familiar had the men become with the landing beaches, they spoke of them "as though they were Coney Island, Old Orchard, Daytona, or a California Beach."60 Probably, there never was a group of Marines more eager to leave the ships of the fleet for an amphibious assault.
Re-evaluation of the Situation
While troops sweltered on board their transports in Eniwetok's lagoon, their commanders were busily implementing plans for STEVEDORE. Admiral Conolly, Generals Geiger and del Valle, plus key staff officers left by air for Saipan on 29 June. After arrival on the island, still the scene of heavy fighting, the entire group made a front line tour to examine the effect of naval gunfire, air bombardment, and artillery support against targets almost identical with those expected to be encountered on Guam. Then Admirals Turner and Spruance held a series of conferences on board, their flagships, the USS Rocky Mount and the USS Indianapolis.61 New intelligence gained from interrogations and captured documents on this first island assaulted in the Marianas indicated that Guam was even more formidably defended than Saipan.62
The determined resistance expected at the beaches and the sharp rise in Japanese strength known to be on the island were the chief concerns of the conferees. High-level commanders now considered the forces assigned to IIIAC insufficient for the speedy capture of Guam. Accordingly, the planners decided to add the 77th Infantry Division (Reinforced) with its 19,245 men63 as floating reserve.64 The III Corps Artillery gained more fire power with
ARTILLERYMEN of the 22d Marines Pack Howitzer Battalion are briefed on their part in the assault by their intelligence officer, Captain Philip P. Santon.
the assigning of the 2d 155mm Howitzer Battalion to the operation. In addition, the scope of the preliminary bombardment was increased tremendously and the decision made to conduct further reconnaissance of the beaches and reefs prior to W-Day.65
On 6 July, CTF 56 formally released the 77th Infantry Division to General Geiger's control. By this time, the first elements of the division had started toward the restaging area. Reinforced by the 305th Field Artillery Battalion, the 305th RCT, and an advance division command group had sailed from Pearl Harbor on 1 July under command of Brigadier General Edwin H. Randle, Assistant Division Commander (ADC).66 The remainder of the division with its commander, Major General Andrew D. Bruce, awaited the arrival of transport divisions from Saipan, and embarked on 8 July to join TF 53.
The new tactical plan called for the employment of the 305th RCT as part of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. The rest of the Army division would remain afloat in corps reserve ready to land on either the northern or southern beaches. In the event the 3d Division did not require the weight of the 77th, the plan envisaged landing the Army troops on the same beaches used by the brigade and then relieving General Shepherd's men on the FBL. The brigade could then concentrate its forces to capture Orote Peninsula and upon accomplishing this task, again take over defense of the FBL. The two divisions, with their rear protected by the brigade, could then join, drive north, and secure the rest of the island. At a conference held on board the Appalachian on 10 July, General Geiger gave major unit commanders, including the newly-arrived ADC of the 77th, the new plan.67
As soon as it was definitely known when the Army reinforcements would be available, Admiral Spruance set the date for the assault.
OROTE PENINSULA AIRFIELD erupts with the smoke of bombs dropped by planes of Admiral Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force during a preinvasion strike in early July. (Navy Photograph.)
He sent a message to Admiral Conolly on 8 July fixing 21 July 1944 as W-Day on Guam.68
For the Japanese on Guam the period following the Saipan landing was a continuous nightmare. Stabbing raids by planes from TF 58 occurred with ever-increasing frequency as the month of June wore on. Even during the height of the Japanese fleet's attack on TF 58 the weary defenders had no respite. Reinforcement flights from Iwo Jima and Japan being sent to aid the Imperial Navy in its effort to stop the Saipan landing, found Admiral Mitscher's flyers ready to halt such attempts. Enemy pilots seeking to stage their attacks through Guam's airfields found their landing plans interrupted by American interceptor planes.
Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers from the fast carrier task force began a series of harassing raids on 27 June, concentrating their fire on Orote Peninsula installations, that increased the damage wrought by bombing.69 Guam was now cut off effectively from all hopes of relief. The heckling attacks of TF 58 lifted the curtain on the most thorough pre-landing preparation seen thus far in the Pacific.
The bombardment pace was stepped up on 4 July. One carrier group (TG 58.3) lay to off the island sending its planes in during daylight hours to strafe and bomb the Japanese and smash defensive installations. The destroyers of the group threw their 5-inch shells into Agana, Asan, and Agat during the night. As TG 58.3 left for Eniwetok to refuel on 6 July, two more carrier groups arrived off Guam and continued the round-the-clock bombardment. On alternate days each carrier group hit the Rota airfield to render it inoperable and further isolate the embattled garrison on Guam.70
Following the plan as outlined at the cominander's conference on Saipan, elements of TF 53 entered the picture on 8 July when CruDiv-6
USS PENNSYLVANIA is wreathed in smoke as its 14-inch rifles shell the area south of Orote Peninsula. (Navy Photograph.)
and CarDiv-24 took station off Guam to add their power to the preparation. The scope of the bombardment grew as additional supporting units, some from TF 52, arrived in the area. A continual procession of ships shuttled back and forth between ammunition and fueling rendezvous at Saipan and Eniwetok, making a lethal pause to spread devastation on Guam. From 11 July onward at least one battleship division was always present to lend the massive broadsides of its rifles to NGF salvos.71 The umbrella of carrier planes that blanketed the island neutralized effectively any remaining air opposition still present at Guam's crater-pocked airstrips. These naval pilots received the first evidence that the defenders were keyed to a fighting pitch. Antiaircraft fire brought down 16 planes before assault troops hit on W-Day.72
Admiral Conolly, embarked in the Appalachian, arrived off Guam to assume personal control of the bombardment program on 14 July. The admiral ordered the flagship to take position approximately 3,500 yards off the coast, and much to the surprise of everyone on board directed gun crews to commence firing at designated targets. That night Conolly sent a message to CinCPac to the effect that, "the Appalachian, ably supported by other elements of the fleet, this day bombarded Guam." A second dispatch went to the bombarding ships and directed all vessels to move in close and deliver point-blank fire.73
UNDERWATER DEMOLITION MEN of UDT-4 paddle their rubber boat toward the reef off Agat on 19 July to continue their work of destroying enemy obstacles. (Navy Photograph.)
The presence of General Geiger in the command ship, "as the individual most interested in the reduction of beach defenses, had the effect of placing naval gunfire where it would do the most damage."74 Close coordination of air and NGF support was achieved by setting up a board of officers to evaluate the effect of the continual pounding the island received. The attack force air, gunnery, and intelligence officers worked with representatives of General Geiger to carry out a systematic plan for destroying enemy defenses. Daily the board prepared a target list to guide ships and carrier planes in their bombardment missions. After a target had been thoroughly worked over, it was checked off the list, but occasionally re-examined to make certain it would cause no trouble on W-Day. Observation planes that hovered over the island discovered new targets, and the board added them to the list. For a good portion of this preliminary bombardment period, the island was divided into two zones with air and NGF alternating morning and afternoon in striking these. This eliminated all restrictions on minimum plane pull out and support ship's ranges.75
During the softening-up process planned for Guam Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT's) received the important task of removing obstacles from Asan and Agat beaches and improving the reef approaches for landing craft. Three UDT's were made available to TF 53 for the operation: UDT's 3 and 4 joined the attack force at Guadalcanal while UDT 6 reported at Eniwetok on 9 July after participating in the Saipan campaign. For three nights and two days beginning on 14 July, UDT 3 carried on reconnaissance of assault beaches and made diversionary checks of possible landing points all along the west coast. At night swimmers crossed the reef and examined the actual shore line, while LCI gunboats,76 destroyers, cruisers, and battleships provided protective cover. Any enemy fire on the team's scouts drew an instant reaction from guns of all calibers. This cover proved so effective that only one member of the team was killed during the entire reconnaissance operation.
When Teams 4 and 6 arrived from Eniwetok on 17 July the second phase of the UDT work started. Protected by LCI(G)'s operating close to shore and screened by smoke laid on beach areas by planes from TF 53, all three teams began four days of clearing barriers from reefs in front of assault beaches. Off Agat the obstacles consisted mostly of palm log cribs
filled with coral, joined together by wire cable. On the northern reef, teams found wire cages four feet square and three to four feet high filled with cemented coral.77 Very little barbed wire and no underwater mines were located. By midnight of W-minus 1, hand-placed demolition charges had blown 640 obstacles off Asan and 300 off Agat. The value of the UDT's work is clear. Admiral Conolly stated that, "positively, landings could not have been made on either Agat or Asan beaches nor any other suitable beaches without these elaborate but successfully prosecuted clearance operations."78
During the course of covering operations for the UDT's, LCI(G) 348 grounded on the reef 400-500 yards from Asan at about 2000, 17 July. Admiral Conolly immediately requested a tug be sent from Saipan to rescue the vessel. Throughout the night, destroyers covered the stranded gunboat and at daylight cruisers from fire support units moved in and successfully neutralized enemy fire. The tug, Apache, arrived at 1415, took position to seaward of the 348, and at 1730 with the help of a rising tide pulled the grounded LCI(G) free. With the gunboat in tow, the Apache returned to Saipan.79
The promptness with which the request for help was answered by Admiral Turner demonstrated a unique feature of the naval support at Guam. Because W-Day had been delayed until after the end of the Saipan campaign, unprecedented numbers of ships from TF 52 and TF 58 could be allocated to reinforce the Southern Attack Force. Unquestionably, these additional planes and ship's guns contributed heavily to the effectiveness of the prelanding preparation.
While supporting units smashed Guam's defenses, the transport and tractor groups of TF 53 made ready to depart from Eniwetok for the objective. Screened by a host of destroyers, gunboats, mine sweepers, patrol craft, and submarine chasers, the LST's left the anchorage on 15 July. Two days later, transports got under way, accompanied by covering units of the attack force escort carrier group. Just a few hours prior to the departure of these ships, transports carrying the 77th Infantry Division (less the 305th RCT) entered the lagoon. Refueling lines were taken on board and preparations made to bring the floating reserve to the Guam area at sunrise on W-plus 1.80
At Guam, as W-Day drew nearer, the destructive rain of shells and bombs increased. Early on 20 July the Indianapolis, with the Fifth Fleet commander on board, arrived and joined the fire support vessels. By afternoon of W-minus 1, all forces connected with STEVEDORE were in position or approaching on schedule. All known major defensive installations covering the landing beaches had been silenced, and demolition teams were completing
SIX-INCH GUN from the main battery of the USS Honolulu fires on Guam while in the background one of the UDT destroyer transports moves in to cover demolition operations. (Navy Photograph.)
RELIGIOUS SERVICES are held on board one of the transports as Marines of IIIAC move closer to combat on Guam.
Initial Naval Gunfire Disposition
their task of clearing reef obstructions. Favorable weather had been predicted for 21 July, and Admiral Conolly confirmed that date as W-Day, setting H-Hour for 0830.81
At dusk major NGF support vessels retired for the night, ready to return at first light and place fire on areas assigned them in the operation plan. On board the fifteen carriers of TF 58 and the five escort carriers of the attack force, ordnance men armed planes for their lethal strikes. In the seas immediately surrounding the island lay a vast armada: six battleships, nine cruisers, and fifty-seven destroyers.82 From this number four battleships, three cruisers, and four destroyers had been allotted close-in support missions off Asan, and two battleships, three cruisers, and three destroyers had drawn the same role at the Agat landing beaches. (See Map 4, Map Section.) In addition, a host of smaller ships and landing craft were available to cover the landing teams with a protective curtain of fire.
At 0530, 21 July 1944, NGF support vessels moved into assigned firing areas and commenced prearranged bombardment schedules. The assault to recapture Guam was underway.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)
1. General of the Air Force H. H. Arnold, Global Mission, (New York, 1949), 476-480, 536, hereinafter cited as Global Mission.
2. For a detailed account of the highest level conferences and decisions leading up to the Marianas campaign see Saipan, 13-22.
3. The principal sources used in the preparation of this section were the planning reports of TF 51, TF 56, TF 53, IIIAC, and the operation reports of the 3d MarDiv and the 1st ProvMarBrig.
4. Adm Nimitz as senior naval officer in the Pacific was in command of all ships of the Pacific Fleet (CinCPac). At the same time, he and Gen MacArthur divided American command of Pacific areas. MacArthur exercised control of all Army, Navy, and Marine forces in the Southwest Pacific (CinCSWPA) while Nimitz had the same role in the South, Central, and North Pacific, jointly titled Pacific Ocean Areas (CinCPOA).
5. For the story of American operations against the Japanese in the Marshalls see the MC historical monograph by LtCol J. A. Crown due for publication in 1954.
6. Adm Mineichi Koga, CinC, ComFlt, ordered the evacuation of Truk as advanced fleet base on 10Feb44 to avoid expected American attacks there. He met his death as a result of another American assault, that of Gen MacArthur's forces on Hollandia. On 31 March his plane was lost at sea while he was flying from the Palaus to Davao to direct operations against the landing forces. Campaigns, 205-207.
7. According to the Japanese they were alerted to the threat of a landing on Truk by this first carrier strike. By mid-April a division and a half of Army troops had been brought in to augment the small Navy garrison. For the duration of the war over 30,000 men were immobilized on the by-passed island. USSBS(Pac) Interrogation No. 503 of VAdm Shigeru Fukudome; CofS, Combined Fleet, 1940-Apr41; Chief 1st Section, Naval General Staff, Apr41-May43; Commander, 2d Air Fleet, Jul44-15Jan45; Commander, 10th Area Fleet, 15Jan45-Dec45, hereinafter cited as Fukudome.
8. CinCSoWesPac was the abbreviation used mostly by Navy documents. However, the abbreviation CinCSWPA appears in JCS documents and will be used throughout this monograph.
9. One of the Marine units later employed in the Guam assault, the 3d MarDiv, was originally scheduled for this operation. The 4th Mar, also originally slated for Kavieng, was sent against Emirau instead and later participated in the Guam operation as part of the 1st ProvMarBrig.
10. JCS 713/4, 12Mar44.
11. On 15Apr44, the I Marine Amphibious Corps was redesignated III Amphibious Corps. For purposes of continuity this unit has been referred to as IIIAC or III Corps throughout the monograph.
12. TF 56 G-3 Rpt, 1-2.
13. IIIAC SAR, Planning Rpt, 1-2.
14. BrigGen Thomas E. Watson who took command of the 1st ProvMarBrig when it was activated on 22Mar44 had been assigned as CG, 2d MarDiv on 10Apr44.
15. The AGC is an especially designed amphibious command ship for the use of the attack force and landing force staffs. It is equipped with extra communication gear, a photo lab, sound recording devices, and has large conference rooms to facilitate coordination of staff actions. Initially designated an auxiliary general communications vessel, AGC, it is now officially listed by the Navy as an amphibious force flagship.
16. BrigGen Shepherd and a nucleus of his staff had arrived by air from Pearl Harbor on 22Apr44 to take part in the planning for STEVEDORE prior to the formal opening of the brigade CP. Ltr LtCol W. R. Norton to CMC, 26Nov52, hereinafter cited as Norton.
17. Two alternate operation plans were subsequently made in case later information disclosed that either of the designated beaches in the preferred plan was too heavily defended or otherwise unsuitable for a landing. OpPlan 3-44 (Alternate plan-FORAGER) was issued on 30 May. This plan provided for landing the entire force in echelon on the beaches between Agat and Facpi Pt, seizing Orote Peninsula and Apra Harbor, and being prepared to conduct further operations to complete the seizure of Guam. OpPlan 4-44 (Second Alternate plan-FORAGER) was issued on 9 June. This plan envisaged the 3d MarDiv landing as per OpPlan 1-44, with the brigade landing on beaches between Bangi Pt and Facpi Pt, followed by an attack to the north to seize Orote Peninsula and Apra Harbor as per the preferred plan. IIIAC SAR, Planning Rpt, 2.
18. In order to conserve shipping space on resupply vessels after the campaign was over, the 1st ProvMarBrig was ordered to leave most of its organizational equipment on Guam. After repair and servicing by 5th FldDep the gear was to be issued to the 3d MarDiv which was slated for island garrison. The brigade, on its return to Guadalcanal, would receive replacements from SoPac supply depots. TF 56 G-4 Rpt, 13.
19. IIIAC SAR, SupRpt, 3.
20. IsCom WD, 15Apr-15Aug44, 2-5. MajGen H. L, Larsen, prospective Island Commander of Guam, and 11 members of his staff arrived at IIIAC Headquarters on 29 May and immediately started coordinating their preliminary plans with the assault elements of the corps. This early coordination proved to be of mutual benefit. Ltr MajGen M. H. Silverthorn to CMC, 16Oct-52, hereinafter cited as Silverthorn.
21. IIIAC SAR, SupRpt, 1-4.
22. More than one officer has commented on the close cooperation between Adm Conolly, his staff, and the assault ground forces. The Corps C-2 recalls hearing Adm Conolly tell General Geiger that "my aim is to get the troops ashore standing up. You tell me what you want done to accomplish this and we'll do it." Ltr Col W. F. Coleman to CMC, 5Sep52, hereinafter cited as Coleman 1952.
23. IIIAC SAR, MedRpt, 1.
24. After the landing on Guam, sufficient supplies to care for the Guamanians were furnished from existing Marine stocks, captured Japanese dumps, and material sent in from transports by Adm Conolly. Ibid., 2.
25. For STEVEDORE both battalions were reinforced. Co A of the 10th AmphTracBn was assigned to the 3d AmphTracBn and Co A, 11th AmphTracBn to the 4th.
26. The 60 DUKW's attached to the 3d MarDiv were distributed as follows: six sections of five vehicles each to lift in the 105mm howitzers of 3/12 and 4/12; three sections of eight DUKW's each to bring in radio jeeps; six to serve as mobile CP's for division, combat teams, and DUKW headquarters. The remaining capacity of the radio DUKW's was loaded with 37mm antitank guns and/or infantry ammunition. In each section of DUKW's one vehicle was fitted with an "A" frame to assist in unloading. 3d MarDiv OpPlan 2-44, 13May44.
27. CTF 53 OpPlan A162-44, 17May44.
28. IIIAC SAR, SerGruRpt, 1 and 1A-6A.
29. The "Guam Problem" was given as part of a course at Marine Corps Schools as far back as 1936. Many of the officers serving with the 3d MarDiv and 1st ProvMarBrig during the planning for the invasion of the island had spent many days studying the problem of the defense and capture of Guam. One regimental commander commented, "In my own case my experience with the Guam Problem served me well and as a result I had a clear picture in my mind of the terrain and natural obstacles, which facilitated my planning, and later, control of troops." Ltr LtGen E. A. Craig to CMC, 19Nov52, hereinafter cited as Craig Nov52.
30. IIIAC OpPlan 1-44, 11May44.
31. The battalion commander of 1st Bn, 3d Mar noted that, "BLT 1/3 never had a photo showing the terrain in its zone of action between the reservoir and the Tenjo Road. There was always a big white spot marked 'cloud'." Ltr Maj H. Aplington, II to CMC, 9Apr47, hereinafter cited as Aplington.
32. IIIAC SAR, IntelRpt, 3.
33. The former commanding officer of 3/21 furnished the Historical Branch with a copy of this enemy map for reference. Commenting on the map supplied to IIIAC units he said, "I have been waiting almost eight years to put in my two cents on this score. Ground forms were inaccurately shown all over the map that we used. It is deplorable that we had owned this island approximately forty years and still did not have an accurate map." Ltr Col W. H. Duplantis to author, 20Jan52, hereinafter cited as Duplantis.
34. 12th Mar SAR, 1-2. Col E. C. Ferguson, commanding the brigade's artillery group, later commented that the map was extremely accurate on Orote Peninsula. On the other hand, the 12th Mar remarked on the inaccuracy of the map in northern Guam.
35. "The 21st Marines also constructed a very large terrain model of their zone of action and adjacent areas. This model was studied extensively to familiarize all hands with the terrain to be encountered." Ltr LtCol J. H. Tinsley to author, 8Jan52, hereinafter cited as Tinsley.
36. IIIAC SAR, IntelRpt, 4-5.
38. Corps artillery was activated on 13Apr44 as IMAC Artillery, and its designation was changed on 15 April to III Corps Artillery. The headquarters was forming at the same time it was planning and training for STEVEDORE.
39. IIIAC OpPlan 1-14, 11May44.
40. Ltr LtCol W. M. Gilliam to author, 11Feb52, hereinafter cited as Gilliam.
41. CTF 53 OpRpt, Air Support Comments, 5C.
42. For the story of the division's activities at Bougainville, see Maj J. N. Rentz, Bougainville and the Northern Solomons, MC Historical Monograph, (Washington, 1948).
43. 3d MarDiv SAR, OpComments. 1. The Army's 7th InfDiv originated the method of using DUKW's to carry artillery ashore at Kwajalein. Ltr Adm R. K. Turner to CMC, 27Jan53, hereinafter cited as Turner.
44. Ltr Col A. L. Bowser, Jr. to author, 25Feb52, hereinafter cited as Bowser.
45. Besides the regular H&S Co and Wpns Co of a Marine regiment, each unit had its own engineer, pioneer, medical, tank, and motor transport companies.
46. The brigade artillery group grew beyond its original planned proportions. At the time of the landing on Guam Col Ferguson had under his tactical control both 75mm pack howitzer battalions, a battery of 155mm howitzers assigned by corps artillery, and a 105mm battalion from the Army's 77th InfDiv after that unit was committed to STEVEDORE. Ltr Col E. C. Ferguson to author, 20Feb52.
47. This disease, known to the Marines as "mumu," was prevalent among troops stationed in Samoa in the early stages of the war. The disease was spread by mosquitos bearing a parasitic larval worm which infected blood and tissue of the victim and caused painful swelling of the lymphatics.
48. Ltr BrigGen W. J. Scheyer to CMC, 26Sept52, hereinafter cited as Scheyer.
49. The former CO, PkHowBn, 22d Mar in commenting on this tank-artillery team stated that "the tanker's armored OP often sees more than an FO who has to duck bullets." Ltr LtCol A. M. Mahoney to author, 25Feb52.
51. CTF 53 OpRpt, 3.
52. The corps artillery had requested that sufficient DUKW's be assigned to land all its ammunition direct from ships to firing areas. Brigade opposed this and said that their shore party could handle the situation. Corps accepted the brigade plan, but on Guam the shore party was unable to bring in adequate amounts of 155mm shells and powder during the first few days of the operation. Ltr Col F. P. Henderson to author, 25Feb52, hereinafter cited as Henderson.
53. CTF 53 OpRpt, 3-4.
54. CTF 51 OpRpt, 25-26.
55. CTF 53 OpRpt, 5-6.
56. CTF 51 OpRpt, OpNarrative, Annex 1; CTG 53.2 OpRpt, 4.
57. Ltr LtCol C. W. Kunz, Jr. to author, 27Feb52, hereinafter cited as Kunz.
58. In one transport division, TransDiv-2, the commander, Capt H. D. Baker, ordered that ice cream be served only to Marines because the mix started to run out. Craig Nov52.
60. Cdr H. E. Smith (CEC), "I Saw the Morning Break," USNI Proceedings, March 1946, 406.
61. Ltr Capt I. E. McMillian, USN, to CMC, 28Oct52.
62. TF 56 G-3 Rpt, Annex D.
63. CominCh P-007, Amphibious Operations--Invasion of the Marianas, Chap 1, 1, hereinafter cited as CominCh P-007. The 77th InfDiv, activated on 25Mar42, was composed mostly of selectees and reserves and had yet to experience combat in WW II. The unit, however, had completed extensive training and maneuvers in infantry, desert, mountain, and amphibious warfare tactics at various camps in the U. S. After reaching the Pacific in March-April 1944, the division had been stationed at the Jungle Training Center on Oahu.
64. On 22 July, in accordance with a directive from CinCPOA, the 26th Marines departed San Diego and passed to control of CG ExTrps to serve as ExTrps Reserve for Guam. ExTrps G-3 Rpt, Annex D, 7.
65. Ibid., 4-5.
66. "All that General Randle and his staff knew was that they were to receive instructions at Eniwetok. So enroute they worked on plans for landing on Tinian because the assault on Saipan and Guam had already been planned in detail. All that the men of the 305th Regimental Combat Team knew was that there was a nasty war on and they were sailing right into the midst of it." Ours to Hold it High: The History of the 77th Infantry Division in World War II, (Washington, 1947), 43, hereinafter cited as 77th InfDiv History.
67. IIIAC SAR, Planning Rpt, 3.
68. CTF 53 OpRpt.
69. CinCPac WD, June 1944.
70. CinCPac WD, July 1944. These carrier groups, TG 58.1 and 58.2, had just returned from a two-day raid on Chichi and Iwo Jima, part of a series of strikes on these islands designed to prevent enemy air reinforcements from reaching the Marianas.
71. CTF 53 OpRpt, OpLog, 16A-23A.
72. CinCPac WD, July 1944.
74. Ltr BrigGen M. H. Silverthorn to CMC, 1May47.
75. CTF 53 OpRpt, Air Support Comments, 12C.
76. The close support provided UDT 3 by the LCI(G)'s proved so effective that on 16 July CTF 51 was requested to send eight more gunboats from Saipan to reinforce those already available. Within 24 hours the craft were at Guam where they helped cover beach demolition operations until 20 July. CTF 53 OpRpt, 8-9.
77. A POW captured on W-Day revealed he had been a member of an antiboat gun crew that watched the UDT's destroy these beach barricades. Although almost close enough to throw rocks at the teams the gun crew had done nothing to interfere. When asked why his section did not open fire on the Americans the POW replied that "No one gave us orders to shoot." Coleman 1952.
78. CTF 53 OpRpt, 10.
79. Ibid., 9.
80. CTG 53.2 OpRpt, OpNarrative, 7.
81. CTF 53 OpRpt, 11.
82. Ibid., OpLog, 25A-26A; CTG 53.2 OpRpt, Op-Narrative, 8-10.