Land the 2d Marine Division, expand the beachhead; these were the principal Northern Troops and Landing Force plans for 25 July. The 4th Division had fought most of the night; some reorganization and considerable resupply of ammunition would be necessary before it could continue the attack. Accordingly, the attack hour was delayed from 0700 to 1000. The 2d Marine Division, in the meantime, would pour ashore as rapidly as the meager beach facilities permitted. Then it would "be prepared to conduct offensive operations on NTLF order in a zone of action to be designated." Further, the division would "attach elements of RCT 8 [the 8th Marines] upon landing to 4thMarDiv.1
The 8th Regiment, which already had its 1st Battalion ashore, was first. Colonel Wallace and his headquarters landed on WHITE 1 at about 0630, followed by the 2d Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Lane C. Kendall) at 0922 and the 3d Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Gavin C. Humphrey) at 1107. Japanese artillery shells, fired at long range, splashed sporadically and ineffectively around the double column of boats (LCVP's) carrying men of the 8th Regiment. At the reef off WHITE 1, the landing craft dropped their ramps to allow the Marines to splash the final 100-odd yards ashore.
Lieutenant Colonel Hays' 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, meanwhile, began the day under control of the 24th Regiment, in which capacity it received orders to relieve the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, along the coast on the extreme left flank of the beachhead. This shift was accomplished at 0920, almost the same moment that Hays' unit reverted to its parent regiment, the newly landed 8th Marines. The latter, now attached to the 4th Division, assumed the northernmost sector of the front.2
The 2d Marines (Colonel Walter J. Stuart) commenced debarkation from transports (APA's and AP's) at about noon and began landing on WHITE 1 as soon as the 8th Regiment's last units had cleared. Battalions landed in the sequence, 2d (Lieutenant Colonel Richard C. Nutting), 1st (Lieutenant Colonel Wood B. Kyle) and 3d (Lieutenant Colonel Walter F. Layer). As elements of the regiment splashed ashore throughout the afternoon, each successive group moved directly to an assembly area about 500-600 yards inland from WHITE 1 where the unit spent the night.3
WADING ASHORE. Two regiments (2d and 8th) of the 2d Division splashed ashore from landing boats at the reef's edge on 25 July. Leisurely attitude is explained by the absence of resistance.
Unlike the 2d and 8th Regiments, which had been lifted from Saipan to Tinian in APA's and AP's, the 6th Marines made the move in LVT's. By mid-morning of 25 July the regiment was alerted to the possibility of landing one of its battalions over WHITE 1 during the afternoon. As the day dragged on, however, and the flood of men and equipment over WHITE 1 continued, the plans were changed: at 1622 the battalion was ordered to land on WHITE 2. Colonel James P. Riseley, commanding the 6th Marines, passed the directive to the 2d Battalion, which immediately started its long column of LVT's toward the beach. By 1930, long after sunset, Lieutenant Colonel Edmund B. Games reported his 2d Battalion completely ashore and assembled in division reserve about 700 yards inland from WHITE 2.4
Earlier in the day, while elements of the 2d Division engaged in their long, measured movement from transports to WHITE 1, the advance command group of the 4th Marine Division moved ashore over WHITE 2. General Cates and the remainder of his headquarters group followed over the same beach and, by 1115, less than half an hour after leaving LST 42, opened the 4th Division command post about 400 yards inland, midway between the two beaches. This was the signal for General Cumming, the assistant division commander, to head shoreward from Patrol Craft 1080 with his group. The latter landed at 1330.5
The 2d Tank Battalion, attached to the 4th Division, landed over a three-day period. One platoon of light (flame-thrower) tanks from Company D, after a direct move from Saipan in landing craft, had come ashore during the evening of Jig-Day and early on the next morning. Two mediums from Company C executed the LSD-to-shore move on the morning of 25 July, followed in the early evening by all except two platoons of the battalion. Finally, at 0630, 26 July, the last of the 2d Tank Battalion reached the beach. With the exception of two medium and two light (flame-thrower) tanks that operated with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, on the left of the beachhead, machines of the 2d Tank Battalion did not participate in the Jig-plus 1 attack.6 The 4th Marine
Progress Lines for
25 and 26 July 1944
Division had not speeded the landing or employment of attached 2d Division tanks because: First, the situation did not require their use; and second, the beaches were fully occupied with the landings of matériel and personnel deemed more important to the early effort.
At 1430, 25 July, General Watson, commanding the 2d Marine Division, closed his command post aboard the Cavalier, embarked with his headquarters group in four landing craft, and headed for the beach. During the movement, the column of boats was bracketed by shells from an enemy artillery piece but no rounds actually found their intended mark. General Watson opened his command post ashore at 1600 only 75 yards southeast of General Cates' 4th Division installation. The 2d Division, less the 8th Marines (attached to the 4th Division), was now in position as landing force reserve.7
The congestion resulting from moving so many troops and so much equipment over limited beaches precluded displacement to Tinian of the NTLF command post. Until 28 July, therefore, General Harry Schmidt remained at Charan Kanoa on Saipan, from where he directed over-all landing force activities.
Expansion of the Beachhead
While elements of the 2d Division filtered ashore, the 4th Division expanded its holdings as ordered by General Schmidt: ". . . seize division O-2 line and be prepared to seize FBHL on NTLF order."8 (See Map 9, facing page 71.) The division pushed forward at 1000. "Forward" varied from southwest, south, southeast, east, to northeast. The right regiment (23d) pressed southwest toward Faibus San Hilo Point; the left regiment (8th) struggled northward toward Ushi Point; the two center regiments (24th and 25th) fanned out to the south, southeast and east. Until the northern third of the island could be cleared, the Force Beachhead Line secured, and the attack reoriented to the south, the front would retain its crescent-like shape.
In the 23d Marines' zone of action only one battalion had been committed during the previous night. That battalion, the 2d, had spent a busy, sleepless night. Therefore, to give maximum momentum to his Jig-plus 1 attack, the regimental commander ordered the 1st Battalion to relieve the 2d. The 2d Battalion when relieved would pass to NTLF reserve, replacing Major Treitel's 3d Battalion, which would shift to 23d Marines' reserve.
The 23d Marines' zone remained sufficiently narrow throughout the day to permit it to attack with the 1st Battalion in the assault, 3d Battalion following in regimental reserve. Using tank-infantry action to good advantage, the 1st Battalion swept through heavy cane fields and dense underbrush in its assigned zone along the coast, mopping up Japanese stragglers who remained active following their unsuccessful counterattack. Opposition on the 23d Marines' front was characterized as "light," and by 1637 the lines had moved just past Objective O-1 (see Map 9). To tighten the lines for the night, the 3d Battalion moved up on the left of the 1st, relieving some of the latter's elements in the process. The enemy's decisive defeat of the preceding night did not discount the possibility that he might try again, and the Marines addressed full attention to preparation of a firm battle position.9
On the 23d Marines' left, the 25th Regiment faced one of the most formidable terrain obstacles on Tinian: the sheer, half-moon-shaped northern cliff face of 390-foot10 Mt. Maga. But the abruptness of this approach came as no surprise to the Marines. All regimental, battalion, and many company commanders had made a detailed air reconnaissance over Mt. Maga (and other Tinian features) before Jig-Day. The hill's complex features were so well fixed in these leaders' minds that the good and
bad approaches were known. Avoiding the precipitous northern approach, Colonel Batchelder ordered his 1st and 3d Battalions to swing to left and right, respectively, and envelop the heights from the more gradual east and west approaches. The 2d Battalion, meanwhile, by holding a position facing directly into the cliff line, would hold some enemy attention on the frontal approach.
The 1st Battalion's move via the eastern route was attended with some difficulty. After an easy maneuver into position preparatory to the final ascent, the Marines suddenly received a shower of Japanese small-arms fire. An unsupported infantry assault of the slopes in the face of this fire seemed unnecessary, so the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mustain, ordered the attached tanks (a platoon of mediums and three lights) to move to the top, locate and blast the enemy riflemen. The only route suitable for such a climb was a road, the lower portion of which had been mined by the defenders. Engineers of Company A, 20th Marines, immediately began clearance operation and in a short time reported the road ready for use. Tanks then drove alone to the heights, found no Japanese, and returned to the base of the hill with their negative report. But when the infantry again prepared to start up the slope, Japanese (who had lain low during the tanks' probes) again rained down fire.
This time, however, the Marines spotted the fire's source. Immediately, Mustain employed his 81mm mortars and tanks (firing from the hill's base) for delivery of heavy concentrations on the enemy positions. These measures were adequate; shortly after noon, Mustain's men swept unopposed to the top.
Here, however, the unit was alone. The 3d Battalion had not yet appeared on the western flank, and elements of the 24th Marines had not come abreast on the east. When apprised of this situation, the regimental commander ordered the 1st Battalion to hold its advance.
At this juncture, as Marines of the 1st Battalion reorganized after their ascent, Japanese rifles and machine guns positioned on a plateau to the south suddenly opened up. When enemy mortars joined the small-arms weapons in laying down a hail of shells and bullets, the assault companies withdrew about 200 yards to an area affording better cover. Again, Marine tanks and mortars went to work; the enemy was killed or chased, and the battalion retook its former positions.
The other claw of the 25th Marines' pincer, meanwhile, closed on the hill from the west. Preceding the 3d Battalion's 1000 jump-off, 12 Army Air Force P-47's strafed and bombed along the chosen route to Mt. Maga. Although well performed, this strike neutralized only part of the enemy positions. Almost as soon as the battalion--in a formation of companies on column--started along its envelopment route, enemy riflemen hidden along the hill's lower slopes issued a stream of bullets that threatened to impose heavy casualties. In answer to this challenge, the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Chambers, sent attached tanks and combat engineers (carrying flame-throwers, bazookas and demolitions) to assist the leading unit (Company L). This combination proved effective, and resistance soon became only sporadic.
The 3d Battalion then continued its advance but soon stopped when the battalion commander received word of a gap between his unit and the 23d Marines.11 While waiting for re-establishment of contact, Colonel Chambers requested and received naval gunfire (the battleship California) and artillery (1st Battalions, 10th and 14th Marines) bombardment of suspicious areas to his front. The situation was far from static; even though the battalion held its front lines more or less stationary, combat patrols from Company L searched along Mt. Maga's western slopes with the object of destroying enemy weapons that might later impede the advance. These activities bore fruit; by 1500 the patrols had destroyed three unmanned 47mm guns emplaced along the hill's base.
After the 23d Marines came abreast, the 3d Battalion, 25th, resumed its push, following through the area cleared by its leading company. The swing to the top and establishment of contact with the 1st Battalion there proceeded without unusual incident. (See Map 9.)
Twenty-five Japanese civilians found in the area were sent to the rear for internment.
Thus, the 25th Regiment secured an important objective. Looming even more conspicuous 2,000 yards to the southeast was Mt. Lasso, but its approaches were slightly gentler and the routes to it somewhat less exposed. As the Marines dug in for the night, concertina barbed wire was strung forward of the lines. The value of this type of obstacle had been well illustrated on many occasions.
For the purpose of establishing combat outposts for the night, Company A, V Amphibious Corps Reconnaissance Battalion, sent one platoon to the 23d Marines, another to the 25th. Neither platoon functioned in the intended manner, however, both being ordered into front line positions. They rejoined their parent company the following morning.12
While the 25th Marines engaged in its double envelopment of Mt. Maga, the 24th Regiment concerned itself with a two-direction attack. While the right (2d) battalion swung south, the left (3d) battalion pushed eastward. Both had easy going and reached Objective O-2 without difficulty. (See Map 9.) The regiment set an attack pattern on 25 July that it used for the remainder of the operation: skirmishers, following closely behind tanks, deployed over the entire front. The 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, after being relieved by the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, from its zone on the extreme left of the beachhead, spent most of the day in regimental reserve. By 1500, however, the divergence in directions of attack between the 24th and 8th Regiments developed a gap between them. To fill this for the night's defense, the 1st Battalion moved in.
A comparison of casualties suffered on 24 and 25 July by the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, indicated statistically that resistance had slackened: on the first day the unit had 50 casualties, on the second, 19.
Long before dusk the 24th Marines tied its flanks securely to the 25th Regiment on the right and the 8th Regiment on the left and settled down for whatever the night might bring.13
USHI POINT was cleared on the second and third days by Marines of the 8th Regiment and supporting tanks. Well-coordinated tank-infantry action was used to good advantage throughout the operation.
HANGER AND ZEKE (Japanese fighter plane), were useless when captured on 25 July (Jig-plus 1), but Ushi Point field was repaired and employed by U. S. aircraft almost immediately.
Over on the corps' left flank the 8th Marines, attached to the 4th Division, had begun the 25 July attack with only its 1st Battalion in the lines. Using the same tactics employed along the beach by the 24th Marines on Jig-Day, the 1st Battalion, supported by armored amphibians afloat and tanks ashore, inched slowly through the gnarled coastal terrain and snare-like undergrowth. Marines found the zone littered with bodies--Japanese counterattackers of the night before--that required careful examination lest some turn out to be alive.
At first there was no opposition. But, as the unit pressed farther to the north, resistance began to develop along the coast. There, survivors of the counterattack, holed up in the craggy coral, fired occasional challenging bursts at the Marines. By 1115 the advance had bogged to a virtual standstill in the face of an especially knotty core of opposition near the water's edge. The rugged terrain around the strong-point forbade effective use of supporting tanks, and the armored amphibians, because of the shore's configuration, could not hit the area. To relieve the deadlock, Lieutenant Colonel Hays ordered his battalion to pivot on the left and wheel in an arc to the beach. This maneuver, striking the enemy at right angles to the original direction of advance, was successful. Within 15 minutes a pocket of 20 to 25 well-concealed riflemen had been reduced.14
As the 8th Marines advanced, their front expanded, and at 1130 the commander, Colonel Wallace, ordered his 2d Battalion up on the 1st Battalion's right to attack eastward.
This zone included the built-up area around Ushi Point Airfield as well as the strip itself. Since most of the Japanese troops originally assigned to this area had expended themselves against the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, on the night of Jig-Day, they could oppose this attack only with occasional, ineffective small-arms fire. The advance swept rapidly through the area.
The 1st Battalion, too, gained momentum after destroying the beach strong-point and pushed northeastward along the coast. By dark the 8th Marines, having pushed about 200 yards past Objective O-2 (see Map 9), stopped and carefully tied in lines for the night.
The 2d Battalion stretched its lines about 400 yards south of Ushi Point Airfield to make contact with the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines. Rearrangement and adjustment of the 8th Marines' front continued until after dark, the greatest change being necessitated by a huge oil fire that burned very close to the 2d Battalion's positions and silhouetted the Marines to would-be attackers.15
For Colonel Louis G. DeHaven's 14th Marines, 25 July was by far the worst day of the operation. Indeed, from these artillerymen's viewpoint, never since D-Day at Saipan had they suffered so heavily. Troubles had begun the previous night when enemy mortars and field guns opened against the rear areas of the beachhead--particularly against the pier being installed at WHITE 2 by "Seabees" (naval construction battalion personnel).16 Artillerymen manning 75mm pack howitzers in this general area received their share of this fire.
At 0920 came the worst blow: An enemy shell hit the Fire Direction Center of the 1st Battalion, 14th Marines, killing the battalion commander (Lieutenant Colonel Harry J. Zimmer), the intelligence officer, the operations officer, and seven assistants. In addition, 14 other Marines of the battalion headquarters were wounded. Major Clifford B. Drake, battalion executive officer, assumed command of the unit.
In retaliation, U. S. artillery blasted caves in Mt. Lasso's northern face, the suspected source of the enemy fire. An attack by strafing and bombing planes on the same area appeared to achieve excellent results, with observation aircraft reporting that the strikes destroyed two guns. The quiet that followed caused many to believe that the two guns destroyed had caused the earlier trouble; but some doubts arose in the afternoon when enemy artillery again registered on beach areas. The second shelling, although inflicting a "few" casualties and setting one DUKW afire, hit no important installation.
Of the 14th Regiment's total casualties for the entire Tinian operation (14 killed, 29 wounded), most were lost on 25 July (13 killed, 22 wounded).17
Meanwhile, General Harper's artillery continued to render support from positions on Saipan. Front lines had not as yet progressed to a point demanding displacement of guns from Saipan to Tinian. For the most part, response to requests from Tinian observers was quick and accurate. The one major exception came at a critical time: during the early morning hours of 25 July when the Japanese counterattacks were in full tilt. Then, the time lapse between request and delivery of fire seemed interminable. In his report to the landing force commander at 0534, 25 July, General Cates, the 4th Division Commander, observed that "it took about 35 minutes for [the XXIV Corps Artillery] to open fire" following his request.18
At 1513 the landing force commander, General Schmidt, sent a message to General Cates requesting more information regarding the "35 minute delay" in the "Corps Artillery opening fire."19 General Cates, in a mailbrief, indicated that, although he had requested fire at 0437 and
again at 0442, no rounds were forthcoming as late as 0510.20
When General Harper received a copy of General Cates' mailbrief, he addressed a letter of explanation to General Schmidt, excerpts of which follow:
The undersigned [General Harper] was personally aware of a high state of tension in the CP of the Corps Artillery beginning at about 2200 July 24, when urgent and repeated requests to silence enemy shelling began to be received. Between the hours of 0200 and 0542 July 25, 2010 rounds were fired by the Corps in 92 missions.
General Harper continued in his letter to note that the request from the 4th Marine Division (General Cates) had come at 0435, but that two minutes later another request was received through normal artillery channels (14th Marines) that included the urgent notation, "Break up counter attack." Harper pointed out that "under normal circumstances an artillery operations section must give precedence" to the latter type of call. Finally, "at 0507," after having fired the other mission first, the XXIV Corps Artillery executed part of General Cates' request.
General Harper closed his letter to General Schmidt with the statement that:
The personnel of the XXIV Corps Artillery have all been imbued with a strong obligation to spare no effort to destroy the enemy and support our assault forces. Any warranted criticism of the Corps Artillery is a matter of deep concern and regret.21
General Schmidt could well be pleased with the progress of his landing force during the first two days at Tinian. Not only had the difficult beach situation been mastered, but the build-up of forces on Tinian had proceeded so rapidly that, quite apart from the 4th Division's decisive victory of 24-25 July, there could be no doubt of the operation's ultimate outcome. Now, with the bulk of two divisions firmly established ashore, the Japanese counterattack capability caused no apprehension. For individuals and units caught in even a small-scale thrust, the fighting could still be rough; but judged from the over-all picture, the Northern Troops and Landing Force could not be pushed off Tinian by the troops available to the enemy commander. Seldom was the victor of any of the Central Pacific conquests so unmistakably identified so early in the fight. Admiral Nimitz, Commander in Chief Pacific, commented at this time: "The situation is well in hand."22
The second night saw no repetition of the first. Marines were just as ready. The Japanese were not. The night of 25-26 July was marked only by minor infiltration attempts at several points along the beachhead and one violent, small-scale skirmish between a Japanese patrol and a combat outpost positioned at a road junction near the 24th Marines' right flank. Manning the outpost was a platoon from the 4th Division Reconnaissance Company, attached to the 24th Regiment to assist in establishing security.23 The commander of the reconnaissance platoon, Lieutenant Victor Maghakian, described the action in part as follows:
After getting the men in position . . . near the road junction . . . I went on a reconnaissance. . . . I spotted a large enemy patrol coming down the road with a scout out in front.
After seeing that they moved into position in a cane field about 50 feet from my platoon, I crawled back and told Captain Key [commanding the division reconnaissance company] what I planned to do.
In the meantime the Japs were digging in and were making a lot of noise talking and did not suspect that we were so close. . . . I passed the word down the line to open up and fire rapid fire into the cane field, knee-high grazing fire, upon my signal.
. . . we opened up and let them have it as fast as we could pull our triggers. They began screaming . . . and making awful noises. Then after a few minutes I ordered my platoon to fall back to the division lines because I was afraid that maybe our own division might fire on us.
After falling back, I reported what happened, and our troops opened up . . . with mortar and machine gun fire.
Next morning I took my platoon back to the road junction and the cane field and found between 35 and 40 dead Japs in that area. I did not lose a man that night.24
Related Naval Activities
Admiral Turner, Commander Joint Expeditionary Force, and General Holland Smith, Commander Expeditionary Troops, arrived early on the morning of 25 July in the Rocky Mount, which then anchored off Saipan (but within visual signaling distance of Admiral Hill's flagship at Tinian). Turner and Smith had left Saipan on 20 July to observe the first days of the amphibious assault against Guam. With his reappearance, Turner became senior officer present afloat (SOPA) at Saipan, but his presence altered in no way the command structure for the Tinian operation. Also, because Hill had under his command virtually all combat ships and planes in the area, he retained responsibility for offensive and defensive surface and air action for both Saipan and Tinian.25
Meanwhile, as Marines expanded their holdings at Tinian, soldiers and Marines of the Southern Troops and Landing Force (Major General Roy S. Geiger) had clawed firm beachheads at Guam, 88 miles to the southwest. It was important that troop activities on these two islands, as well as the construction and base development work at Saipan, proceed without interference from Japanese long-range bombers flying from bases in the western Carolines and in the Volcano-Bonin Islands. To keep the enemy off balance in his dispositions and planning, Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher led his Task Force 58 in a series of strikes on those bases considered most dangerous.
With U. S. planners actively considering the seizure of Yap, Ulithi and Palau, Mitscher's fast carriers initiated a three-day reconnaissance-in-force of the western Carolines beginning on 25 July. This completed, six carriers of the force ploughed northward for the third raid of the Marianas campaign on the Volcano-Bonins. Since enemy air strength at Iwo Jima had now come under the neutralizing power of planes based at Saipan, the carriers met virtually no opposition in this raid. The planes, shifting their attention to a number of shipping targets in the area, achieved excellent results. U. S. losses of 16 aircraft were balanced against Japanese losses of five ships sunk, others damaged, and 13 planes destroyed.26
Jig-Plus 2--26 July 1944
The highest point in the northern half of the island, Mt. Lasso, faced the landing force on 26 July. U. S. possession of this 540-foot feature would deny the enemy his best observation post for control of mortar and artillery fires against the U. S. beachhead. General Schmidt directed this day's main effort in the center of the force zone of action--against Mt. Lasso--and ordered the two divisions to "seize the O-3 line. Reorganize and prepare to seize the O-4 line."27 (See Map 9.)
Shortly before noon, 26 July, General Schmidt supplemented his previous order and gave the divisions more leeway:
At discretion assault division commanders, continue advance south of 0-3. . . . Keep this headquarters
DIVISION COMMANDERS, General Watson (left) of the 2d and General Cates (undershirt) of the 4th, examine operation maps and discuss the situation on Jig-plus 2 (26 July).
advised [regarding] location of front lines, composition and location division reserves. Division reserves not to be employed without informing NTLF.28
The situation now permitted a two-division attack, 4th on the right pushing southward, the 2d on the left moving straight east to the coast where it too would turn south. Since both divisions now had similar missions, there was no longer reason to have the 4th Division reinforced by 2d Division armor and light artillery. General Schmidt ordered "all organic units 2dMarDiv ashore" to pass to parent control at 0630, 26 July. This instruction affected the 1st and 2d Battalions, 10th Marines, the 8th Marines, and the 2d Tank Battalion.
At 0755 the XXIV Corps Artillery, still 13 battalions strong, commenced a five-minute preparatory bombardment forward of the Marine lines. Since Mt. Lasso lay in the 4th Division's zone, the bulk of fire supported that unit.
This preparation was reinforced by fires from the Tennessee, Cleveland, and two destroyers. In addition, six destroyers were available for direct support missions as requested by assault battalions. The naval gunfire support had been consistently excellent during the first days and nights at Tinian. It would remain so throughout the operation.
The 4th Marine Division moved out at 0800, just as the final shells of the preparation blasted the terrain to the front. The right
(23d) regiment had conducted a minor line-straightening move an hour before with the purpose of making the 0800 attack easier to coordinate. Pushing forward with its 1st Battalion on the right along the coast and 3d Battalion on the left, the 23d Regiment made steady progress. The absence of effective Japanese resistance allowed the Marines to move just as fast as the thick cane fields, with their oppressive muggy heat, would permit. While the two assault battalions pressed steadily forward, the 2d Battalion, released from division reserve, searched out suspicious areas. By noon the 23d Marines had advanced to O-3 (see Map 9).
After a quick reorganization, the unit pushed on again. Almost immediately, Marines of the 3d Battalion encountered a store of enemy torpedoes in a wooded area, a cache deadly enough to shatter the unit. The battalion commander, Major Paul S. Treitel, requested the services of Lieutenant William Bellano, a bomb disposal officer from Headquarters and Service Company, 20th Marines, who disarmed the deadly obstacles within half an hour. Treitel's battalion then resumed its advance. By 1430 the regiment, having met only occasional Japanese machine gun and rifle fire, reached commanding ground in the vicinity of Objective O-4, where it consolidated its positions for the night.29
On the left of the 4th Division front, the 25th Marines pushed along three distinct ground levels in its assigned zone of action. In addition to its three organic battalions, the regiment was reinforced by the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, which remained on the division left flank to maintain contact with the 2d Marine Division and to clear a series of caves in a cliff line in that area.
The 25th Regiment's double envelopment of Mt. Maga on 25 July had left the northwestern face untouched. The 2d Battalion began mopping up this face almost as soon as the other two battalions reached the crest, but darkness found the task unfinished. The unit resumed its task on the morning of 26 July and completed it at noon.
MT. LASSO was steep and rugged. The enemy abandoned the hill with its excellent defensive possibilities and allowed the 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, to capture it without a fight.
From front lines on Mt. Maga's southern slopes, the two battalions (1/25 and 3/25) that had seized the hill the day before jumped off for the 26 July attack. The key terrain feature, Mt. Lasso, lay entirely within the 1st Battalion's zone of action. The hill afforded excellent possibilities to a defender, having long fields of observation and difficult approaches. The Marines expected a fight there. But, unaccountably, the Japanese abandoned Mt. Lasso, allowing the Marines to climb it without opposition.
There, at 1630, the 1st Battalion formed a circular defense around the summit, placing its front lines generally along 4th Marine Division Objective O-4A. Lieutenant Colonel Mustain
felt natural concern about his lines along the mountain's eastern slopes, because units of the 2d Marine Division had not as yet come abreast and the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, was some distance to the rear. Accordingly, he requested that an additional company be attached to his battalion for the night defense. Colonel Batchelder concurred and Company E, 25th Marines, moved to Mt. Lasso and dug in.
The 3d Battalion, 25th Marines, also advanced virtually unopposed. By mid-afternoon Objective O-4A had been seized and the next objective (O-4), 1,000 yards farther south, appeared possible of attainment. Permission to proceed there, however, was denied by the regimental commander, who felt that the contact problem would be too great if one of his units advanced that far ahead of the others. Since the 3d Battalion's sector of Objective O-4A was in a depression and very unsatisfactory for defense, the unit pulled back about 450 yards to establish itself for the night (see Map 9).
Just before dark, Marines of the 3d Battalion observed several enemy tanks on the ridge line to their front (Objective 0-4). These vehicles were beyond effective range of antitank weapons available to the unit, so an air strike was requested and delivered. Outcome of this was undetermined, since ground troops were "unable to observe the results" and air unit reports made no mention of it.
The 24th Marines, less 2d Battalion (attached to the 25th Regiment), reverted to 4th Division reserve after relief by elements of the 2d Marine Division. The regiment spent the day mopping up rear areas and reorganizing. At 1555 the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, was designated as NTLF reserve.30
The 4th Division's artillery employment for the day's advance was standard: 1st and 2d Battalions, 14th Marines, in direct support of the 25th and 23d Regiments, respectively. The first artillery heavier than 75mm to land at Tinian were the 105mm howitzers of the 3d Battalion, 14th Marines (Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. MacFarlane). This unit completed its displacement from Saipan by noon, 26 July, and began firing general support missions at 1315. An indication of the inactivity of the enemy's mortars and artillery: the 14th Marines suffered no casualties on 26 July.31
To the East Coast
The 2d Marine Division moved out toward the east coast at 0806, 26 July--8th Marines on the left, 2d Marines on the right (see Map 9).32
The 8th Marines swept rapidly across the Ushi Point flats. The airfield had been abandoned, but the Marines carefully searched each position to make certain that none of the enemy were lying doggo. By noon Colonel Wallace, the 8th Marines' commander, reported his assault battalions (1st and 2d) on the east coast. The 3d Battalion, which had followed the assault across the island, then became 2d Division reserve, with a mission of clearing a built-up area about 500 yards east of Ushi Point Airfield. The remainder of the 8th Regiment, also designated division reserve, began seaching for enemy stragglers west of Objective O-3.33
On the 8th Regiment's right, the 2d Marines pressed rapidly across the island, arriving on the east coast at 1230. There the unit quickly reoriented its direction of attack to the south and moved out, 1st Battalion on the left along the coast, 2d Battalion on the right. Immediately after changing direction, the 1st Battalion was confronted with a precipitous cliff-line across its front. Scaling this was out of the question, so Lieutenant Colonel Kyle, the battalion commander, requested and received the regimental commander's permission to detour the steep portion of the cliff line. After the 2d Battalion had pushed far enough ahead to permit it, Kyle's battalion left a small force to contain any Japanese in the escarpment, swung to the right through the zone already cleared, by-passed the cliff, and turned back to resume its former frontage.
TO THE EAST COAST move Marines of the 2d Division on 26 July (Jig-plus 2). Though the enemy had all but abandoned this portion of the island, Marines combed the area carefully, thereby reducing the number of by-passed Japanese. Mt. Tapotchau on Saipan looms in the distance.
At 1700, with this accomplished and firm contact established between the two assault battalions, the regiment stopped for the night. The Marines strung barbed wire along their front lines in preparation for whatever might develop. The 3d Battalion, in regimental reserve, established a secondary defense line to add depth to the defense.34
Meanwhile, as the 2d and 8th Regiments spurted toward the east coast, the 6th Marines completed landing on WHITE 2. Arriving at the beach with his leading units, Colonel Riseley, the regimental commander, reported to the division command post for instructions. There he found that his unit would move into the lines on the right of the 2d Marines and fill a gap between that organization and elements of the 4th Division. Thereafter, the 6th Marines would occupy the right half of the 2d Division front and attack to the south.
By 1135 the 1st and 3d Battalions, commanded by Lieutenant Colonels William K. Jones and John W. Easley, respectively, had moved into the lines prepared for the push to the south. At noon the 2d Battalion, which after landing the previous evening had been designated as 2d Division reserve, reverted to the 6th Marines. The attack to the south began at about 1300; progress was excellent. Within an hour the regiment swept to commanding ground about halfway between Objective O-3 and the Force Beachhead Line (see Map 9). There, to allow the 2d Regiment time to detour the cliff in its zone and come abreast, the 6th Marines held up the advance. Patrols were immediately dispatched to the front to scout out suspicious areas, while the rest of the regiment dug in for the night.
At 1450 a patrol from the 1st Battalion encountered a "large column" of Japanese approaching the Marine lines. In the fire fight that followed, the enemy point and connecting file were annihilated, the remainder of the column dispersed. Observation aircraft soon appeared over the scene and verified the patrol's report: considerable activity in front of the 6th Marines. Artillery and mortars immediately registered and chased the enemy from the area. The 6th Marines neither saw nor heard any more from these Japanese during the day.35
When the 2d Marine Division stopped for the night, long gains had been made. Its 2,500-yard push to the east coast now made it possible for the landing force to attack in a single direction--south (see Map 9). Opposition had been light and scattered, as reflected by the day's casualties in the 2d Division: 2 killed, 14 wounded.36 Saipan had never been like this.
One incident marred the smoothness of the day's operations in the 2d Marine Division's zone of action. During the early afternoon while the 2d and 6th Marines were negotiating the cliff line that cut through their areas, friendly Saipan-based artillery thundered down upon them. "Not only had they figured wrong on their mask clearance," commented one of the officers exposed to this fire, "but we were standing on the mask! . . . since there were no FO's [forward observers] on the ground controlling this fire, we had a hell of a time getting it called off."37 Happily, this was one of a very few such instances at Tinian. Records show no casualty statistics on this episode.
Meanwhile, Ushi Point Airfield was already in use by artillery observation planes. Since relatively little of the preparatory bombardment had been directed against the field, damage was minor. An air observer, after viewing the field on 26 July, dispatched a message to NTLF headquarters informing that the field was "excellent" and could be landed upon after a few hours' work.38 Work was initiated at once by the 121st Naval Construction Battalion. A few enemy artillery shells fell ineffectively on the strip, but this gesture failed to interrupt either construction work or the operations of observation planes.
USHI POINT AIRFIELD, wet from one of Tinian's frequent downpours. Since relatively little of the U. S. preparatory bombardment was directed against the field, damage to it was minor. By 29 July the strip extended 4,700 feet in a single, hard-surfaced runway.
On 27 July the 4th Division engineer officer (Lieutenant Colonel Nelson K. Brown) and air officer (Lieutenant Colonel William C. Wendt) reconnoitered the field to determine how much improvement it required. On the basis of their findings, General Cates informed General Schmidt in part as follows: "10 hours needed to prepare strip 150 feet [wide] by 2,500 feet [long], 14 [hours] for strip 75 feet by 5,000 feet."39 This estimate was close: by the next day, red flags marked a usable strip 150 feet wide and 3,000 feet long. The work continued, and by 29 July the strip measured 4,700 feet in length.40
Ushi Point Airfield would later provide facilities for the United States' largest bombers in their attacks against the Japanese home islands. At 0730, 28 July, a U. S. Army Air Force P-47 set its wheels down on the white coral runway, the first plane heavier than the observation planes to land there. Within 13 months this same field would hold a B-29 called Enola Gay, which would carry its fateful bomb to Hiroshima.41
The two Marine divisions had landed at Tinian considerably understrength. The 1,268 officers and men who had joined on 11 July (Jig-minus 13) filled some of the Saipan-created vacancies, but all units were still understrength. On 26 July a sizeable replacement draft arrived at Saipan for the Northern Troops and Landing Force. With the exception of 70 officers and men temporarily needed for activities on Saipan,42 the entire draft of 1,782 was transferred directly into the divisions on Tinian: 2d Division--35 officers and 827 enlisted; 4th Division--32 officers and 818 enlisted.43
Engineers and Shore Party
The flow of supplies, equipment and personnel over the WHITE Beaches remained heavy, considering the small size of the beaches and the restricted routes of egress from them. That no serious clog developed at any time was a credit to shore party functioning. Early on Jig-Day the 1341st Engineer Battalion (USA) and the 2d Battalion, 20th Marines,44 operating on WHITE 1 and 2, respectively, had commenced the task of keeping supply traffic steady and systematic. Initially, these shore party battalions had operated directly under the assault regiments, but on the afternoon of Jig-plus 1 (25 July) the 4th Division Shore Party Commander (Lieutenant Colonel Nelson K. Brown) took over. At 1000 the next morning (26 July), control of the Shore Party shifted to NTLF, Colonel Cyril W. Marty assuming command. This move merely superimposed an NTLF Shore Party Headquarters on that of the 4th Division.45
The 2d Marine Division did not operate a Shore Party at Tinian, because there was no need for more personnel on this job. Following its landing at 0800, 26 July, the 2d Battalion, 18th Marines (which had functioned as the 2d Division's Shore Party at Saipan), moved to an assembly area to await orders. At 1310 NTLF Shore Party ordered the unit to send one platoon to assist in the operations at WHITE Beach 2; at 1500 Colonel Robert J. Straub, 2d Division logistics officer (D-4), ordered the remainder of the battalion to work in the division dumps, a task it performed throughout the
SUPPLY TRAFFIC was heavy over the WHITE Beaches, but Army and Marine Engineers kept it moving at a steady pace. Extreme narrowness of the beaches demanded the mobile loading of all materiel coming ashore, so that it could be transported directly from vessels, across the beaches to inland dumps or combat units. By such all-out, round-the-clock effort, logistical personnel moved two-day reserves of water, ammunition and rations into Tinian dumps before bad weather curtailed beach operations on the afternoon of Jig-plus 4.
remainder of the operation. Later, when Ushi Point Airfield became operable for cargo planes, the unit shouldered the additional job of unloading aircraft.46
Of the two pontoon causeways planned for the beaches, only the one at WHITE 1 was initially successful. The WHITE 2 pier had suffered damage from Japanese artillery fire during installation and accommodated very little traffic during the first three days. WHITE 1's pier, on the other hand, was subjected to much less fire during the installation period and by the morning of Jig-plus 1 received a heavy volume of traffic. Preloaded trucks and trailers began their LCT trip from Saipan to Tinian on Jig-plus 2, landing over the WHITE 1 causeway. This routing continued on Jig-plus 3 (27 July) until 1400 that date, when the WHITE 2 causeway was also in commission and began receiving LST's and craft for unloading.47 The speed of the causeway method of unloading was impressive: one LST discharged her cargo of 30 ration-loaded trucks on the WHITE 1 pier in only six minutes. A few empty trucks and trailers re-embarked over the causeways, to return to Saipan for a second load, but the majority had to await capture of Tinian Town and its protected docks before making the return trip.48
The 1st Battalions of the two divisions' engineer regiments (18th and 20th Marines) had, before the operation, been split into companies and these attached to infantry regiments. This arrangement remained constant throughout the battle.49 Their duties focused about demolition of enemy pillboxes and caves, a job for which they were prepared by training and experience. The daily employment of these attached combat engineers contributed materially to the advances.
WHITE 2 CAUSEWAY, delayed in installation because of Japanese artillery fire, finally became operative on the afternoon of Jig-plus 3 (27 July). This prefabricated pier and the one at WHITE 1 enabled LST's, LCT's, and LCM's to pull alongside and unload cargo. Unfortunately, the causeways had a short life, both being wrecked by the storm on the night of 29-30 July.
The night of 26-27 July was relatively quiet at all but one point along the front. The exception, however, was pronounced. In the sector occupied by Lieutenant Colonel Richard C. Nutting's 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, the enemy remained active from dusk to dawn. Why he showed such preference for this particular sector was never revealed. None of the skirmishes took on counterattack proportions, but all were troublesome. Along the battalion's entire front, groups of Japanese prodded and jabbed as if looking for a weak spot through which to pour.50
Nor was this the only direction from which trouble came. Even as men of the battalion strained their eyes toward the dark shadows to their front, they heard enemy activity to their rear. Almost as suddenly, they found themselves beset by attackers who apparently had been by-passed and who were bent upon moving through the Marine lines to rejoin their comrades. Here was a fresh twist: Japanese attempting to get out of Marine rear areas. This particular effort centered against Company F, whose commander (Captain Warren Morris) notified the battalion commander that "about 60 Nips" had hit him from the rear. Bullets snapped back and forth briskly for a while; then the attackers fell silent--dead silent.51
Such activity, front and rear, kept men of the 2d Battalion awake all night, killed two and wounded two of their number. But morning revealed 137 dead Japanese sprawled in front of, behind, and in, the battalion's lines.52
Jig-Plus 3 and 4--27 and 28 July 1944
Lack of large-scale contact with the enemy (dead or alive) after the first day and night
at Tinian complicated Marine intelligence officers' tasks of gathering accurate information regarding Japanese dispositions and intentions. Such information as was obtained was in most cases sketchy and inconclusive and only served to caution the divisions against lowering their guards. By evening of 26 July, for example, the landing force disseminated the following results of an interrogation of a prisoner captured the day before by the 24th Marines: Remnants of the 1st Battalion, 50th Japanese Infantry, had moved into a small village about a mile forward of the 4th Division's front; the shattered 2d Battalion, 50th Infantry, had occupied high ground on Masalog Point, far to the 2d Division's front; the 3d Battalion and tanks were still in or near Tinian Town. Furthermore, the prisoner warned of a counterattack scheduled for 26 July (which failed to materialize).53 This information, uncorroborated by any other source, probably presented a true picture of the situation as the prisoner knew it at the time of his capture but hardly provided any basis for specific deductions by the Marines. Actually, the enemy had already moved farther south and had postponed his counterattack.
The NTLF G-2 (Lieutenant Colonel Thomas R. Yancey, USA) came to a conservative conclusion on 27 July that summarized not only that day's enemy situation but the entire operation's enemy situation as well. Without saying so, he seemed to indicate the importance of all units conducting aggressive patrolling far to the front:
To date there have been no indications that our front line units have encountered the 50th Infantry Regiment in force [since the first night's counterattacks]. It is believed that this unit is largely intact and it is known that they are well equipped and seasoned troops. They are capable of intervention at any time [author's italics] and may be expected to offer a strong opposition when encountered.54
Elsewhere in the same report, Yancey noted that the "most likely enemy capability" was: "To fight a delaying action, withdrawing to, and organizing further defenses in, the high ground in the southeastern end of the island."55
Faced with this enigmatic enemy situation, General Schmidt formulated his scheme of maneuver and assigned his objectives on 27 and 28 July to facilitate an irregular "elbowing" advance.56 From the front lines held on the morning of 27 July, Objective O-4 was near for the 4th Division, far for the 2d Division; once Objective O-4 had been reached, the emphasis would shift--Objective O-5 would be near for the 2d Division, far for the 4th Division. (See Map 10, facing page 87.) The Corps' attack on these two days, then, would find the 2d Division carrying the ball on 27 July, the 4th Division on the 28th. On the first day the 2d Division would push forward at 0730, the 4th Division at 1000; on the second day the 4th Division would attack at 0700, the 2d Division at 1000. Variations in these attack hours was consistent with plans to punch first with the left, then with the right. Principal advantage of this arrangement was that the bulk of the supporting fires could be allotted first to one division, then to the other. Not only did the XXIV Corps Artillery mass its fires to support the main effort, but two 105mm howitzer battalions of the division executing the secondary attack were also made available to support the principal thrust in each case. In the absence of specific enemy targets, artillery fired on areas that appeared to offer good defensive positions to the Japanese.
Following a thundering five-minute preparation fired against suspicious-appearing areas to the front, the 2d Division moved out at 0730, 27 July--2d Marines on the left along the east coast, 6th Marines on the right. Capably assisted by attached tanks,57 the assault regiments
Progress Lines for
27, 28, 29 and 30 July 1944
LINE OF SKIRMISHERS was the formation normally used at Tinian even when there was no enemy contact. Here a platoon from the 2d Marines pushes forward while an observation plane (OY) cruises overhead. High ground in distance is part of a long spine extending almost straight south from Mt. Lasso.
advanced rapidly, encountering only scattered machine-gun and rifle fire. By 1345 the 2d Division was in firm possession of Objective O-4. There the two assault regiments prepared their defenses for the night. The 2d Marine Division in six hours and 15 minutes on 27 July, had gained about 4,000 yards. Immediately after stopping, both regiments dispatched patrols to scout the area about 500 yards to the front. All of these, except one, returned with a negative report: no enemy located. The exception, a patrol from the 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, encountered five Japanese, two of whom were killed before they could escape.
After a quiet night, disturbed only by an occasional exchange between front line Marines and snooping Japanese, the 2d Division attacked at 1000, 28 July, as scheduled. Where on the previous day the extreme left flank unit (1st Battalion, 2d Marines) had travelled 4,000 yards along the coast of Asiga Bay, its 28 July advances totalled only about 350 yards. This reduction on the second day had nothing to do with resistance encountered, it rather followed the NTLF order to move from Objective O-4 to O-5, a distance of only 350 yards on the left flank. Other 2d Marine Division units had to move farther, progressively increasing in distance from left to right (see Map 10).
By early afternoon on 28 July, after advancing against "light resistance," the division reached O-5 and began consolidating its positions for the night. Patrols immediately moved out to investigate areas within 600 yards of the front. All returned to report no enemy located. For the night defense, front line regiments placed outposts at important tactical localities to their fronts. No important actions occurred during the night, although two small enemy patrols were chased from cane fields forward of the 6th Marines' lines shortly after dark, and two Japanese soldiers lost their lives trying to infiltrate the 2d Marines' lines.58
While the 2d and 6th Regiments made the long push to O-4 and the short jump to O-5, the 8th Marines remained in reserve. The regiment displaced three times on 27 July, twice to keep reasonably close behind the rapidly moving assault regiments and the last time in response to an order at 1600 detaching it, less 2d Battalion, from 2d Division control and placing it in NTLF reserve. In the latter capacity the unit moved about two miles to the rear, a move harder on the disposition than the legs, inasmuch as trucks provided shuttle service from one area to the other. The 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, remained in division reserve, about 2,000 yards behind the front lines.
On 28 July the 8th Marines continued its pawn-like moves. In the early afternoon its 1st Battalion was under NTLF control behind the 4th Marine Division; the 2d Battalion was attached to the 2d Regiment; the remainder was in the 2d Division zone of action under NTLF control. Later, at 1750, the 8th Marines, less 3d Battalion, reverted to division reserve; the 3d Battalion remained in NTLF reserve. Even this change had a condition: the 2d Battalion would be detached the following morning and again placed under operational control of the 2d Marines.59 The regiment's status changed so often that most low-ranking Marines knew little and cared less about which headquarters issued them orders. To those unfamiliar with the reasons for all the attachments and detachments, the frequent moves seemed like a carefully conceived plan to make life unpleasant. One 8th Regiment Marine observed: "I'll sure be glad when we get back in the assault where it's comfortable again."60
The Longest Advance61
On 27 July (Jig-plus 3) the 4th Marine Division played its assigned secondary role and girded itself for the next day. With the 23d Marines on the right along the west coast and 25th Marines on the left, the 4th Division moved out at 1000, 27 July, and reached Objective O-4 by noon, having encountered virtually no opposition. Both assault regiments immediately sent combat-reconnaissance patrols about 1,000 yards to the front, but all returned to report no contacts with the enemy. Marines of the 4th Division spent a quiet night.
Facing the division on 28 July was a panorama of gently undulating hills, precisely surveyed into rectangles and squares by the cane plantings. Only occasional wooded patches disturbed the patchwork-quilt design of the landscape. South of Objective O-4 the island bulged to its greatest width, increasing the division front near O-5 to between 4,000 and 4,600 yards.
The 4th Division's attack, which commenced at 0700, produced the longest single day's advance of the entire operation. Massed artillery laid a shattering preparation against dominating terrain features during the 10 minutes preceding the jump-off, one 5-minute effort 1,500 yards forward of the lines, another of the same period 2,000 yards to the front. The advancing Marines met negligible resistance, and by 1250 the division held O-5.62
PAST A SILENCED BUNKER move Marines on 27 July. Straight tree lines separating cane fields from one another provided convenient orientation and reorganization points for the attackers. Marine at end of column carries a 60mm mortar complete with base plate (weight: 42 pounds) in addition to his other gear.
In anticipation of a future tactical advantage, General Cates, the division commander, requested and received General Schmidt's permission to push on to the south so that a narrower part of the island could be reached. About two miles beyond O-5 a bay indentation would narrow greatly the division zone of action. This point the 4th Division designated as Objective O-6A. Activities to reach it began at 1325, following a 10-minute preparation fired by the cruisers Louisville and Montpelier and the destroyers McDermut and Halsey Powell. Like the artillery, ships hit areas that, if occupied by the enemy, could prove obstacles to the advancing Marines.
To fill the expansive front, General Cates committed the 24th Marines, less its 2d Battalion,63 in the center between the 23d and 25th
Regiments. In this formation the 4th Division surged forward.64 By 1730, after encountering only scattered "knee mortar"65 fire, the division reached O-6A, pinching out the 23d Marines in the process. The latter regiment then became division reserve and set about mopping up scattered Japanese on Gurguan Point, particularly around Airfield No. 2 (see Map 10).
The 23d Regiment, which moved the farthest (7,300 yards) during the day, made free use of available vehicles to lessen the strain on tired legs and feet. Marines clustered upon every tank and half-track in the zone, and the regiment's action report described the advance as a "blitz." Midway in the day's move one rifle company and two tanks streaked ahead on a reconnaissance-in-force. Their mission covered an area as far south as the airstrip at Gurguan Point, a move that encountered only sporadic and ineffective fire from Japanese small-arms and light-automatic weapons.66 This patrol action provided a screen for the main body, which itself was moving very rapidly.
The greatest work load was imposed upon the communicators, who had to exert themselves to the maximum in order to maintain wire lines between the frequently displacing command posts and the racing assault elements.
The 4th Division's rapid advance caught up with a number of Japanese civilians who had been withdrawing under U. S. pressure; a total of 185 men, women and children were interned during the day. Only two military prisoners were taken, and their interrogation indicated that the Japanese had fallen back to the southern end of the island. At 1325, 14 U. S. aircraft strafed an area described by prisoners and internees as Colonel Ogata's command post, but Ogata lived to fight another day.67
Re-groupment of the Artillery
The 4th Division's artillery regiment, the 14th Marines, had been split into a Tinian and a Saipan echelon since the beginning of the operation. It was destined never to get together completely during the entire Tinian operation. The 1st and 2d Battalions, which had landed on Jig-Day, were followed by the 3d Battalion on 26 July. This left only the 4th Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Carl A. Youngdale) and the attached 4th 105mm Artillery Battalion, V Amphibious Corps (Lieutenant Colonel Douglas E. Reeve).68 The latter unit landed at Tinian on the afternoon of 27 July and was ready to fire at 1810. But Youngdale's battalion was delayed in its displacement when the causeways fronting the beaches were wrecked by rough seas. After waiting aboard the Cambria for several days, 4/14 finally landed over Tinian Town beaches on 1 August, the final day of the operation. The unit did not occupy firing positions on Tinian.69
Units of the 14th Marines were assigned missions as follows: 1st and 2d Battalions in direct support of the 25th and 23d Marines, respectively; 3d Battalion and 4th 105mm Artillery Battalion, V Amphibious Corps, in general support. When the infantry's advance demanded a displacement on 28 July, all artillery organizations moved up close enough behind the front lines to provide effective support for the final push.70
Meanwhile, the 10th Marines (2d Division) finally got together under the command of Colonel Raphael Griffin on 27 July. The 1st and 2d Battalions of this regiment had been ashore since Jig-Day, when they landed under 4th Division control. The 3d and 4th Battalions, however, had remained at Saipan from where they rendered island-to-island fires in support of the landings and expansion of the beachhead. By 26 July, with assault troops moving rapidly, the time for displacement from Saipan to Tinian had arrived. The next day, therefore, after remaining aboard LCT's overnight awaiting beach availability, the units landed, 3d Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel William C. Capehart) at 1500, 4th Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth A. Jorgensen) at various times from 0130 to 1330.
Colonel Griffin and his headquarters group established a command post and assumed control of his firing battalions prior to 1600, 27
GROUNDED LST off Beach WHITE 2. After unloading 24 trucks on the pontoon causeway and taking aboard a load of 200-odd casualties, the ship attempted to retract. Then, during a sudden squall, she broached on the reef. Casualties aboard her were transferred the next day to another ship.
July. Initial assignment of units: 1st Battalion (75mm pack howitzer)--direct support of the 2d Marines; 2d Battalion (75mm pack howitzer)--direct support of the 8th Marines; 3d Battalion (105mm howitzer)--direct support of the 6th Marines; 4th Battalion (105mm howitzer)--general support of the 2d Marine Division. These assignments obtained for most of the operation, although needs for massing fires at particular points sometimes demanded alterations.71
An unusual incident occurred a few days after the 4th Battalion's arrival at Tinian. In the words of the battalion executive officer:
. . . an air spotter reported that a Japanese tank had stopped on a crossroads on the southern plateau. This crossroads was the base point on which the battalion had registered. 4/10 fired one volley of eight howitzers and scored one direct hit on the tank. This tank was thus destroyed by one volley at a range exceeding 6,500 yards.72
Progress of the Tinian attack by 27 July indicated the desirability of displacing the XXIV Corps Artillery's 155mm howitzers from Saipan to Tinian so that these pieces would not be required to fire at such great ranges. Accordingly, the 419th Field Artillery Group began the move at 1500, 27 July; and, at dawn of 28 July, one of its battalions, the 145th, commenced firing from Tinian positions. The group's other battalion, the 225th, began its Saipan-Tinian move early on the morning of 28 July and by mid-afternoon began executing fire missions.
The 106th Field Artillery Battalion, a 155mm howitzer unit organic to the 27th Infantry Division but which had operated as part of Groupment C, XXIV Corps Artillery, since initiation of the Tinian bombardment, embarked on 27 July for displacement to Tinian. Only one battery actually landed there, however; the other two returned to their Saipan positions after being deterred by wrecked pontoon causeways from landing on the WHITE Beaches.73
The XXIV Corps Artillery's 420th Field Artillery Group, capable of reaching any point on Tinian with its long-armed 155mm guns, remained at its Saipan positions, whence it delivered support throughout the Tinian operation.
With his 155mm howitzer group on Tinian and his 155mm gun group on Saipan, General Harper obviously could not personally supervise both. In this situation he decided that Tinian was the logical site for his command post and made the move with his headquarters group by 0715, 28 July.74
Bad Weather and Its Effects
By picnic standards, the weather at Tinian had been unpleasant. Nearly every day featured rain squalls, gusty winds, and ominous clouds. And yet, for Jig-Day and three days following, the seas remained calm enough for reasonably convenient shore activities. The "three days of good weather" that Admiral Hill had considered vital had already expired. On the afternoon of 28 July the weather got worse--much worse. This condition resulted from the effects of a typhoon that built up west of the Marianas and sent its swells and winds against Tinian's west coast. The seas surrounding Tinian changed to a dirty gray-blue as the winds mounted and the waves boiled over one another and grew into larger, uglier masses. Surf roaring against the tiny WHITE Beaches and their rocky flanking shelves forced temporary suspension, at 1800 on 28 July, of all unloading over the beaches.
The next day efforts were resumed. But in the afternoon LST 340 broached and went hard aground on the reef when struck by a squall during her attempted retraction from WHITE 2.75 In the same squall, LCC (landing craft control) 25473 washed up on the reef north of WHITE 1. Thereafter, only DUKW's could operate through the angry surf, and even these with great difficulty.
During the night of 29-30 July the two pontoon causeway piers became victims of the
RAIN fell on Tinian almost daily, dampening clothing, weapons, equipment and spirits.
rough seas. The pier at WHITE 1 broached after its anchor chains parted; the one on WHITE 2 broke into two parts.
Because it was apparent that the DUKW's alone could not shoulder the entire supply and evacuation task, Admiral Hill ordered his emergency air-supply plan put into effect. Immediately, a previously alerted squadron of transport planes (C-47's)76 began the move from Eniwetok to Saipan, where it would engage in air supply for the Tinian attackers. Planes already available at Saipan, including several Curtiss "Commandos" of Marine Transport Squadron 252, immediately went to work on the air lift. By 31 July planes had delivered 33,000 rations (99,000 meals) to Ushi Point Airfield. Though these were the only items carried by air during the assault phase (24 July-1 August), the assistance so rendered was great. On return trips planes transported wounded men to Saipan hospitals.
But for the seaworthiness and efficiency of the amphibian trucks (DUKW's) and a tailor-made emergency air-supply plan, the supply situation may have become serious.77
The same bad weather that complicated the logistical situation made life unpleasant for the troops who had to plod wet and uncomfortable through Tinian's muck. And when they stopped for the day, the nightly misery of preparing a foxhole in the spongy mud began. Jokes about running water in each foxhole grew as tiresome as the unremitting deluge. More than one Marine spent more than one rainy night in a sitting or standing position, preferring to have the water run off him than around him.78
With the weather getting worse and worse, General Harry Schmidt decided on 28 July to move to Tinian. He had remained at Charan Kanoa on Saipan during the first days of the operation. But now, with the two divisions surging to the south, lines of communication were getting progressively longer. Displacement would relieve this situation. After an uneventful island-to-island trip, General Schmidt opened his new NTLF command post just south of Mt. Maga at 1315, 28 July.79
Feeling confident that, despite bad weather, the Tinian operation would continue as scheduled, Admiral Spruance, Commander Fifth Fleet, and General Holland Smith, Commander Expeditionary Troops, departed at 1800, 28 July, for a return trip to Guam.80 Admiral Turner, Commander Joint Expeditionary Force, remained at Saipan aboard the Rocky Mount. Before departing the area, General Holland Smith sent a message to General Schmidt: "Magnificent work. Keep the heat on."81
Jig-Plus 5 and 6--29 and 30 July 1944
With slightly over half of Tinian captured in only five days' fighting and with the landing force intelligence officer expressing the belief that "the 50thInfRegt will be encountered in force in the southeastern part of the island,"82 General Schmidt's operation order for 29 July was sufficiently fluid to allow the two Marine divisions to push forward as fast as they chose. Both would attack at 0700, seize the "O-6 line then . . . advance and seize the O-7 line." (See Map 10.) Here, then, in a single sentence, the divisions were given leeway to move an average distance of 5,000 yards. With each step forward, the Marines would narrow their front and further bottle up the Japanese in the southern end of the island. As the situation developed, however, Objective O-7 proved out of reach on 29 July, so that, on 30 July, General Schmidt merely directed the divisions to "continue operations to complete mission assigned [yesterday]."
In contrast to orders issued for the first five days of the operation, Schmidt specified neither a main effort nor a concentration of fire support for the 29 and 30 July advances. The general authorized his two division commanders "at their own discretion to conduct local attacks, within their zones of action, to straighten lines and occupy favorable positions in preparation for further offensive operations."83
To and through Tinian Town
The 4th Marine Division moved into its attack on 29 July without preparatory fires. Evidence indicated that the bulk of the defenders had pulled back to the island's extreme southern end and, since there were no suspicious appearing areas to the division's front, it seemed unwise to expend ammunition.
Against only "light resistance," from small groups of Japanese who lurked in the dense cane growth, the two assault regiments (24th on the right along the coast, 25th on the left) moved forward at a steady pace. As had been the case on previous days, tanks proved extremely valuable in leading the assault. The only stubborn enemy positions encountered during the day--a series of well-camouflaged cave positions along the western coast--fell under the combined assault of infantrymen from the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, and tanks from Company B, 4th Tank Battalion. By 1545 the division reached favorable terrain about 600 to 1,000 yards forward of Objective O-6 (see Map 10). From this area, the Marines had an unimpaired view of Tinian Town and the entire valley that cuts the island from east to west at this point. Since such commanding terrain provided an ideal defense position, General Cates requested and received General Schmidt's permission to halt for the night.
The 4th Division's action report summarized the activities after six days of combat as follows: "Morale and combat efficiency were very
THIRSTY JAPANESE CHILD reaches for a cup of water. Too young to understand what the war was all about, this little girl wandered alone into the 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, lines on 29 July. Like the other 13,000-odd civilians who eventually entered Marine lines, she was cared for at an internment camp established by the Island Command.
satisfactory. The troops were 'heading for the barn.'"84
It rained and rained and rained on the night of 29-30 July. The bad weather offered an advantage to would-be counterattackers: excellent concealment. But the same bad weather forced a rather back-handed advantage on the Marine defenders: all were wide awake. When enemy mortar shells began falling within the 25th Regiment's positions and when front-line Marines heard activity to their front, it appeared that the Japanese were forming for an assault. Immediately, Marine mortars began thumping the spongy ground forward of the lines and artillery began searching areas farther to the front. The drenched Marines readied their weapons for the expected attack. None came. Morning and a cessation of the downpour revealed a battlefield strewn with 41 dead Japanese and seven machine guns. Most of these were victims of the 25th Marines' mortars.85
In preparation for its 30 July attack the 4th Division called upon its artillery regiment (14th Marines) to lay down 10-minutes' fire against areas close to the lines that appeared potentially dangerous. When, at 0745, the Marines with their supporting tanks jumped off
MOVEMENT THROUGH TINIAN TOWN was much easier than Marines had expected. The 24th Regiment combed the ruins on the afternoon of 30 July, carefully avoiding the heavily mined Tinian Town beaches.
for O-7, the artillery increased range 400 yards again, and fired five more minutes.
Principal feature in the division's zone for 30 July was Tinian Town, a locality that the Japanese had planned to defend from amphibious attack. So much had the enemy concentrated on the seaborne approach to the town that all other directions--including the one used by the Marines--had been ignored. Most of the prepared positions in the area prohibited, by their construction, enemy gunners from shifting weapons to fire at Marines to the north. By this late date, of course, U. S. ships, aircraft and artillery had destroyed nearly all of the Japanese coast defense weapons anyway.
The only difficulty experienced by the 4th Division in its move from the commanding ground down to the Tinian Town flats came on the right, where Marines of the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment, encountered several Japanese machine gunners and riflemen holed up in caves near the coast. The tactics employed against these were consistent both in application and effectiveness: medium tanks and armored amphibians blasted the positions while light (flame-thrower) tanks moved in close enough to pour streams of fire into the openings. Then followed assault by combat engineers (carrying flame-throwers, demolitions, and bazookas) covered by surrounding Marine riflemen and machine gunners.
While operating against caves north of Tinian Town's outskirts, tanks of Company B, 4th Tank Battalion, became the targets of several Japanese field pieces that remained active despite the odds. Firing from the cliff line overlooking the Tinian Town flats on the south, the enemy gunners hit and knocked out one of the U. S. machines. Marine tanks immediately directed retaliatory fire against the suspected Japanese positions but achieved no observed results other than temporary cessation of the enemy shelling.
Meanwhile, as Marines of the 24th Regiment routed Japanese from coastal hideouts, the left assault regiment, the 25th, met only "slight resistance" and surged ahead. This situation developed a minor contact problem and demanded that the 24th Marines' left battalion, the 3d, be echeloned forward to hang on to the 25th Marines' flank. At one point during the day the contact battalion stretched itself to the breaking point, creating an internal gap. This was patched later in the day, however, when the 24th Marines caught up with the 25th.
The 24th Marines entered Tinian Town at 1420. In most instances the town's streets could not be distinguished from its buildings; the entire area was a mass of rubble. Naval gunfire, air and artillery had done a thorough job. Only one Japanese was found among the debris, and he was alive. Just what this outnumbered individual hoped to accomplish by resisting was not revealed. The advancing Marines spent slightly less time with him than did the 4th Division D-2 who reported: "He was killed."86
Enemy weapons--thought to be tanks--firing from somewhere to the south contested movement into and through the town indirectly and impotently. All shells fell harmlessly. Vehicles and men stayed clear of the Tinian Town beaches, where hundreds of mines poked through the sand. By 1700 the ruins had been thoroughly combed, and the 24th Marines occupied the O-7 line just south of the town (see Map 10).
The 25th Regiment pushed without difficulty across Airfield No. 4 to Objective O-7. There, after a shift in the boundary between divisions (discussed later), the unit was relieved from the front lines. The 23d Marines assumed the right half of the 25th's sector, the 8th Marines the left half. After relief, the 25th Marines, less 3d Battalion, became NTLF reserve; the 3d Battalion went into 4th Division reserve. The 25th Marines would remain in reserve for the rest of the operation.
While the 24th and 25th Marines pushed from O-5 to O-7, the 23d Regiment remained in reserve. On 29 July the 2d Battalion had been held in NTLF reserve, the remainder of the regiment in division reserve; 30 July was similar, except that the 3d and 2d Battalions exchanged assignments. After moving into the
MACHINE-GUN POSITION in the center of Tinian Town was well-constructed, well-sited, and, fortunately for the Marines, unoccupied. No dead and only one live Japanese remained in the town on 30 July.
PRIVATE JOSEPH W. OZBOURN, 1st Battalion, 23d Marines, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for intentionally smothering a grenade's explosion with his own body on 30 July 1944 and thereby protecting several comrades nearby.
front lines and relieving the 25th Regiment, all subordinate units of the 23d Marines reverted to parent control.
The 14th Marines, in the first five days of the Tinian operation (24-28 July), fired slightly less than 23,000 rounds. For 29 and 30 July the total exceeded 29,000 rounds and the average daily output multiplied by over three times. This increase reflected more than anything else the plenitude of ammunition, which allowed artillery units to fire upon every suspicious area without fear that stocks would become depleted. The 14th Marines furnished support during the 29-30 July attack as follows: 1st Battalion in direct support of the 25th Marines; 2d and 3d Battalions in general support; 4th 105mm Howitzer Battalion, V Amphibious Corps, in direct support of the 24th Marines.87
The 2d Division's Push to O-7
The 2d Division, its formation unchanged (2d and 6th Marines abreast), attacked at 0700, 29 July. Since Objective O-7 was nearly 5,000 yards forward of the line of departure, General Watson, the division commander, specified an intermediate objective where assault regiments could reorganize before the push to O-7. Designated O-7A, the 2d Division's phase line embraced dominating terrain about 3,000 yards to the front. (See Map 10.)
Initially, the two leading regiments encountered no enemy; but, as they crossed O-6 and headed toward O-7A, the opposition got progressively stiffer. The right regiment, the 6th, advancing with its 1st and 3d Battalions abreast, met machine-gun and mortar fire all along its front but particularly on the left in the 3d Battalion's zone. The Japanese resistance never localized, however; as soon as the Marines deployed to assault a particular source of trouble, it would suddenly become vacant of defenders. Against this hesitating defense pattern, the 6th Marines maintained a jerking advance. Never did the enemy hold up more than a portion of the front; never was the delay more than momentary. By 1500, 29 July, the 6th Marines reached commanding ground just short of Objective O-7A. There the regiment dug in for the night.
The left regiment (the 2d) experienced similar, but more stubborn resistance, particularly on the extreme left in the 1st Battalion's zone. The latter unit faced a 340-foot hill mass on Masalog Point that, although only lightly defended, proved an obstacle to rapid movement. The other two assault battalions--2d in the center and the attached 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, on the right--moved with less difficulty. By 1500 these two units were several hundred yards ahead of the 1st Battalion, and Colonel Stuart, the regimental commander, decided to exploit their success.
Upon his order, two companies of the reserve 3d Battalion moved through the zone already cleared by the two right battalions and struck the Masalog Point hill mass from the right flank. Thus, the tactical locality received pressure from two directions, north and west. By
1715 the western slopes and a portion of the peak were in the 2d Marines' hands, but the rest of the feature remained to be captured. In this position, roughly midway between O-6 and O-7A, the regiment dug in for the night.
The night of 29-30 July was disturbed only once in the 2d Division's sector. A 20-man Japanese patrol attempted to enter the 6th Marines' lines. All intruders were killed.
The 2d Division's 30 July attack was in all respects a continuation of that begun the day before. Late afternoon of 29 July had found two companies of the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, striking the Masalog hill mass from the west. Since it was immediately apparent that this approach offered better chances for success than one from the north, Colonel Stuart ordered the entire 3d Battalion to take over this mission on 30 July. As soon as the Marines moved out in the attack at 0745, the hill's defenders could see their predicament: pressure from north and east, assault from the west. Most of the Japanese took the one favorable alternative: They pulled off the hill and headed south.
As soon as the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, captured the dominating ground, the 1st Battalion moved rapidly along the coast of Masalog Point. The 3d Battalion then swung its direction of attack to the south and moved abreast of the 1st Battalion toward the day's objective. By about noon these two units had assumed the entire regimental front, pinching out the 2d Battalion and the attached 2d Battalion, 8th Marines.
From shortly after noon until nearly dark, the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, engaged in its busiest period of the entire Tinian operation. As narrated by the unit's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Walter F. Layer:
On or about 1230, 30 July 1944, [we] were temporarily halted by machine gun and 70mm gun fire coming from the right front of the battalion's zone of action. Captain Robert F. O'Brien, commanding officer of Love Company . . . dispatched a patrol which destroyed the enemy guns and crews. I believe this 70mm gun was the one that Lieutenant Colonel Easley, commanding officer, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, could not locate [see below].
After Captain O'Brien's patrol had destroyed the guns that held up the battalion, the attack was continued across an open field approximately two hundred yards wide where on the far side approximately ten well constructed machine gun positions were captured complete with the guns. The enemy had abandoned these positions and had retreated approximately one hundred yards south. They moved down a steep cliff, approximately eighty feet high, via a dirt road into a large cave running back north under the cliff.
Marines of Love Company pursued the enemy, chasing them into the afore-mentioned cave. The enemy were contained in the cave until the entire 3d Battalion advanced down the cliff and had taken positions ready to continue the attack. [I] requested and received from the commanding officer, 2d Marines the assistance of a flame-throwing tank which along with Marines from the 3d Battalion destroyed approximately eighty enemy and approximately four machine guns [in] the afore-mentioned cave.
As the cave was being attacked, enemy forces approximately five hundred yards to our front (south) deployed in rocky terrain took the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, under fire with mortars.
It is beyond my memory as to the number of casualties the 3d Battalion suffered at that time. I personally rendered first aid to two wounded Marines and remember seeing six or seven Marines who were either wounded or killed by that enemy mortar fire.
Tanks and half-tracks that were attached to the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines, took the enemy under fire, destroying the enemy mortars. . . 88
Despite the resistance met by the 3d Battalion, the 2d Marines maintained the momentum of its attack, and as early as 1345 Colonel Stuart reported his regiment on Objective O-7. There it prepared defenses for the night. (See Map 10.)
The 6th Marines' 30 July advances were made against "sporadic small arms and machine gun fire . . . along with light mortar and artillery fire." The right battalion, the 1st, moved fast and reached O-7 at 1245. On the left, however, the 3d Battalion encountered direct fire from an enemy field piece that threatened to inflict heavy casualties if the advance continued. Since the piece could not be located, no target existed for mortars or artillery. In this situation, Lieutenant Colonel Easley, commanding the 3d Battalion, sent a combat patrol to locate and destroy the Japanese gun. This effort was unsuccessful in that the position was not found, but successful in that no more was heard of the enemy weapon. It was surmised that the gunner had abandoned his hidden piece in the
face of the patrol activity.89 Thereafter the Marines pressed forward rapidly, and by 1604 the 3d Battalion joined the 1st Battalion at O-7.
The 8th Regiment was split into three parts on 29 July: 2d Battalion attached to the 2d Marines, 3d Battalion in NTLF reserve, the remainder in division reserve. By 1400, 30 July, for the first time in four days, all battalions of the 8th Marines were under parent control. This came about as a direct result of an impending change in the boundary between divisions, a change that would broaden the 2d Division front and require commitment of additional 2d Division troops. Colonel Wallace received a warning in the early afternoon that his 8th Regiment would be committed on the extreme right of the division front. Wallace accordingly started his battalions on the march long before he received the actual order to move into the lines. By 1830 the regiment had assumed its assigned sector, relieving leftmost elements of the 4th Division and rightmost elements of the 6th Marines in the process. To fill vacancies created by this commitment, the 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, became reserve for the 2d Division and the 2d Battalion, 2d Marines, for NTLF.90
TRAMPING THE CANE was tiring work, especially when the direction of advance did not parallel the rows of the fields. Each stalk was strong enough to trip a man careless about where he stepped. Despite the Marines' systematic search, many Japanese lay hidden in the cane and escaped detection for months.
And so, the two divisions, in a week, captured about four-fifths of the island. Now, with all of the Japanese congested in the other one-fifth, the Marines wondered when and where the showdown fight would develop. Although there could be no serious question regarding the outcome of any enemy effort at this late date, everyone realized that the fighting in a given sector could be vicious and bloody. The Marines knew that the Japanese were capable of the same type of frenzied reaction characteristic of a cornered animal. No one took the enemy capabilities lightly.
The terrain south of the Marine lines on the evening of 30 July was flat for about 2,000 yards; then it rose in an abrupt, wooded escarpment to a plateau. Along the east coast the rise was so sheer as virtually to prevent scaling, and even in the center it was steep enough that a road up it followed a double hairpin pattern. Only near the west coast did the cliff become gentler and easier to climb.
A prisoner, Warrant Officer Akiyama of the 56th Naval Guard Force, indicated that, at the time of his capture (29 July), the bulk of the enemy was disposed either in the cliff area or in the terrain forward of it. His estimate of remaining Japanese in the principal Army and Navy organizations--50th Infantry, 1700 to 1800; 56th Naval Guard Force, 500--if accurate, meant that these units had averaged about 50 percent casualties by 29 July. The NTLF G-2's estimated enemy casualties, based upon daily reports from the divisions, showed about 3,000 Japanese soldiers and sailors killed or captured by 29 July, about 33 percent of the total known pre-Jig-Day strength. Even accepting the prisoner's estimate of remaining Japanese, Marines could expect to pay dearly for the last fifth of the island.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (2) * Next Chapter (4)
1. NTLF Report, 12. NTLF Operation Order 31-44.
2. 8th Mar Report, 1.
3. 2d Mar Report, 1.
4. 6th Mar Report, 1.
5. 4th Mar Div Report, Section III, 20 and Section IV, 26. Rogers.
6. 2d Tank Battalion Report, 1, and page 1 of Companies A, B, C and D Reports.
7. 2d Mar Div Report, 2. Ltr from Col J. T. Wilbur to CMC, 6Dec50.
8. NTLF Opn Order 31-44. This was the first reference to O-2. The landing plan had designated but two objectives: O-1 and the FBHL.
9. 23d Mar Report, 21. Dick.
10. This elevation is from a captured Japanese map, which, presumably, was more accurate than the 440 feet shown on U. S. maps. Action reports of the 1st and 3d Battalions, 25th Marines, refer to this height as Hill 440.
11. The 3/25 Report blames the gap on "the failure of the 23d Marines to come abreast."
12. 25th Mar Report, 2-3; 1st Bn, 25th Mar Report, 30-31; 3d Bn, 25th Mar Report, 3. V Amph Corps Amph Recon Bn Report, 1 and Annex A, 2.
13. 24th Mar Report, 9; 2d Bn, 24th Mar Report, 1-2; 3d Bn, 24th Mar Report, 1.
14. Interview with Maj H. G. Gunter, 15Sep50.
15. 8th Mar Report, 1-2; 1st Bn, 8th Mar Report, 2-3.
16. Two "Seabee" battalions participated in the Tinian Operation: the 18th and the 121st.
17. 14th Mar Report, 2-3. The 14th Regiment was composed of the following units on 25 July: 1st and 2d Battalions, 14th Marines; 1st and 2d Battalions, 10th Marines; and a Headquarters and Service Battery.
18. NTLF G-3 Operation Dispatches 23-25Jul44.
19. Ibid., 25-27Jul44.
20. Ibid., The XXIV Corps Artillery's "Log of Requests and Fires" lists the two 4th Division requests at 0435 and 0450 respectively.
21. Ltr from BrigGen A. M. Harper, USA, to CG, NTLF, 27Jul44, subj: Slow response to requests for fire.
22. Chevron, 29July44.
23. 24th Mar Report, 9.
24. Ltr from Lt V. Maghakian to author, 16Oct50.
25. TF 51 Report, Encl A, 19. Turner. Hill.
26. Joint Army Navy Assessment Committee, "Japanese Naval and Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II by All Causes," February 1947, 14. Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, Second Report to the Secretary of the Navy, 27Mar45, U. S. Navy at War (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1945), 112, gives Japanese losses as follows: 11 ships sunk, eight ships damaged. A. R. Buchanan, The Navy's Air War, A Mission Completed (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946), 215, gives enemy losses at 32 ships sunk, 10 planes destroyed.
27. NTLF Opn Order 32-44. This was the first operation order reference either to O-3 or O-4. Both were designated to conform with the situation that had developed after two days' fighting. Omission of O-2 and the FBHL from the day's order is worthy of examination. Objective O-2, the northern half of which had already been reached on 25 July, no longer constituted a suitable Corps objective. Prospects of the 2d Division reaching the east coast indicated the desirability of specifying an objective (O-3) that would orient the entire Corps' direction of attack for the drive to the south. The FBHL, laying between O-3 and O-4, was omitted because it did not fit into the Corps' plans for "elbowing"--allowing first one division and then the other to forge rapidly ahead supported by the bulk of the artillery. In this case, the maximum distance from O-3 to O-4 in the 2d Division's zone (on the extreme left) was about 5,000 yards; the minimum distance in the 4th Division's zone (on the extreme right) was about 200 yards.
28. NTLF G-3 Operational Dispatches, 25-27 July (1148, 26 July).
29. 23d Mar Report, 22. Dick. Ltr from LtCol P. S. Treitel to CMC, 18Dec50, hereinafter cited as Treitel.
30. 25th Mar Report, 3; 1st Bn, 25th Mar Report, 31-32; 3d Bn, 25th Mar Report, 3-4; 2d Bn, 24th Mar Report, 2. 24th Mar Report, 10.
31. 14th Mar Report, 3-4.
32. The 2d Regiment relieved the 24th Regiment and assumed its assigned zone before the attack hour.
33. 8th Mar Report, 2-3.
34. 2d Mar Report, 1-2.
35. 6th Mar Report, 1-2.
36. 2d Mar Div Report, 2. NTLF G-3 Report, 9-10.
37. Ltr from LtCol H. K. Throneson to author, 28Jan51, hereinafter cited as Throneson.
38. NTLF G-3 Operational Dispatches, 25-27Jul44. Interview with Maj R. Fuller, 20Jul50.
39. NTLF G-3 Operational Dispatches, 25-27Jul44.
40. Ibid., 27-29Jul44.
41. TF 52 Report, 38.
42. Most of these later joined the divisions on Tinian.
43. NTLF G-1 Report, 4. Plans from the beginning had contemplated transfer of 4th Division replacements to the 2d Division at the end of the Tinian operation. This was planned because the 4th's rehabilitation area (Maui, Hawaii) would be closer to the United States and therefore more convenient for a personnel build-up than would that of the 2d Division (Saipan). Incident to the 4th Division's departure from the Marianas, 916 officers and men moved to the 2d Division.
44. The 20th Marines was the engineer regiment of the 4th Division. The 2d Division's engineer regiment was the 18th Marines. Tinian was the last operation in which engineer regiments were designated. The 1st Battalions of the 18th and 20th Marines later became the 2d and 4th Engineer Battalions, respectively.
45. 20th Mar Report, 1-4. The NTLF Shore Party Headquarters was formed from the Regimental Headquarters, 18th Marines, plus two officers from Headquarters, V Amphibious Corps. The strength was six officers and eight enlisted men. NTLF Engineer and Shore Party Report, 1.
46. 2d Bn, 18th Mar Report, 1.
47. "The incipient typhoon that some days previously had been beginning to show east of Guam had by the 27th begun to increase in energy and had shifted to a position 50 miles west of Tinian." Turner.
48. NTLF G-4 Report, 3.
49. Attachments: A/18--2d Marines; B/18--6th Marines; C/18--8th Marines; A/20--25th Marines; B/20--24th Marines; C/20--23d Marines.
50. 2d Mar Report, 2.
51. Interview with LtCol M. P. Ryan, 19Dec50.
52. 2d Mar Report, 2. During this action one Marine spotted a Japanese wearing an aviator's jacket and shouted, loud enough for many to hear, ". . . I want that jacket." When the Japanese in question fell forward of the lines, the Marine only awaited the coming of daylight to secure his prize. But, at dawn, when he went out to claim the souvenir, he found that someone had already been there--the jacket was gone. Throneson.
53. NTLF G-2 Periodic Report 42, 1800, 25 July, to 1800, 26 July.
54. NTLF G-2 Periodic Report 43, 1800, 26 July, to 1800, 27 July.
56. The NTLF commander, General Schmidt, explained that "the tactics and technique employed by the Corps . . . were necessary because of two such small divisions being required to fight on a very broad front. . . . the employment of tactics known as 'elbowing' [helped solve the problem]." Ltr from Gen H. Schmidt to CMC, 17Apr47.
57. 2d Tank Battalion attachments: Company A--8th Marines (in reserve); Company B--6th Marines; Company C--2d Marines. Platoons of Company D, the light (flame-thrower) tank unit, were attached one to each of the three medium tank companies.
58. 2d Mar Div Report, 2-3; 2d Mar Report, 2-3; 6th Mar Report, 2; 2d Tank Bn Report, page 2 of all company reports.
59. 8th Mar Report, 3-4.
60. Ltr from M/Sgt J. E. Van Alstyne to author, 24Dec50.
61. This account of the 4th Division's 27-28 July attack is derived, unless otherwise indicated, from the following sources: 4th Mar Div Report, Sec IV, 27-28; 23d Mar Report, 22; 24th Mar Report, 10; 25th Mar Report, 3-4; L. R. Jones; Dick.
62. Level terrain within the division zone offered few vantage points for observation posts. The 3d Battalion, 23d Marines, solved this problem by establishing its OP on top of a medium tank. This OP, perhaps the most unusual in the operation, offered several satisfactory means of communication, including the tank radio, the commander's SCR 300 mounted atop the tank, and a wire-laying jeep following at about 75 yards. Treitel.
63. The 2d Battalion was still under 25th Marines' control, having been attached on the morning of 26 July. At 1800, 28 July, the battalion was detached from the 25th Marines and assigned as NTLF reserve. The unit's regularly assigned commander, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Rothwell, who had missed the first three days of the operation, returned from the hospital and rejoined the battalion on 27 July.
64. After passing the O-5 line the 3d Battalion [23d Marines] captured a large warehouse loaded to the rafters with beer and liquor. "It took a great deal of leadership and persuasion by platoon leaders and company commanders to get their men to continue the attack without stocking up." Treitel.
65. The knee mortar, actually a 50mm grenade discharger, was not fired from the knee as its small size and curved base plate suggested. Since the weapon was commonly referred to by this nickname throughout the Pacific War, however, knee mortar is used in this narrative.
67. Actually, at least one captured Japanese claimed that Ogata had been killed at Mt. Lasso on Jig-Day. But Sergeant Major Tadami Ushiyama of the 50th Infantry's Medical Unit, a person in a position to know the truth, stated that he saw the colonel during two successive command post displacements from the Mt. Lasso area. The sergeant major was sure that Colonel Ogata survived until the night of 2-3 August. Similar testimony from four other prisoners (two superior privates, one corporal and one lance corporal) further strengthens the sergeant major's statement. 4th Mar Div Representative Translations Made on Tinian.
68. This unit was often referred to as the 5th Battalion, 14th Marines, its original title when organized on 1 March 1944. The following month (16 April) it received the title used at Saipan and Tinian. The organization operated under yet another title at Iwo Jima in February 1944: 4th 155mm Howitzer Battalion, V Amphibious Corps. This came as a result of a change in the unit's armament from 105's to 155's. Ltr from LtCol D. E. Reeve to CMC, 17Nov50. Ltr from Maj M. R. Burditt to author, 5Jan51.
69. Youngdale. The regimental commander of the 14th Marines comments pertinently in connection with 4/14's displacement: "Before our departure from Saipan I was given to understand that the battalion under Lt. Col. Douglas E. Reeve was detached and would not rejoin the regiment. I was therefore unable to understand their arrival on Tinian on the 27th of July. At that time inquiry was made as to the whereabouts of 4-14; no explanation was forthcoming, but my personal opinion is that . . . the similar (4th Battalion) designation of the two battalions was responsible for the erroneous displacement of the 4th 105mm Howitzer Battalion, V Amphibious Corps." Ltr from Col L. G. DeHaven to CMC, 19Dec50.
70. 14th Mar Report, 4-6.
71. 10th Mar Report, 1-3.
72. Ltr from Maj W. P. Oliver, Jr., to CMC, 12May47. Interview with Maj Oliver, 19Sep50. Exact time of this occurrence not known. Probably 31 July.
73. 27th Inf Div Arty Report, 31.
74. XXIV Corps Artillery S-3 Report, 12.
75. Salvage operations continued until 13 August 1944 when she was finally pulled off. Taken to Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, on 25 October 1944, LST 340 was beached, after which she served as a receiving station. She was then decommissioned, designated the USS Spark, and assigned to Commander Naval Base Saipan.
76. This was the U. S. Army Air Force's 9th Troop Carrier Squadron.
77. DUKW units at Tinian, which in the words of the NTLF G-4 "performed an astounding feat of supply," were as follows: 477th Amphibian Truck Company, U. S. Army; 27th Division Provisional Amphibian Truck Company, U. S. Army; 1st Marine Amphibian Truck Company; 2d Marine Amphibian Truck Company. A total of 140 DUKW's participated in the Tinian operation.
78. TF 52 Report, 20-21; NTLF G-4 Report, Sec B, 2-3.
79. NTLF G-3 Report, 10.
80. Spruance had arrived in the Indianapolis early on Jig-Day. Smith had arrived with Admiral Turner in the Rocky Mount on Jig-plus 1.
81. NTLF G-3 Operational Dispatches 27-29Jul44.
82. NTLF G-2 Periodic Report 44, 1800, 27 July, to 1800, 28 July.
83. NTLF Opn Orders 35 and 36, 28-29Jul44.
84. 4th Mar Div Report, Sect IV, 29.
85. 3d Bn, 25th Mar Report, 6. 1st Bn, 25th Mar Report, 34.
86. 4th Mar Div D-2 Periodic Report 77.
87. 4th Mar Div Report, Sect IV, 29; 14th Mar Report, 6-8; 23d Mar Report, 23; 24th Mar Report, 10-12; 25th Mar Report, 4.
88. Ltr from LtCol W. F. Layer to CMC, 16Nov50.
89. As pointed out by Lieutenant Colonel Walter F. Layer, this may have been the same weapon destroyed by Marines of the 3d Battalion, 2d Marines.
90. 2d Mar Div Report, 3; 2d Mar Report, 3-4; 6th Mar Report, 2-3; 8th Mar Report, 4-5.