As was stated earlier, Rear Admiral Turner remained at Kwajalein Atoll until the capture of Eniwetok Atoll had been completed and the garrison forces were readying to take over. He departed in his flagship, Rocky Mount, for Pearl Harbor on 25 February 1944, entering that port on 3 March 1944. During the long, long month commencing on 5 February, he had been sitting on the anxious seat waiting for his promotion to Vice Admiral to be approved by the United States Senate, and more than a bit disturbed by the backstairs gossip surrounding the delay. The hard-fought assaults on Kwajalein and Roi-Namur, and then on Engebi, Eniwetok and Parry, combined with this backlash had worn him down to a nubbin.
The Nut Cracker
In an off-hand remark to me he said:
When I came back from the Marshalls, I was dead tired. I stayed dead tired for the rest of the war.1
When this remark was mentioned to Fleet Admiral Nimitz, he leaned back in his chair, his weathered face wreathed in a soft smile, and he spoke softly:
Kelly was operating under a forced draft. There were times during this period when I wanted to reach out and shake Kelly. But Spruance always said: 'Let me handle him' and handle him he did.
I always attended rehearsals that were held in the Hawaiian Islands. Kelly had a firm hold on rehearsals and did a magnificent job. His insistence on rehearsals was a major factor in his success.
And then after a pause, Fleet Admiral Nimitz, the Grand Old Man of the Pacific War, added:
I became very much attached to him.2
It must be added in all honesty that from this period in the war on, an
ever increasing number of old shipmates were aware that Kelly Turner was partaking more freely of the liquid that cheers, but all reports indicated that he was handling it extremely well.
The Overall Problem of Defeating Japan
As Admiral Turner said in 1949 in a speech before the General Line School:
To defeat the Japanese, we had long recognized that we must plan ultimately either to invade the home islands or else destroy their armies in Manchuria and North China, and then isolate the home islands by blockade. We also needed to weaken their industry by strategic air bombing in order to reduce their logistics potential at home. Thus it was necessary for us to concentrate large military forces, land, sea, and air, plus heavy stocks of material in bases reasonably close to Japan. In turn, that meant that we required large land deployment areas and large harbors in the Western Pacific Ocean. . . .
The only possible suitably adequate areas were the Philippines, Formosa and China, and of these the Philippines was much the best. . . .3
Planning for the Pacific War
Out of the SEXTANT American-British Conference ending at Cairo, Egypt, on 6 December 1943, came the necessary approved plan to conduct the war against Japan throughout 1944.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff and our own Chiefs of Staff never lacked for suggestions or recommendations from the Pacific or the Southwest Pacific commands as to how the war against Japan might be won. And frequently they received contrary recommendations from Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur.
In December 1943, the scales were tipped very lightly in favor of doing what Admiral Nimitz recommended.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff, acting in accordance with the recommendations of our Joint Chiefs, did not decide against General MacArthur's plan of advance along the New Guinea-Netherland Indies- Philippine axis. In fact, they decided that one advance would be made along this north-south line toward Japan and another advance would be made along an east-west
ever increasing number of old shipmates were aware that Kelly Turner was partaking more freely of the liquid that cheers, but all reports indicated that he was handling it extremely well. line passing through the Marianas. The two lines of advance they hoped would be mutually supporting during the early phases. The Joint Chiefs of Staff decided that when conflicts over resources occurred, the Central Pacific Campaign would have priority over the Southwest Pacific Campaign, primarily because it held greater promise of a more rapid advance toward Japan and her essential lines of communication with the south to bring natural resources into the homeland.4
Based on these high level decisions, Admiral Nimitz promulgated his GRANITE Plan. This covered the prospective operations against the Japanese in the Central Pacific Ocean Area during 1944.
As desired by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Marshall Islands would be assaulted early in 1944, with Eniwetok being taken about 1 May 1944. About 15 August, the Mortlock Islands (160 miles southeast of Truk) and Truk Atoll in the Carolines would be taken. Then, about 15 November 1944, Saipan, Tinian, and Guam would be assaulted simultaneously, if possible.5
All during this period, Admiral King held to the firm opinion that the Marianas were the key to the Western Pacific since, from the Marianas, we could quite easily cut the Japanese line of communications to the Netherland East Indies and Malaysia and from there could bomb Japan.6
Admiral King also believed that reaching the mainland of China was a major objective of the drive through the center of the Pacific Ocean. This was in order to take advantage strategically, not only of China's geographical position but of her huge manpower.
Two things happened in the first seven weeks of 1944 to change the strategic picture further in our favor.
- The Japanese Combined Fleet retreated from Truk Atoll to the Palau Islands in the Western Carolines.
- Eniwetok was taken in late February, rather than in early May.
Admiral Nimitz, soon after Eniwetok was firmly in hand, wrote to the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet:
The capture and consolidation of Kwajalein, Majuro, and Eniwetok, together with the successful Fleet operations against Truk and the Marianas, have
created changes in the strategic situation which permits advancing the timing of operations contemplated by the GRANITE Plan.7
In a long reasoned discussion, Admiral Nimitz then developed two proposed schedules of future operations, one in which Truk would be assaulted 15 June 1944, with the Southern Marianas assault to follow on 1 September 1944. The other schedule called for Truk to be neutralized and bypassed, and the Southern Marianas to be assaulted on 15 June 1944. Subsequently, Woleai, Yap and the Palaus (about 1060 miles southeast of Manila) were to be captured by 1 November 1944 (later changed to 1 October).8
Admiral Nimitz believed that following the latter schedule, which advanced the assault date on the Marianas by two and a half months, would permit readiness of his forces in the Pacific Ocean Areas to launch a major assault in the Formosa-Luzon-China area in the spring of 1945.
While awaiting the decision by Admiral King and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Nimitz's Staff would not be idle. The Admiral wrote Admiral King that: "Plans are being drawn up and forces prepared for either objective [Truk or the Southern Marianas]."
It should be recorded here that there was some naval opposition and considerable lack of enthusiasm for the operation to take the Southern Marianas. This arose because of the complete inadequacy of the harbors in Saipan and Tinian and the limited capacity of Apra Harbor, Guam. For a satisfactory mobile logistic support base in this general area it would be necessary for the Pacific Fleet to go 400 miles southwest of Guam to Ulithi Atoll in the Western Caroline Islands. Eniwetok had a fine anchorage, but the rim islands were all too small for the development of shore-based storage and work shop activities. Moreover, it was located a thousand miles back towards Pearl Harbor from the Marianas.
Admiral Nimitz's letters to COMINCH and later visits to Washington were occurring against a background of strong urging by General MacArthur during January and February 1944, to do something quite different with the naval forces of the Central Pacific.
In early February 1944, General MacArthur was pressing for the commitment of large combatant Pacific Fleet forces on a long continuing basis to support his advance toward the Philippines. In a despatch he said:
I propose that with the completion of the operations in the Marshalls, the maximum force from all sources in the Pacific be concentrated in my drive up the New Guinea coast to Mindanao, to be coordinated with a Central Pacific Operation against the Palaus and the support by combatant elements of the Pacific Fleet with orders to contain or destroy the Japanese Fleet.9
Despite the firm decision of the Combined Chiefs and the Joint Chiefs of December 1943, that the Central Pacific campaign would have priority, General MacArthur sought to advance his own proposals by sending his Chief of Staff and supporting officers to Pearl Harbor, and then on to Washington.
Admiral King thought that the proposal to divert major naval resources from the Central Pacific to the Southwest Pacific on a long time basis was "absurd" and so said to anyone within hearing and in a letter to Admiral Nimitz.10
On 2 March 1944, the Joint Chiefs avoided meeting the issue head on, but did go so far as to state:
Our first major objective in the war against Japan will be the vital Luzon-Formosa-China coast area.11
This tied in with the Central Pacific Campaign far more realistically than the south-north drive up through New Guinea, particularly when coupled with a Joint Chiefs' cancellation of General MacArthur's proposed assault on Kavieng in New Ireland, and advice to him that the Central Pacific Campaign had priority in military resources over the Southwest Pacific Campaign.
It was another ten days before the seal of approval to the Central Pacific Campaign and the GRANITE Plan was reaffirmed.12
The final Joint Chiefs' decision was to confirm Admiral Nimitz's proposal to assault the Marianas on 15 June 1944. Success in the Marianas, of itself, would largely neutralize Truk and isolate the Central Carolines because it would throttle the main Japanese aircraft pipeline down from the Empire to the Carolines. The Palaus in the far western Carolines would be assaulted on 15 September 1944, with the object of establishing a fleet base there, as well as a forward staging area for later operations against Mindanao, Formosa, and the China coast. If all went well, Mindanao would be assaulted
Pacific and Lower Marianas distance charts.
on 15 November by General MacArthur, supported by the Pacific Fleet, and Luzon or Formosa would be assaulted on 15 February 1945. The object of taking Mindanao was to further the advance to Formosa either directly or via Luzon.
The JCS directed that long-range planning be undertaken for assaults on all three objectives--Luzon, Formosa, and the China coast area--with General MacArthur's Staff undertaking the first, and Admiral Nimitz's staff the latter two.
The Purposes of the Exercise
The code name of FORAGER was assigned to the capture, occupation, and defense of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.
The Commander in Chief, Pacific had four principal purposes in mind in launching FORAGER. The obtaining of an island base from which the Japanese homeland could be bombed was the one appealing to all Services, although more strongly to the Army Air Force, since it would permit them to really pull an oar in the Pacific War. A second principal purpose was to obtain a base which would permit the isolation and neutralization of the Central and Western Carolines. This one appealed particularly to the Army as it was anxious to facilitate General MacArthur's movement to the Philippines, and this would be made more practical if, as he advanced, Japanese island positions on his right flank were isolated or neutralized. The other two principal purposes were primarily naval. The Navy thought it was highly desirable to have effective command of the sea in the general Marianas area, and thus a forward position on the flank of the Japanese communication lines to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. This was in order to harass or break these Japanese lines of communication. There also was a strong naval desire to secure a large base from which a direct amphibious assault could be launched against the Ryukyus, the Bonins, or the Japanese Homeland.
The Nut Cracker
A glance at the detailed chart and maps of Saipan, Tinian and Guam immediately indicates that the Marianas were quite a different cup of tea from Makin or Tarawa or Kwajalein or the other atolls which had been
captured in 1943 and early 1944. Rather than small flat rims of coral, they were good sized islands with all the defensive possibilities which real fortification, rough terrain and tropical growth over large land masses can provide.
And it is worth stating a second time that with the Marianas located over 3,000 miles from Pearl and something less than half that far from Tokyo, it would be far more difficult to establish there the prerequisites for a successful amphibious operation. These are:
- Secure lines of communication to the zone of conflict.
- Command of the seas around the objective.
- Command of the air around the objective.
It has to be kept in mind that an invader is most vulnerable as he hits the beaches. This is the transition period of an amphibious assault.
Three divisions, which had been earmarked for the sequential assaults on the Mortlock Islands and on Truk, were designated for the invasion of Saipan and the subsequent capture of Tinian. These were the Second and Fourth Marine Divisions, with the 27th Infantry, a National Guard unit from the State of New York, in reserve. They were to be mounted in the Hawaiian Islands, 3,000 miles away.
For the assault on Guam, the Third Marine Division and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, made up of the 4th Marine Regiment, the 22nd Marine Regiment, and, after 10 July 1944, the 305th Infantry Regiment, were assigned. The units initially assigned were designated the 3rd Amphibious Corps on 15 April 1944, Major General Roy S. Geiger, USMC, Commander. They were to be mounted in Guadalcanal and the New Hebrides, 1,650 to 2, 200 miles southeast of Guam. The 77th Infantry Division, training in the United States during the early planning period, was to be brought to the Hawaiian Islands by March, and alerted for a move on to the Marianas twenty days after Dog Day at Saipan. It could not be mounted for a Dog Day assault or as the Guam Reserve because of lack of transports and cargo ships.13 From this listing of participating troops, it is apparent that the Marianas was to be the biggest amphibious assault to date in the Central Pacific Campaign with three and two-thirds divisions designated for assault and two divisions designated for the Reserve.
FORAGER, the Marianas campaign, was complicated. As Admiral Turner said:
The Marianas Campaign, from an amphibious view point had nearly everything; great strategic importance, major tactical moves including successive troops landings on three enemy islands; tough enemy resistance of all kinds, including major Fleet battle; coordination of every known type of combat technique of the land, sea, and air; difficult logistic problems; and the build up of a great military base area concurrently with the fighting.14
Before the operational phases of the Marianas campaign are related, a few of the major changes in the administrative and organizational aspects of the Amphibious Forces, Pacific will be set down.
Ships and Landing Craft and More Ships and More Landing Craft
COMINCH, on 1 February 1944, assigned all attack transports, attack cargo ships, and landing ships and craft, in or destined to report to the Pacific Ocean Areas, to Commander Amphibious Forces, Pacific (Rear Admiral R.K. Turner). This broadened his command from the Fifth Amphibious Force in the Central Pacific to all the amphibious forces in the Pacific Ocean Area.15 On 8 March 1944, Vice Admiral Turner reported to CINCPAC for this additional duty which included command of all amphibious craft assigned to the First, Third, Fifth, and Ninth Fleets; the Amphibious Training Command; and the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps units currently assigned to those Amphibious Forces for training or combat operations. He was also responsible for the preparation and periodic correction of two Pacific Fleet publications entitled Tactical Orders, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet and Current Doctrine for Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet.
As the Amphibious Forces moved through the Gilberts and the Marshalls, some of the landing ships (LSTs) and many of the landing craft (LCTs) were left behind to provide the necessary unloading lighterage at the island bases. There was a real need to reorganize the landing ships and craft which returned to Pearl with sizeable gaps in their organizations and provide
appropriate division commanders, group commanders and flotilla commanders. The need was brought to the attention of CINCPAC and COMINCH, and the latter, on 30 March 1944, authorized remedial action. Thereafter, COMPHIBSPAC, acting under delegated authority, reorganized the LSTs, the LCIs and the LCT' s, generally on the basis of geographical location. This, as many skippers were quick to report, broke up many fine chains of command which had existed since the landing ships and craft were on the building ways back in the States. Soon afterwards, a more favorably-received step was taken. This was to provide adequate repair facilities for these craft even in the forward areas.
In early April 1944, the first edition of Transport Doctrine, Amphibious Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet was issued. This healthy sized document provided general transport doctrine as well as specific transport doctrine for all types of landing ships and landing craft. It was amended a dozen times before World War II was over, but it served to indoctrinate the tens of thousands of young Americans who were becoming amphibians.16
The Fifth Amphibious Force Staff Grows and Grows
By the time the Fifth Amphibious Force was deep in its training to take the Marianas Islands, Vice Admiral Turner's Staff had grown to thirty officers. The number of officers attached to the staff for communications, intelligence and other specialty duties had increased to 56. The Chief of Staff had been advanced in rank to Commodore early in April 1944.
The officers on the staff on 1 May 1944, were as follows:
Paul S. Theiss Commodore 1912 Chief of Staff Don Z. Zimmerman Colonel (Air Corps) AUS Assistant Plans Officer John P. Vetter Captain 1920 Plans Officer Stanley Leith Captain 1923 Operations Officer Benjamin O. Wells Captain (Retired) 1917 Intelligence Officer George A. Harvey Lieutenant-Colonel AUS
Assistant Military Officer Robert E. Hogaboom Lieutenant-Colonel USMC
Military Operations Beverly M. Coleman Commander USNR
Beachmaster Officer John McN. Taylor Commander 1926 Gunnery Officer
Vice Admiral Turner at porthole, 6 June 1944. (80-G-238010)
Charles F. Horne, Jr. Commander 1926 Communications Officer Clayton O. Totman Lieutenant-Colonel USMC
Assistant Plans Officer John S. Lewis Commander 1932 Assistant Naval Operations W.A. Neal Major USMCR Transport Quartermaster W.F. Lalyer Major USMCR Assistant Plans Officer Frederick L. Ashworth Lieutenant Commander 1933 Aviation Officer Francis C. Bowen Major AUS
Assistant Communications Officer
Cecil W. Shuler Major USMC
Assistant Intelligence Officer William J. Francis Lieutenant Commander 1935 Aerological Officer Charles W. Weaver Lieutenant Commander USNR
Assistant Operations Officer Harry B. Stark Lieutenant Commander 1936 Flag Secretary and Aide John J. Kircher Lieutenant Commander 1936 Flag Lieutenant and Aide Charles W. Coker Lieutenant Commander 1937 Assistant Plans Officer Howard D. Lane Lieutenant Commander USNR
Assistant Communications Officer Richard H. Amberg Lieutenant USNR
Assistant Plans Officer Walter L. Luke Lieutenant (junior grade) USNR
Prospective Flag Lieutenant and Aide Charles W. Postelwaite Radio-Electrician USNR
Radar Officer Jacob M. Bregar Captain (SC) USNR
Force Supply Officer Robert M. Gillett Captain (MC) 1923 Force Medical Officer Kenneth G. Lovell Lieutenant Commander (CEC) 1939 Force Civil Engineer Ralph E. Bishop Chief Pay Clerk 1943 Assistant Force Supply Officer
Year dates are those of first commission or first warrant in the Navy, Marine Corps or Army, or in the case of Naval Reserve officers, their pay entry date.17
An officer who worked with this staff during this period and on through the end of the Pacific War labeled it: "Outstanding--incredibly hard working."18
Kneeding FLINTLOCK into FORAGER
Although FLINTLOCK was termed a grand success, COMFIFTHPHIBFOR issued a 37-page letter, with comments on the operation and many suggestions for further improvements in the naval phases and naval techniques of the amphibious operations.19
On the other hand, the Commanding General, V Amphibious Corps, was reasonably satisfied, as this extract from his report indicates:
Recommendations made and acted upon--as a result of the Gilberts offensive proved sound. In the attack of coral atolls, very few recommendations can be made to improve upon the basic techniques previously recommended and utilized in the Marshalls.20
From the time of the conquest of the Marshalls, the DUKW was the major small logistical workhorse of the Central Pacific Campaign, and as Admiral Turner commented:
The Army's most important contribution to the technique of amphibious warfare.21
The Marianas are a 450-mile long string of fifteen volcanic islands lying north and south between Latitudes 13° and 21° north, and generally along the 145th parallel of east longitude.
Guam is the southernmost of the island string. It lies a bit less than 1,400 sea miles south-southeast of Tokyo and 1,500 sea miles east of Manila. 101 miles separate Saipan, the second largest of the Marianas, from Guam. Tinian nestles up to Saipan and Rota is 37 miles northeast of Guam. Eleven smaller islands stretch 350 miles north of Saipan.
Guam also is the largest of the Marianas, with a land area of 206 square miles. Saipan covers 70 square miles and Tinian only 38 square miles. Each of these three islands has both rock-ribbed hills and swampy valleys. Guam has half a dozen rugged peaks over a thousand feet high with the highest being Mount Lamlam of 1,334 feet. Saipan tops out in its center at Mount Tapotchau at 1,554 feet, while smaller Tinian, in general, is flatter with Lasso Hill of 564 feet its highest point. Tropical vegetation, in 1944, covered much of the islands, and there were marshes and rice paddies in the lowlands. The only useful harbors in the group are Apra Harbor in Guam and at Tanapag in Saipan. The latter is very small. The tide in the Marianas is negligible since it is less than 1.5 feet.
Raising sugar cane, copra, bananas, and papayas were the principal activities of the natives in 1944. Seventy percent of Saipan was under sugar cultivation.
Vice Admiral Turner on board USS Rocky Mount during the Saipan attack. (80-G-238000)
The population of Saipan and Tinian was principally Japanese with a modest proportion of Chammorro's, while that of Guam was entirely Chammorro.22
Looking at the three principal southern islands in 1944 from the amphibious assault viewpoint, it was seen that a barrier reef one to two miles off shore protected the west side of Saipan. The land sloped gently away from the beaches which were extensive but only 10 to 15 yards wide. On the east side, the beaches were narrow and the shores steep with many wave- cut cliffs. The north end and east side of Saipan, except for Magicienne Bay, were free of reefs. This bay provided no shelter from the prevailing
Northeast coast of Saipan. (80-G-238000)
trade winds and the Japanese, reputedly, had not used the bay because of this and the inshore reefs.
Tinian had the same natural defenses as Saipan's east coast--healthy sized cliffs and very narrow shallow beaches. This would make the logistic support problem very difficult in the early hours of any assault landing.
The detailed information available during the 1944 planning period in regard to the beaches of Guam was good, because the Marines had studied the island from a defensive point of view during the pre-1941 period. The northern half of the island was easily defendable because of the high cliffs overlooking the beaches and the strong surf and rugged offshore reefs. The
whole east coast of Guam was marked by a 400-foot plateau and a narrow coastal flat. However, in the vicinity of Agana Bay near the capital Agana, there were some breaks in the long reefs on the western side of the island, and another break south of Orote Peninsula. This peninsula jutted out three miles into the western ocean and provided a lee for the beaches south of it.
The Weather Prospects
In a few words, the weather was warm, showery and generally overcast. The summer months are the rainy season, August being the wettest month with numerous thunderstorms and squalls.
Typhoons are scarce around the Marianas but do occur. The monsoon winds blow in from the southwest in August and September; the trade winds blow from the northeast the rest of the year.
So, from a weather point of view, the landings and early logistic support follow up had to be completed before the end of July, if the landings were to be made on the west coast of Saipan where the preferred beaches were located. The "generally overcast" type of weather meant that air reconnaissance would have photographic and observation problems.23
Japanese Reaction to Loss of Marshalls
Admiral Koga, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, made a visit to Japan from Truk soon after our seizure of Kwajalein and Eniwetok in the Marshalls, to Participate in military conferences. The Japanese High Command on 1 March 1944 took the decision to build up overseas personnel and material strength, construct fortifications with special emphasis on the Marianas and Western Carolines, and firmly defend their new "Secondary Defense Line." These important defensive steps were planned to be completed by April 1944, and except for planned aircraft and air bases they were largely in hand by the end of May 1944.24
A Japanese Central Pacific Area Force secret order captured during the FORAGER Operation indicated that, in the Marianas, Japanese plans contemplated a total of fourteen airfields and two seaplane bases adequate to
handle 600 aircraft.25 In the Southern Marianas, by early June 1944, there were two Japanese airfields operational on both Saipan and on Guam, three operational airfields on Tinian and a surfaced runway on Rota. Additional airfields were in various stages of completion. There was a major Japanese seaplane base at Tanapag Harbor on Saipan.
The Japanese Defenses
Soon after arriving back in Pearl, and still not sure whether the next amphibious objective would be Truk or the Marianas, COMFIFTHPHIBFOR requested CINCPAC to provide air and submarine reconnaissance of the Carolines and Marianas to supplement that obtained on 22-23 February 1944, during the first air strikes against the Marianas.26
This was done by Navy PBYs, flying out of Eniwetok on 18 April and 25 April 1944, and again on 7 May and 29 May 1944. The submarines of the Pacific Fleet during April 1944 gave their particular attention to prospective landing beaches with rewarding results.
The Japanese on Saipan
The natural defenses of Saipan, the first island in the Marianas to be assaulted, were considerable. The east coast was largely free of fringing reefs except around the largest bay--Magicienne Bay--but the beaches were narrow--and more importantly from the Marines' point of view--the shores back of the beaches were steep, rugged and easily defended.
The west coast of Saipan was lower and the land back of the beaches sloped gently upward, which was fine from the Marine point of view. But, with the exception of a gap off Charan Koa and the entrance to Tanapag Harbor, a barrier reef protected the whole west coast of Saipan.
On Saipan the Japanese had an island 123/4 miles long and 53/4 miles wide to defend. In comparison, the later objectives, Tinian was 10.5 miles long and markedly narrower than Saipan, while Guam was 32 miles long and 4 to 8 miles wide.
Beginning in March 1944, the Japanese not only rapidly built up their
defenses and their defensive forces in the Marianas, but, additionally, reorganized the command structure which controlled the area.
The Fourth Fleet which had held the bag during the loss of the Gilbert Islands and the Marshall Islands was downgraded to controlling only the naval garrisons in the Eastern Carolines (including Truk) and the bypassed garrisons in the Marshalls, all of which were dying on the vine. A new command directly under the Combined Fleet, called the Central Pacific Area Fleet, was established under the command of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, IJN, who had been commander of the Japanese naval force making the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Vice Admiral Nagumo maintained his Headquarters on Saipan and was present and accounted for when the assault commenced. He controlled the naval garrisons in the Western Carolines where the important Palau Islands were located, as well as the Marianas and the Bonins where Iwo Jima was located. The responsibility for the defense of individual islands rested upon the senior Army or Naval officer assigned to that island. By and large, the Japanese Army was able to place the senior officer on each island.
Saipan also housed the Japanese Army command for all Japanese Army forces in the Mandates. This was the 31st Army. Its Commanding General was Lieutenant General Hideyoshi Obata. He lived a few days longer than others because he was absent from his command and in the Palau Islands for a conference when we landed 01115 June 1944. His senior subordinate, Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito, IJA, Commanding the 43rd Division, took over Obata's duties and fought the good fight.
All during the months of March, April, May, and early June, the Japanese poured troops into the Marianas. They had their troubles doing this as the following extract from an interrogation of Commander Tadao Kuwahara, IJN (Retired), Convoy Commander for part of the movement of the 43rd Division, will show:
I left Tateyama for Saipan on 30 May 1944 with a convoy of seven vessels and four escorts. Three of the ships were transporting 10,000 troops to Saipan. This was the last convoy to go to Saipan. . . . The convoy was attacked by submarines on the 1st through the 6th of June, all attacks occurring at about 1500-1600. The submarines had been following another convoy bound for Japan. When the two convoys crossed, the submarines turned around and followed my convoy. . . . On 4 June, the convoy was attacked simultaneously from the two front quarters and the port after quarter. Katsuya Maru was sunk. On 5 June, we were attacked again from two sides and Takaoka Maru and Tamahime Maru were sunk. On 6 June we were
attacked once more on two sides, simultaneously. Kashimaran Maru, carrying aviation gasoline was hit during this attack and exploded. About an hour later, another attack sank Haore Maru. Of the troops of the three troop transports. . . 80% were saved. . . .27
Eighty percent of the Japanese troops of this particular movement were saved but their heavy equipment including guns and ammunition were all lost.
As was reported by despatches from Saipan to Japanese Headquarters in Tokyo:
The shipwrecked units are 3rd and 4th Independent Tank Companies, 14th and 17th Independent Mortar Battalions, 3 aviation units, etc., and have no use as fighting units; the infantry are without hats and shoes and are in confusion.28
And, while the Japanese rapidly built up the defenses of Saipan, there was much they didn't do. The Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas in his Operational Report on the defenses of Saipan, based on data determined after the occupation, wrote:
Subsequent to the capture of Saipan, an inspection of its defenses was made by the Engineering Section of the Expeditionary Troops. Information was obtained from an important prisoner of war who had been the former Intelligence Officer of the Japanese 43rd Division and from captured documents. . . .
The prepared defenses of Saipan were amazingly inadequate and incomplete. . . . Not a single battery position or fortification inspected was entirely complete. . . . In the Garapan Naval Depot, the following guns were found: 3 5" coast defense guns, 1 140-mm coast defense gun, 32 120-mm dual purpose guns, 6 200-mm mortars.
Guns implaced ready to fire:
6" 120-mm 200-mm Total 8 20 4 32
* * * * *
It can be seen that only slightly more than one-third of the heavy coast defense and dual purpose guns that were available on the island had been completely mounted and made ready for firing.29
Japanese Defense Doctrine
The Japanese documents captured in previous amphibious operations had always stressed the Japanese island defense doctrine of "destroying the enemy at the beaches," or in other words during the most difficult period of the amphibious operations--the transition period from naval war to land war. It was widely anticipated that since the Marianas were quite different islands than those in the coral atolls, that the Japanese defensive pattern would change. But it didn't. A captured document on Saipan read:
It is expected that the enemy will be destroyed on the beaches through a policy of tactical command based on aggressiveness, determination and initiative.30
The Japanese Fleet Again Retires Westward
When Task Force 58 raided the Palau Islands at the end of March 1944, the Japanese Combined Fleet once again retreated westward, this time to Tawi Tawi Harbor in the Sulu Archipelago in the Southwest Philippines. It was operating in this area, 1,600 miles away from the Marianas, when the Joint Expeditionary Force moved in to assault the Marianas.
Worried about the defense of western New Guinea, a good sized detachment of the Combined Fleet was under orders early in June 1944 to support a Japanese amphibious assault to recapture Biak Island off northwestern New Guinea. Japanese land-based planes from the Marianas were ordered down south to Halmahera to support the operation. The Japanese task force for this assault, Operation KON, was actually well assembled at Batjan in the Moluccas (southwest of Halmahera, four hundred miles south of Mindanao) by 11 June.
Reports of the TF 58 raids on the Marianas late on that day raised doubts in the minds of the Japanese as to whether the Marianas were being raided or whether they were a United States amphibious assault objective. Upon receipt of news on 13 June that battleships were bombarding Saipan, the Japanese assault on Biak was cancelled by Admiral Toyoda, Commander in Chief Combined Fleet. He had succeeded to command the Combined Fleet upon the death in a plane accident of Admiral Koga.31 The cancellation was the first of many pleasant dividends from FORAGER.
Organizing for FORAGER
The tremendous size of the FORAGER Operation began to become a reality when the Commander Pacific Ocean Areas in his basic order directed:
All major Commanders in the Pacific Ocean Areas will support this operation.32
To give further orientation on the titular nomenclature used in the Central Pacific it should be recorded that when Admiral Spruance was directed to conduct the wide-ranging FORAGER Operation it was as Commander Fifth Fleet rather than as Commander, Central Pacific Task Forces.
Task Force 50, the Fifth Fleet, was organized as follows:
Vice Admiral Turner organized the Joint Expeditionary Force, TF 51 as shown on page 875.
The Expeditionary Troops included the two Landing Forces, each approximately the equivalent of a corps command, as well as the Expeditionary Troop Reserve and the Garrison Troops. Lieutenant General Smith retained command of the Northern Landing Force, but in this task used a staff separate from the one which functioned with him in the whole Expeditionary Troop command. Major General Roy S. Geiger, USMC, commanded the Southern Landing Force at Guam.
The two assault Landing Forces initially totaled 127,500 men, with 71,000 for Saipan and 56,500 for Guam.
Commander of the Saipan troops in the Expeditionary Reserve (CTG 56.3), the 27th Infantry Division, was Major General Ralph Smith, AUS. Major General Andrew D. Bruce, AUS (CTG 56.4), commanded the 77th
Infantry Division, initially designated "In general area reserve" but planned to be used for the Guam landings.
As it turned out, the "general reserve" was embarked from Pearl Harbor in two echelons based on the availability of transports. Captain J. B. Heffernan (1917) embarked the first echelon, the 305 Regimental Combat Team from the 77th Division, in a division of transports on 2 July, and Captain H. B. Knowles (1917) embarked the second echelon, which was the remainder of the 77th Division in two divisions of transports on 9 July.
In the original plan it was estimated that the Joint Expeditionary Force
would complete its missions for FORAGER about Dog Day plus 40 (July 25th) and that the entire movement of garrison forces and equipment would be completed about Dog Day plus 80 (September 3rd).33 The first estimate turned out to have been optimistic.
In the Saipan landings, Vice Admiral Turner took one more step away from the immediate control of all the details of the assault landing operations. At Kwajalein the actual landing of the Landing Force with its ten times a thousand details had been turned over to the Commander Transports. At Saipan there was an even greater divesture of detailed duty, with Rear Admiral Hill, the Second-in-Command, taking over a very large share of the duties of the Attack Force Commander.
Admiral Turner described the arrangement as follows:
Although I had command of the entire Joint Expeditionary Force, I also exercised command of the Northern Attack Force, for the capture of Saipan. But I divided these duties, assigning to Admiral Hill all naval duties concerned with the landing of troops, and retaining in my own hands the gunfire and air control, all protective measures at the objective, and SOPA duties at Saipan. But for the Tinian attack, we formed a new Attack Force under Admiral Hill, and he exercised all naval duties for Tinian. However, I retained the SOPA and protective duties at Saipan.34
That this arrangement worked out to Vice Admiral Turner's satisfaction is indicated in the following extract from a personal letter written to an old subordinate and friend (Rear Admiral T.S. Wilkinson) two days before all organized resistance ceased on Tinian:
I found here that I had my hands full running the SOPA job and the gunfire and aircraft, while Hill was fully engaged in landing and supplying the troops.35
Rear Admiral Hill stated in his FORAGER Report:
This command relationship functioned satisfactorily. . . . However, gunfire and close air support are so intimately related to the operations of the ground troops that it is considered advisable in future operations to vest in
the naval commander responsible for the landing, the complete control of naval gunfire and close air support.36
No sale of this suggestion was made.
Vice Admiral Turner issued his Attack Order A11-44 for the Northern Attack Force on 21 May 1944. Its size and complexity tended to dwarf previous assault orders. It ran to 341 pages, which added to the 41 pages of CINCPAC's order, the 163 pages of Commander Fifth Fleet's order, and the 254 pages of Commander Joint Expeditionary Force's order, provided 800 pages of reading matter plus dozens of chart diagrams for the amphibians to peruse.
In organizing the Northern Attack Force, Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill was designated in the orders as Second-in-Command and assigned to command the Western Landing Group. Commodore Theiss, the Chief of Staff and the most amphibiously seasoned senior officer in the command, other than Vice Admiral Turner, was designated Commander Control Group, in
an effort to avoid a recurrence of the boat control problems which had plagued the Northern Attack Force at Roi-Namur.
A Demonstration Group of nine transports and four cargo ships was organized from ships carrying the Division Reserves.
A good many of the amphibians who had carried through in the Marshalls were available, and a few amphibians, such as Captain Herbert B. Knowles, Captain Donald W. Loomis and Captain Henry C. Flanagan, dated back to the Gilberts, or New Georgia and even to Guadalcanal. However, the Bureau of Naval Personnel was sweeping most of the veterans ashore, and one had to fight the Bureau real long and hard to stay at sea and fight the war.
The Northern Attack Force was organized in Attack Order A11-44 of 21 May 1944 as shown on page 877.
The Northern Attack Force
The ships, landing craft and troop assignments to the Northern Attack Force (TF 52) were as follows:
NORTHERN ATTACK FORCE--TASK FORCE 52
Second-in-Command, Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill (1911)
AGC-3 Rocky Mount (FF)
TG 52.1 NORTHERN SUPPORT AIRCRAFT--Captain R.F. Whitehead (1921)
TG 52.2 WESTERN LANDING GROUP--Rear Admiral H.W. Hill (1911)
TF 56 NORTHERN LANDING FORCE--Lieutenant General H.M. Smith, USMC
Second Marine Division, plus attached units
Major General T.W. Watson, USMC
Fourth Marine Division, plus attached units
Major General Harry Schmidt, USMC
TG 52.3 TRANSPORT GROUP ABLE--Captain H.B. Knowles (1917)
TU 52.3.1 TRANSPORT DIVISION TEN--Captain G.D. Moorrison (1920)
APA-39 Clay (F) Captain E.W. Abdill (1924)
APA-9 Neville Captain Bradford Bartlett (1922)
APA-11 Felund Commander G.M. Jones, USNR
APA-25 Arthur Middleton Captain S.A. Olsen, USCG
AKA-9 Alhena Commander M.D. Sylvester (1925)
AK-43 Jupiter Lieutenant Commander T.H. Whitaker, USNR
AK-41 Hercules Commander W.H. Turnquist, USNR
TU 53.3.2 TRANSPORT DIVISION EIGHTEEN--Captain H.B. Knowles (1917)
APA-31 Monrovia (F) Commander J.D. Kelsey (1923)
APA-36 Cambria (GF) Captain C.W. Dean, USCG
APA-89 Frederick Funston Commander C.C. Anderson (1920)
AP-168 War Hawk Commander S.H. Thompson, USNR
AKA-7 Alcyone Commander H.P. Knickerbocker (1921)
LSD-6 Lindenwald Commander W.H. Weaver, USNR
TU 53.3.3 TRANSPORT DIVISION TWENTY-EIGHT--Captain H.C. Flanagan (1921)
APA-34 Bolivar (F) Commander R.P. Wadell (1923)
APA-1 Doyen Commander J.G. McClaughry (1927)
APA-51 Sheridan Commander J.J. Mockrish, USNR
AP-166 Comet Lieutenant Commander V.F. Stieglitz, USNR
AKA-4 Electra Commander C.S. Beightler (1920)
LST-7 Oak Hill Commander C.A. Peterson (1929)
TU 53.3.4 SECOND MARINE DIVISION LANDING FORCE--Major General T.E. Watson, USMC
Second Marine Division, plus attached units
TG 52.4 TRANSPORT GROUP BAKER--Captain D.W. Loomis (1918)
TU 52.4.1 TRANSPORT DIVISION TWENTY--Captain D.W. Loomis
APA-12 Leonard Wood (F) Captain H.C. Perkins, USCG
APA-50 Pierce Captain F.M. Adams (1922)
APA-90 James O'Hara Commander E.W. Irish (1924)
AP-102 LaSalle Commander F.C. Fluegel, USNR
AKA-19 Thuban Commander J.C. Campbell, USNR
LST-1 Ashland Lieutenant Commander W.A. Caughey, USNR
TU 52.4.2 TRANSPORT DIVISION TWENTY-SIX--Captain R.E. Hanson (1921)
APA-35 Callaway (F) Captain D.C. McNeil, USCG
APA-48 Leon Captain B.B. Adell (1922)
APA-52 Sumter Captain T.G. Haff (1920)
AP-171 Storm King Captain H.D. Krick (1923)
AKA-10 Almaack Lieutenant Commander C.O. Hicks, USNR
LSD-2 Belle Grove Commander M. Seavy, USNR
LST-8 Whitemarsh Commander G.H. Eppleman, USNR
TU 52.4.3 TRANSPORT DIVISION THIRTY--Captain C.A. Misson (1921)
APA-46 Knox (F) Commander J.H. Brady (1923)
APA-7 Fuller Commander N.M. Pigman (1915)
APA-32 Calvert Commander E.H. Sweeney, USNR
AP-105 George F. Elliott Commander A.J. Couble (1920)
AP-167 John Land Commander F.A. Graf (19296)
AKA-3 Bellatrix Commander E.J. Anderson, USNR
TU 52.4.4 FOURTH MARINE DIVISION LANDING FORCE--Major General Harry Schmidt, USMC
Fourth Marine Division, plus attached units
TG 52.5 TRACTOR FLOTILLA--Captain Armand J. Robertson (1922)
PC(S)-1402 (Flotilla Flag) Lieutenant H.E. Taylor, USNR
TU 52.5.1 TRACTOR GROUP ABLE Captain J.S. Lillard (1924)
PC(S)-1403 (F) Lieutenant N.L. Barnes, Jr., USNR
TU 52.2.2 LST UNIT ONE Lieutenant Commander J.L. Harlan, USN
LST-451 (F) Lieutenant R.D. Flynn, USNR
LST-31 Lieutenant P.M. Owen, USNR
LST-130 Lieutenant J.E. Collins, USNR
*LST-179 Lieutenant W.F. Mulliss, USNR
**LST-213 Lieutenant G. Hoppock, USNR
LST-218 Lieutenant R.H. McCarthy, USNR
LST-242 Lieutenant J.W. Winney, USNR
**LST-268 Lieutenant R.C. Zink, USNR
LST-271 Lieutenant L.M. Murphy, USNR
*LST-353 Lieutenant (jg) Chester A. Martin, USN
TU 52.5.3 LIST UNIT TWO Lieutenant Commander S.A. Lief, USNR
LST-484 (GF) Lieutenant (jg) F. Corby, Jr., USNR
*LST-29 Lieutenant W.B. Humkey, USNR
LST-34 Lieutenant J.J. Davis, USNR
LST-278 Lieutenant M.N. Black, USNR
LST-341 Lieutenant Seymour Epstein, USNR
LST-390 Lieutenant J.M. Edinburg, USNR
LST-450 Lieutenant C.G. Drasher, USNR
**LST-461 Lieutenant C.P. Geis, USNR
LST-485 Lieutenant H.F. Breimyer, USNR
TU 52.5.4 LST RESERVE ABLE Lieutenant E.C. Shea, USNR
LST-486 (F) Lieutenant E.C. Shea, USNR
***LST-71 Lieutenant Commander F.E. Miner, USCGR
LST-120 Lieutenant J.F. Conlan, Jr., USNR
**LST-127 Lieutenant J.J. Reed, USNR
LST-131 Lieutenant J.M. Tully, USNR
LST-166 Lieutenant F.B. Bradley, USCGR
LST-246 Lieutenant N.D. Taylor, USNR
TU 52.5.5 TRACTOR GROUP BAKER Captain Armand J. Robertson (1922)
TU 52.2.5 LST UNIT THREE Commander W.S. Whiteside (1926)
LST-226 (F) Lieutenant T.A. Perkins, USNR
**LST-19 Lieutenant Commander C.M. Blackford, USCGR
*LST-39 Lieutenant R.J. Figaro, USN
LST-42 Lieutenant R.L.Guy, USN
*LST-43 Lieutenant W.H. Zuehlke, USNR
LST-45 Lieutenant G.C. Gamble, USNR
*LST-69 Lieutenant R.T. Leary, USNR
**LST-84 Lieutenant E.H. Thiele, USNR
LST-126 Lieutenant H.C. Krueger, USNR
**LST-223 Lieutenant T.S. Moulton, USNR
LST-273 Lieutenant J.F. James, USNR
TU 52.2.7 LST UNIT FOUR Lieutenant Commander J.B. Hoyt, USNR
LST-225 (F) Lieutenant L.J. Goddard, USNR
**LST-128 Lieutenant H.T. Walden, Jr., USNR
LST-129 Lieutenant M.J. Prince, USNR
LST-222 Lieutenant A. Thompson, USNR
LST-224 Lieutenant C.M. Pough, USNR
***LST-244 Lieutenant L.W. Aderhold, USNR
LST-267 Lieutenant E.O. Sprung, USNR
***LST-274 Lieutenant R.E. Sard, USNR
LST-275 Lieutenant J.P. Dunlavey, USNR
**LST-487 Lieutenant Jess E. Gose, USN
TU 52.2.8 LST RESERVE BAKER Commander Roy W. Lajeunesse (1924)
LST-354 (F) Lieutenant W.A. Henry, USN
LST-23 Lieutenant G.A. Martin, USNR
LST-121 Lieutenant J.P. Devaney, USNR
LST-340 Lieutenant L. Haskell, USNR
TU 52.5.9 SUPPORT ARTILLERY GROUP--Lieutenant Commander John F. Dore, USNR
LST-272 (F) Lieutenant Commander J.F. Dore, USNR
LST-40 Lieutenant W.H. Farmer, USN
LST-124 Lieutenant W.A. Bartos, USN
LST-169 Lieutenant R.L. Kittredge, USCGR
***LST-205 Lieutenant R.J. Buchar, USCG
LST-240 Lieutenant K.P. Wells, USNR
**LST-277 Lieutenant E.B. Watson, USNR
*LST-480 Lieutenant W.H. Johnson, USN
**LST-483 Lieutenant D.T. Kimbrough, Jr., USNR
27th Division and Corps Artillery
TG 52.6 CONTROL GROUP--Commodore Paul Theiss (1912)
TU 52.6.1 CENTRAL CONTROL UNIT--Commodore Paul Theiss (1912)
PC(S)-1452 (F) Lieutenant (jg) W.B. Norwood, USNR
PC(S)-1421 Lieutenant (jg) E.T. Freeman, USNR
SC-1049 Lieutenant (jg) E.T. Chamberlain, Jr., USNR
SC-1052 Lieutenant Arthur Phillips, Jr., USNR
LCI-82 Lieutenant (jg) L.W. Bolon, USNR
LCI-371 Lieutenant E.W. Gooding, USNR
TU 52.6.2 CONTROL GROUP ABLE--Lieutenant Raymond J. Koshliek (1940)
PC-1079 Lieutenant J. Davis Allen, Jr., USNR
PC-1080 Lieutenant A.G. Steer, Jr., USNR
PC(S)-1461 Lieutenant W.S. Harrison, USNR
LCC-21422, 21437, 25472, 39054
TU 52.6.3 CONTROL GROUP BAKER
PC-581 Lieutenant R.R. Worthington, USNR
PC-582 Lieutenant R.T. Sinnott, USNR
PC(S)-14556 Lieutenant Dennis Mann, USNR
LCC-21432, 25471, 25473, 39046
TU 52.6.4 DEMONSTRATION CONTROL UNIT--Lieutenant B.A. Looney, USNR
SCC-999 Lieutenant (jg) L.A. Achammel, USNR
SC-1066 Lieutenant (jg) B.M. Hollander, USNR
TU 52.6.5 GUNBOAT SUPPORT GROUP--Commander M.J. Malanaphy (1922)
GUNBOAT SUPPORT UNIT ABLE--Lieutenant Commander Robert Eikel, USNR
LCI-456 (GF) Lieutenant W.M. Wilson, USNR
LCI-451 (F) Lieutenant (jg) F.R. Giliberty, USNR
LCI-452 Lieutenant (jg) R.J. Van Dragt, USNR
LCI-453 Lieutenant (jg) J.H. Terry, USNR
LCI-455 Lieutenant (jg) W.T. Harrison, USN
LCI-458 Ensign F.W. Cole, USNR
LCI-459 Lieutenant (jg) J.R. Rawn, USNR
LCI-460 Lieutenant (jg) H.H. Butzon, USNR
LCI-461 Lieutenant (jg) R.F. Godbout, USNR
LCI-462 Ensign D.G. Griggs, USNR
LCI-463 Lieutenant (jg) A.C. Byrd, USNR
LCI-470 Lieutenant (jg) P.J. Shaver, Jr., USNR
TU 52.6.7 GUNBOAT SUPPORT UNIT BAKER--Lieutenant Commander J.F. McFadden (1935)
LCI-373 (GF) Lieutenant M.R. Harkavy, USNR
LCI-77 (F) Lieutenant (jg) R.E. Miles, USNR
LCI-78 Lieutenant (jg) V.C. Kester, USNR
LCI-79 Lieutenant (jg) C.L. Fergus, USNR
LCI-80 Lieutenant (jg) T.J. Nally, USNR
LCI-81 Lieutenant H.W. Schloss, USNR
LCI-347 Lieutenant (jg) John J.P. Ryan, USNR
LCI-372 Lieutenant (jg) W.P. Henricks, USNR
LCI-454 Lieutenant (jg) J.P. Marzano, USNR
LCI-725 Lieutenant (jg) R.A. Gustafson, USNR
LCI-726 Lieutenant (jg) P.R. Kohout, USNR
TU 52.6.9 BEACH DEMOLITION GROUP--Commander J.S. Horner, USNR
APD-11 Gilmer (F) Commander J.S. Horner, USNR
APD-10 Brooks Lieutenant Commander C.V. Allen, USNR
APD-31 Clemson Lieutenant W.F. Moran, USNR
UNDERWATER DEMOLITIONS TEAMS--Lieutenant Commander Draper L. Kauffman, USNR (1933)
Underwater Demolition Team #5 Lieutenant Commander Kauffman, USNR
Underwater Demolition Team #6 Lieutenant Commander DeEarle M. Logsdon, USNR
Underwater Demolition Team #7 Lieutenant Richard F. Burke, USNR
TU 52.6.10 BEACHMASTERS GROUP--Commander Carl E. Anderson, USNR
SC-1012 Lieutenant W.C. Coughenour, Jr., USNR
TU 52.6.11 CENTRAL BEACHMASTERS UNIT--Commander Anderson
TU 52.6.12 BEACHMASTERS UNIT ABLE--Lieutenant Commander F.E. Adams, USNR
- TU 52.6.13 BEACHMASTERS UNIT BAKER--Lieutenant S.C. Boardman, USNR
TU 52.6.14 LCT FLOTILLA THIRTEEN--Lieutenant Commander L.L. Tower, USNR
TU 52.6.15 LCT GROUP THIRTY-SEVEN--Lieutenant A.J. Cross, USNR
Division 73 LCTs-160, -356, -967, -993, -994, -996
Division 84 LCTs-258, -357, -985, -986, -987, -1060
TU 52.6.16 LCT GROUP THIRTY-EIGHT--Lieutenant K.R.A. Gross, USNR
Division 75 LCTs-348, -349, -962, -966, -989, -1061, -1062
Division 76 LCTs-964, -965, -968, -982, -995, -1059
TU 52.6.17 LCT GROUP THIRTY-NINE--Lieutenant F.D. Kasder, USNR
Division 77 LCTs-355, -394, -997, -9998, -1057, -1058
Division 78 LCTs-354, -348, -991,*** -1000, -1001
TU 52.6.18 PONTOON BARGE UNIT--Commander Carl E. Anderson, USNR
24 Pontoon Barges
TG 52.7 SERVICE AND SALVAGE GROUP--Captain Leo Brennan, USNR
AKN-4 Keokuk (F) Lieutenant Commander J.L. McLean, USNR
ATF-92 Tawasa Lieutenant R.K. Thurman, USNR
ATF-93 Tekesta Lieutenant Commander J.O. Strickland, USN
ATF-106 Molala Lieutenant R.L. Ward, USN
ARS-8 Preserver Lieutenant Commander A.T. Ostrander, USNR (Retired)
AN-12 Chichona Lieutenant T.A. Ingham, USNR
AN-26 Mimosa Lieutenant W.M. Hupfel, USNR
ARB-3 Phaon Lieutenant G.F. Watson, USNR
AVD-10 Ballard Lieutenant G.C. Nichandrous, USNR
- TG 52.8 EASTERN LANDING GROUP--Commander C.J. McWhinnie, USNR (1928)
TU 52.8.1 TRANSPORT DIVISION TWELVE--Commander McWhinnie, USNR
APD-8 Waters (F) Commander C.J. McWhinnie, USNR
APD-1 Manley Lieutenant R.T. Newell, Jr., USNR
APD-16 Stringham Lieutenant Commander R.H. Moureau, USNR
APD-23 Overton Lieutenant Commander D.K. O'Connor, USNR
APD-24 Noa Lieutenant H.W. Boud, USNR
APD-32 Goldsborough Lieutenant W.J. Meehan, USNR
TU 52.8.2 EASTERN LANDING FORCE--Lieutenant Colonel W.B. Kyel, USMC
First Battalion, Second Marines, plus attached units
TG 52.9 DEMONSTRATION GROUP--Captain G.D. Morrison (1920)
TU 52.9.1 Transport Division Ten
TU 52.9.2 Transport Division Thirty
(As listed previously under Transport Groups Able and Baker)
TG 52.17 FIRE SUPPORT GROUP ONE--Rear Admiral J.B. Oldendorf (1909)
Unit One Rear Admiral H.F. Kingman (1911)
BB-43 Tennessee Captain A.D. Mayer (1916)
BB-44 California Captain H.P. Burnett (1915)
CA-35 Indianapolis Captain E.R. Johnson (1918)
CL-62 Birmingham Captain T.B. Inglis (1918)
DD-688 Remey (Desron 54, Captain J.G. Coward (1922) on board) Commander R.P. Fiala (1931)
DD-689 Wadleigh Commander W.C. Winn (1927)
DD-690 Norman Scott Commander S.D. Owens (1931)
DD-691 Mertz Commander W.S. Estabrook (1930)
Unit Two Commander P.H. Fitzgerald (1925)
DD-562 Robinson Commander E.B. Grantham (1930
DD-492 Bailey Commander M.T. Munger (1932)
DD-649 Albert W. Grant Commander T.A. Nisewaner (1932)
Unit Three Captain H.B. Jarrett (1922)
DD-686 Halsey Powell Commander W.T. McGarry (1927)
DD-606 Coghlan Lieutenant Commander B.B. Cheatham (1933)
DD-7983 Monssen Commander B.A. Feutsch (1930)
Unit Four Rear Admiral Oldendorf (1909)
CA-28 Louisville Captain S.H. Hurt (1918)
BB-46 Maryland (Rear Admiral T.D. Ruddock (1914) on board) Captain H.J. Ray (1914)
BB-45 Colorado Captain W. Granat (1915)
DD-677 McDermit (Commander D.C. Varian (1925) on board) Lieutenant Commander C.B. Jennings (1935)
DD-678 McGowan Commander W.R. Cox (1932)
DD-679 McNair Commander M.L. McCullough (1930)
DD-680 Melvin Commander W.R. Edsall (1927)
Unit Five Rear Admiral R.W. Hayler (1914)
CL-57 Montpellier Captain H.D. Hoffman (1918)
CL-55 Cleveland Captain A.G. Shepard (1917)
DD-541 Yarnall Commander B.F. Tompkins (1926)
DD-540 Twining Commander E.K. Wakefield (1930)
DD-683 Stockham Commander E.P. Holmes (1930)
TG 52.10 FIRE SUPPORT GROUP TWO--Rear Admiral W.L. Ainsworth (1910)
Unit Six Rear Admiral Ainsworth
CL-48 Honolulu Captain H.R. Thurber (1919)
BB-38 Pennsylvania Captain C.F. Martin (1914)
BB-42 Idaho Captain H.D. Clarke (1915)
DD-515 Anthony (Commander E.B. Taylor (1925) on board) Commander B. Van Mater (1927)
DD-516 Wadsworth Commander J.F. Walsh (1926)
DD-475 Hudson Lieutenant Commander R.R. Pratt (1936)
APD-21 Dickerson Lieutenant Commander J.R. Cain, USNR
DD-244 Williamson Lieutenant Commander J.A. Pridmore (1937)
DMS-6 Hogan Lieutenant Commander W.H. Sublette (1934)
Unit Seven Rear Admiral G.L. Weyler (1909)
BB-40 New Mexico Captain E.M. Zacharias (1912)
CA-36 Minneapolis Captain Harry Slocum (1919)
CA-38 San Francisco Captain H.E. Overesch (1915)
DD-480 Halford Lieutenant Commander R.J. Hardy (1934)
DD-513 Terry Lieutenant Commander J.M. Lee (1935)
DD-630 Braine Commander W.W. Fitts (1931)
APD-7 Talbot Lieutenant Commander C.C. Morgan, USNR
DMS-8 Stansbury Lieutenant Commander D.M. Granstrom, USNR
Unit Eight Rear Admiral C.T. Joy (1916)
CA-45 Wichita Captain J.J. Mahoney (1915)
CA-32 New Orleans Captain J.E. Hurff (1920)
CL-40 St. Louis Captain R.H. Roberts (1919)
DD-474 Fullam Commander W.D. Kelly (1932)
DD-472 Guest Commander M.G. Kennedy (1929)
DD-473 Bennett Lieutenant Commander P.F. Hauck (1935)
TG 52.14 CARRIER SUPPORT GROUP ONE--Rear Admiral G.D. Bogan (1916)
Unit One Rear Admiral Bogan
CVE-70 Fanshaw Bay Captain D.P. Johnson (1920)
with Composite Squadron 68: 16 FM-2 (Wildcat), 12 TBM-1C (Avenger),
Lieutenant Commander R.S. Rogers (1938)
CVE-63 Midway Captain F.J. McKenna (1921)
with Composite Squadron 65: 12 FM-2, 9 TBM-1C,
Lieutenant Commander R.M. Jones, USNR
DD-793 Cassin Young Commander E.T. Schreiber (1929)
DD-794 Irwin Commander D.B. Miller (1926)
DD-563 Ross Commander Benjamin Coe (1929)
Unit Two Captain O.A. Weller (1920)
CVE-66 White Plains Captain Weller
with Composite Squadron 4: 16 FM-2, 3 TBF-1C, 9 TBM-1C
Lieutenant Commander R.C. Evins (1939)
CVE-68 Kalinin Bay Captain C.R. Brown (1921)
with Composite Squadron 3: 14 FM-2, 9 TBM-1C
Lieutenant Commander W.H. Keighley, USNR
DD-682 Porterfield Commander J.C. Woelfel (1927)
DD-792 Callaghan Commander F.J. Johnson (1929)
DD-559 Longshaw Commander R.H. Speck (1927)
TG 52.11 CARRIER SUPPORT GROUP TWO--Rear Admiral H.B. Sallada (1917)
Unit Three Rear Admiral Sallada
CVE-71 Kitkun Bay Captain J.P. Whitney (1922)
with Composite Squadron 5: 12 FM-2, 8 TBM-1C,
Lieutenant Commander R.L. Fowler (1936)
CVE-73 Gambier Bay Captain H.H. Goodwin (1922)
with Composite Squadron 10: 16 FM-2, 12 TBM-1C,
Lieutenant Commander E.J. Huxtable (1936)
DD-558 Laws Commander L.O. Wood (1931)
DD-560 Morrison Commander W.H. Price (1927)
DD-796 Benham Commander F.S. Keeler (1929)
Unit Four Rear Admiral F.B. Stump (1917)
CVE-74 Nehenta Bay Captain H.B. Butterfield (1922)
with Composite Squadron 11: 12 FM-2, 9 TBM-1C,
Lieutenant Commander O.B. Stanley (1939)
DD-660 Bullard (Commander C.E. Carroll (1924) on board) Commander B.W. Fruend (1932)
DD-661 Kidd Commander A.B. Roby (1930)
DD-667 Chauncey Lieutenant Commander L.C. Conwell (1933)
TG 52.12 TRANSPORT SCREEN--Captain R.E. Libby (1922)
DD-586 Newcomb Commander L.B. Cook (1931)
DD-662 Bennion Commander J.W. Cooper (1927)
DD-663 Heyward L. Edwards Commander J.W. Boulware (1927)
DD-665 Bryant Commander P.L. High (1927)
DD-360 Phelps Lieutenant Commander D.L. Martineau (1933)
DD-373 Shaw Commander R.H. Phillips (1927)
DD-561 Prichett Commander C.T. Caufield (1927)
DD-498 Philip Lieutenant Commander J.B. Rutter (1936)
DD-508 Cony Commander A.W. Moore (1934)
DD-389 Mugford Lieutenant Commander M.A. Shellabarger (1933)
DD-357 Selfridge Lieutenant Commander L.L. Snider (1938)
DD-371 Conyngham Lieutenant Commander Brown Taylor (1934)
DD-392 Patterson Lieutenant Commander A.F. White (1929)
DD-386 Bagley Lieutenant Commander W.H. Shea (1936)
DD-499 Renshaw Commander J.A. Lark (1932)
APD-18 Kane Lieutenant F.M. Christiansen, USNR
TG 12.13 MINESWEEPING AND HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY GROUP--Commander R.S. Moore, USNR
Unit One Commander W.R. Loud (1927)
DMS-13 Hopkins Lieutenant A.L.C. Waldron (1930)
DMS-17 Perry Lieutenant Commander I.G. Stubbart (1938)
DMS-12 Long Lieutenant Commander R.V. Wheeler (1937)
DMS-18 Hamilton Commander R.R. Sampson (1931)
Unit Two Lieutenant Commander H.L. Thompson (1934)
DMS-9 Chandler Lieutenant Commander H.L. Thompson
DMS-14 Zane Lieutenant Commander W.T. Powell (1935)
DMS-5 Palmer Lieutenant W.E. McGuirk, USNR
DMS-7 Howard Lieutenant O.F. Salvia (1939)
Unit Three Commander Moore
MSF 315 Chief Lieutenant Commander J.M. Wyckoff, USNR
MSF-314 Champion Lieutenant Commander J.H. Howard, USNR
AM-101 Herald Lieutenant E.P. Dietrich, USNR
Unit Four Lieutenant Commander J.R. Fels, USNR
AM-103 Oracle Lieutenant Commander Fels
AM-102 Motive Lieutenant Commander G.W. Lundgren, USNR
AM-100 Heed Lieutenant Magruder Dent, USNR
Units Five and Six and Mobile Hydrographic Unit:
Note (1) * LST destroyed by fire and explosions in fire at Pearl on 21 May 1944.
** Replacement LST.
*** Did not actually participate in amphibious assault.
Note (2) Commanding Officers as of 1 July 1944, except for LSTs destroyed which are as of 21 May 1944. There were changes in command during the campaign.
Note (3) Names of Officers in Charge of LCTs have not been located.
Scheme of Maneuver
The Scheme of Maneuver for FORAGER called for landing first on Saipan on 15 June 1944 with two divisions of troops, the Second and Fourth Marines. They were to land abreast over the western reef on beaches adjacent to the sugar refinery village of Charan Kanoa and on both sides of Afetna Point. They were to strike across the island, expanding the attack to the south, and overrun Aslito airfield in the southern part of the island.
A major innovation was that early on 15 June the transports carrying the Division Reserve were to make a feint of landing troops at beaches north of Tanapag Harbor, and about four miles to the north of the actual landing beaches at Charan Kanoa, in the hope of deceiving the Japanese regarding the primary point of attack and thus to immobilize temporarily their reserves believed to be in the area around Tanapag Harbor. The transports of the Demonstration Group were ordered to lower their landing craft from the davit heads, to simulate debarkation of troops and to make smoke and maneuver as necessary. The transports were to remain outside of the effective range of enemy shore batteries but the largely empty landing craft were to make a run into within 6,000 yards of the beach.
After the capture of Saipan had been completed, the troops who had accomplished this task were to be reorganized and then capture Tinian. The landing places on Tinian and the exact units to conduct the assault were to be determined later, but it was hoped to land about 5 July 1944.
The landing on Guam tentatively, and hopefully, set for 18 June, was to be accomplished by two simultaneous assault landings. The Third Marine Division was to land over the reef at Asan Village west of Agana. The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was to land over the reef in Agat Bay south of Orote Peninsula.
The Marines were to hold on the left and expand to the front and right. The 1st Provisional Marines were to hold on the right and expand to the left, capture Orote Peninsula and then join up with the Third Marines.
After the Third Marines and the 1st Provisional Brigade had joined forces, the Scheme of Maneuver called for holding on the south and moving east across Guam to cut the Japanese defense forces in two.
Due to the long, long delay before the assault on Guam could be launched; there was time to bring the 77th Infantry Division from General Reserve in Hawaii to the combat zone. The modified Scheme of Maneuver for Guam, developed after it was known that the 77th would be immediately available
Fortifications, radar, and air facilities on Saipan.
for the assault landing, called for one regiment of the 77th Infantry to be the Brigade Reserve, and the other two regiments to be the Corps Reserve, and for both to prepare for landings at Agat.
Commodore L.F. Reifsnider, who had fought through the Guadalcanal and New Georgia campaigns, was designated the Second-in-Command to Rear Admiral Conolly (CTF-53), who had the assault chore at Guam. Well before the landing operation was underway, the Commodore received his promotion to Rear Admiral.
Alternate plans were drawn up by the Northern Attack Force for landing at Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, in case surf or other conditions were not suitable for landing at Charan-Kanoa.
Arrangements were also made to transfer the troops making up the early assault waves at Saipan to LSTs at Eniwetok, so that these troops would not have to undergo a time consuming transfer period off the landing beaches, and they would not have to exist in vastly overcrowded LSTs for more than four or five days. Similar arrangements using further away Kwajalein as a staging point were made for assault forces against Guam.
The gunfire support ships and the jeep support carriers were divided about equally between the two attack forces, with the Guam contingent directed to assist in the Saipan attack with limited ammunition and bomb expenditures. The Saipan gun and air support contingents were due to repay the favor later, having been resupplied by mobile logistic support forces in the meantime.
The Southern Attack Force was to arrive about 80 miles east of Guam at 1700 June 16th, so as to be able to initiate minesweeping, underwater demolition, and last minute photo reconnaissance should it be practicable to carry out the June 18th assault.
ORAGER Versus FLINTLOCK
A comparison is given below of the ships and landing craft assigned by Commander Central Pacific Task Forces to the Joint Expeditionary Force for FLINTLOCK and for FORAGER. Numerous changes of individual ships took place during the period between the assignment and the sailing date, but only very minor changes in the type total.37
Command Ships (AGC) 2 2 Battleships (OBB) 7 7 Cruisers, Heavy (CA) 6 6 Cruisers, Light (CL) 3 5 Carriers (CVE) 8 11 Destroyers (DD) 51 86 Destroyer Escorts (DE) 10 16 Minesweepers, Fast (DMS) 8 10 Minesweepers (AM) 8 10 Minesweepers, Motor (YMS) 8 24 Attack Transports (APA) 28 43 Attack Cargo Ships 7 13 Transports, Fast (APD) 4 13 Transports (AP) 7 17 Cargo Ships (AK) 4 10 Merchant Transports (XAP) 4 9 Merchant Cargo Ships (XAK) 9 12 Landing Ships, Dock (LSD) 5 8 Landing Ships, Tank (LST) 47 91 Landing Craft, Infantry (LCI) 24 50 Landing Craft, Tank (LCT) 12 36 Auxiliary, Transport, Hospital (APH) 0 1 Auxiliary, Coastal Transport (APc) 0 1 Auxiliary, Repair Ship, Large (ARL) 0 2 Auxiliary, Repair Ship, Small (ARS) 0 2 Auxiliary, Repair Ship, Battle Damage (ARB) 0 1 Auxiliary, Net Cargo Ship (AKN) 0 1 Auxiliary, Net Layer (AN) 0 4 Auxiliary, Seaplane Tender, Destroyer-Type (AVD) 0 2 Patrol Craft (PC) 0 10 Submarine Chasers (SC) 10 16 Tugs 6 6
Rehearsal of the Northern Attack Force was held 15-19 May 1944 at Maalaea Bay, Maui and at Kahoolawe Island in Hawaiian Waters. This rehearsal
was the biggest and longest held to date in the Pacific campaigns. Several mishaps during the rehearsal and post-rehearsal period left their mark on the amphibious forces.
On the suggestion of Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, each of three LCTs was equipped as a gunboat with six 4.2-inch Coast Guard mortars and 2, 500 rounds of projectiles. These were desired primarily to protect the left flank of our Landing Force against Japanese reserves moving down the coastal road from Garapan. By having the LCTs steam parallel to the beaches, they would also be able to cover the landing beaches with a blanket of heavy mortar fire while the assault waves were being formed.
During heavy weather enroute to the rehearsal area the night of 14-15 May, two of the three specially equipped LCTs carried away their securing gear from the LSTs on which they were mounted and riding and slid into Davy Jones Locker with considerable loss of life.38
The first day rehearsal was further marred by the non-arrival of one LST Group due to the very rough weather. The Colorado grounded on an uncharted pinnacle. All days of the rehearsal were marred by relatively rough water. All of these and more led Admiral Hill to call the rehearsals "as a whole very ragged and poorly conducted." However, a more junior participant thought that
the rehearsal period in the Hawaiian area proved to be immensely beneficial in providing much needed supervised drill for Commanding Officers of LSTs in the expeditious launch of tractors at the right time and right place.39
In other words, the rehearsal served its essential purpose.
Before Sailing, A Logistic Disaster
For the FORAGER Operation, 47 LSTs were assigned to the Northern Attack Force by Commander Joint Expeditionary Force. After they had participated in the big rehearsal held between 14 and 20 May, they returned to the Pearl Harbor Naval Base and were nested in West Loch near the Naval Ammunition Depot for final preparations before sailing on the campaign.
At this time there were only six ammunition ships available to the whole
Pacific Ocean Area. Because of this lack, 16 LSTs had been designated to each carry 750 rounds of 5-inch 38-caliber anti-aircraft shells and the powder for them. Ten more LSTs were designated each to carry 270 4.5-inch rockets, 6,000 rounds of 40-millimeter and 15,000 rounds of 20-millimeter machine gun ammunition.
So the nested LSTs were tinder box inflammable, since gasoline in drums covered much of their topsides, not already occupied by vehicles, and they had much ammunition stowed outside of their magazines.
Because of the loss of the two of the "LCT gunboats," Vice Admiral Turner made the decision to abandon this project. A natural corollary of that decision was to unload the 4.2 mortar ammunition out of the remaining "LCT gunboat." The unloading detail was disaster-bound.
One or more 4.2-inch high explosive mortar shells being off-loaded by Army personnel into an Army truck on the elevator on the forecastle of the LST-353 exploded about 1508 on 21 May 1944. Those who saw the explosion from close aboard died. The immediate follow-up explosion was severe enough to cause a rain of fragments on all eight LSTs in the LST nest, and to start serious gasoline fires on three of these LSTs. A second large explosion at 1511 in the forward part of one of these three LSTs rained burning fragments on nearly all LSTs berthed not only in the nest but in the West Loch area. This led to a further large explosion at 1522 and the rapid burning, wrecking and loss of six LSTs and the three LCTs carried aboard three of the LSTs.
General Hogaboom, during his interview with this scribe, remembered that:
Admiral Turner boarded a tug and personally led the fight to save what could be saved. At great personal danger, he personally supervised the operation until the fires were suppressed. His drive and energy permitted us to sail but one day late and we still landed at Saipan on D-Day at H-Hour.40
In a general article about Admiral Turner, his participation in fighting the inferno of burning and exploding LSTs is described in a bit more detail by Robert Johnson in the Honolulu Sunday Advertiser for 13 September 1959.
He was rough and tough in West Loch the afternoon and evening of May 21, 1944, in the glare of explosions that might have caused a serious delay in his plans for the capture of Saipan in June.
At the height of the fire and explosions in West Loch that day, a Navy boatswain mate, first class, commanding a yard tug encountered the admiral and included the encounter in his written report later:
I received an order from an Admiral to proceed to T9 (an ammunition depot dock) and put out the fire there. Due to the fact that ammunition was exploding, I backed away.
The Admiral came to me and said: 'Go back in there and stay or I will shoot you.' Four or five LSTs were at T9, all of which were burning and terrible explosions were occurring but I carried out my last order, as I had been told.
Even worse than the loss of the ships and craft was the loss of 163 men and the injury of 396 others.
Since the LSTs were scheduled to sail on 24 May, it took a bit of doing to put the various LST task units and troops back together with all the necessary amtracs and DUKWs and replacement personnel. Departure of the LSTs took place on 25 May, and the sturdy craft made up the lost day while enroute to the assault area.
In reviewing the proceedings of the Court of Inquiry, which investigated the disaster, Admiral King gave the back of his hand to both the Army and the amphibians by stating:
The organization, training and discipline in the LSTs involved in this disaster leave much to be desired. The lack of proper understanding and compliance with safety precautions when handling ammunition and gasoline, particularly in LST 353 where the first explosion occurred, is also noted. It is perfectly apparent that this disaster was not an 'Act of God.'41
It might be observed that adequate ammunition ships might have saved the day. Two naval historians put this problem in perspective in the following way:
The need for fleet ammunition in large quantities during the early stages of the war did not develop and never became a matter of large scale expenditure, with a corresponding quick replenishment on a gigantic scale, until after we started the Central Pacific drive.
When the Japanese surrendered, there were 50 ammunition ships under Service Squadron Ten control.42
Further Reorganization Pacific Amphibious Forces
Late in April, 1944, Vice Admiral Turner recommended that the Amphibious Force, Third Fleet, be brought to the Central Pacific from the South Pacific, and that additional Amphibious Groups be established, so that the various landings being contemplated could be adequately prepared for.
Enroute to the Marianas, word was received from COMINCH that a reorganization along these lines was ordered. Six Amphibious Groups were established in Amphibious Force, Pacific.
Group One Rear Admiral W.H.P. Blandy (1913) Group Two Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill (1911) Group Three Rear Admiral R.L. Conolly (1914) Group Four Rear Admiral L.F. Reifsnider (1910) Group Five Rear Admiral G.H. Fort (1912) Group Six Rear Admiral F.B. Royal (1915)
The Third and the Fifth Amphibious Force, Pacific, were continued under Rear Admiral T.S. Wilkinson (1909) and Vice Admiral Turner respectively. Rear Admiral Wilkinson was promoted on 12 August 1944 to Vice Admiral. The Administrative Command, Amphibious Force, Commodore W. B. Phillips (1911), was continued and the Training Command, Amphibious Force, Rear Admiral R.O. Davis (1914), was assigned as part of the Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet.43
This major increase in the number of amphibious groups showed an acceptance at the highest naval level of the ever increasing number of troops which would be involved in conquering the stepping stones to Japan.
Loading and Overseas Movement
Since the Fourth Marine Division was on the island of Maui, the Second Marine Division on the island of Hawaii, and the 27th Infantry Division on Oahu, and the ports of Kahului on the north coast of Maui and Hilo on the east coast of Hawaii were small, the loading of the Northern Attack Force took inordinately long.
The Southern Attack Force troops were loaded at the small man-made ports in Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands in the Southern Solomons.
Altogether there were 21 separate movement groups in the Joint Expeditionary Force for the initial phases of the FORAGER Operation, and 33 altogether by 15 June 1944. All were operating on a rigidly controlled schedule. Some groups replenished at Kwajalein, some at Roi-Namur and others at Eniwetok.
The Main Body of the Northern Attack Force took to sea on Decoration Day, 1944, but the lesser amphibians from the Hawaiian area eased out to sea almost daily during the long period from 25 May until 2 June. The Southern Attack Force from almost Down Under sailed between 3 and 6 June 1944.
At Eniwetok, all the assault troops, elements of the beach parties, wave guides and other control officers of the Northern Attack Force were shifted into 32 LSTs. This eliminated any long-winded delays on the day of the assault landing. But:
The trip from Pearl to Saipan was marred by more than 70 breakdowns in the Tractor Groups.44
Frequent tactical drills were held including a full rehearsal of the approach to Saipan. This exercise proved invaluable.45
Except for a collision subsequent to an emergency turn at night between the destroyer transport Talbot and the Pennsylvania on 10 June, the bucking of an adverse current and the usual ration of possible sound contacts of submarines, passage of both Attack Forces to the objective area was uneventful.
And as one Flotilla Commander of LSTs bragged:
Both Tractor Groups arrived in their assigned areas in a precise formation, well closed up, and within one minute of the time they were scheduled to arrive after the voyage of 3500 miles.46
Estimates of Japanese Troop Strength in the Marianas
In single words, Japanese troop strength in the Marianas was "underestimated" by our Forces before the campaign, and has been " growing" since the campaign.
Some six weeks before the landings, when the basic amphibious plan for
FORAGER was issued, Vice Admiral Turner (CTF 51) approved an intelligence estimate therein, which said:
It is estimated that by the FORAGER target date, the garrisons will consist of a total of about 30,000 men, including 7,000 construction personnel.47
On 31 August 1944, with the three island battles over and won, and the report stage reached, Commander Expeditionary Troops (Lieutenant General Smith) estimated that there had been 54,000 Japanese military personnel on the three islands when CTF 51 commenced the assault. This figure was sizably larger than the approximately 2,400 prisoners of war who had been taken and the 43,000 Japanese who had been reported buried. By and large those buried were Japanese military personnel, although not all were combat troops by any means.
The Marines in their historical studies of FORAGER (1950-1954) estimated Japanese military personnel in the Marianas on 15 June 1944 to have been 9,200 on Tinian, 18,500 on Guam, and 29,700 on Saipan for a total of 57, 400. The Army historians some years later (1959) estimated that 58,168 Japanese military personnel were on the three islands with 31,629 on Saipan, 8,039 on Tinian and 18,500 on Guam.48
If, since World War II the Japanese have recorded their troop strength in the Marianas about 15 June 1944, I have missed it. During the Saipan battle, two Japanese prisoners of war, one a naval commander and executive officer of the naval station there, each estimated the combined strength of Japanese Army and Navy troops" on Saipan as about 20,000.49 This could be correct since there were considerable numbers of air base personnel and construction and maintenance personnel, including Koreans who might not, in the minds of the POWs, have been considered "troops."
Saipan Japanese Garrison
In accordance with the requirements of Admiral Spruance's Operation Plans, JICPOA provided a weekly estimate of enemy military strength on
Saipan. When TF 51 sailed from Eniwetok, this estimate was 17,600.50 Starting with this figure, the first step along the line in the process of escalating estimates located in strictly naval records, is a note in Admiral Nimitz's Command Summary for 17 June (Saipan date) which states that:
20,000 troops were estimated to be on Saipan.
And again from the same source on 24 June (Saipan date):
Among captured documents are those indicating strength of enemy to be about 23,000.
Surprisingly enough, as of 1800 on 10 July 1944, the day after Saipan was "secured," Vice Admiral Turner logged:
Enemy dead buried by our Troops number 11,948. There are 9006 civilians interned and 736 prisoners of war.51
However, after Saipan had been declared "secured," it soon became apparent that there were a large number of "unsecured" Japanese military personnel on the island. CTF 51 logged in his War Diary on 2 August 1944:
As a result of intensified "clean up" drive, 147 Japanese soldiers were killed on Saipan during the past 24 hours. An average of 50 per day have been killed on Saipan since that island was secured.
A few days later, Vice Admiral Turner logged:
Since July 15, 1944, 1748 Japanese soldiers have been killed on Saipan, 158 captured and over 850 civilians interned.52
When the FORAGER campaign was over and won and the victors were enroute back to Pearl Harbor, busily writing their reports, both CTF 51 (Vice Admiral Turner) and CTF 56 (Lieutenant General Smith) showed marked agreement in their estimates of Japanese military strength on Saipan.
CTF 56 included a reconstituted "Enemy Order of Battle" in his FORAGER Report, indicating there were 26,500 Japanese military personnel on Saipan. CTF 51 wrote:
From the day of the assault to 15 August approximately 25,144 enemy dead had been buried and 1,810 prisoners captured.
On 7 November 1944, with all the reports of subordinate commanders available to him, with many of the captured Japanese documents translated,
and with the interrogation of all the Japanese prisoners completed, CINCPOA gave a more modest total in his official report to COMINCH on the Saipan operation. He stated that:
Actually encountered on Saipan were about 4,000 naval troops and 20,000 army troops.53
The unknown number of Japanese civilians who were killed while performing logistical tasks in Japanese troop rear areas as the Japanese Army retreated northward, and the considerable number of Japanese civilians who committed suicide in the final days of the battle, both markedly increased the figure of "enemy dead buried" over the actual number of Japanese "troops,"
The point of all this is that since the number of assaulting troops should be three to four times the number of defending troops, the failure of our intelligence to determine reasonably closely the very healthy number of Japanese defenders in the Marianas made the task of the Landing Force long, difficult and costly.
Including the Floating Reserve, 71,000 troops were in our original assault force against Saipan. This was quite an adequate number to overrun quickly an island defended by only 17,600 then the estimated Japanese troop strength when TF 51 sailed from Hawaii. With 24,000 Japanese troops on Saipan, our assault forces, using the same ratio, should have numbered in the neighborhood of 100,000.
As one commentator wrote on 23 June 1944, in a "Daily Running Estimate" prepared for COMINCH by his staff.
Captured documents indicate that there were about 23,000 enemy troops assigned to the defense of Saipan, but it is not known whether this number includes about 7,000 [without equipment] which were recently landed from ships that had been sunk. . . . If there were 30,000 enemy combatant troops available on Saipan, our overall superiority would have been about 2 to 1 which is very small for this type of operation.54
The delay in conquering Saipan, basically caused by an inadequate number of assault troops and faulty intelligence upset a lot of people, including Vice Admiral Turner.
During the last part of the period when Vice Admiral Turner and his Expeditionary Force were wending their way from Guadalcanal and from Pearl towards the Marianas, Task Force 58 was reducing the Japanese aircraft in the Marianas to gadfly impotence. The first TF 58 strike on the afternoon of 11 June was particularly effective since it gained control of the air in the Marianas, the first basic requisite for a successful amphibious operation.
Japanese sources, after the war ended, reported there were over 500 aircraft based on Guam, Tinian, and Saipan about 1 June 1944. But by the time the TF 58 raids had started on 11 June, half of these planes had been ordered to island-hop to Halmahera off the west end of New Guinea to support the Japanese counter-offensive to recapture Biak Island 450 miles to the eastward. As many of the Japanese pilots were recent graduates of the flying schools, operational losses during this long inter-island hop were high. Japanese plane losses during the TF 58 sweeps ran past the 200 mark.55 When the TF 58 raids were over, there were comparatively few Japanese aircraft around to bother Task Force 51 on 15 June 1944, or on the days to follow.
On 13 June, the fast and big-gunned battleships from Task Force 58 undertook the bombardment of selected targets on Saipan and Tinian. The minesweepers swept the offshore areas to the west of Saipan with the following results:
Reports from minesweepers which had arrived in Saipan Area on June 13th revealed that surf conditions were favorable. No mines or underwater obstructions have been encountered.56
On 14 June, the old battleships of the Expeditionary Force took up the task of pinpoint bombardment of gun positions, and the Japanese batteries retaliated in kind, hitting the battleship California and the Braine (DD-630).
The same day some 300 UDT personnel swam over the beach approach area and gladly reported that the barrier reef off Charan Kanoa was flat on top and generally only two to four feet under the surface. This would permit DUKWs to cross at many places. No inshore mines were discovered at this
time and no underwater obstacles were located off the chosen landing beaches. For quite obvious reasons, the Japanese chose the beaches between Agingan Point and Cape Obiam, providing the closest access (from good beaches) to Aslito Airfield, to be heavily mined with anti-boat and beach mines.
Saipan marked the first assignment of high speed transports to each individual Underwater Demolition Team. Although the practice had been initiated at Kwajalein, Saipan marked the first foot-by-foot daylight reconnaissance by frogmen under cover of blanketing fire by fire support ships against offensive weapons in the beach areas.57
As the amphibians approached Saipan-Tinian from the east and then worked their way around to Saipan's west coast, one LST recorded the scene:
At 2010 sighted glow on horizon (port bow) and this developed to be battle action on Saipan. Star shells and other evidence of battle were seen all night.58
The Weather--Dog Day
According to Vice Admiral Turner's War Diary, the weather was:
Partly cloudy--a few scattered squalls around midday, winds southeasterly 10 to 15 knots. Light to moderate southeast swells.59
The Demonstration Landing
The Japanese propaganda English language broadcast gave its reaction to the efforts of Transport Division Ten and Transport Division Thirty off the beaches north of Tanapag Harbor:
With full knowledge of the enemy's attempt, our garrison forces allowed the invaders to approach as near as possible to the coast and then opened up a fierce concentrated fire on the enemy and foiled the attempt. Thrown into wild confusion by the accurate Japanese fire, the enemy barges, or what was left of them, swiftly returned to their mother vessels at about 8:20 a.m.60
Since the transports and their landing craft observed no gunfire from the beach, the only truth in this description is the hour of 0820 when the rear elements of the landing craft returned to their transports and were hoisted aboard.
The Landings on Saipan
The Saipan assault required a simultaneous landing across a reef 250 to 700 yards wide of two divisions of Marines, landing eight Battalion Landing Teams abreast on eight landing beaches covering a front of 6,000 yards. 8,000 troops were due to go ashore in amtracs in the first hour.
This was the largest landing of the Pacific campaign to date and necessitated the adequate coordination of the Landing Plans of the two Marine divisions, and an organization which would keep the very large number of assault craft, and the early logistic support craft, in reasonable step and balance.
It was the first Central Pacific landing against a large heavily defended island and in marked contrast to the assaults against heavily defended coral strips.
After the battle was well over, the Commander of the assault troops wrote:
For the defense of Saipan, the enemy contemplated a series of strong beach defenses and a system of mobile defenses in depth behind the beach areas. . . .
The landing beaches in the Charan Kanoa Area used by Blue assault forces consisted of approximately 6000 yards of sandy beach backed by an alluvial plain varying from 400 yards to nearly 1 mile in width. The beaches in this vicinity were lined almost continuously by fire trenches, some sections of anti-tank trench, numerous machine gun emplacements and some dual purpose weapons. . . . It appears from the almost complete absence of enemy dead found in the area, that the defenses lining the beach were abandoned by the enemy on D-Day (or earlier).61
How Hour was initially set for 0830 but was retarded to 0840, due to delays in transfer of control personnel.62
Transport Group Able landed the Second Marine Division on Red and Green beaches while Transport Group Baker did the same chore for the Fourth Marine Division on Blue and Yellow beaches. The Transport Area
Landing Plan, Saipan, 15 June 1944.
for the large transports was eight to nine miles from the assigned beaches, and about three miles for the LSTs. The Line of Departure was 4,250 yards from the beach. Assault waves were landed in amtracs largely from LSTs which carried the first waves of Marines right on board.
Transport Group Able had priority for the first two hours subsequent to How Hour on the use of the channel through the reef opposite Beach Blue One. UDT Seven blasted the outer reef for 200 yards opposite the Yellow beaches to open up another highly useful channel and on Dog Day plus two a channel to Red Beach Three was blasted out of the reef by UDT Five.
The Landing Plans were complicated, as can be judged from the fact that the Transport Group Able Plan included four pages of diagrams just for forming up the early waves.
The barrier reef was so shallow that the guide boats could not cross it. Accordingly, Commander Landing Force had agreed that the Boat Control Officer could be instructed:
The reef marks the limit of Navy responsibility for leading in the assault and succeeding waves; from there on in, the troops are on their own. Your job is to get them to the correct part of the reef.63
Since "the correct part of the reef" was unmarked by buoys, this was a difficult chore and not perfectly performed.
All the lead waves left the Line of Departure at 0813 for their 4,250 yard run to the beach. Actual landings on all beaches were minutes late, ranging from 0843 on Red and Green to 0854 on Blue and Yellow.64
A combination of more active enemy mortar and machine gun fire from the area of Afetna Point and a current inside the reef lagoon, not detected by the UDTs, pushed the landing waves directed to land just north of Afetna Point, where Beach Green Two was located, further northward to Green One. The boat control officers had turned back at the reef and the Marine drivers of the amtracs were on their own while crossing the 600-yard-wide lagoon. The drivers on Red, Blue and Yellow beaches made their designated beaches. The drivers for Red and Green beaches to the north of Afetna Point all eased to the north, but only the ones for Beach Green Two failed to land on the correct beaches.
One of the problems immediately following the assault landings was that subsequent boat traffic for five of the eight beaches (Red Two, Red Three,
Green One, Green Two, Blue One) had to be squeezed through one channel in the outer reef. A Traffic Control Officer with a bull horn undertook this difficult task.
As Commander Transport Division Twenty described the situation in his Saipan Report:
Unloading across the reef, several hundred yards wide, presented difficulties. The only channel through the reef led to a fair sized pier which was damaged by shell fire and could be used only by a few boats at all stages of the tide. Landing craft could successfully enter through the channel and unload on the beaches only at high tide. Consequently, the majority of the unloading the first day was done by LVTs and DUKWs. Only high priority supplies were unloaded. The limitations imposed by the reef and low tide made it impossible to unload boats rapidly.65
And as the Commander 23rd Regimental Combat Team said in his FORAGER Report:
The time element in landing tanks through the channel was much too long, since only one LCM could negotiate the pass at a time.
Not all the observers or participants saw the initial assault landings in the same way. In the eyes of the big boss, Vice Admiral Turner, everything was pretty much "on the button":
Initial landings were made successfully on schedule in the face of severe machine gun and mortar fire. This type of opposition proved to be a most critical feature of the day's operation as a deterrent element. Dive bombing by planes and close interdictive fire by supporting ships proved to be effective counter measures. . . .
By 1800, Line 01 [first day's objective] reached. 20,000 troops had been landed.66
Rear Admiral Hill, the boss at the next echelon down, detailed the assault landings in these words:
The landing was made with precision and with only a slight difference in time of landing of first waves on all beaches. Casualties in troops and vehicles en route to the beach were extremely light, but shortly after landing the beach area was brought under fire by mortars and light artillery defiladed on the high ground in rear of the beaches. These guns were well camouflaged
and difficult to locate and during the first three days continued to inflict serious casualties upon our troops and beach parties.
By evening a narrow beachhead had been won, with a gap between Second and Fourth MARDIVs in Charan Kanoa Town. Heavy swells had built up on the reef. Two [actually eight] loaded LVTs were overturned and several men drowned. It was necessary to suspend unloading by LVT across the reef DOG night.67
Way, way down the command chain, some of the operational problems loomed larger in the Dog Day reports.
The Commander of the LCI gunboats logged the reasons for not providing all the planned close gunfire support of the initial assault waves as follows:
The LCI(G)s were stationed at the line of departure by 0750 and. . . . preceded the first assault waves into the beaches by 200 yards.
. . . Due to the protruding reef, the LCI(G)'s did not open fire with their 20mm guns or fire their rockets [on Red and Green beaches] as the range was too great for effective fire. . . . LCI(G)'s firing on Blue and Yellow beaches were able to get close enough to the beaches to effectively fire their 20mm guns and rockets.
While leading the first waves into the beach numerous mortar bursts landed in the water very close to the line of advancing LCI(G)'s. LCI(G) 726 suffered a direct mortar hit, killing 2 enlisted men and wounding the Commanding Officer, one other officer and two (2) enlisted men. . . . Other LCI(G)'s had a great many pieces of shrapnel from mortar shells. . . . LCI(G)-451, firing on Red Beach suffered one direct hit from a salvo of enemy shells of 3" to 5" diameter. The shell hit the starboard life raft, took off part of the ladder from the main deck aft to the top of the deck house, went thru the main deck and out the side of the ship in number 4 troop compartment, just forward of the magazines. It severed the entire main electric trunk line. . . .68
* * * * *
About 2500 yards from the beach we started to fire. We continued to fire until the boats reached the reefs. It seemed that our shots were falling short of the beach.69
* * * * *
Fired ranging shots of rockets, but they did not reach the beach. Fired, in all, four rounds of ranging shots but as they did not reach the beach, did not fire any more rockets.70
Landing craft and transports busy at Saipan.
The LSTs had their problems also.
0637 bow doors opened. 0703 ramp completely lowered. Port ramp chain broken. 0704 1st LVT off. 0711 17th LVT off. Both ramp chains broken.71
* * * * *
2140, severely damaged our ramp while recovering disabled LVTs. The hinge which controls the ramp parted, with the exception of one small piece. . . . Due to this ramp condition it was impossible to launch the three LVTs on board after completion of repairs.72
* * * * *
This ship launched 17 tanks in seven minutes and thirty seconds.73
Despite the swell described officially as "mild" at 0700 on 15 June, not all landing craft commanders agreed. For example:
This vessel first to complete disembarking all vehicles. Both ramp chains parted due to heavy swell, ramp emergency raising gear carried away--rigged jury rig immediately.74
* * * * *
Vessels this Task Unit arrived at line of departure and began launching LVTs and DUKWs in accordance with schedule. Surf conditions unfavorable, making launching difficult. Several vehicles suffered damage and the ramps and ramp hoisting gear of several LSTs were damaged. Launching was accomplished, however, without delay.75
The Japanese coast defense guns and artillery worried the landing craft late on Dog Day and the conscience of at least one of the skippers who retreated from them. Representative LST reports follow.
D-Day night about 1915 LST-224 was fired upon from Saipan. Four shells hit ahead of the starboard bow approximately 100 yards. The enemy apparently sought and obtained our range with what appeared to be 5" shells. Their deflection was off about 100 yards which provided time to get underway and back down away from the shelling. . . . Having orders not to fire on the Island, and our heaviest gun being 3" 50 cal., the only alternative was to withdraw out of range to protect the ship's personnel and cargo, as did other landing craft in the area.76
* * * * *
Constant reports from the beach described very rough fighting, particularly during the night, which kept our forces from maintaining orderly dumps.77
* * * * *
All seriously wounded men were sent to other ships which had doctors, this being sometimes hard to do because hospital ships were not always in sight and it was like sending the coxswains on a wild goose chase. However, it would have been folly to try to care for apparently dying men on a ship without skilled doctors.78
The Weather Deteriorates
Rear Admiral Hill had this to say about the weather:
A heavy swell, which existed from the night of Dog Day until Dog plus One morning, prevented delivery of supplies across the barrier reef facing RED, GREEN, and YELLOW beaches and forced all supplies for both divisions to be handled across BLUE Beaches. 79
While this was a temporary problem, the longer range problem was:
Unloading of boats on the Red beaches was possible only from two hours before until two hours after high tide.80
As Commander Transport Division Twenty reported in regard to Dog Day plus one:
The congestion of boats at the reef continued because of the limited beach usable at high tide and the fact that boats could not reach the beach at low tide.
Early construction of a causeway pier at Beach Blue One facilitated logistic support, and LSTs were beached successfully on the reef opposite Yellow One on 17 June. The 27th Division troops were put ashore on the 16th, 17th, and 19th, the last Regimental Combat Team wading ashore from LSTs beached on the reef opposite Yellow Three.
By Dog plus Three there were nearly 50,000 troops ashore and a large amount of artillery.81
There were problems other than the heavy surf which held up logistic support from time to time during the first few days. These were the Japanese aircraft flown down from Iwo Jima and the Empire.
The Japanese Gadflies
The amphibians had gotten through the Kwajalein and Eniwetok assaults without a single Japanese airplane to worry them. This was not the case in the Marianas.
Task Force 51 was sighted by a Japanese plane the morning of 13 June and was under minor air attack three times on 15 June by one to five Japanese planes. No air attacks on Task Force 51 occurred on 16 June. There were five attacks by formations of three to forty Japanese planes commencing late in the day of 17 June 1944. From that date until 7 July the amphibians ate smoke a fair share of each night. There were 70 designated Japanese air raids noted during these twenty days, but the largest number of planes in a single attack was 12, and a good share of the Japanese planes were shot down by the combat air patrol before getting in close to the amphibians. By and large, the Japanese planes came down the Marianas Chain to the battle area and were reserviced at Guam and Rota. During the days of the Battle of the Philippine Sea a number of planes were flown into Guam from the Japanese carriers and enroute they harassed the amphibians.82
All the amphibious craft contributed their might to the defense of the Transport Area, as the following LST reports will indicate:
At 1915 a single engine Jap bomber dove at us from starboard to port at a distance of about 50 yards off the water, dropping a small bomb which missed. All the ships in the area opened fire but none seen to hit the plane which was very fast and visible at most for only a second or two, as the time of night and overcast sky made visibility very poor.83
Another witness pictured this incident as follows:
On the evening of 17 June, the retiring LSTs were attacked by one VAL. Fire was not opened until the plane was in the dive. It was ineffective. For the majority of the LSTs, this was the first Jap plane they had ever seen. It is certain that buck fever had many of the gunners. The one bomb released was a near miss off the bow of LST-42. Strafing, or gunfire from other LSTs started a fire forward on LST-84. . . . LST-23 and LST-128 also had casualties resulting from shrapnel. . . .84
And the final report of this brief incident:
The Japanese bomber was about as accurate as our gunfire. With upward of 30 ships to hit, he scored a good clean miss.85
Rear Admiral Conolly had talked to everyone who would listen about the great value of smoke during air attacks and while a "Smoke Plan" had existed throughout the Central Pacific campaign, Saipan marked its first extensive use. By the time Saipan had been secured, the amphibians had absorbed many Japanese air raids and only the jeep carrier Fanshaw Bay and the battleship Maryland absorbed hits from them. The plane that torpedoed the Maryland while she was anchored sneaked in without being detected by radar. Rear Admiral Hill noted:
Despite this large number of air attacks, only minor damage was suffered. This fact is attributed in part to the excellence of land based anti-aircraft batteries and night fighters, but at least equal credit should be given to the protection provided the ships by heavy smoke cover.86
The cargo ship Mercury (AK-42) was the first amphibious ship to gain a sure kill of a Japanese plane since the George F. Elliott absorbed one at Guadalcanal nearly two years before. Vice Admiral Turner's War Diary stated:
The Mercury was credited with a kill when a Jap plane was destroyed by crashing into one of her booms. The pilot was killed.87
* * * * *
Enemy tactics in the air have persistently been to fly low to avoid radar detection. Steps have been taken to rearrange our radar pickets so as to improve our technique in picking up these planes.88
The Japanese First Mobile Fleet Moves Up
Long before the battle on Saipan had been won, the Japanese First Mobile Fleet, under Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, took a fling at our amphibious forces, but found that Admiral Spruance and a reenforced Task Force 58 stood in the way.
Separately, the Fast Carrier Task Force 58 comprised seven carriers and eight cruiser-hulled carriers, guarded by seven fast battleships, three heavy cruisers, ten light cruisers and 52 destroyers.89 Ships pulled out from the Joint Expeditionary Force and added to TF 58 included four heavy cruisers, three light anti-aircraft cruisers and 18 destroyers. Additionally, the Fleet Flagship Indianapolis with its two protecting destroyers moved from TF 51 to TF 58.
Also, the eight older battleships, the three remaining cruisers and a good share of the remaining destroyers of the Joint Expeditionary Force were told off to cover the Transport Area during darkness from a position about 25 miles to its westward, especially to guard against the possibility that a fast detachment of the Japanese First Mobile Fleet might do an end run around TF 58 and seek to attack the cargo ships and disrupt the logistic support of the troops on Saipan.
Days of Change
The 16th and 17th of June 1944, were days when the plans of the Joint Expeditionary Force were subject to many changes, as the Japanese First Mobile Fleet charged into the Philippine Sea from Tawi Tawi.
Kelly Turner's War Diary had these entries:
TG 52.10, Bombardment Group Two and the Hopkins, Perry, Long and Hamilton had been directed to proceed to Guam to initiate scheduled attack [on June 18th]. However, due to imminence of a major engagement west of Saipan, Com 5th Fleet cancelled the tentative date of attack on Guam and directed CTF 51 to make preparations to reinforce carrier forces of TF 58.90
The Battle of the Philippine Sea has been well and brilliantly told by a number of authors. There has been strong support from the Marines, from those who were in the amphibious forces, and from Fleet Admiral King in regard to the manner in which the battle was fought by Admiral Spruance.
Admiral Turner wrote in his speech "Major Aspects of the Marianas Campaign":
Before leaving Pearl Harbor, lengthy discussions were held concerning the prospect of Fleet action. Tentative decisions were made as to what action we should take if Fleet action should eventuate. The ideas of major commands were in complete accord that whatever happened, Task Force 58 would adequately cover the Expeditionary Force during its landing of troops.
On June 16th, it became certain that the Japanese Fleet would attack. We believed then, and know now, that Admiral Toyoda's objective was air attack on the transports, using the airfields on Guam and Tinian for refueling and rearming.
So on June 16th, after further conferences, Admiral Spruance made these decisions:
a. Reenforce TF 58 with 7 cruisers and 18 destroyers from the Expeditionary Force, and concentrated at noon June 18th, 350 miles to west to (1) cover the Saipan landings and (2) attack the Japanese Fleet.
b. Continue transport unloading until dark June 17th, [then] leave behind the transports and LSTs needed immediately, plus screen and small craft, and secretly move the bulk of transports and LSTs out of sight to the eastward of Saipan. From there, transports and LSTs would be returned for unloading as called for.
c. Continue full gunfire support of troops, but during darkness form up remaining battleships, cruisers and DDs 25 miles to the west in covering position.
d. With three CVE divisions, provide [combat air patrol] CAP for ships near Saipan, and provide air for troops support as available.
By dark June 18th, the enemy Fleet was thought to be still well to the westward. Admiral Spruance was strongly urged by some officers to make a fast run west and surprise the enemy at dawn. Instead he retired, as previously planned, toward Guam.
In fact, the end run had already been made [by the Japanese]. At 0720 next morning CAP planes of the nearby Task Force 58 caught Japanese planes taking off from the Guam airfield after re-fueling. Then the Turkey Shoot began. By nightfall, Admiral Toyoda had had enough and started home. For a few days, our forces at Saipan had some minor air attacks by planes from Guam that had remained hidden, but damage was slight and there was not much interference with our landing operations.
The point is mentioned to emphasize the importance of sticking to the objective. The Fifth Fleet objective then was the capture of Saipan, and only secondarily the defeat of the Japanese Fleet. To capture Saipan, we needed the transports afloat and not sunk. Suppose at 0800 on June 19th, Admiral Mitscher had been 600 miles away with all his planes in the air!
Admiral Spruance's decision to adhere strictly to a course of action that would ensure the accomplishment of the major objective of that great military adventure was sound and wise.91
Long before World War II ended, Fleet Admiral King had expressed his strong approval of the manner in which the Battle of the Philippine Sea was fought. In his Second Report to the Secretary of the Navy, issued 27 March 1945, and covering combat operations from 1 March 1944 to 1 March 1945, Fleet Admiral King wrote:
As the primary mission of the American Forces in the area was to capture the Marianas, the Saipan amphibious operations had to be protected from enemy interference at all costs. In his plans for what developed into the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Admiral Spruance was rightly guided by this basic mission. He therefore operated aggressively to the westward of the Marianas,
but did not draw his carriers and battleships so far away that they could not protect the amphibious units.
In 1952, this still remained his view.92
While Admiral Spruance was beating off the onrush of the Japanese Fleet, the situation ashore had continued to improve, and on 20 June, Lieutenant General H. M. Smith, Commander Northern Troops And Landing Force (CTG 56.1), assumed command ashore at about 1000.
After the threat of the Japanese Fleet had been met and successfully dissipated by the Fifth Fleet under Admiral Spruance, the Commander Joint Expeditionary Force turned his thoughts again to the necessity of conserving the troops previously allotted for the Guam assault for that purpose. The Commander Joint Expeditionary Troops, being faced with a rugged and skillful defense by larger than anticipated Japanese forces on Saipan, and an extinction chore that was going slowly, cast envious eyes on the troops allocated for the Guam assault.
In a despatch designed to restate the necessity of retaining the troops still afloat and regaining control of those (the 106th Regimental Combat Team) already ashore on Saipan, Vice Admiral Turner informed CTF 56 that:
While recognizing the decisive character of the operations for the capture of Saipan, the great importance of the early capture of Guam in this campaign is also realized. Unless further shore operations become unfavorable, CTF 51 is not willing to accept the decision to postpone the Guam attack until the Army's 77th Division arrives.93
Despite this unwillingness of CTF 51, the Guam attack was postponed until after the 77th Division arrived there. In fact, the date for launching the Guam assault was set exactly by the "when" the 77th would be available at Guam.
The Delayed Time Table
The Japanese defense at Saipan was stronger and more successful than had been anticipated. By 21 June, the whole of the Expeditionary Force Reserve had been landed, bringing to three full divisions plus Fifth Corps troops fighting on Saipan. The very bitter defense encountered thereafter eventually led to the unwelcome but quite sound decision not to go ahead with a landing on Guam until Saipan was in hand. That is, it was better to
ensure the complete control of Saipan rather than to have a foothold on both Saipan and Guam without complete control of either one. The troops of the Southern Attack Force were looked upon as a possible further reserve to bolster the hard fighting troops on Saipan. So the Southern Attack Force cruised around and around to the eastward of Saipan, waiting for favorable developments, before undertaking its assault on Guam.
On 17 June it was decided by CINCPOA to prepare one Regimental Combat Team in Hawaii for possible early employment in the Marianas by immediate movement to Saipan.
On the 21st, the decision was taken to bring all the 77th Infantry Division forward from the Hawaiian Islands as soon as practicable. By dark 22 June, the last of enough transports to lift two Regimental Combat Teams of the 77th Infantry Division were unloaded at Saipan and hurried back to Pearl. Lift for the initial RCT of the 77th was already gathering at Pearl Harbor.
As Vice Admiral Turner wrote to his old subordinate, Wilkinson:
It was evident that we needed that division for Guam and, in fact, used it beginning the second day of the Guam landing.94
On 24 June, the 1st Marine Provisional Brigade was designated the Floating Reserve for the Saipan operation and the rest of the Southern Landing Force was ordered to return to Eniwetok to await the decision as to when it would assault Guam.
On 5 July 1944, Vice Admiral Turner wrote a letter to Admiral Nimitz which among other things said:
Of course, we all feel disappointed over the fact that the Marianas Campaign is not going as rapidly as had been hoped for, particularly because of the ill effect on STALEMATE [Palau Island-Assault].
* * * * *
There will be a let-down at the end of the Saipan capture, as the troops are only human, and it would be desirable to have some fresh troops for Tinian, though that is now impossible. We will get ready for that operation as soon as possible, but can't predict the date. It would be better, for some reasons, to hold off until the attack on Guam is well started, but we will not do so if we can get the troops rehabilitated in time.95
And when it got down to hard actualities, Vice Admiral Turner did hold
off on Tinian until the attack on Guam was well started. The latter started on 21 July and the Tinian assault three days later.
In the letter of 30 July 1944, to Rear Admiral Wilkinson, in discussing the delay in capturing Saipan, Vice Admiral Turner wrote:
We simply didn't have enough troops here, and the reason we didn't have enough troops was that we didn't have enough ships to bring them in.96
The number of ships available in the Pacific for FORAGER was strongly influenced by the fact that the gargantuan amphibious landing in Normandy, France, occurred earlier in the same month as Saipan and had an overriding call on worldwide transport and cargo ship resources.
At Long Last
Slow, but steady progress was made in capturing Saipan.
The Fourth of July was celebrated by taking the towns of Garapan and Tanapag. Five days later:
Convoy moving into forward beach during Saipan attack as seen from the Rocky Mount. (80-G-231985)
The Marines raised the American Flag over the airstrip at the northern part of Saipan. By 1625, the entire island was secured and organized resistance ceased.
Vice Admiral Turner sent the following despatch:
To our brave troops who have captured Saipan, the naval forces who have striven to assist them, I make a bow of respect.98
On 10 July, the day after Saipan was declared "secure," Vice Admiral Turner logged:
The following is the estimate of casualties to our forces as of 1800 today. Total casualties 15,053. Of this number 2,359 were killed, 11,481 wounded and 1,213 are missing. Enemy dead buried by our troops number 11,948. There are 9,006 civilians interned and 736 prisoners of war.99
Many of our missing turned out to be dead. The total of Japanese buried went up rapidly in the days ahead until it reached 25,144 on 15 August 1944.100
Naval Gunfire Support
The Naval Gunfire Support prior to the assault landings an Saipan was divided into three phases:
Phase One--Dog Day Minus Two (13 June 1944)
This phase was conducted from 1040 to 1725 by seven new fast battleships temporarily detached from Task Force 58, and their anti-submarine screen of eleven destroyers. The bombardment was fired using plane spot and from ranges in excess of 10,000 yards. This latter precaution was necessary to keep the ships outside of mineable waters until these waters were swept.
Since the Japanese on Saipan had British Whitworth Armstrong 6-inch coast defense guns, as well as their own 140-millimeter coast defense guns,
the statement that the big battleships at 10,000 to 16,000 yards remained out of range of the enemy shore batteries, is incorrect.
The results of the gun bombardment by the fast battleships during Phase were incommensurate with the weight of metal dropped on Saipan during this bombardment. This was due primarily to inexperience of both the aircraft observers in locating Japanese camouflaged guns and of the gunnery personnel in conducting slow deliberate shore bombardment.
But as the Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops reported:
Heavy gun installations, power plans, barracks, the buildings of the town and installations at or near the airfield received a particularly heavy shelling.101
Phase Two--Dog Day Minus One (14 June 1944)
A succinct summary by the Marines of this phase indicated:
This bombardment was executed by ships of Task Group 52.17, nearly all of which had had considerable [gunfire support] experience. . . . Their fire delivered with both air and ship spot, was very effective, including direct hits on many important installations.102
Phase Three--Dog Day (15 June 1944)
As for the last phase:
This firing was executed by ships of Task Group 52.17. It destroyed or neutralized a great many important targets and neutralized the beaches sufficiently that the assault troops were able to effect a landing.
* * * * *
As a result of Naval gunfire and air bombardment, many coast defense guns were destroyed and the enemy was, according to Prisoner of War statements, forced to evacuate his prepared beach defenses except for a small delaying forces. Forward slopes facing seaward were rendered only temporarily tenable to the enemy, and his supply, transport, and communication facilities and organizations were reduced to a state of chaos.103
Due to the excellence of the Japanese camouflage, the very large number of targets, and the fact that neither photography nor visual observation had located many targets on the reverse slopes of the hills eastward of the landing
beaches, numerous Japanese mortars and artillery guns were not fired upon prior to the actual Saipan landing.
As late as three months after Saipan had been captured, Lieutenant General Smith, it seems, thought the naval gunfire support in the Marianas was reasonably satisfactory for he wrote in his final report on FORAGER:
Naval gunfire support was a decisive factor in the conduct of operations, and it is recommended:
1. That whenever possible, similar extended, deliberate, observed fires be delivered against landing beaches and enemy positions prior to the landing.104
Some five years later, however, the worm had turned and the bombardment of Saipan was labeled by General Smith, "The partially ineffective Saipan bombardment." He also stated:
Three and a half days of surface and air bombardment were not enough to neutralize an enemy of the strength we found on Saipan.105
Skill and Hazard
The pinpointed naval gunfire bombardment essential to accomplish the results desired by the assault troops is a difficult chore, and involves manifold hazards and calls for first-rate skills. These aspects were touched upon several times in the reports on the Saipan operation.
The fire control ships were directed to lie to in order to ensure that they would not interfere with the movement of the assault waves to the beach. Throughout the critical assault landing phase, while in this minimum defensive position, they unhappily were in triple jeopardy from coast defense guns, submarines, and air attack. As Rear Admiral Hill noted:
Close fire support ships were required to remain dead in the water in accurate positions prescribed, from HOW minus THIRTY until the passage of the last assault boat wave. The final support positions were established to place heavy ships at the stipulated minimum distance of 2000 yards from the nearest shoal or reef, and destroyers 1500 yards.
Ammunition replacement was another constant worry. At the end of Dog plus two:
With no immediate replacement of ammunition available, it became necessary to restrict the rate of starshell expenditure to 6 per hour per ship except
for emergencies, and to limit the amount of AA common available for support of troops to all in excess of 60 rounds per gun, per ship, which was to be held in reserve for surface and air action.106
Rear Admiral Hill, a long time naval gunnery expert, finished up the Saipan operation with a very warm feeling for the naval gunfire support provided. He wrote:
There can remain little doubt that naval gunfire is the most feared and most effective of all weapons which the Japanese are confronted in resisting a landing and assault. Without exception, prisoners of war have stated that naval gunfire prevented their movement by day or night and was the most deciding factor in accomplishing their defeat.107
This opinion was supported by the Chief of Staff of the Japanese high command on Saipan who in reporting to Army Headquarters in Tokyo, radioed:
The call fire on land is extremely quick and exact and until night attack units are some tens of meters from the enemy, they continue to receive naval gunfire.
* * * * *
If there just were no naval gunfire, we feel with determination that we could fight it out with the enemy in decisive battle.108
The most vocal supporters of naval gunfire effectiveness were the Japanese prisoners and diarists. Among their many plugs for the Navy gun, the following are selected:
[POW] The greatest single factor in the American success [was] naval gunfire--
[Diarist] Practically all our anti-aircraft guns and machine gun positions were destroyed by bombing and shelling on the 13th, 14th and 15th. . . .
* * * * *
[Diarist] I have at last come to the place where I will die. I am pleased to think that I will die calmly in true samurai style. Naval gun fire supported this attack which was too terrible for words. [Diary 13 June, Day of Bombardment by fast battleships].109
As previously noted, there were some balancing U.S. opinions to come to light a bit later.
Since the length of the shore gun bombardment is always brought into question in connection with an assault landing, it is worth stating that long continued shore gun bombardment by heavy ships always draws enemy submarines to the area like bees to a honey comb. It was true at Guadalcanal, in the Gilberts, and in the Marshalls. So there was and is a naval reluctance to stay still in one spot in an area or even to stay around in an area too long and invite submarine attack. This is despite the real advantages to the assaulting troops of a long continued gun bombardment.
A study of Japanese naval records by the Far East Command in the early 1950's indicated that the Japanese lost fourteen submarines in the Marianas area during June and July 1944. These were RO-36, 42, 44, 48, 111, 114, 117, the I-5, 10, 26, 54, 55, 184, 185.110 It was a minor miracle, despite our very excellent anti-submarine defense, that the ships of Task Force 51 and of Task Force 58 remained for long weeks in the vicinity of the Marianas without sustaining losses from these Japanese submarines.
The Hard Won Victory
While the skill of our commanders was great and the valor of our troops unending, the battle was made longer by the low ratio of assaulting troops to enemy defenders. It would be unperceptive not to say also that a basic ingredient in the long and bloody struggle for Saipan was the confidence of the Japanese Commander and his troops in their ability to defeat an amphibious assault.
And a quixotic ingredient in the cause of the Japanese eventual defeat is drawn from the following record:
A POW taken late in the preceding period near Matansa, states that he is a chief Petty Officer. Was Chief Yeoman to Vice Admiral Nagumo, Commander Central Pacific Area, with Headquarters at Garapan, Saipan. POW states that Vice Admiral Nagumo and Rear Admiral Yano committed suicide 1030 7 July at the temporary headquarters located inland from Matansa. POW witnessed the suicides. . . . POW, acting in his capacity of Chief Yeoman wrote the order issued by Vice Admiral Nagumo for the counter attack against our forces on the morning of 7 July. The same order commanded
all civilian and military personnel remaining on the north end of Saipan to commit suicide on 7 July. . . .111
Saipan Land Marks
As one of the most experienced amphibians, Commodore H.B. Knowles, wrote at the end of the war in regard to amphibious techniques:
The Saipan Landing Plan is a landmark in Pacific amphibious history, for it incorporates what became the technique for all later amphibious landings in the Central Pacific and the major assaults in the Philippines. Described in this plan for the first time are the duties and organization of a control and beachmaster set up to handle a landing of multiple troop divisions; an expanded communication net work to cover this more complex structure; a system for the transfer of assault troops to LSTs in the final staging area and the despatch of LVTs at the Line of Departure with troops already embarked; the use of rocket and mortar ships in direct support of the assault waves; and the addition of hospital LSTs close in shore to speed casualty handling.112
Table of Contents * Previous Chapter (20) * Next Chapter (21)
3. Admiral R.K. Turner, USN (Ret.), Presentation delivered before the General Line School, Monterey, California, 5 Dec. 1949, sub: Major Aspect of the Marianas Campaign.
4. CCS 417, Report by JPS, 2 Dec. 1943, sub: Overall Plan for Defeat of Japan.
5. CINCPAC-CINCPOA Campaign Plan GRANITE--Preliminary Draft, 27 Dec. 1943; Outline of Campaign Plan, 13 Jan. 1944
6. King's Record, pp. 532-535.
7. (a) CINCPOA to COMINCH, letter, 22 Feb. 1944; (b) CINCPOA to COMINCH, letter, Ser 00025 of 1 Mar. 1944.
8. Nimitz to King, memorandum, 8 Mar. 1944, sub: Sequence and timing of operations central Pacific Campaigns.
9. MacArthur to Marshall C1217, CM-IN-1443, 2 Feb. 1944. Modern Military Records, National Archives.
10. King to Nimitz, letter, Ser 00409, 8 Feb. 1944.
11. JCS to COMSOWESPAC and CINCPOA, 022941 2 Mar. 1944.
12. JCS to COMSOWESPAC and CINCPOA, 122319 12 Mar. 1944.
13. (a) CINCPAC-CINCPOA Op Plan 3-44; 9b) COMFIFTHFLT Op Plan CEN 10-44.
14. Turner, Presentation delivered before the General Line School, 5 Dec. 1949.
15. (a) COMINCH letter, Ser 0400 of 1 Feb. 1944, subj: Assignment of Vessels, U.S. Fleet; (b) CINCPAC PACFLT Confidential letter 6 CL-44, Ser 0956 of 14 Mar. 1944.
16. COMPHIBSPAC, letter, Ser 0226 of 2 Apr. 1944.
17. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR Roster of Officers, 1 May 1944. No roster is available in the files for 1 June 1944 or 1 July 1944.
18. Rear Admiral Draper L. Kauffman, USN, to GCD, letter, 6 Dec. 1965 and interview, 9 Dec. 1965. Hereafter Kauffman.
19. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR, letter, C5A/A16-3/Ser 00425 of 12 Apr. 1944, subj: Comments on FLINTLOCK.
20. CGFIFTHPHIBCORPS FLINTLOCK Report, 6 Mar. 1944.
22. JICPOA Bulletin No. 7-44, Marianas, 25 Jan. 1944; No. 34-44, Saipan, Tinian, Rota, 10 Mar. 1944; No. 73-44, Saipan, Tinian, Rota, 10 May 1944.
23. (a) JICPOA Bulletin Nos. 7-44, 25 Jan. 1944; No. 39-44, 26 Feb. 1944; No. 73-44, 10 May 1944; (b) COMFIFTHFLT Op Plan CEN 10-44, Appendix I.
24. (a) USSBS Interrogation No. 139, p. 143; (b) JICPOA Bulletins, No. 34-44, No. 66-44, No. 23-44; (c) Masanorito Ito, The End of the Imperial Japanese Navy, p. 77.
25. CINCPAC-CINCPOA Translation No. 9498, Central Pacific Area Force Secret Order No. 2, dated 21 March 1944.
26. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR, letter, Ser 00348 of 18 Mar. 1944.
27. USSBS Interrogation No. 225, p. 212.
28. CINCPAC-CINCPOA Monthly Operations in the Pacific Ocean Areas, June 1944, Appendix 9, p. 5.
29. Ibid., Annex A, pp. 8-9.
30. CINCPAC-CINCPOA Translation No. 8946, Defense Plan for Saipan Island, 6 Sep. 1944.
31. USSBS Interrogations No. 32 and No. 47.
32. (a) CINCPOA Op Plan 3-44, 23 Apr. 1944; (b) COMFIFTHFLT Op Plan CEN 10-44, 12 May 1944; (c) COMFIFTHPHIBFOR (CTF 51) Op Plan A10-44, 6 May 1944; (d) CTF 52 Op Plan A11-44, 21 May 1944.
33. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR (CTF 51) Op Plan A10-44, Annex A, para 5.
35. RFT to TSW, letter, 30 Jul. 1944.
36. CTG 52.2, Report of Saipan Operation, 23 Aug. 1944, p. 18.
37. (a) CINCPAC Op Plan CEN 3-44 (FORAGER); (b) COMFIFTHFLT Op Plan CEN 1-44 (FLINTLOCK); (c) COMFIFTHFLT Op PLan CEN 10-44 (FORAGER); (d) CTF 51 FLINTLOCK Report, 25 Feb. 1944; FORAGER Report, 25 Aug. 1944.
38. (a) CTF 52 Training Order A12-44, 8 May 1944; (b) CTF 52 Training Movement Order A13-44, 7 May 1944; (c) CTG 52.2 Action Report, 23 Aug. 1944; (d) CTF 51 FORAGER Report, 25 Aug. 1944; (e) Interview with Admiral Hill, 1 Feb. 1967. Hereafter Hill.
39. (a) Hill; (b) COMLSTFLOT 13 Action Report, 11 Jul. 1944, p. 3.
40. Hogaboom interview, 15 May 1967.
41. Record of Proceedings of a Court of Inquiry to inquire into all the circumstances connected with the explosion in the LST-353 and the subsequent explosion in other ships in West Loch on May 21, 1944, Ser 001466 of 22 May 1944. Rear Admiral John P. Shafroth, Jr., USN, President of the Court.
42. Carter, Beans, Bullets and Black Oil, pp. 110, 112.
43. (a) COMPHIBFORPAC, letter, Ser 00019 of 26 Apr. 1944; (b) COMPHIBFORPAC War Diary, 2 Jun. 1944; (c) ALPAC-79 of 1 Jun. 1944.
44. COMLSTFLOT 13, Action Report, 11 Jul. 1944, p. 1.
45. COMLSTGRP 39, Action Report, 3 Aug. 1944, p. 1.
46. COMLSTFLOT 13, Action Report, p. 2.
47. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR (CTF 51) Op Plan A10-44, 6 May 1944, Intelligence Annex.
48. (a) Marine Corps Historical Monographs, Hoffman, Saipan: The Beginning of the End, and The Seizure of Tinian, and Lodge The Recapture of Guam; (b) Philip A. Crowl, Campaign in the Marianas, Vol. IX of subseries The War in the Pacific in UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1959), pp. 65, 279, 329, Appendix C.
49. ACS to CTF 56.G-2s Period Reports, No. 12 (26 Jun. 1944), No. 21 (5 Jul. 1944) and No. 23 (7 Jul. 1944).
50. (a) COMGEN Fleet Marine Force, Report of COMGEN Expeditionary Troops (TF 56), Marianas, 4 Oct. 1944, Vol. 3, Encl. (D), p. 2. Hereafter CTF 56 FORAGER Report; (b) CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Monthly Operations in the Pacific Ocean Areas, June 1944, Annex A, para 47.
51. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 10 Jul. 1944.
52. Ibid., 2 and 5 Aug. 1944.
53. (a) CINCPAC-CINCPOA Monthly Operations Report, June 1944, Annex A, p. 12; (b) CTF 51 FORAGER Report, Annex 3 to Encl. (A), p. 2; (c) CTF 56 FORAGER Report, Encl. (D), p. 41.
54. COMINCH Chart Room, FORAGER Subject File, Running Estimates.
55. USSBS Interrogation No. 448, Captain Mitsuo Fuchina, Staff CINC Combined Fleet, p. 428; (b) USSBS, Pacific Campaigns, Appendix 72, p. 229; (c) USSBS Interrogation No. 434, Captain Akira Sasaki, p. 396; (d) USSBS Interrogation No. 123, Commander Goro Matsura, p. 132;
56. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 14 Jun. 1944.
57. (a) Fane and Moore, Naked Warriors, pp. 86-88; (b) Plans Division, Pacific Section Staff COMINCH to COMINCH, memorandum, 21 Jun. 1944.
58. LST-272 War Diary, 14 Jun. 1944.
59. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
60. CTU 54.5.3 (COMTRANSDIV 30) Action Report, 10 Jul. 1944, p. 8.
61. CTF 56 FORAGER Report, Vol. 3, 2 Oct. 1944, Encl. (D), p. 60.
62. CTG 52.2 Action Report, para 10, p. 19.
63. CTF 52 Attack Order A11-44, Encl. (A) to Appendix 1 to Annex J, p. 13a.
64. CTG 52.2 Action Report, 23 Aug. 1944, pp. 20, 878.
65. CTG 52.4 Action Report, 30 Jun. 1944, p. 3.
66. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
67. CTG 52.2 Action Report, pp. 20, 21.
68. LCI(G)FLOT Three War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
69. LCI(G)-455 Operational Remarks, 15 Jun. 1944.
70. LCI(G)-726 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
71. LST-226 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
72. LST-242 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
73. LST-271 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
74. LST-267 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
75. LSTGRP 14 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
76. LST-224 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
77. LST-278 War Diary, 15 Jun. 1944.
78. Ibid., 15 Jun. 1944.
79. CTG 52.2 Action Report, p. 74.
80. TRANSDIV 28 Control Officer, Report of Control Operation on Dog Day, 11 Jul. 1944, p. 3.
81. CTG 52.2 Action Report, p. 74.
82. CINCPAC-CINCPOA Monthly Operations Report, June 1944, Appendix 8.
83. LST-272 War Diary, 17 Jun. 1944.
84. COMLSTFLOT 13 Action Report, 11 Jul. 1944, p. 7.
85. COMLSTGRP 39, Action Report, 3 Aug. 1944.
86. CTG 52.2 Action Report, p. 82.
87. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 27 Jun. 1944.
88. Ibid., 2 Jul. 1944.
89. CINCPAC-CINCPOA Monthly Operations Report, June 1944, Annex A.
90. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 16 Jun. 1944.
91. R.K. Turner, Presentation at the General Line School, 5 Dec. 1949.
92. King's Record, p. 563.
93. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 21 Jun. 1944.
94. RKT to TSW, letter, 30 Jul. 1944. See also COMGENCENPAC to CG 24th Corps, 180900 June 1944; COMFIFTHFLT to CINCPOA, 240622 Jun. 1944; CTF 51 to CINCPAC, 232020 Jun. 1944.
95. RKT to CWN, letter, 5 Jul. 1944.
96. RKT to TSW, letter, 30 Jul. 1944.
97. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 9 Jul. 1944.
98. CTF 51 092244 Jul. 1944.
99. COMFIFTHPHIBFOR War Diary, 10 Jul. 1944.
100. CTF 51 FORAGER Report, Annex 3 to Encl. (A), p. 2.
101. CTF 56 FORAGER Report, Vol. 7, Encl. (D), G-2 Report, pp. 10-011.
102. Ibid., p. 11.
103. Ibid., Encl. (G-2), p. 11.
104. Ibid., p. 7.
105. Smith, Coral and Brass, p. 162.
106. CTG 52.2, Action Report, pp. 86-87, 92.
107. Ibid., p. 110.
108. CINCPAC-CINCPOA Monthly Operations Report, June 1944, Appendix 9, Translations of Japanese despatches, pp. 6, 9.
109. (a) Quoted in Carl W. Hoffman, Saipan: The Beginning of the End, Marine Corps Monograph (Washington: Historical Branch, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1950), p. 248; (b) CINCPAC-CINCPOA Bulletin No. 116-45, Translation Interrogations No. 29, 21 May 1945, Intern No. B-1938.
110. The Japanese Monograph No. 116, The Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II, Military History Section, Special Staff, General Headquarters, Far East Command, February 1952, pp. 202, 204.
111. CTF 56 FORAGER Report, Vol. 4, Encl. (A), G-2 Periodic Report, p. 3.
112. Transport Squadron 12, Command History, 8 Nov. 1945, p. 16.