United States Marine Corps, 1940-1945

6th Marine Division

Typical Organization (1944/1945)


Division Narrative

The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was formed from separate units in mid-1944 for the Guam operation. The 6th Marine Division was activated on 7 Sep 44 at Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal using the 1st Provisional marine Brigade as a core with the 4th and 22d Marines. Other personnel were provided by antiaircraft and defense battalions along with units from the States, the 15h Marines (artillery) and 29th Marines. The 6th marine Division carries the lineage of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. The Division was unique in that while it was the most recently activated, seven of its nine infantry battalions were combat experienced prior to its activation. The 4th Marines, made up of the former raider battalions (Guadalcanal, Makin, Pavuvu, New Georgia, Bougainville), had secured Emirau and fought on Guam. The 22d Marines had fought on Eniwetok and Guam and secured islands in the Marshalls. The, then separate, 1st Battalion, 29th Marines had fought on Saipan and Tinian. These units assembled on Guadalcanal in Aug-Sep 44 and were joined by the remainder of the 29th Marines, activated in the States in May 44, and the 15th Marines (artillery), activated in Oct 44.

The Division departed Guadalcanal on 15 Mar 45 and rendezvoused with III Amphibious Corps at Ulithi Atoll in the Carolines. It assaulted Okinawa, its only combat operation, on 1 Apr 45 and fought there until 21 June.

In July the Division moved to Guam to prepare for the invasion of Japan. Instead, the 4th Marines accompanied the Third Fleet Landing Force (Task Force A) for the occupation of Japan, rightfully being the first Marine unit to land (carrying the lineage of the 4th Marines, destroyed at Corregidor in May of 1942). This force landed at Yokosuka Navy Base south of Tokyo on 30 Aug 45, four days before the formal surrender.

The remainder of the Division departed Guam on 1 Oct 45 and landed at Tsingtao and Chefoo, China on 11 Oct as an occupation force. The 4th Marines rejoined the Division in Jan 46. The Division operated in Shantung Province until deactivated in Tsingtao on 31 Mar 46. Its remaining units were formed into the 3d Marine Brigade.

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Last updated: February 29, 2000

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Compiled and formatted by Patrick Clancey