Battle of Saipan

Coordinates: 15°11′N 145°45′E / 15.183°N 145.750°E / 15.183; 145.750
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Battle of Saipan
Part of the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign of the Pacific Theater (World War II)

Marines take cover behind a Sherman tank while clearing Japanese forces in northern Saipan, 8 July 1944.
Date15 June – 9 July 1944 (1944-06-15 – 1944-07-09) (24 days)
Result American victory
 United States  Japan
Commanders and leaders
Richmond K. Turner
Holland Smith
Chūichi Nagumo 
Yoshitsugu Saitō 
Units involved
V Amphibious Corps 31st Army
Assault: 71,034
Garrison: 23,616
Total: 94,650[1]
Army: 25,469
Navy: 6,160
Total: 31,629[2]
Casualties and losses
Land forces:[3]
3,100–3,225 killed
326 missing
13,061–13,099 wounded
Ships personnel:[4]
51+ killed
32+ missing
184+ wounded
25,144+ dead
(buried as of 15 August)
1,810 prisoners
(as of 10 August)
Remaining ~5,000 committed suicide, killed/captured later, or holding out[5]
8,000[6]–10,000[7] civilian deaths

The Battle of Saipan was an amphibious assault launched by the United States against the Empire of Japan during the Pacific campaign of World War II between 15 June and 9 July 1944. The battle resulted in the American occupation of the island, putting the Japanese home islands within the range of United States Army Air Forces B-29 bombers and precipitating the resignation of Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tōjō. It also triggered the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which effectively destroyed Japanese carrier-based airpower.

Saipan was the first objective in Operation Forager, the campaign to occupy the Mariana Islands that got underway at the same time the Allies were invading France in Operation Overlord. After a two-day naval bombardment, the U.S. 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and the Army's 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith landed on the island and defeated the 43rd Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saitō. Organized resistance ended when at least 3,000 Japanese soldiers died in a final gyokusai attack, and afterward about 1,000 civilians committed suicide.

The capture of Saipan pierced the Japanese inner defense perimeter and left Japan vulnerable to strategic bombing. It forced the Japanese government to inform its citizens for the first time that the war was not going well. The battle claimed more than 46,000 military casualties and at least 8,000 civilian deaths. The high percentage of casualties suffered during the battle influenced American planning for future assaults, including the projected invasion of Japan.


American strategic objectives[edit]

Map of Allied landings in the Pacific with Saipan circled in blue

Up to early 1944, Allied operations against the Japanese military in the Pacific were focused on securing the lines of communications between Australia and the United States. These operations had recaptured the Solomon Islands, eastern New Guinea, western New Britain, the Admiralty Islands, and the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.[8] To defeat Japan, Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander in Chief, United States Fleet for the United States, sought to execute War Plan Orange,[9] which the Naval War College had been developing for four decades in the event of a war.[10] The plan envisioned an assault through the Central Pacific that originated from Hawaii, island-hopped through the Micronesia and the Philippines, forced a decisive battle with the Japanese navy, and brought about an economic collapse of Japan.[11]

General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area, objected to King's proposed offensive.[12] MacArthur argued that it would be costly and time-consuming, and it would pull resources away from his drive in the Southwest Pacific toward the Philippines.[13] The Joint Chiefs of Staff decided in favor of King's plan,[14] seeing it as strategically promising. MacArthur could continue his campaign, but priority was given to a Central Pacific drive led by Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas.[15]

King had decided that with the capture of the Gilberts and Marshalls, the Marianas would be the next objective.[16] The occupation of these islands–specifically Saipan, Tinian and Guam–would cut the sea and air route from the Japanese home islands to the western Pacific.[17] King also thought that the strategic importance of the Marianas could draw the main Japanese fleet out for a major naval battle.[18] General Henry H. Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Forces, supported the idea:[19] The Marianas could provide secure airfields to sustain a strategic bombing offensive, as much of Japan's population centers and industrial areas were in the 1,600 mi (2,600 km) range of the new B-29 bomber.[20]

The invasion of the Marianas been formally endorsed by the Allies at the Cairo Conference in November 1943, and it was set for 1 October 1944.[21]. After the rapid conquest of the Marshall Islands, the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided on 12 March to move the invasion, which was codenamed Forager,[22] up to 15 June.[23]

American invasion force[edit]

Nimitz assigned Admiral Raymond Spruance, commander of the Fifth Fleet, to oversee the operation. Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, Commander, Joint Amphibious Forces (Task Force 51) oversaw the overall organization of the amphibious landings of Forager; he also oversaw the tactical command of the landing on Saipan as Commander, Northern Attack Force.[24] Once the amphibious landings were completed, Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops (Task Force 56), would oversee the ground forces for all of Forager; he would also oversee the ground combat on Saipan as Commander, Northern Troops and Landing Force.[25]

The Northern Troops and Landing Force was built around the V Amphibious Corps,[26] which consisted of the 2nd commanded by Major General Thomas E. Watson and 4th Marine Division commanded by Major General Harry Schmidt.[27] Additionally, the 27th Infantry Division commanded by Major General Ralph C. Smith was held as the Expeditionary Troops reserve for use anywhere in the Marianas.[28] Over 60,000 troops were assigned to the assault:[a] Approximately 22,000 were in each Marine division and 16,500 in the 27th Infantry Division.[29]

The invasion fleet, consisting of over 500 ships and 300,000 men,[b] got underway days before the Allied forces in Europe invaded France in Operation Overlord on 6 June 1944.[30] It was launched from Hawaii, briefly stopping at Eniwetok and Kwajalein before heading for Saipan. The Marine divisions left Pearl harbor on 19–31 May and rendezvoused at Eniwetok on 7–8 June; the 27th Infantry Division left Pearl Harbor on 25 May and arrived at Kwajalein on 9 June.[31] The fifteen aircraft carriers of the Fast Carrier Task Force (Task Force 58) commanded by Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher,[32] which would provide support for the invasion, left Majuro for Saipan on 6 June.[33]

Japanese defensive preparations[edit]

cannon in profile facing left with ocean in the background.
Japanese 6-inch (152 mm) coastal defense gun found on Saipan after the battle

American intelligence had estimated that there would be between 15,000 and 18,000 Japanese troops on Saipan at the time of the invasion.[34] In actuality, there were double that number.[35] Nearly 32,000 Japanese military personnel were on the island, including 6,000 naval troops.[36] The Japanese hurriedly reinforced the island before the invasion, but many of the troop transports were sunk by U. S. submarines.[37] For example, five of seven ships transporting the Japanese 43rd Division were sunk.[38] Most of the troops were saved, but most of their equipment–including hats and shoes–were lost, which reduced their effectiveness.[39] Other soldiers were stranded survivors of different units headed to other islands when their ships were sunk.[40] There were also about 80 tanks on the island, substantially more than the Americans had encountered in previous battles with the Japanese.[41]

The Japanese defenses were set up to defeat an invading force at the beaches, when the invading troops were most vulnerable.[42] These defenses focused on the most likely invasion locations, the western beaches south of Garapan. [43] This made the defenses brittle. If an invading force broke through the beach defenses, there was no organized fallback position: the Japanese troops would have to rely on Saipan's rough terrain, especially its caves, for protection.[44] The original plans called for a defense in depth that fortified the entire island[45] if time allowed,[46] but the Japanese were unable to complete their defenses by the time of the invasion. Much of the building material sent to Saipan, such as concrete and steel, had been sunk in transit by American submarines,[47] and the timing of the invasion surprised the Japanese, who thought they had until November to complete their defense.[44] As of June, many fortifications remained incomplete, available building materials were left unused, and many artillery guns were not properly deployed.[48]

Japanese leadership on the island suffered from poor command coordination. Although Vice Admiral Chūichi Nagumo, Commander of the Central Pacific Area Fleet, had nominal oversight of the defenses in the Central Pacific. Lieutenant General Hideyoshi Obata, the commander of the Thirty-first Army who was responsible for the army's defense of the Marianas, refused to subordinate his command to a naval officer.[49] Because Obata was not on the island when the invasion started, command of Saipan's army units fell to the senior army officer on the island, Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saitō, commander of the 43rd Division.[50] But Obata's chief of staff, Major General Keiji Igeta, maintained a separate headquarters that was often out of touch with Saitō.[51]

Saipan's military geography[edit]

panorama of Saipan. There are green hills in the foreground, towns and beaches in the midground, sea and clouds in the distance.
Panorama from Mount Tapotchau looking southwest, 2017: Aslito Field is on the left, Charan Kanoa and invasion beaches are left of center, and Garapan is on the right

Saipan and the other Mariana Islands were claimed as Spanish possessions by the conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi in 1564. After Spain's defeat in the Spanish-American War, Saipan was sold to Germany in 1899.[52] The island was occupied by the Japanese in 1914 during World War I, who made it the administrative center for the Mariana Islands– Saipan, Tinian and Rota– that were part of Japan's South Seas Mandate.[53]

Saipan has a tropical marine climate with a mean annual temperature of 85° in the lowlands and 78° in the highlands. Though the island has a mean rainfall between 81 and 91 inches per year, the rainy season doe not begin until July.[54] Unlike the small, flat coral atolls of the Gilberts and Marshalls,[47] Saipan is a volcanic island with diverse terrain well suited for defense.[55] It is approximately 47 sq mi (122 km2),[56][c] and has a volcanic core surrounded by limestone.[58] In the center of the island is Mount Tapotchau, which rises to 1,554 ft (474 m). From the mountain, a high ridge ran northward about seven miles to Mount Marpi.[59] This area was filled with caves and ravines concealed by forest and brush,[60] and the mountainous terrain would force tanks to stay on the island's few roads, which were poorly constructed.[61]

The southern half of the island was where the principal airfield of the Marianas, Aslito Field, was located.[62] It served as a repair stop and transit hub for Japanese aircraft headed toward other parts of the Pacific.[63] This half of the island was flatter but covered with sugar cane fields[64] because the island's economy became focused on sugar production after the Japanese government had taken over Saipan from Germany in 1914,[65] Seventy percent of Saipan's acreage was dedicated to sugar cane.[53] It was so plentiful that a narrow-gauge rail was built around the perimeter of the island to facilitate its transportation.[66] These cane fields were an obstacle to attackers: they were difficult to maneuver in and provided concealment for the defenders.[67]

Saipan was the first island of the war where the United States forces encountered a substantial Japanese civilian population,[68] and the first where U. S. Marines encountered large urban centers.[69] Approximately 26,000[6] to 28,000[7] civilians lived on the island primarily serving the sugar industry.[53] The majority of them were Japanese subjects, most of whom were from Okinawa and Korea; a minority were Chamorro people.[66] The largest towns on the island–the administrative center of Garapan with its population of 10,000, Charan Kanoa, and Tanapag– were on the western coast of the island, which was where the best landing beaches for an invasion were.[67]

Opposing forces[edit]

Map showing the progress of the Battle of Saipan

United States
US Fifth Fleet
Admiral Raymond A. Spruance

Northern Attack Force (Task Force 52)
Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner
Expeditionary Troops (Task Force 56)
Lieut. General Holland M. Smith, USMC
Approx. 59,800 officers and enlisted
V Amphibious Corps (Lt. Gen. Smith)
2nd Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Thomas E. Watson, USMC)
4th Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Harry Schmidt, USMC)
Expeditionary Troops reserve (Lt. Gen Smith)
27th Infantry Division (Army) (Maj. Gen. Ralph C. Smith, USA)


group portrait of 28 people arranged in three rows.
Nagumo and his staff on Saipan, 1944. Nagumo is in the front row, sixth from the left

Central Pacific Area Fleet HQ
Vice Admiral Chūichi Nagumo
Approx. 6,200 navy personnel

Thirty-first Army
Lieut. General Hideyoshi Obata
Defenses of Saipan
Lieut. General Yoshitsugu Saitō
Approx. 25,500 army personnel
43rd Division (Lt. Gen. Saitō)
47th Independent Mixed Brigade
Miscellaneous units


June 11–14: Preparatory attacks[edit]

Two cruisers, one in front left foreground,a second in the upper distance is firing. Amphibious vehicles are headed to the right.
LVTs heading for shore on 15 June 1944. Birmingham in foreground; the cruiser firing in the distance is Indianapolis

On June 11, over 200 F6F Hellcats from the Fast Carrier Task Force launched a surprise attack on Japanese airfields in Saipan and Tinian,[70] putting approximately 130 Japanese aircraft out of operation[71] at the cost of 11 American aircraft.[72] The attack took out nearly one-third of the 435 planes in Vice Admiral Kakuji Kakuta's 1st Air Fleet, which had been deployed to defend the Marianas,[73] and gave the Americans air superiority over Saipan.[74] Planes from the task force continued their attacks until June 14,[75] harassing fields, bombing military targets, and burning cane fields on the southern half of Saipan.[76] By end of the week, the 1st Air Fleet had been reduced to about 100 aircraft.[73]

On 13 June, seven fast battleships and 11 destroyers under Vice Admiral Willis Lee began the naval bombardment of Saipan.[77] The bombardment damaged much of Garapan and Charan Kanoa,[78] but was relatively ineffective at destroying the island's defenses because most of the battleship crews had not been trained in shore bombardment and the ships fired from more than 5.5 mi (8.9 km) to avoid potential minefields.[78] The following day, seven older battleships, 11 cruisers, and 26 destroyers[79] commanded by Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf took over the attack.[80] The crews were trained in shore bombardment, [81] and moved closer to shore because the sea was found to be free of mines.[82] The attacks destroyed many emplaced anti-aircraft positions,[83] but most of the beach defenses remained intact.[84]

June 15: D-Day[edit]

American amphibious landing[edit]

uneven beach in foreground littered with equipment, soldiers and amphibious vehicle in the distance
Soldiers and equipment from the 2nd Marine Division on Red Beach at 13:00 on 15 June.

June 15 was D-Day for the amphibious landing,[85] which began around 08:40.[86] Naval and aerial bombardments in preparation for the landings began earlier in the morning,[87] disrupting the Japanese communications network.[88] The guns of the warships would provide supporting fire continued throughout the day.[87]

Building on left with orange flames and a plume stretching to the right top corner. There are leafless trees and soldiers can be seen looking on the lower left of the picture.
Inferno, a 1944 oil painting by William F. Draper of the destruction of the sugar mill at Charan Kanoa on 15 June (Navy Art Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command)

The V Amphibious Corps landed on the southwest beaches of Saipan.[89] The 2nd Marine Division landed on two beaches, named Red and Green, of Charan Kanoa, and the 4th Marine Division landed on the beaches, named Blue and Yellow, south of the town.[90] Approximately 700 Amphibious vehicles participated in the assault,[91] including 393 amphibious tractors and 140 amphibious tanks.[92] Within 20 minutes, there were 8000 men on the beaches.[93]

The beaches were fortified by trenches and a few pillboxes,[94] but the landings were mainly contested by constant and intensive fire by Japanese artillery, mortars,[95] and machine guns.[36] The Japanese had concentrated at least 50 large artillery pieces on the high ground and reversed slopes around the invasion beaches,[96] and had placed pennants on the beach for accurate ranging.[97] The Americans suffered over 2,000 casualties,[98][d] the majority were due to the artillery and mortar fire.[100] Additionally, 164 amphibious tractors and amphibious tanks, about 40% of those engaged during the day, had been destroyed or damaged.[101]

By the end of the day, the Marines managed to establish a bridgehead about 5.5 mi (9 km) along the beach and 0.5 mi (1 km) inland,[102] and had unloaded artillery and tanks.[103] But the bridgehead was only about two-thirds the size of the planned objective,[104] the two Marine divisions were separated by a wide gap just north of Charan Kanoa,[105] and the Japanese artillery remained intact on the high ground surrounding the beach.[106]

When darkness fell, Saito launched a series of night attacks to push the Americans back into the sea.[107] Japanese launched repeated counterattacks during the night and the early hours of the following morning,[108] mostly by poorly coordinated small units.[109] All the attacks were repulsed,[110] partly by the firepower provided by the tanks and artillery that had been during the day as well as by American warships that illuminated the combat areas with star shells.[111]

Japanese naval response[edit]

The Japanese Imperial War Council established the "Exclusive National Defense Sphere" In September 1943, which was bounded by the Kuril Islands, Bonin Islands, the Marianas, Western New Guinea, Malaya, and Burma.[112] This was considered to a defensive line to be held at all costs if Japan was to win the war.[113] The Imperial Japanese Navy planned to hold this line by defeating the United States fleet in a single decisive battle.[114] Any American attempt to breach this line would serve as the trigger to start the battle.[115] After their defeat, the Americans were expected to negotiate for peace.[116]

Once Admiral Soemu Toyoda, Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, was certain that Saipan was the target of an invasion, he initiated his response.[117] Less than a half hour after the start of the amphibious invasion,[118] he announced the implementation of Operation A-Go,[119] the Japanese Navy's current plan to destroy the American fleet.[120] He then sent a message to the entire fleet that repeated Admiral Heihachirō Tōgō's before Japan's decisive naval battle against Russia at Tsushima in 1905, which in turn echoed Horatio Nelson's signal at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805:[118] "The fate of the Empire rests upon this single battle. Every man is expected to do his utmost."[121]

Originally, the Japanese Navy sought to have the battle take place in the Palaus or Western Carolines,[122] and MacArthur's invasion of Biak had led them to believe that they could lure the American fleet there.[123] After the preinvasion bombardment of Saipan, Toyoda guessed Saipan was the target and ordered Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki who commanded the super battleships Yamato and Musashi to rendezvous with Vice Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa, commander of the 1st Mobile Fleet and to rendezvous in the Philippine Sea to attack the American fleet around Saipan.[124] The Japanese fleet, which had 9 aircraft carriers, 5 battleships, and nearly 500 airplanes was outnumbered by the American fleet,[125] which had 16 aircraft carriers, 7 battleships, and almost 1,000 airplanes.[126] But the longer range of the Japanese planes allowed them the opportunity to strike the Americans without fear of immediate retaliation,[126] the availability of airbases on the Marianas gave the carrier planes a place to land and quickly rearm for additional strikes,[127] and there were supposed to be around 500 land-based planes from Kakuta's First Airfleet available to help destroy the American fleet.[128]

June 16–20: Southern Saipan[edit]

Japanese tank attack and the capture of Aslito field[edit]

Soldiers of 27th Infantry Division moving inland after landing on 16 June

On 16 June, Holland Smith committed his reserves to reinforce the beachhead, ordering two of the three regiments of the 27th Infantry Division to land,[129] and the proposed 18 June invasion of Guam was indefinitely postponed.[130] The two Marine divisions on Saipan spent most of the day consolidating the beachhead.[131] The 2nd Marine Division began to close the gap between the two divisions north of Charan Kanoa, and the 4th Marine Division cleared the area around Aginan point on the southwest of the Island.[132]

tank in profile facing right with hills in background
Japanese Type 97 medium tank knocked out in 17 June attack

During the night, Saitō launched a tank assault on the flank of the beachhead just north of Charan Kanoa with approximately 30 Type 97 medium tanks and Type 95 light tanks[e] and about 1,000 soldiers.[133] The attack was poorly coordinated.[134] Nagamo's naval troops, who were supposed to be part of the attack, did not cooperate.[135] The attack was broken up by bazookas, 37 mm anti-tank guns, M4 medium tanks, and self-propelled 75mm howitzers.[136] around 31 Japanese tanks were destroyed.[137]

airfield with two airplanes behind a damaged hanger.
View of Aslito Field with A6Ms Zeros captured by U.S. forces on 18 June

In the following days, the 2nd Marine Division on the northern half of the bridgehead cleared the area around Lake Susupe[138] and reached the objectives for the first day of the invasion,[139] and slowly moved north toward Garapan and Mount Tapotchou.[140] In the southern half of the bridgehead, the 4th Marine Division, including elements of the 27th Infantry Division, began their advance on Aslito Field. On 18 June, the 27th Infantry Division, which was now fighting as a,[141] captured the field[142] as the Japanese withdrew to Nafutan Point in the southeast of the island.[143] The 4th Marine Division had reached the island's eastern coast, cutting off the Japanese troops at Nafutan Point from the north.[144] During this time, Saitō was falsely rumored to have been killed.[145] Igeta erroneously reported Saitō's death to Tokyo, though he corrected the report the later.[146]

Holland Smith ordered the 27th Infantry Division to quickly capture Nafutan Point but it was unable to do so.[147] Intelligence had estimated that there were no more than 300 Japanese soldiers in the area, but there were more than 1,000 defending the rough terrain.[148] The battle for the point would continue for over a week.[149]

By 19 June, the Japanese forces on the island had been reduced by about half.[150] Saitō began withdrawing his troops to a new defensive line in the center of the island.[151] By this time, the Americans had suffered over 6,000 casualties.[152] The Marine divisions headed north toward the new Japanese defenses,[153] and Holland Smith called for the final reserve of the Expeditionary Forces, ordering the last regiment of the 27th infantry Division to land on Saipan on June 20.[154]

Battle of Philippine Sea[edit]

tracked landing vehicle on right, tree on left, in center and right are shirtless soldiers waiting around, ships are in the background.
An LVT Comes Ashore, Saipan, a 1944 oil painting by William F. Draper .(Navy Art Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command)

To prepare for the upcoming naval battle, the American transports continued to unload supplies and reinforcements throughout June 17. The following day, the transports sailed east toward safety while the warships prepared to engage the Japanese fleet. On June 19–20, the fleets fought an aircraft carrier battle.[155] The Japanese struck first,[156] launching four large air attacks on the American fleet,[157] But the Japanese aviators were inexperienced and outnumbered: Very few of the anticipated land-based planes were available,[158] and those that were had little effect.[159]

The Japanese lost almost 500 planes[160] and almost all their aviators;[161] their carrier forces were left with only 35 operable aircraft.[162] The Americans lost about 130 planes[160] and 76 aviators.[161] An American counterstrike sank a Japanese carrier, and American submarines sank two others, including Ozawa's flagship Taihō.[163] The battle sealed the fate for the Japanese forces defending Saipan. Though they did not know it, they could not expect expect further assistance.[164] Although the Japanese command was determined to fight to the last person,[165] it was doomed to lose a battle of attrition.[166]

21-24 June: Central Saipan, initial attack[edit]

Three soldiers looking away from the camera toward a cave-like fissure.
Marines confronting rough terrain with a limestone cave typical of central and north Saipan

Saitō's new defense line stretched from Garapan on the west coast to the southern slopes of Mount Tapachou across to Magicienne Bay on the east coast.[167] It held most of the island's high ground, which allowed the Japanese to observe American movements, and the rough terrain was filled with caves concealed by brush.[168]

The American forces prepared for a frontal assault on Saitō's line using all three divisions.[169] The attack began on June 22. The 2nd Marine Division was on the western coast moved toward Garapan and Mount Tapotchau; the 4th Marine Division advanced along the eastern coast,[170] which created gaps in the lines in the hilly ground between the two divisions.[171] That evening, the 27th Infantry Divison, less the regiment left to reduce Nafutan point,[172] was ordered to move up into the difficult terrain between the two Marine divisions.[173]

The next day, the Marine divisions on the flanks made progress, but the 27th Infantry Division, which started its attack late, stalled in its assault on a valley surrounding a low lying ridge that was defended by about 4,000 Japanese soldiers.[174] The battle around these features, which American soldiers nicknamed these "Death Valley" and "Purple Heart Ridge",[175] beginning to bend the line of the American advance into a horseshoe,[176] creating gaps in the Marine divisions flanks and forcing them to halt.[177]

Frustrated by what he saw as lack of progress by the 27th Division, Holland Smith relieved its commander, Major General Ralph Smith, and temporarily replaced him another Army officer, Major General Sanderford Jarman.[178] The debate over the appropriateness of Holland's Smith action–a Marine general dismissing an Army general–immediately created an inter-service controversy.[179][f] Despite the replacement of the 27th Infantry Division's commander, it would take six more days for the valley to be captured.[181]

25-30 June: Central Saipan, breakthrough[edit]

American firepower[edit]

a row of trucks firing rockets. A cloud of dust is behind them.
IHC M–2–4 rocket trucks firing a barrage

The United States' forces had built up substantial firepower to continue their northward drive. On 22 June, P-47s from the Seventh Air Force landed on Aslito field and immediately began launching ground assault missions.[182] On the same day, the XXIV artillery corps had moved 24 155 mm field guns and 24 155 mm howitzers into place to fire on Japanese positions.[183] The Americans also used truck-launched rockets[184] for saturation barrages.[185] Spotters flying in L-2 Grasshoppers helped direct ground artillery,[186] and Navajo code talkers relayed information about Japanese troop movements.[187]

By June 24, the American warships that had returned from the Battle of Philippine sea were once more available to provide fire support.[188] These ships, which were well supplied with star shells, provided illumination over the island during the night disrupting Japanese night attacks, which had been successful in previous campaigns.[189] This naval support, which played an important role in breaking up Japanese resistance,[190] was often facilitated by joint assault signal companies that directed both naval and aerial firepower to where it was needed by the ground forces.[191]

tank shooting flame into foliage and pillbox, creating a plume of smoke.
A "Satan", an M3 light tank with a Ronson flamethrower, incinerates a Japanese pillbox

The Americans had other assets as well. Over 150 tanks–over 100 of which were M4 medium tanks–had been committed to the invasion.[192] The M4 medium tank was superior to the Japanese Type 97 tank.[193] It was primarily used to support infantry and was considered one of the most effective weapons for destroying enemy emplacements.[194] Flame throwers were extensively used. Smith had seen the need for motorized flamethrowers and had requested that the Army's Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) in Hawaii install them in M3 light tanks. Seabees with the CWS had 24 of the vehicles, dubbed "Satans", available in time for the invasion They were very effective for destroying pillboxes, cave defenses. buildings, canefields, and brush.[195] In the hills, soldiers relied on personal flamethrowers, particularly in locations where the motorized flamethrowers could not reach.[196] The Americans gradually developed tactics for effectively reducing caves, using a combination of flamethrowers and demolition charges to clear them, or sometimes using demolitions to seal them off.[197]

On 27 June, Igeta's 31st Army Headquarters sent a telegram from the island stating the Japanese would not be able to hold due to the American preponderance in artillery, sea and air power, as well of a lack of equipment and supplies, including food and water.[198] Saito singled out naval gunfire undermining the Japanese' ability to fight successfully against the Americans.[199] The lack of water was a major problem, especially in the limestone caves the Japanese soldiers used for defense.[200]

Igeta reported that some soldiers hadn't had water for three days and were surviving on snails and tree leaves.[201] Japanese communications were so disrupted that at one point during the week, Igeta could only account for 950 of the Japanese soldiers.[202]

American advance and Japanese break out at Nafutan Point[edit]

On 25 June, the 27th Infantry Division was not able to make much headway in their fight for Death Valley. But the 2nd Marine Division to the west gained control of Mount Tapotchau, the key artillery observation posts in Central Saipan.[203] On the east coast, the 4th Marine Division quickly occupied most of the Kagman peninsula, meeting little organized resistance[204] because the Japanese had evacuated the peninsula.[205] Between 26 June and 30 June, the 2nd Marine Division and the 27th Infantry Division had made little progress. The second Marines remained south of Garapan and were slowly fighting their way north of Mount Topatchau. The 4th Marine Division was able to advance up the eastern coast to a line just north of the village of Hashigoru.[206]

About 500 Japanese soldiers broke out of Nafutan point on the night of June 26. They headed toward Aslito field, destroying one P-47 and damaging two others.[207] They then ran into a unit of Marines who were in reserve and a unit of Marine artillery. Almost all the Japanese soldiers were killed in the ensuing firefight.[208] The next day, the elements of the 27th Infantry Division that had been fighting at the point moved in to occupy the area, no survivors were found.[209]

Army Major General George Griner, who had been sent for from Hawaii, took over from command of the 27th Infantry Division on 28 June. Jarman, whose command had been temporary, returned to his assign role as garrison commander of the island.[210] On 30 June, the 27th Infantry Division captured Death Valley and Purple Heart Ridge, and advance far enough to reestablish contact with the two Marine divisions on their flanks. The Saitō's main line of defense in Central Saipan had been breached;[211] and the Japanese began their retreat north to their final defensive line.[212] To date, American casualties were about 11,000.[213]

1–6 July: Pursuit into northern Saipan[edit]

Marines advancing through the ruins of Garapan on 3 July

Saitō intended to form a new line northern Saipan that was anchored on Tanapag on the west, went southeast to a village called Tarahoho, through to the east coast.[214] But his army's cohesion was disintegrating. Some of the remaining forces moved north, others holed up in whatever caves they could find and put up sporadic, disorganized resistance.[215] During 2–4 July, the 2nd Marine Division took the ruins of Garapan and its harbor.[216] The 4th Marine Division quickly moved north on the west coast in the face of light resistance.[217] As Saitō's attempt to form the defense line collapsed,[218] he eventually moved his final headquarters near Makunsha village on the west coast north of Tanapag.[219]

On 4 July, the 27th Infantry Division and 4th Marine Division headed northwest. The 27th division reached the east coast at Flores Point, south of Tanapag,[220] cutting off any Japanese retreating from Garapan.[221] The 2nd Marine Division no longer faced organized resistance, and went into reserve. The 27th Infantry Division was to move up the east coast toward Tanapag, and the 4th Marine Division would advance northwest.[222] On 5 July, the 27th Infantry Division encountered strong resistance in a narrow canyon on the east coast north of Tanapag that they dubbed "Harikari Gulch", which expanded into a two-day battle.[223]

The 4th Marine Division continued to make rapid progress north during 4–5 July,[224] and on July 6, Holland Smith ordered them to head toward the eastern coast near Makunsha to cut off the Japanese forces fighting the 27th Infantry Division,[225] then the Marines would complete the occupation of the rest of northern Saipan on their own.[226] In the evening, the Marines had taken Mount Petosukara, one of the last mountains before reaching the northern tip of the island,[227] but the units that turned toward Makunsha encountered too much resistance to reach the eastern coast.[228]

Saitō realized he could not create a final defensive line. His headquarters, which had been under constant artillery attack for days, was now in the range of American machine guns.[229] What was left of his command was trapped in a northern corner of the island, almost out of food and water, and slowly being destroyed by overwhelming American firepower.[230] On 6 July, Saitō decided the situation was hopeless and sent out orders for the remainder of his forces to perform gyokusai, one final suicide attack to destroy as many of the enemy as possible.[231] He set the attack for the following day to give the troops a chance to concentrate what was left of his forces and put his divisional chief of Staff, Colonel Takuji Suzuki,[232] in charge. That night, Saitō ate a last meal and committed seppuku; Nagumo killed himself around the same time.[g]

7–9 July: Gyokusai attack and battle's end[edit]

tank in mid-left heading down road from left to right. Terrain is flat in foreground, forested cliffs in back ground. Soldiers are walking behind the tank
Soldiers of the 2nd Marine Division advancing north on Tanapag Plain on July 8 after gyokusai attack

At least 3,000 Japanese combatants participated in the gyokusai attack.[237][h] They assembled near Makunsha. The force included naval personnel,[243] support troops, civilians,[244] and the walking wounded.[245] It included three tanks,[246] supporting mortars, and machine guns,[247] but some troops were only armed with sticks with bayonets, knives, or grenades tied to poles.[243] It would be the largest gyokusai attack of the Pacific War.[226]

At around 04:00, Suzuki's force advanced south along the western coastal area,[248] called the Tanapag plain,[249] toward where his reconnaissance patrols had found a weak spot in the American line near Tanapag village:[250] two battalions of the 105 Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division were isolated from the other American forces.[239] The main force struck the two battalions at about 04:45, overrunning both and inflicting 80% casualties,[251] it overran two batteries of Marine artillery. The charge continued toward Tanapag village, but was halted in the late morning [252] by a hastily-formed American line around the village.[253] The fighting continued throughout the day, as American soldiers struggled against scattered elements of the gyokusai attack and recaptured lost ground.[254]

On July 8, most of the 27th Infantry Division, which had suffered high losses in the gyokusai attack, were placed into reserve. The 2nd Marine Division advanced up the Tanapag plain, looking for Japanese stragglers.[255] The 4th Marine Division reached the Western coast north of Makunsha and headed toward, Marpi point, near the island's northern-most tip.[256] As they advanced, they saw hundreds of Japanese civilians die on inland and coastal cliffs.[257] Some threw themselves off, others were thrown or pushed off.[258] By the evening of July 9, the 4th Marine Division had reached the northern end of the Island and Turner declared the island secure.[259] On the second day of the battle, he had estimated that the Saipan would be captured in a week;[87] it had taken 24 days.[260] On 11 July, the Americans found the body of general Saitō. He was buried on 13 July with full military honors in a coffin draped with the Japanese flag.[261]

Further resistance[edit]

Though the island was declared secured, the fighting and suicides would continue. Clearing the hundreds of scattered Japanese soldiers hiding in caves would take many more months,[262] though the responsibilities were handed over to the Army Garrison Force.[257] One group of about 50 Japanese men–soldiers and civilians–was led by Captain Sakae Ōba, who survived the last banzai charge.[263] His group evaded capture and conducted guerrilla-style attacks, raiding American camps for supplies.[264] Oba's resistance earned him the nickname "the Fox".[263] His men held out for approximately 16 months before surrendering on 1 December 1945, three months after the official surrender of Japan.[265]


Women with children and dog sitting in cave on left facing a marine squatting on the right who is looking at her.
First Lieutenant Robert Sheeks talks a woman with children and a dog into leaving a hillside cave on June 21

Almost the entire Japanese garrison–approximately 30,000 military personnel– were killed in the battle. Eventually 1700, about half of whom were Korean workers, were taken prisoner.[257] American forces suffered about 16,500 casualties–3,100 killed and 13,000 wounded–[266] out of 71,000 who were part of the assault force.[267] The casualty rate was over 20%,[268] which was comparable to Tarawa.[266] It was the Americans most costly battle in the Pacific up to that time.[269]

Approximately 40% of the civilians on Saipan were killed. Around 14,000 survived and were interned,[270] but an estimated 8,000[6] to 10,000[7] died during the fighting or shortly afterwards. Many civilians died from the bombing, shelling and cross-fire.[271] Others died because they hid in caves and shelters that were indistinguishable from Japanese combat positions, which the Marines typically destroyed with explosives, grenades and flamethrowers.[272] Though many civilians were able to surrender early in the battle.[273] surrender became more difficult as the battle moved into the northern mountains. Obscuring terrain made it hard to distinguish combatants and surrendering civilians, who risked being killed by both sides.[274] Many refused to surrender because they believed rumors that the Japanese fleet was coming to rescue them.[275] Others refused because of the fear spread by Japanese propaganda that Americans would rape, torture and kill them; others were coerced.[276] Around 1,000 civilians committed suicide during the final days of the battle,[277] many of them days after 9 July when the island had been declared secure.[278] The places they jumped from would become known as "Suicide Cliff" and "Banzai Cliff".[279]


The invasion of Saipan in Operation Forager and the invasion of France in Operation Overlord demonstrated the dominance of American industrial power. Both were massive amphibious invasions–the two largest up to that time–and they were launched almost simultaneously on separate halves of the globe.[280] Because the Battle of Saipan began just over a week after the 6 June landings for Overlord, its importance has often been overlooked. But just as Overlord was a major step in contributing to the fall of the Third Reich, Saipan marked a major step in the collapse of the Empire of Japan.[281]

Impact on Japanese political situation[edit]

Collapse of defense perimeter[edit]

map of the western Pacific. An orange line marking the Japanese defenses runs from the Kuriles to New Guinea and Java. There is an arc showing the range of B-29 bombers that overlaps with Japan and the Philippines
Map showing strategic implication of Saipan's fall: Japanese Exclusive National Defense Sphere is pierced and the Japanese home islands are within the 1,600 mi (2,600 km) range of the B-29 bomber

The capture of Saipan pierced the Japanese Exclusive National Defense Sphere.[282] Saipan's loss had a greater impact in Japan than all its previous defeats.[283] In July, the Chief of the War Guidance department of Imperial General Headquarters Colonel Sei Matsutani,[284] drafted a report stating that the conquest of Saipan destroyed all hope of winning the war.[285] Even the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, acknowledged that the loss of Saipan would result in Tokyo being bombed. After the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Philippine sea, Hirohito demanded that the Japanese General Staff plan another naval attack to prevent its fall.[286] Hirohito only accepted Saipan's loss on June 25 when his advisors told him all was lost.[287] When the war ended, Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Miwa stated "Our war was lost with the loss of Saipan,"[288] and Fleet Admiral Osami Nagano also acknowledged Saipan was the decisive battle of the war, saying "When we lost Saipan, Hell is on us."[289]

Fall of government[edit]

Japan's loss of Saipan brought the collapse of Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tōjō's government. Disappointed with the progress of the war, Hirohito withdrew his support of Tōjō, who resigned on 18 July.[290] He was replaced by former General Kuniaki Koiso,[291] who was a less capable leader.[292]

Civilian morale[edit]

woman in dress in foreground walking toward viewer on a beach by the water's edge, soldiers and landing craft in background
Woman holds a baby as she returns to an internment camp in Saipan, June 1944

Saipan's fall led the Japanese government's war reporting to tell its citizens for the first time that the war was going poorly. In July, imperial Japanese headquarters published a statement providing a summary detail of the battle and the loss of the island. The government also allowed a translation of a Time magazine article, which included the civilian suicides on the last days of the battle, to be published in The Asahi Shimbun, Japan's largest newspaper, while the battle was in progress.[293] Before the battle had ended, the Japanese government issued the "Outline for the Evacuation of Schoolchildren" in June, anticipating of the bombing of Japan's cities.[294] This evacuation, the only compulsory one enacted during the war,[294] separated more than 350,000 third- through sixth-graders who lived in major cities from their families and sent them into the countryside.[295]

Impact on American military strategy[edit]

Planning for casualties[edit]

American planners used the losses in Saipan as a measure of casualties that could be expected in the future.[296] This "Saipan ratio"–one killed American and several wounded for every seven Japanese soldier killed– became one of the justifications for American planners to increase conscription, projecting an increased need for replacements in the war on Japan.[297] Its prediction of high casualties was part of the reason that the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not approve an invasion of Taiwan.[298] The Saipan ratio guided the initial estimate that the invasion of Japan would cost up 2,000,000 American casualties,[299] including 500,000 killed.[300] Though these estimates would be revised downward later, they would still influence politicians' thinking about the war well into 1945.[301]

Naval air dominance[edit]

The landing on Saipan triggered the Battle of the Philippine Sea, a fleet battle resulting in major defeat for the Japanese Navy.[302] In the battle, Japan's most powerful weapon, airpower, was destroyed:[303] The Japanese fleet lost 90% of its carrier planes and over 450 trained aviators,[304] leaving the remaining aircraft carriers effectively useless.[305] The battle also demonstrated that the American Navy could dominate the skies anywhere in the Pacific using only carrier-based aircraft.[306]

Strategic bombing[edit]

Aerial view of over 120 bombers parked on large airfield running from lower left to upper right.
Isely Field, filled with B-29 bombers, mid-1945

The availability of Saipan as an American airbase opened a new phase in the Pacific War, in which strategic bombing would play a major role.[307] The Army Air Force had been an major advocate for the capture of the Marianas. They were confident that strategic bombing could destroy Japan's military production, and argued that the Marianas provided excellent airbases for doing so because they were 1,200 mi (1,000 nmi; 1,900 km) miles from the Japanese home islands. This put almost all of Japan's industrial cities in within striking distance of the B-29 bomber,[308] which typically had a 1,600 mi (1,400 nmi; 2,600 km) mile combat radius.[309] Basing the B-29s in the Marianas was superior to their previous deployment in China because they were closer to Japan.[310] The islands were also easy to defend and supply.[311]

The invasion of Saipan on June 15 was synchronized bombing of the Yawata Steel Works by B-29s in China. It was the first bombing of the Japan home islands by B-29s and signaled the beginning of a bombing campaign that could strike deep into Japan's Exclusive National Defense Sphere.[307] Saipan was the first island to base the B-29s. The 73rd Bombardment Wing began arriving on 12 October. On 24 November,[312] 111 B-29s set out for Tokyo in the first strategic bombing mission against Japan from the Marianas.[313] The Marianas-based B-29s were a significant force in leading Japanese leaders to the conclusion that surrender would be in Japan's best interest.Baron Kantarō Suzuki, the Prime Minister of Japan just before its surrender, stated "the determination to make peace was the prolonged bombing by the B-29s," and Prince Fumimaro Konoye, who was Prime Minister when Japan invaded China in 1937, stated that it was "merely on the basis of the B-29s alone that I was convinced that Japan should sue for peace."[314]


Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff, along with surviving isolated Japanese fortifications, are recognized as historic sites on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The cliffs are also part of the National Historic Landmark District Landing Beaches; Aslito/Isley Field; & Marpi Point, Saipan Island, which also includes the American landing beaches, the B-29 runways of Isley Field, and the surviving Japanese infrastructure of the Aslito and Marpi Point airfields.[315] The Maritime Heritage Trail has a series of dive sites with submerged, ships, planes, and tanks from the battle.[316] The American Memorial Park commemorates the American and Mariana people who died during the Mariana Islands campaign,[317] and The Central Pacific War Memorial Monument is dedicated to the memory of the Japanese soldiers and civilians who died.[318]


  1. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 36 puts the total at 66,779; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 253 put it at 71,034
  2. ^ Morison 1981, pp. 160–162 puts the number of ships at 535 and mentions that the four and a half divisions of ground combat troups numbered 127,571; Toll 2015, p. 457 puts the number of ships at 600 and the number of men at 600,000, which may include naval personnel.
  3. ^ Post-war estimates range from 46[57] square miles to 48.[58] Hallas 2019, p. 479, fn 5 points out that most historians describing the battle state that the island is substantially larger. For example, McManus 2021, p. 339, Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 238 state that it is 72, Goldberg 2007, p. 38 says 75, and Crowl 1993, p. 29 says 85 square miles.
  4. ^ McManus 2021, p. 350 estimates 2,500, Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 95 put the estimate near 3,500. In his after battle report, Major General Harry Schmidt, Commander of the 4th Marine Division, put the casualties for the first two days at 3500, which is about 20% of the casualties suffered during the entire battle.[99]
  5. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 165 puts the number between 24 and 32; Crowl 1993, p. 98 puts the number at no less than 37; Hoffman 1950, p. 86, Morison 1981, p. 202 and Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 284 put the number at 44.
  6. ^ The controversy continues to be debated in the 21st century.[180] See Crowl 1993, pp. 191–201 for a detailed discussion; see Lacey 2013, pp. 157–161 and McManus 2021, pp. 363–371 for more recent discussions.
  7. ^ Whether Saitō died with Nagumo or Igeta is unclear. Many sources derive their story from Major Takashi Hirakushi,[233] a captured public relations officer.[234] who initially claimed to be Major Kiyoshi Yoshida, an intelligence officer who actually died in combat.[235] (cf.,Goldberg 2007, p. 173 who describes the testimony of "Kiyoshi Yoshida"). Hallas 2019, p. 514, fn44 points out that in early accounts, Saitō commits suicide alone (e.g.,see the early account in Hoffman 1950, Appendix IX:The Last Days of General Saitō, pp.283–284), and a different Japanese survivor states that Nagumo committed suicide elsewhere.[236] Toland 2003, p. 511512, bases his account, in which Saitō, Nagumo, and Igeta die together on a much later interview with Hirakushi.[233]
  8. ^ The number of Japanese in the attack is unclear. During the attack, Smith underestimated, stating that only 300–400 were participating.[238] Hirakushi (at that time known as Major Yoshida), who was part of the attack, claimed during his interrogation after being captured that about 1,500 participated.[239] After the fighting, General Griner of the 27th infantry Division counted 4,311 Japanese bodies in the area of the attack,[240] but it was disputed whether all of them had died in the attack.[241] A later commission ordered by Spruance put the number between 1,500–3,000, arguing that many of the bodies were from people who died before the attack. Smith eventually agreed with Spruance's report.[242]


  1. ^ Report of Capture of Marianas 1944, p. 6.
  2. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 454.
  3. ^ Report of Capture of Marianas 1944, Enclosure K, part B: 3,100 killed, 326 missing, 13,099 wounded; total cumulative to D+46.; Chapin 1994, p. 36: 3,225 killed, 326 missing, 13,061 wounded
  4. ^ Report of Capture of Marianas 1944, Enclosure K, part G:These figures are incomplete since data could not be obtained from all ships.
  5. ^ Report of Capture of Marianas 1944, Annex C to Enclosure A.
  6. ^ a b c American Memorial Park 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Astroth 2019, p. 166.
  8. ^ Smith 1996, p. 1.
  9. ^ Hopkins 2008, p. 146; Miller 1991, pp. 336–337; Symonds 2022, pp. 229230; Toll 2015, p. 306.
  10. ^ Hopkins 2008, p. 5; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 3–4; Vlahos 1980, p. 118.
  11. ^ Miller 1991, pp. 4–5; Toll 2015, p. 306.
  12. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 235.
  13. ^ Hopkins 2008, p. 174–175; Smith 1996, pp. 3–4; Symonds 2022, p. 232.
  14. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 13.
  15. ^ Smith 1996, pp. 4–6.
  16. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 12.
  17. ^ Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 92; Morison 1981, pp. 5–6.
  18. ^ Goldberg 2007, pp. 2324; Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 92; Symonds 2022, p. 275.
  19. ^ Arnold 1949, pp. 476–477.
  20. ^ Toll 2015, pp. 437438.
  21. ^ Matloff 1994, pp. 376–377.
  22. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 236.
  23. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 23; Hallas 2019, p. 13.
  24. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 239.
  25. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 39; Hallas 2019, pp. 18–19.
  26. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 17.
  27. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 37; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 240.
  28. ^ Goldberg 2007, pp. 39–40; Crowl 1993, pp. 36–37.
  29. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 31; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 240.
  30. ^ Morison 1981, pp. 160–162; Toll 2015, p. 457.
  31. ^ Morison 1981, pp. 170–172.
  32. ^ Morison 1981, p. 174.
  33. ^ Morison 1981, p. 172.
  34. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 55; Hoffman 1950, p. 26.
  35. ^ Bisno 2019.
  36. ^ a b Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 92.
  37. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. [ 31–32.
  38. ^ Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, pp. 93–94.
  39. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 31.
  40. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 29.
  41. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 56.
  42. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 62–63.
  43. ^ McManus 2021, pp. 339340.
  44. ^ a b Lacey 2013, p. 139.
  45. ^ Lacey 2013, p. 139.
  46. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 57.
  47. ^ a b Crowl 1993, p. 62.
  48. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 35.
  49. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 256; McManus 2021, p. 338.
  50. ^ McManus 2021, p. 338; Morison 1981, p. 167.
  51. ^ Hallas 2019, pp. 139, 197; McManus 2021, p. 339.
  52. ^ Cloud, Schmidt & Burke 1956, p. 4.
  53. ^ a b c Hallas 2019, p. 7.
  54. ^ Cloud, Schmidt & Burke 1956, p. 6.
  55. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 29; Goldberg 2007, p. 30.
  56. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 11.
  57. ^ USACE 2022, p. 3.
  58. ^ a b Cloud, Schmidt & Burke 1956, p. 1.
  59. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 29; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 238.
  60. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 30.
  61. ^ Lacey 2013, p. 138.
  62. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 54; Morison 1981, p. 152.
  63. ^ Goldberg 2007, pp. 3031; Hallas 2019, pp. 89; Morison 1981, p. 152.
  64. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 238.
  65. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 7; Morison 1981, p. 151.
  66. ^ a b Astroth 2019, p. 38.
  67. ^ a b Lacey 2013, p. 129.
  68. ^ Sheeks 1945, p. 112; Toll 2015, p. 508.
  69. ^ Hallas 2019, p. vii.
  70. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 73; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 253–254; Toll 2015, p. 462.
  71. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 73; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 253–254.
  72. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 68; Toll 2015, p. 462: But Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 254 puts the number at 11.
  73. ^ a b Toll 2015, p. 463.
  74. ^ Cressman 2000, p. 495; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 253–254.
  75. ^ Cressman 2000, p. 496.
  76. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 73.
  77. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 74; Toll 2015, p. 463.
  78. ^ a b Crowl 1993, p. 74.
  79. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 254.
  80. ^ Morison 1981, p. 180.
  81. ^ Hornfischer 2016, pp. 88-89.
  82. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 75.
  83. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 76.
  84. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 54; Morison 1981, pp. 182–183.
  85. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 3.
  86. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 96; Hoffman 1950, pp. 46–47; McManus 2021, p. 348; Schmidt 1944, p. 11.
  87. ^ a b c Morison 1981, p. 202.
  88. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 136; McManus 2021, p. 346.
  89. ^ Lacey 2013, p. 131.
  90. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 27; Lacey 2013, p. 131.
  91. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 50; Morison 1981, p. 202; Schmidt 1944, p. 11.
  92. ^ Gugeler 1945, p. 3; Hallas 2019, p. 96.
  93. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 127; Millett 1980, p. 412; Toll 2015, p. 466.
  94. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 45.
  95. ^ McManus 2021, p. 348.
  96. ^ & Crowl 1993, p. 93.
  97. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 90; Toll 2015, p. 466; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 263.
  98. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 140; Lacey 2013, p. 350; McManus 2021.
  99. ^ Schmidt 1944, p. 11.
  100. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 140; Hoffman 1950, p. 50.
  101. ^ Gugeler 1945, p. 27.
  102. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 141; Lacey 2013, p. 145; McManus 2021, p. 350.
  103. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 92.
  104. ^ Lacey 2013, p. 145.
  105. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 140; Hornfischer 2016, p. 142; Lacey 2013, p. 145.
  106. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 140; Toll 2015, p. 466.
  107. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 95; Hallas 2019, p. 145.
  108. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 95–96; Hoffman 1950, pp. 71–75.
  109. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 88.
  110. ^ Harmsen 2021, p. 64; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 278–279.
  111. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 95–96.
  112. ^ Tanaka 2023, Widening the War into the Asia-Pacific Theatre of World War II, The Third Stage §7.
  113. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 2; Hiroyuki 2022, pp. 155–156; Noriaki 2009, pp. 97–99.
  114. ^ Morison 1981, pp. 12–14.
  115. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 66; Willoughby 1994, pp. 250–251; Morison 1981, p. 94.
  116. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 2.
  117. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 86.
  118. ^ a b Harmsen 2021, p. 64.
  119. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 147; Morison 1981, p. 221.
  120. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 1; Hopkins 2008, p. 288; Harmsen 2021, p. 63.
  121. ^ Harmsen 2021, p. 64; Willoughby 1994, p. 292; Morison 1981, p. 262.
  122. ^ Hallas 2019, pp. 7374; Morison 1981, p. 215; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 221.
  123. ^ Morison 1981; Toll 2015, pp. 454–455.
  124. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 121; Hopkins 2008, p. 221; Morison 1981.
  125. ^ Winton 1993, p. 167.
  126. ^ a b Morison 1981, p. 233.
  127. ^ Harmsen 2021, p. 63.
  128. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 147; Morison 1981, p. 219; Toyoda 1944, p. 229.
  129. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 93–94; Hallas 2019, pp. 171–173; Goldberg 2007, p. 142; Kaune 1990, p. 102.
  130. ^ Morison 1981, pp. 202–203; Toll 2015, p. 467.
  131. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 97–98; Morison 1981, p. 203.
  132. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 96–97.
  133. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 97; Hallas 2019, p. 164.
  134. ^ Hoffman 1950, pp. 86–87.
  135. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 284–285.
  136. ^ Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 96; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 285.
  137. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 170; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 286.
  138. ^ Hoffman 1950, pp. 92–94.
  139. ^ Goldberg 2007, pp. 105–106.
  140. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 108–109, 115–116, 154.
  141. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 111; Kaune 1990, p. 103.
  142. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 295.
  143. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 145–146; Hallas 2019, p. 192.
  144. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 294–295.
  145. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 170; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 292.
  146. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 101.
  147. ^ Goldberg 2007, pp. 148–149.
  148. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 270; Lacey 2013, p. 149.
  149. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 138.
  150. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 166; Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 111.
  151. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 165.
  152. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 287; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 305;Report of Capture of Marianas 1944, (K), p.5 reports 6,200 casualties on D-Day + 5 (20 June)
  153. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 208; McManus 2021, p. 348.
  154. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 164–165.
  155. ^ McManus 2021, p. 352.
  156. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 206.
  157. ^ Hopkins 2008, pp. 228–229; Morison 1981, pp. 263–274; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 299.
  158. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 102; Harmsen 2021, pp. 6566.
  159. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 298.
  160. ^ a b Hornfischer 2016, p. 232.
  161. ^ a b Morison 1981, p. 321.
  162. ^ Toll 2015, p. 497.
  163. ^ Harmsen 2021, pp. 6566.
  164. ^ Morison 1981, pp. 322–324.
  165. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 89.
  166. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 268; Lacey 2013, p. 149.
  167. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 116; McManus 2021, p. 356; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 295.
  168. ^ Goldberg 2007, pp. 156–157.
  169. ^ Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, pp. 114–115.
  170. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 236.
  171. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 128; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 307.
  172. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 305.
  173. ^ Toll 2015, p. 498.
  174. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 238; McManus 2021, p. 362.
  175. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 314.
  176. ^ McManus 2021, p. 362.
  177. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 179; Hallas 2019, p. 296.
  178. ^ McManus 2021, p. 356; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 317; Smith & Finch 1949, pp. 172–173.
  179. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 317–319.
  180. ^ Allen 2012, pp. 1–2.
  181. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 201.
  182. ^ Garand & Strobridge 1989, p. 423; Olson & Mortensen 1983, pp. 690–691.
  183. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 133–135; Garand & Strobridge 1989, pp. 424–425; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 346.
  184. ^ M–2–4 Rocket Trucks 2013.
  185. ^ Bishop 2014, p. 186.
  186. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 133.
  187. ^ Aaseng 1992, pp. 83–85.
  188. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 232; Morison 1981, pp. 324–325.
  189. ^ Hoffman 1950, pp. 90–91; Toll 2015.
  190. ^ Hemler 2018, p. 58.
  191. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 130; Morison 1981, pp. 324–325.
  192. ^ Report of Capture of Marianas 1944, Annex 2, Enclosure N: Quartermaster's reports for the 2nd Marine Division's, 4th Marine Division's, and 27th Infantry Division's total to 101 medium tanks, 57 light tanks, 24 light mechanized flamethrowers, and 6 medium tanks with bulldozers.
  193. ^ Zaloga 2012, p. 6.
  194. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 575.
  195. ^ Kleber & Birdsell 1990, p. 560.
  196. ^ Kleber & Birdsell 1990, p. 563.
  197. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 248; McKinney 1949, pp. 151–152.
  198. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 212–213.
  199. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 332.
  200. ^ Meehl 2012, p. 7.
  201. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 70.
  202. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 322.
  203. ^ Chapin 1994, p. 22.
  204. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 210; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 322.
  205. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 312.
  206. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 326–327.
  207. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 322.
  208. ^ Chapin 1994, p. 21.
  209. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 159.
  210. ^ Chapin 1994, p. 23.
  211. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 231–232.
  212. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 331.
  213. ^ Chapin 1994, p. 24.
  214. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 221.
  215. ^ Toll 2015, p. 500.
  216. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 355.
  217. ^ Goldberg 2007, pp. 165–169; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 335.
  218. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 357.
  219. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 357; Hornfischer 2016, p. 266; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 339.
  220. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 336.
  221. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 266.
  222. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 244.
  223. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 245-246; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 337-339: see Small Unit Actions 1991, pp. 69–113 for an in-depth description of the fighting.
  224. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 247–248.
  225. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 247; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 336.
  226. ^ a b Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 122.
  227. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 247–248; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 337.
  228. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 220; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 337.
  229. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 364; Hornfischer 2016, p. 271.
  230. ^ McManus 2021, pp. 375–376.
  231. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 365; Goldberg 2007, p. 273.
  232. ^ McManus 2021, p. 371.
  233. ^ a b Hallas 2019, p. 514, fn44.
  234. ^ Toland 2003, p. 490.
  235. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 258, fn 60; Hallas 2019, p. 438.
  236. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 514, fn44; Morison 1981, p. 337.
  237. ^ McManus 2021, p. 387; Morison 1981, p. 336; Toll 2015, p. 505; Hallas 2019, p. 451 puts then number between 3,000–4,000, and Hornfischer 2016, p. 279 between 1,500–2,000.
  238. ^ Gailey 1986, pp. 216–217; Hallas 2019, p. 451.
  239. ^ a b Hoffman 1950, p. 223.
  240. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 257.
  241. ^ Hoffman 1950, pp. 233–234.
  242. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 451.
  243. ^ a b Gailey 1986, p. 209.
  244. ^ Hornfischer 2016, p. 281; McManus 2021, p. 381.
  245. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 340; Toll 2015, p. 505.
  246. ^ Hoffman 1950, pp. 224–225.
  247. ^ McManus 2021, p. 378.
  248. ^ Gailey 1986, p. 208.
  249. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 340.
  250. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 381; Hornfischer 2016, p. 281; McManus 2021, p. 381.
  251. ^ Goldberg 2007, p. 182; McManus 2021, p. 387.
  252. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 342; Toll 2015, p. 506.
  253. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 259–260; Hallas 2019, p. 104.
  254. ^ McManus 2021, p. 387; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 342.
  255. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 263–264; Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, pp. 342–343.
  256. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 264.
  257. ^ a b c Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 345.
  258. ^ Astroth 2019, p. 85.
  259. ^ Crowl 1993, p. 263; Hallas 2019, p. 427.
  260. ^ Forrestel 1966, p. 151.
  261. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 439.
  262. ^ Hoffman 1950, p. 243.
  263. ^ a b Hallas 2019, p. 458.
  264. ^ Gilhooly 2011.
  265. ^ Gilhooly 2011; Hallas 2019, p. 463.
  266. ^ a b Hallas 2019, p. 444.
  267. ^ McManus 2021, p. 388.
  268. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 444; Heinrichs & Gallicchio 2017, p. 124; McManus 2021, p. 388.
  269. ^ Toland 2003, p. 519.
  270. ^ Astroth 2019, p. 165; American Memorial Park 2021.
  271. ^ Trefalt 2018, pp. 255–256.
  272. ^ Hughes 2010.
  273. ^ Sheeks 1945, pp. 110–111; Trefalt 2018, pp. 258–259.
  274. ^ Sheeks 1945, pp. 110–111.
  275. ^ Sheeks 1945, pp. 110–111; Trefalt 2018, p. 259.
  276. ^ Astroth 2019, p. 105.
  277. ^ Astroth 2019, p. 167.
  278. ^ Astroth 2019, p. 96.
  279. ^ Astroth 2019, p. 25.
  280. ^ Toll 2015, p. 457.
  281. ^ Hallion 1995, p. 45.
  282. ^ Hallas 2019, p. iv; Tanaka 2023, Widening the War into the Asia-Pacific Theatre of World War II, The Third Stage §7.
  283. ^ Morison 1981, pp. 339–340.
  284. ^ Kawamura 2015, p. 114.
  285. ^ Irokawa 1995, p. 92; Kawamura 2015, pp. 129130.
  286. ^ Bix 2000, p. 476.
  287. ^ Toll 2015, pp. 530531.
  288. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 346: see quote in Interrogations of Japanese Officials 1946, p. 297
  289. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 440; Hoffman 1950, p. 260: see quote in Interrogations of Japanese Officials 1946, p. 355
  290. ^ Bix 2000, p. 478.
  291. ^ Sullivan 1995, p. 35.
  292. ^ Frank 1999.
  293. ^ Hoyt 2001, pp. 351–352; Kort 2007, p. 61: see complete statement of the Imperial Japanese Headquarters in Hoyt 2001, Appendix A, pp 426–430
  294. ^ a b Plung 2021, §11.
  295. ^ Havens 1978, pp. 162–163.
  296. ^ Hallas 2019, p. vi.
  297. ^ Giangreco 2003, pp. 99–100.
  298. ^ Craven & Cate 1983, p. 390.
  299. ^ Giangreco 2003, p. 104.
  300. ^ Giangreco 2003, pp. 99–100; Hallas 2019, p. vi.
  301. ^ Dower 2010, pp. 216–217; also see discussion in Giangreco 2003, pp. 127–130
  302. ^ Sullivan 1995, pp. 34–35.
  303. ^ Y'Blood 2003, pp. 212–213; Toll 2015, p. 514.
  304. ^ Y'Blood 2003, pp. 212–213: only 35 of 430 carrier planes remained operable.
  305. ^ Morison 1981, p. 318.
  306. ^ Toll 2015, p. 514.
  307. ^ a b Craven & Cate 1983, p. 3.
  308. ^ Shaw, Nalty & Turnbladh 1989, p. 233; Toll 2015, p. 307.
  309. ^ Pimlott 1980, p. 58.
  310. ^ Craven & Cate 1983, p. 547.
  311. ^ Miller 1991.
  312. ^ Craven & Cate 1983, p. xvii.
  313. ^ Hallas 2019, p. 458.
  314. ^ Crowl 1993, pp. 444–445: see Suzuki's and Konoye's quotes quotes in Mission Accomplished 1946, pp. 39–40
  315. ^ National Historic Locations Application 2015.
  316. ^ McKinnon 2011.
  317. ^ National Park Foundation 2022.
  318. ^ Saipan Memorial Service 2016.


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Journal articles, reports and theses
Online resources
Primary Sources

External links[edit]

15°11′N 145°45′E / 15.183°N 145.750°E / 15.183; 145.750