Battle of Saipan Facts

Battle of Saipan Facts
A little more than a week after the successful Allied D-Day Invasion of Europe, the Americans began a major offensive in the Pacific that was intended to cut Japanese communication lines between Japan and its territories in the South Pacific. The Marianna Islands archipelago became a key target as it was almost equal distance between Japan and the Philippines in a easterly direction. Saipan is one of the islands in the Marianna Islands and was the location of the primary Japanese military base. The Americans targeted the island because taking it meant that their long-range bombers could make it to Japan and back without refueling. The battle took place from June 15 to July 9, 1944 and as with most battles in the Pacific Theater involved a heavy naval bombardment followed by an amphibious Marine landing on the island. Although the Japanese resisted fiercely, it was an overwhelming American victory that cleared the way for the liberation of the Philippines.
Interesting Battle of Saipan Facts:
Admiral Richmond K. Turner of the United States Navy and General Holland Smith of the United States Marine Corps planned the U.S. invasion.
The American forces numbered about 71,000 men, while the Japanese had 32,000 soldiers on the island.
The Japanese believed that the American fleet and V Amphibious Corps was going to strike farther south so the Marianna Islands were only protected by fifty land based aircrafts.
The Battle of the Philippine Sea took place from June 19 to June 20, 1944 just west of the Marianna Islands. As the Marines were storming the beaches of Saipan, the Japanese decided to move their entire fleet to the Marianna Islands to engage the Americans in a decisive conflict. The result was an American victory that all but destroyed the Japanese fleet.
There were about 25,000 Japanese civilians living on the island.
The amphibious Marine landings began on the west side of the island on June 15 at 7:00 am. By 9:00 am there were 8,000 Marines on the island.
Due to the Japanese loss in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Japanese defenders on Saipan had no air cover.
Saipan's airstrip was on the southern end of the island, which was quickly taken by the Marines.
As was the case with the other small, volcanic islands in the Pacific the Japanese held, the defenders used caves, mines, and booby traps on Saipan.
U.S. Army units joined the battle after the Marines had established a beachhead.
Seeing that the defense of the island was hopeless, the surviving Japanese soldiers, and many Japanese civilians, attacked the American lines with a furious banzai charge on July 7.
Nearly 3,500 Americans were killed in the battle, while nearly all of the 29,000 Japanese soldiers were killed in the battle or committed suicide. A few hundred Japanese soldiers held out in the wilderness for nearly two years.
All of the Japanese commander were either killed in the battle or committed seppuku (ritual suicide).


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