Campaign in the Marianas

Campaign in the Marianas

Campaign in the Marianas

Campaign in the Marianas

Excerpt

This volume is a companion piece to Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls by Philip A. Crowl and Edmund G. Love, also published in the Pacific subseries of the UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Together, the two volumes cover the beginning and climax (although not the conclusion) of the Central Pacific phase of the war against Japan, with special emphasis, of course, on the U.S. Army's contribution to the victories won in that area. Specifically, Campaign in the Marianas treats of the capture of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the southern Marianas; the strategic and tactical plans leading thereto; supporting operations by naval and air units; and the final development and exploitation of these islands as bases for furtherance of American joint operations against the Japanese homeland.

The word joint cannot be overemphasized in connection with any consideration of U.S. operations in the Central Pacific. It was predominantly a U.S. Navy theater under the command of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The main burden of the amphibious and ground fighting in the Marianas, as in the Gilberts and Marshalls, fell on the shoulders of the U.S. Marine Corps, whose troops far outnumbered those of the U.S. Army. The author recognizes this and recognizes also that, by concentrating on the activities of the Army, this volume in a sense presents a distorted picture. The distortion is deliberate. The book represents, by definition, one segment of the history of the U.S. Army in World War II. Excellent official and semiofficial histories of U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps operations in the Marianas have already been published. The present narrative of Army activities should add in some measure to what has already been written about the campaign. The reader may also gain additional insight into the nature of joint operations and interservice co-ordination.

Because the number of Army troops participating in the Marianas Campaign was comparatively small, it has been possible to devote more attention here to small unit actions than in the volumes of the series that deal with the movements of great armies and corps over large continental land masses. In much of this narrative the spotlight centers on the infantry company. Ideally, as much attention should have been devoted to equivalent artillery units, especially since Army artillery played a major role in the Marianas Campaign. Unfortunately, the records kept by artillery units during the campaign were--to understate the matter--terse. Unfortunately also, Army field historians who . . .

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