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The Mariana and Palau Islands campaign, also known as Operation Forager, was an offensive launched by United States forces against Imperial Japanese forces in the Mariana Islands and Palau in the Pacific Ocean between June and November 1944 during the Pacific War.The United States offensive, under the overall command of Chester Nimitz, followed the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign and was intended to neutralize Japanese bases in the central Pacific, support the Allied drive to retake the Philippines, and provide bases for a strategic bombing campaign against Japan.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.
The Mariana Islands are a crescent-shaped archipelago comprising the summits of fifteen mostly dormant volcanic mountains in the western North Pacific Ocean, between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east. They lie south-southeast of Japan, west-southwest of Hawaii, north of New Guinea and east of the Philippines, demarcating the Philippine Sea's eastern limit. They are found in the northern part of the western Oceanic sub-region of Micronesia, and are politically divided into two jurisdictions of the United States: the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and, at the southern end of the chain, the territory of Guam. The islands were named after the influential Spanish queen Mariana of Austria.
Beginning the offensive, United States Marine Corps and United States Army forces, with support from the United States Navy, executed landings on Saipan in June 1944. In response, the Imperial Japanese Navy's Combined Fleet sortied to attack the U.S. Navy fleet supporting the landings. In the resulting aircraft carrier Battle of the Philippine Sea (the so-called “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”) on 19–20 June, the Japanese naval forces were decisively defeated with heavy and irreplaceable losses to their carrier-borne and land-based aircraft.
The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. It has the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 336,978 personnel on active duty and 101,583 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 290 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of June 2019, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.
U.S. forces executed landings on Guam and Tinian in July 1944. After heavy fighting, Saipan was secured in July and Guam and Tinian in August 1944. The U.S. then constructed airfields on Saipan and Tinian where B-29s were based to conduct strategic bombing missions against the Japanese mainland until the end of World War II, including the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Second Battle of Guam was the American recapture of the Japanese-held island of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Mariana Islands captured by the Japanese from the U.S. in the 1941 First Battle of Guam during the Pacific campaign of World War II.
The Battle of Tinian was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Tinian in the Mariana Islands from 24 July until 1 August 1944. The 8,000-man Japanese garrison was eliminated, and the island joined Saipan and Guam as a base for the Twentieth Air Force.
The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, with the consent of the United Kingdom, as required by the Quebec Agreement. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.
In the meantime, in order to secure the flank for U.S. forces preparing to attack Japanese forces in the Philippines, in September 1944, U.S. Marine and Army forces landed on the islands of Peleliu and Angaur in Palau. After heavy and intense combat on Peleliu, the island was finally secured by U.S. forces in November 1944.
The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II by the United States military, was fought between the U.S. and Japan during the Mariana and Palau Campaign of World War II, from September to November 1944, on the island of Peleliu.
The Battle of Angaur was a battle of the Pacific campaign in World War II, fought on the island of Angaur in the Palau Islands from 17 September—22 October 1944. This battle was part of a larger offensive campaign known as Operation Forager which ran from June 1944 to November 1944 in the Pacific Theater of Operations, and Operation Stalemate II in particular.
Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The country contains approximately 340 islands, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, and has an area of 466 square kilometers (180 sq mi). The most populous island is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Following their landings in the Mariana and Palau Islands, Allied forces continued their ultimately successful campaign against Japan by landing in the Philippines in October 1944 and the Volcano and Ryukyu Islands beginning in January 1945.
The Volcano and Ryūkyū Islands Campaign was a series of battles and engagements between Allied forces and Imperial Japanese forces in the Pacific Ocean campaign of World War II between January and June 1945.
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June to 9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was launched. The U.S. 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and the Army's 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith, defeated the 43rd Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito. The loss of Saipan, with the death of at least 29,000 troops and heavy civilian casualties, precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tōjō and left the Japanese archipelago within the range of United States Army Air Forces B-29 bombers.
Holland McTyeire "Howlin' Mad" Smith, KCB was a general in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He is sometimes called the "father" of modern U.S. amphibious warfare. His nickname, "Howlin' Mad" Smith, had been given to him by his troops in the Dominican Republic in 1916.
USS Mobile (CL-63) was a Cleveland-class light cruiser of the United States Navy. She was the third ship named for Mobile, Alabama.
Pacific Ocean Areas was a major Allied military command in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands during the Pacific War, and one of three United States commands in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of the U.S. Navy, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, headed the command throughout its existence.
Harry Schmidt was a United States Marine Corps general. During World War II, he served as the commanding general of the Fourth Marine Division during the battles of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and Saipan in the Mariana Islands, and as commanding general of the Fifth Amphibious Corps during the battles of Tinian in the Marianas and Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands.
Saipan International Airport, also known as Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, is a public airport located on Saipan Island in the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The airport is owned by Commonwealth Ports Authority. Its airfield was previously known as Aslito and Isley Field.
Thomas Eugene Watson was a United States Marine Corps General who served in the Marine Corps from 1912 to 1950. His last command was as commanding general, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Previously, he had commanded the Second Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and was commanding officer of the famed Second Division in the battle for Saipan and Tinian during World War II. For outstanding services in this capacity, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Distinguished Service Medal.
The First Battle of Guam was an engagement during the Pacific War in World War II, and took place from 8 December to 10 December 1941 on Guam in the Mariana Islands between Japan and the United States. The American garrison was defeated by Japanese forces on 10 December, which resulted in an occupation until the Second Battle of Guam in 1944.
The Central Pacific Area Fleet was a fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy established during World War II.
USS Windsor (APA-55) was an attack transport built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Pacific Ocean and provided troop transport service. She returned home at war’s end with five battle stars to her credit.
Koreans in Micronesia used to form a significant population before World War II, when most of the region was ruled as the South Pacific Mandate of the Empire of Japan; for example, they formed 7.3% of the population of Palau in 1943. However, after the area came under the control of the United States as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, most Koreans returned to their homeland. As of 2013, about seven thousand South Korean expatriates & immigrants and Korean Americans reside in Guam and the Northern Marianas, which have remained under U.S. control, while only around two hundred South Korean expatriates reside in the independent countries of Micronesia.
North Field is a former World War II airfield on Tinian in the Mariana Islands. Abandoned after the war, today North Field is a tourist attraction. Along with several adjacent beaches on which Allied forces landed during the Battle of Tinian, the airfield is the major component of the National Historic Landmark District Tinian Landing Beaches, Ushi Point Field, Tinian Island.
Merwin Hancock Silverthorn was a highly decorated officer of the United States Marine Corps with the rank of lieutenant general.
During World War II, a series of Japanese air attacks on the Mariana Islands took place between November 1944 and January 1945. These raids targeted United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) bases and sought to disrupt the bombing of Japan by B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers operating from the islands. The Japanese lost 37 aircraft during this operation, but destroyed 11 B-29s and damaged a further 43. Preparations were also made for commando raids on the bases in early and mid-1945 but these did not go ahead.
Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 4 (VMU-4) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron in the United States Marine Corps that operates the RQ-7B Shadow. It is the fourth UAV squadron in the Marine Corps and the first in the reserve component. The squadron, nicknamed the “Evil Eyes”, entered the force structure on July 1, 2010, when Marine Observation Squadron 4 (VMO-4) was reactivated and redesignated VMU-4.
A joint assault signal company (JASCO) was a joint service unit that provided ship to shore, air to ground communications to coordinate and control Naval Gunfire and Close Air Support to the United States Army. They were composed of specially trained Marines, Sailors and Army officers and enlisted. The Army component was composed of Air Liaison Officers, modern day Forward Air Controllers and enlisted communications technicians. JASCOs were created in the Pacific because of communication clutter, too many small teams to be effective. After the costly invasion of Tarawa the need for centralized command and control of air and naval fire support, utilizing Navy, Marine or Army gunners, spotters and radiomen was seen. Based on the Guadacanal experience of Major General Alexander A. Vandergrift the Joint Assault Signal Companies were formed.
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