by: Adie Roberts [ ]
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 invasion force was supported by a massive combat force. The Fifth Fleet was commanded by Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. Task Force 58, commanded by Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher, consisted of 15 carriers, 7 battleships, 11 cruisers, 86 destroyers and over 900 planes. The invasion force, commanded by Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, consisted of 56 attack vehicles transport, 84 landing craft and over 127,000 troops.
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 1920 June, the Japanese naval forces were decisively defeated with heavy and irreplaceable losses to their carrier-borne and land-based aircraft.
U.S. forces executed landings on Saipan in June 1944 and 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.
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.
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.
This book following the same format as the rest of the Images of War books rich in visual pictorial imagery from publishers Pen & Sword softback with glued spine, with pagination of 235.
Author Jon Diamond
Jon Diamond MD is a kidney specialist in the USA with a deep interest in the Second World War. He is a keen collector of photographs. His Stilwell and the Chindits, War in the South Pacific, Invasion of Sicily, Invasion of the Italian Mainland: Salerno to Gustav Line, 1943-1944, Onto Rome 1944; Anzio and Victory at Cassino and Beyond Rome to the Alps; Across the Arno and Gothic Line, 1944-1945 and Op Plunder The Rhine River Crossing are all published by Pen and Sword in the Images of War series.
Strategic Prelude to the Palau Islands Campaign
Map 1: Strategic overview of the Pacific War, 1941-1942
Map 2: The Solomon Islands and Bismarck Archipelago in the South and
Southwestern Pacific Areas of Operation, 1942-1943
Map 3: Allied Counteroffensive Axes in Central, South and
Southwest Pacific Areas of Operation, 1943-1944
Map 4: Convergence of Allied Pacific Counteroffensives, 1944
Map 5: The Palau Islands, 1944
Terrain, Fortifications and weapons
Map 6: Proposed landing Zones and Major locales on Peleliu Island
Commanders and Combatants
American IIIAC Landings on Peleliu, Angaur and Ulithi
Map 7: Landings from 15-20 September (D-Day to D 5)
Hellacious Combat on Peleliu
Map 8: Umurbrogol Mountain
Map 9: Angaur Island, 17-20
For those of you not familiar with the images of war series of books by pen and sword, It is a number of different books that very picture heavy giving you a complete pictorial history of the events that happened during different Wars in this one being World War 2 In the Pacific islands.
In 1899 Kaiser Wilhelms naval forces secured most of the islands in the Caroline Marshall and Mariana groups by purchasing them from Spain. When the first war World War began Japan while supporting the allies seized all the German Holdings in Asia and the Pacific while other former German islands North of the equator such as Saipan and the Marianna's to Imperial Japan at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. In addition to being a land war footing in China since 1931, this massive Pacific Ocean territorial acquisition during and after the First World War provided the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy with a strategically located Oceanic bases. Specifically, Truk in the Eastern and the Palau Islands in the Western Carolines; Kwajalein Majuro and Jaluit Atolls in the Marshall Islands; and In Saipan in the Marianas had been secretly fortified with garrisons and airfields during the Interwar years to potentially control Pacific sea lanes as well as ultimately launch the December 1941 attacks against Pearl Harbour; Wake Island, and the Philippines, Guam, and the Gilbert Islands (Tarawa and Makin Atolls) and Rabaul on New Britain island in the Australian mandated-territory of New Guinea.
At the beginning of the book, it goes into detail about what has caused the issues and how they were being addressed, with really good information about each of the maps shown. Each turn of the page you are finding out more information and knowledge as to what really happened out there in the Pacific War
So after getting through all the fascinating facts regarding the start of the campaign of the Pacific war you start getting onto the more interesting parts of the book which are very picture heavy and full of very interesting and some unseen photos from the war in the Pacific. One of the first pictures to catch my eye a scene of utter devastation was USAAF planes like destroyed after the Japanese attack on Oahu Wheeler field the armies main fighter base. More than 185 USA craft in total were destroyed and another 155 damaged on the ground At Wheeler, Hickman and bellows airfields as well as Kaneohe, Ford island and barbers point Naval Air stations. In addition, The Marine Corps Air Station Ewa 7 miles West of Pearl Harbour was the first USS military installation hit during the attack, all Ewas 48 aircraft were destroyed on the ground.
As you turn each page it becomes noticeably clear just how much of a struggle it was trying to take back some of the islands from the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy. Another picture shows au S 5th Air Force be 25 twin-engine medium Mitchell bombers is shown in a low-level strafing run with multiple nose-mounted MG's and a 20mm Canon against a Japanese freighter off the northern coast of Papua in 1942. The splash shown to the right of the aircraft was a previous B-25 skip bombing of the Japanese vessel.
With each chapter read it becomes perfectly clear why it was called hell in the central Pacific and looks like hell the craters the destroyed aircraft, also, The number of dead bodies both Japanese and American littered around the islands give you I complete insight just how terrible the conditions were and how terrified several soldiers in one picture look. Another poignant picture that caught my eye was a three-man marine M2 mortar crew is shown at the frontline supporting the infantry's advance. This weapon wide 42lb and fired are you 3lb shell. Its maximum firing range was just over a mile. A good crew was able to fire 18 rounds of permanent maximally. Private first-class Eugene Sledge was a 60MM mortarman in K, company 5th Marines. Sledge chronicled combat on Peleliu in his memoir with the old breed.
The book from pen and sword it's so well written with more pictures than words throughout most of the book, However, there are some chapters like the first couple that are not just interesting but very informative I found myself from time to time pausing to take in the scenes in some of the pictures. It certainly is I book that shows not just the triumph but also of the tragedy and the harrowing images that these young Marines to this day are still carrying with them.
For modellers especially diorama modellers I believe that this book would be extremely helpful in you trying to recreate any of the battles of the central Pacific islands. For enthusiasts in military history then again, this book would be of value to you with its informative professionally written chapters and the huge number of pictures some of which have probably never been seen before I truly recommend this book.