MARINES IN THE MARIANAS
Volume 2 - Tinian and Guam
A Pictorial Record

by Eric Hammel


The American mid-1944 campaign in the Mariana Islands was an important strategic step that placed Tokyo and the rest of Japan’s industrial heartland within range of the new U.S. Army Air Forces B-29 very-long-range bombers. Once the islands were secured and the airfields were built, the new Twentieth Air Force could do to Japanese industry what its strategic counterparts in Europe had been doing to German industry since mid-1943.

Even though these important objectives in the Marianas had been accorded an early place in prewar strategic planning, the shape of the Pacific War had left them alone for two and a half years of hard battles in the Solomon Islands and at the far eastern periphery of Japanese central Pacific holdings: first Tarawa in November 1943, then the Marshall Islands in January and February 1944.

The first and most difficult objective in the Marianas was Saipan, a former German colony that had been in Japanese hands since the end of World War I but had not been fortified in any meaningful way until the spring of 1944. It was invaded by the 2d and 4th Marine divisions on June 15, 1944, and declared secure on July 9.

A natural extension of the Saipan battle, Tinian was invaded by the 2d and 4th Marine Division on July 24, and the separate invasion of Guam, a former American base captured in December 1941, was launched by the 3d Marine Division and 1st Provisional Marine Brigade on July 21.

Relying mainly on 290 gripping photos gleaned from government archives, many with extended captions, veteran military history author Eric Hammel has created a stunning and coherent battle history dedicated to the memory of the United States Marines who endured the bloody campaigns to secure Tinian and Guam from their stubborn defenders.