History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II

Volume 3: Central Pacific Drive


Henry I. Shaw, Jr.,

Bernard C. Nalty,

Edwin T. Turnbladh

Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps


. . . For Those Who Served

Table of Contents



Part 1: Launching the Central Pacific Offensive

Chapter 1: Early Plans for a War with Japan

Chapter 2: The Central Pacific in Global Strategy

Chapter 3: The Central Pacific Battleground

Part 2: The Gilberts Operation

Chapter 1: Preparing to Take the Offensive

Chapter 2: The Assault on Betio

Chapter 3: Amphibious Victory

Chapter 4: Completing the Capture

Chapter 5: The Importance of GALVANIC

Part 3: The Marshalls: Quickening the Pace

Chapter 1: FLINTLOCK Plans and Preparations

Chapter 2: D-Day in the Marshalls

Chapter 3: FLINTLOCK: Completing the Conquest

Chapter 4: Westward to Eniwetok

Chapter 5: The CATCHPOLE Operation

Chapter 6: The Fruits of Victory

Part 4: Saipan: The Decisive Battle

Chapter 1: Background to FORAGER

Chapter 2: American and Japanese Preparations

Chapter 3: Saipan: The First Day

Chapter 4: The Conquest of Southern Saipan

Chapter 5: The Fight for Central Saipan

Chapter 6: Northern Saipan: End of the Campaign

Part 5: Assault on Tinian

Chapter 1: The Inevitable Campaign

Chapter 2: J-Day and Night

Chapter 3: Southward on Tinian

Chapter 4: The Island Secured

Part 6: The Return to Guam

Chapter 1: Preparing for Guam

Chapter 2: W-Day

Chapter 3: Consolidating a Foothold

Chapter 4: Continuing the Offensive

Chapter 5: Seizure of Northern Guam

Chapter 6: Finish in the Marianas


Appendix A: Bibliographical Notes

Appendix B: Guide to Abbreviations (omitted)

Appendix C: Military Map Symbols (omitted)

Appendix D: Chronology

Appendix E: Fleet Marine Force Status, 30 October 1943

Appendix F: Table of Organization F-100—Marine Division

Appendix G: Marine Task Organization and Command List

Appendix H: Marine Casualties

Appendix I: Unit Commendations



I. Scene of Battle 1943–1944

II. Betio Island, Showing Main Japanese Defenses

III. Betio Island, Landing and Situation 1800, 20 November

IV. Betio Island, Situation 1800 D+3

V. Roi and Namur Islands, Japanese Defenses Based on Post-Battle Study

VI. Banzai Attack

VII. W-Day on Guam, 21 July 1944

VIII. Japanese Counterattack Plan, 25–26 July 1944

Inline Maps

1. Gilbert Islands

2. Tarawa Atoll, November 1943

3. Betio Island, 21–22 November 1943

4. Makin Island, Showing Landings 20 November 1943

5. Conquest of Tarawa Atoll

6. Apamama Atoll

7. Marshall Islands

8. Kwajalein (Carillon) Atoll

9. Capture of Roi, 1 February 1944

10. Capture of Namur, 1–2 February 1944

11. Kwajalein Island, 14 February 1944

12. Eniwetok (Downside) Atoll

13. Seizure of Eniwetok Atoll, 18–22 February 1944

14. Southern Marianas

15. Saipan, Showing Japanese Defense Sectors

16. D-Day at Saipan

17. Saipan, 16–22 June 1944

18. Saipan, 23–30 June 1944

19. Saipan, 2–4 July 1944

20. Saipan, 5–8 July 1944

21. Tinian and Southern Saipan, Showing Japanese Defense Sectors and American Artillery Groupments

22. Tinian, 24–26 July 1944

23. Tinian, 27 July–1 August 1944

24. Guam, Showing Terrain Relief

25. Guam, Showing Japanese Dispositions, 21 July 1944

26. Southern Beachhead, 22–24 July 1944

27. 3rd Marine Division Progress, 22–26 July 1944

28. Capture of Orote Peninsula, 25–30 July 1944

29. Guam, 28 July–4 August 1944

30. Guam, 5–10 August 1944

31. Schematic Sketch of Japanese Tank Action in 3rd Marines Zone, 8–10 August


Betio Island Two Weeks After the Battle—Assault Troops on Betio—Damaged LVTs at Betio—Rubber Raft Carrying Wounded Marines—Squad Leader Points Out the Enemy—Reinforcements Wade Ashore at Betio—Machine Gun Ammunition Bearers—Flamethrower Smoke Over a Japanese Bombproof—Light Tanks and Artillery Leave Betio—Soldiers of 2/165 Assault Makin—Roi-Namur Under Bombing Attack—105-mm Ammunition Being Unloaded At Menu Island—24th Marines at Namur—Marine Light Tank on Namur—Japanese Prisoners on Roi-Namur—Army 37-mm Antitank Gun on Kwajalein—Marine 105-mm Howitzers Set Up to Fire on Engebi—22nd Marines Assault Waves Approach Engebi—Navy Fighter Attacks at Eniwetok Atoll—Marine Heavy Machine Guns on Eniwetok Island—Navy Corpsmen on Eniwetok Island—Riflemen of 22nd Marines on Parry Island—Marianas Invasion Force at Eniwetok—Fire Team on Saipan—Japanese Medium Tanks Knocked Out at Saipan—Hand Grenades Tossed by Marines on Saipan—Skirmish Line of 27th Division Infantrymen—Marines Dig In on Saipan—Company CP in Garapan—Truck-Mounted Rocket Launchers—Flame Tank Hits Enemy Cave on Saipan—Observation Plane Over Northern Saipan—Supporting Cruiser Fires on Tinian—Medium Tanks Land on Tinian—2nd Division Marines Advance on Tinian—Machine Gun on a Half-track Lays Down Searching Fire—Pack Howitzer Fires on Enemy Caves on Tinian—3rd Division Assault Troops on the Asan Beaches—Flamethrower Blasts Enemy Dugout on Guam—Shermans and Riflemen of the 1st Brigade Advance—Firing Line of 3rd Division Riflemen—Pontoon Barge Off Guam—Guamanian Women in Refugee Camp—Column of 305th Infantry Moves Cross-Island—Jungle Trail Scouted by Marine Tanks and Infantry—Army Tanks Hit and Aflame At Yigo—Jungle Patrol Near Tarague—Corsairs of MAG-21 on Orote Airfield—B-29s Approach North Field on Guam