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

Volume 4: Western Pacific Operations


George W. Garand,

Truman R. Strobridge

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


. . . For Those Who Served

Table of Contents



Part 1: Background

Chapter 1: Introduction

Part 2: Fleet Marine Force, Pacific

Chapter 1: The Development of FMFPac

Chapter 2: Administration and Aviation

Part 3: The Palaus: Gateway to the Philippines

Chapter 1: Strategic Situation

Chapter 2: Pre-Assault Preparations

Chapter 3: D-Day on Peleliu

Chapter 4: The Drive Inland: 16–22 September

Chapter 5: Angaur and Ulithi

Chapter 6: Securing the North: 23–30 September

Chapter 7: The Umurbrogol Pocket: 29 September–15 October

Chapter 8: To the Bitter End

Part 4: Marines in the Philippines

Chapter 1: Background and Planning

Chapter 2: The Leyte Landings

Chapter 3: The Luzon Campaign

Chapter 4: Southern Philippines Operations

Part 5: Marine Aviation in the Western Pacific

Chapter 1: Mounting the Offensive

Chapter 2: Marine Aviation in the Marianas, Carolines, and at Iwo Jima

Part 6: Iwo Jima

Chapter 1: Background to DETACHMENT

Chapter 2: Offensive Plans and Preparations

Chapter 3: The Preliminaries

Chapter 4: D-Day on Iwo Jima

Chapter 5: The Struggle for Suribachi

Chapter 6: Drive to the North

Chapter 7: 3rd Marine Division Operations on Iwo Jima

Chapter 8: Airfield Development and Activities Behind the Lines

Chapter 9: The 5th Marine Division Drive on the Left

Chapter 10: The 4th Marine Division Drive on the Right

Chapter 11: Final Operations on Iwo Jima

Chapter 12: Summary

Chapter 13: Conclusions


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, 31 August 1944

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, 1944–1945

II. Progress of the Attack, VAC Front Lines, D-Day–D+5

III. 3rd Marine Division Zone of Action, Iwo Jima, 25 February–1 March 1945

IV. 3rd Marine Division Zone of Action, Iwo Jima, 1–10 March 1945

V. 5th Marine Division Zone of Action, Iwo Jima, 24 February–2 March 1945

VI. 5th Marine Division Zone of Action, Iwo Jima, 2–10 March 1945

VII. 4th Marine Division Zone of Action, Iwo Jima, 24–28 February 1945

VIII. 4th Marine Division Zone of Action, Iwo Jima, 5–7 March 1945

IX. 3rd Marine Division, Final Operations

X. 4th Marine Division, Final Operations

XI. 5th Marine Division, Final Operations

Inline Maps

1. Strategic Situation, Central and Western Pacific

2. Palau Islands

3. Japanese Defense Plan, Peleliu

4. D-Day, Peleliu

5. Peleliu, Second Operational Phase

6. Angaur Island

7. Ulithi Atoll

8. Commitment of the U.S. Army 321st Infantry Regiment, Peleliu

9. Isolation of Umurbrogol

10. North Peleliu and Ngesebus

11. Securing the North

12. Umurbrogol Pocket

13. Drive from the North

14. Final Marine Action, Peleliu

15. Final 81st Infantry Division Operations, Peleliu

16. Philippine Islands

17. Sixth Army Area of Operations

18. Lingayen Gulf Landing

19. Luzon

20. Route to Manila and XI Corps Landings

21. Main U.S. Drives in the VICTOR V Operation

22. Area of Responsibility, Commander Aircraft, Northern Solomons

23. Marshall Islands—MAG-22 Operations, 1944

24. Iwo Jima—Sulfur Island

25. Japanese Defense Sectors

26. Landing Plan, Iwo Jima

27. Naval Gunfire Areas of Responsibility, D-3 and D-2

28. VAC Front Lines D-Day, 19 February 1945


1. Genealogy of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific

2. Japanese Command Organization of the Philippines

3. Organization of Air Command, Southwest Pacific Area


Amphibious Exercises, Puerto Rico—Testing Higgins Boat—Landing Exercise, New River, N.C.—Change of Command, FMFPac, 1945—Assault Troops off Peleliu—Peleliu Beach on D-Day—Abortive Enemy Tank Attack, Peleliu—Machine Gun In Action, Peleliu—Artillery in Firing Position—Marine Tanks at Peleliu Airfield—Close Fighting Near Airfield—Casualty Evacuation—U.S. Army Troops Assault Angaur—Closing in on the Enemy, Angaur—Men and Supplies Crossing Peleliu Reef—U.S. Army Troops Arrive at Peleliu—Marine Aircraft Preparing for Napalm Attack—Bombing of Japanese Ridge Positions, Peleliu—Assault on Ngesebus—Advance Inland, Ngesebus—Battle of the Ridges, Peleliu—Final Operations on Peleliu—Navy Planes at Dulag Airfield, Leyte—Marine Night Fighters, Leyte—Close Air Support for U.S. Army Troops, Luzon—Marine Dive Bombers on Luzon Returning from Mission—New Dive Bombers for Marine Aviation in the Philippines—Filipino Guerrillas On Mindanao—LSTs Unloading at Zamboanga—U.S. Army Ceremony Honors Marine Aviation—Marine Dive Bombers En Route to Bypassed Islands—U.S. Personnel Touring Mille Island, Marshalls—Bombs Away at Iwo Jima—Amphibious Assault, Iwo Jima—4th Marine Division Troops on Iwo Beach—Landing of 2/27, Iwo Jima—Japanese Painting of Iwo Invasion—War Dog and Handler Approach Enemy Cave—37-mm Gun in Action—Debris of Battle, D+2—Flamethrowers in Action—Marine on Mt. Suribachi and View of Landing Beaches—First Flag Raising on Iwo Jima—Second Flag Goes Up on Suribachi—Marines at Mass—First “Grasshopper” Lands on Iwo—B-29 Superfortress After Emergency Landing—4th Marine Division Observation Post—155-mm Gun in Action—Rocket Fire Support—Birdseye View of Iwo Beachhead—Shore Parties Hauling Supplies—Captured Japanese Tank—Combat Patrol in Northern Iwo—Enemy Positions near Nishi Village—Japanese Prisoner and Escort—Air Force Bivouac Area on Iwo After Banzai—Motoyama Airfield No. 1 After Restoration