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Battle of Tinian
Part of World War II, Pacific War
Marines wading ashore on Tinian.jpg
U.S Marines wading ashore on Tinian.
Date 24 July – 1 August 1944
Location Tinian, Mariana Islands
Result American Victory
Belligerents
United States United States Japan Empire of Japan
Commanders
United States Harry Schmidt Japan Kiyochi Ogata  
Japan Kakuji Kakuta  
Strength
30,000 Marines 4,700 Soldiers
4,110 Marines
Casualties and losses
328 killed
1,571 wounded
8,010 killed
313 captured

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 1944 to 1 August 1944.

Contents

Background

The American victory in the Battle of Saipan made Tinian, 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi) south of Saipan, the next step in the Marianas campaign. The Japanese defending the island were commanded by Colonel Kiyochi Ogata.

Battle

The 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions landed on 24 July 1944, supported by naval bombardment and artillery firing across the strait from Saipan. A successful feint for the major settlement of Tinian Town diverted defenders from the actual landing site on the north of the island. The USS Colorado and the destroyer USS Norman Scott were both hit by six inch Japanese shore batteries. The Colorado was hit 22 times, killing 44 men. The Norman Scott was hit six times, killing the captain, Seymore Owens, and 22 of his shipmates.

The Japanese adopted the same stubborn defensive tactics as on Saipan, retreating during the day and attacking at night. The gentler terrain of Tinian allowed the attackers more effective use of tanks and artillery than in the mountains of Saipan, and the island was secured in nine days of fighting. On July 31, the surviving Japanese launched a suicide charge.

The battle had the first use of napalm in the Pacific. Of the 120 jettisonable tanks dropped during the operation, 25 contained the napalm mixture and the remainder an oil-gasoline mixture. Of the entire number, only 14 were duds, and eight of these were set afire by subsequent strafing runs. Carried by P-47 Thunderbolts, the "fire bombs", also known as napalm bombs, burned away foliage concealing enemy installations.

Map of the battle.

Aftermath

Japanese losses were far greater than American losses. The Japanese lost 8,010 dead. Only 313 Japanese were taken prisoner. American losses stood at 328 dead and 1,571 wounded. Several hundred Japanese troops held out in the jungles for months. The garrison on Aguijan Island off the southwest cape of Tinian, commanded by Lieutenant Kinichi Yamada, held out until the end of the war, surrendering on 4 September 1945. The last holdout on Tinian, Murata Susumu, was not captured until 1953.

After the battle, Tinian became an important base for further Allied operations in the Pacific Campaign. Camps were built for 50,000 troops. Fifteen thousand Seabees turned the island into the busiest airfield of the war, with six 2,400 m runways for attacks by B-29 Superfortress bombers on targets in the Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands and mainland Japan, including the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

See also

References

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