BATTLE OF SAIPAN 1944 WWII MARIANA ISLANDS CAMPAIGN PACIFIC THEATER 28734

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This film is about the battle for Saipan in the Mariana Islands campaign during WWII. The Mariana Islands were a strategic location as American capture of the area severed the Japanese supply line with the Caroline Island territories and opened Japanese homeland for aerial assault. It opens with a map pointing to New Guinea, Tokyo and the Mariana Islands (:16). After the Pearl Harbor attack, Japanese forces occupied islands as far south as New Guinea in 1942 (:20). The plan to recapture these areas was set into motion in 1944 (:31). Saipan was the administrative center of the Maraiana Islands and was the first objective (:49) invaded on June 15th. Footage of carrier planes of task force 58 taking off for softening up attacks on February 22nd (:56) and of the first wave of attacks which hit 70 Japanese aircrafts (1:09) follows. The 27th infantry division in Hawaii is seen preparing to sail to Saipan (1:59) with Major General Smith in command (2:04). The 2nd and 4th Marine divisions headed to make the first landings on the island (2:19). Convoys also began moving towards Saipan (2:28) and soldiers aboard ship are seen doing physical trainings to prepare for combat (2:33). Garapan is pointed to on the map (2:47) as well as the second biggest city in which air strips and air fields would be targeted, which was Chalan Kanoa. Footage of D-Day follows with the 2nd and 4th Divisions loading into Higgins Boats (3:39) and then into Alligator Boats, awaiting the start signal (3:43) arriving onto the beaches (4:14) and the fighter planes swooping in to hit along the shoreline (4:17). Once they landed, soldiers waited for enemy fire to quiet down (4:59) and began to push inward. The next target was to be Aslito which is Saipan’s airfield (8:29). The 27th division is then seen landing onto the beaches at Chalan Kanoa holding their weapons above water (5:38). The 27th set up and established contact with the Marines in order to coordinate the attack on Aslito (6:11) and infantry tank teams are seen moving towards the airfield with mortar and artillery fire to support them (6:28). On the third day, Aslito was captured (6:46). What was not destroyed in the battle (6:52), was shipped back to the US for study. Army engineers quickly set to reconstructing the runway (7:14). Footage of natives moving through safety zones to internment camps follow (7:18). Japanese task forces set to target the 5th fleet near Saipan (7:38). Their forces, as well as US carrier planes and anti-aircraft battery sections are seen in combat (8:02). The following day the US forces sought out Japanese planes (8:59) and once located, an all-out air strike was ordered by the Admiral Commander (9:12). The Japanese fleet was decimated and they moved up towards the Philippians (9:39). Mount Tapochau is pictured and it was the highest point on the island making it a good vantage point for Japanese forces (10:36). The US Army used white phosphorus as smoke screens (10:39) and set fires to cane fields (10:59). Flamethrowers were used to drive or kill the remaining Japanese forces out from hidden locations (11:23). On June 25th, the summit was reached (11:32) and US forces began to fire at the capital (11:47). From the Aslto airfield, P-47 Thunderbolts are seen joining the action (12:20). Footage of Navy dive bombers in the sky follow (12:25). The span of rubble that was Garapan is shown after the city fell to US forces (14:15). The next objective was to pocket the enemy troops up to Marpi airfield at Inagasa Point (14:59) and equipment was moved up difficult terrain for this maneuver (15:16). This was to be the largest launch in the Pacific (15:22) and by the end of the bloody battle, US forces are seen holding fire waiting for surrender to which mostly civilians (few soldiers) respond to (16:17). One final bombardment of Garapan took place on the 13th of July (16:54). From this battle, footage is provided of at least one Japanese soldier surrendering (17:33) and another committing suicide (17:50) as well as of children that were caught in the water being scooped up by US forces to be sent to internment camps (18:37). The Japanese fallen soldiers (18:54) as well as US’s fallen soldiers (19:09) are shown. This film concludes with the information that Saipan had now become the US’s springboard for the continued attack on Japan (20:31).


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