Skip to comments.Rare World War II photographs show American soldiers' fight for survival in brutal Battle of Saipan
Posted on 01/16/2012 12:29:48 PM PST by rawhide
It is the little-known battle that claimed the lives of thousands of Americans during World War II. But now black-and-white photographs, captured by Life magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith, show the everyday horrors for the U.S. soldiers fighting against Japanese forces on the Mariana Island of Saipan between June 15 and July 9, 1944.
Faces etched with the pain of their experiences, war-weary men are captured transporting their wounded comrades or forcing Japanese civilians from their hiding places.
The photographs were taken during a battle that claimed the lives of 22,000 Japanese civilians - many by suicide - and nearly all 30,000 Japanese troops on the island. Of the 71,000 American troops who landed on Saipan, 3,426 perished, while more than 13,000 were wounded.
The battle was a turning point for the American battle against Japan's forces. The Japanese situation became so desperate that commanders pleaded with civilians to 'pick up their spears' and join the fight.
The destruction of the Pacific island is captured in the Life photographs, with bleak landscapes bearing the detritus of bombings and gunfire.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Those were the days, huh?
Thank you for these great pictures.
Amazing pictures. Thank you for posting, rawhide.
The Limey what wrote this story needs to pull his head out of his arse. Look at the dungarees. That ain’t a soldier- that’s a Marine, by Gawd.
My dad had Life's Picture History of WWII copyrighted in the 1950's. I have the Time hardback WWII series copyrighted in the 1970's.
It is interesting to compare the captions to the same pictures. The first version, my Dad's, is a "God is on our side" type book while the later version (Time's) is full of either corrections or revisionism depending on your point of view.
Just compare old War documentaries, like “Victory at Sea” with what’s out there now.
I dunno about the dungarees, but he’s carrying a K-Bar.
I recognized the shot of the Marine drinking. Spine chilling shots. An amazing time in history.
One the funniest comedians ever, Jonathan Winters, was in the USMC in WWII and after becoming ill was hospitalized for several months. He was then assigned to duty aboard a vessel as a Marine guard. He later ran into a buddy from basic training and learned that everybody else that fellow knew of from Winters’ original platoon had died on Saipan. There but for the Grace of G*d ...
Good pic’s but definitely not rare.
Amazing pics. Thanks!
It is the little-known battle...
Little known battle?! Haven’t these guys ever seen “From Hell to Eternity”?
Actually on the Military Channel I prefer older documentaries about WWII (WWII In HD, WWII In Color) to anything comparable about Vietnam or the Persian Gulf War or OIF or the GWOT.
It seems that all of the contemporary documentaries are full of "howevers" i.e. the US Army won all major battles in Vietnam however the war was opposed on the homefront, then the mandatory pictures of draft card burners.
The photo you both posted had a Getty watermark and was therefore deleted.
The Japanese set themselves up for the A-Bombs with their suicidal defense of Tarawa, Peleliu, Saipan and Iwo Jima, under the false belief that if they made these invasions so bloody that we’d back off and negotiate a peace.
Right up there with Hitler’s decisions to declare war on the U.S. and the invasion of Russia.
The Saipan operation involved the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions. An Army division, the 27th, was held in reserve and eventually fed into the fracas.