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 ...
True - my dad was in the 27th and was manning a 37mm anti-tank gun about 50 yards behind the front lines of the Banzai attack. The intelligence reports estimated 200-300 enemy remaining to be mopped up, so large elements of the 27th were diverted elsewhere to help out. It turned out that the intelligence was off by a factor of 10, hence much of the 105th Regiment of the 27th was virtually wiped out before they could exterminate the enemy. Three members of the 27th were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions that day. I shudder to think where we would be now had we conducted a politically correct war as we do today...
Wow what a story so sad. :(
Wow what a story so sad. :(
When WWII ended I was in an infantry replacement line on Leyte getting outfitted for the invasion of Japan. After the end I spent a few months on Leyte with some very memorable days as to the battle on that island. From Leyte a bunch of us were shipped to the Marianas as Air Force personnel with not much to do but KP and gambling at the NCO club near Marpi Point. I had heard a lot of stories about the fighting on Saipan and the suicide jumps of civilians off the cliffs. The cliffs right at and above the shoreline were spectacular and the NCO club was right on the edge-beautiful scenery, We did take hikes through the hills and I saw a number of caves blackened by what was presumed flame thrower action. In some of the caves there were burned/charred bones of Japs against the back wall some with destroyed weapons. I recall thinking that the battle for Saipan had to have been a brutal time for both sides including civilians.
All the vets that fought in WWII are worthy of great respect and appreciation, but the Marines who island hopped all the way to Iwo Jima should be held in our nation’s highest honor for what they went thru.
My ship was at Saipan in 1995 for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the battle. I got to meet a lot of vets and went on a bus tour of the island with some of them where they pointed out various places they remembered. I was in awe of them.
I also took a bottle of sake to the Japanese war dead memorial for a good Japanese friend of mine whose father had been killed there.
My buddie's father, who was in the Navy, served with Eddie Albert in the same unit. I also have a friend, Jack, who joined the Coast Guard in 1938, and operated an LVT in the Pacific during the war, and had a brand new LVT shot from under him, forcing him to hang out with the Marines for a couple of days on Guadalcanal. He still comes in our local watering hole every day for a couple of beers.
Are you any relation to “Wrongway?”
God bless your Dad. I can imagine how anybody who came out the other end of that slaughter pen alive might remain silent for 50 years. When I was growing up I worshiped guys like him and still do.
Can you add anything to the story? Did he -really- misread the compass?
I doubt it. Rumor is that he had it all planned that way.
He was quite the character.