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June 1944's Other D-Day!

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  • June 1944's Other D-Day!

    Every five or ten years, Americans get excited about D-Day again. Nine days after the Normandy invasion took place, Saipan was invaded and never seems to draw the recognition that D-Day gets. The results of Saipan were important, too, and go ignored every year.
    1) As at Normandy, many green Marines and sailors had their first taste of combat (One of which was my Dad).
    2) The capture of Saipan resulted in the fall of Tojo. Nagumo committed suicide.
    3) It created the base from which the US could hit Tokyo night in and night out with the B-29s. (and, of course, Enola Gay and Bockscar took off from neighboring Tinian.)
    4) Japanese land based air and carrier based air was decimated. There were but 35 planes left on the Japanese carriers after the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Many islands, in a (and I'm guessing here) 1,000 mile radius saw the end of Japanese land based air power.
    5) Many of those green Marines and sailors for the first time witnessed Japanese brutality by watching them force the islanders off the cliffs at Marpi Point.
    6) Heightened the intensity of interservice bickering because Marine Lt. Gen H.M. Smith fired Army Maj. Gen. Ralph Smith because of Army performance issues.
    I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

  • #2
    Re: June 1944's Other D-Day!

    Originally posted by Tom DeFranco
    Every five or ten years, Americans get excited about D-Day again. Nine days after the Normandy invasion took place, Saipan was invaded and never seems to draw the recognition that D-Day gets. The results of Saipan were important, too, and go ignored every year.
    1) As at Normandy, many green Marines and sailors had their first taste of combat (One of which was my Dad).
    2) The capture of Saipan resulted in the fall of Tojo. Nagumo committed suicide.
    3) It created the base from which the US could hit Tokyo night in and night out with the B-29s. (and, of course, Enola Gay and Bockscar took off from neighboring Tinian.)
    4) Japanese land based air and carrier based air was decimated. There were but 35 planes left on the Japanese carriers after the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Many islands, in a (and I'm guessing here) 1,000 mile radius saw the end of Japanese land based air power.
    5) Many of those green Marines and sailors for the first time witnessed Japanese brutality by watching them force the islanders off the cliffs at Marpi Point.
    6) Heightened the intensity of interservice bickering because Marine Lt. Gen H.M. Smith fired Army Maj. Gen. Ralph Smith because of Army performance issues.
    Tom

    You are so right. I don't know why this is. Speaking for me, I think it's because Canada didn't see too much action in the Pacific apart from Hong Kong. We should and owe it to the Pacific theatre veterans to commemorate their deeds as well.
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    • #3
      The Pacific War and the battles against Japan get forgotten a lot over here as well, despite the Burma campaign being the longest of the entire war. Perhaps that's because our home country was under direct threat of invasion. That's not an excuse BTW, because I agree that we need to remember the "forgotten" campaigns as well - people still fought and died.

      Dr. S.
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      • #4
        I think most of the reason why Saipan doesn't get as much of a recognition is because only Americans and Japanese were involved. Same with Kusk, but that one only involved the Russians and the Germans. D-Day was one of the few battles which contained elements of almost 5 countries.

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        • #5
          Yeah, with the exception of Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Iwo Jima the Pacific Theater is rarely talked about. Considering both my grandfathers fought the Asia-Pacific Theater, it makes me pretty angry. The fighting in the Pacific was a grudge match between the US and Japan, much the same as it was between the USSR and Germany on the Eastern Front. And both are not remembered a lot by the general public. For that matter, the European Theater in the West until D-Day is ignored (North Africa, Sicily, Italy). Selective history.
          "Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for"
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          • #6
            Think about it, there is no french in the battle, why would anyone care? :P

            People don't care that much about some colonies, some isolated islands, crappy jungles and China.

            In terms of raw combat, I'd be celebrating operation Bagration. Destroying Army Group center in one swoop is some achievement. With the same army, Stalin managed to crush the manchko Japanese army in less than two weeks.

            Japan by 44 is already defeated, with its navy in tatters, its army tied up in China as vital shipping is being lost to submarines day after day.

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            • #7
              I've heard about Saipan since I was a boy. This was a critical battle for several reasons. It was ominous since it was where the first Banzai attack took place, overrunning and nearly destroying two infantry and one artillery battalion. The Japanese survivors of the attack who were capable commited suicide by jumping off a cliff.

              Wasn't Saipan also a part of Japan, as opposed to a conquered province/island/whatever? If so, that would also make the battle there more significant.

              JS
              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


              "Never pet a burning dog."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SWPIGWANG
                Think about it, there is no french in the battle, why would anyone care? :P
                It's because we fought on their beaches and they helped us because of the French Resistance.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nreese21
                  It's because we fought on their beaches and they helped us because of the French Resistance.
                  I'm confused....were the French resistance at Saipan?

                  JS
                  Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                  Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                  "Never pet a burning dog."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Janos
                    I've heard about Saipan since I was a boy. This was a critical battle for several reasons. It was ominous since it was where the first Banzai attack took place, overrunning and nearly destroying two infantry and one artillery battalion. The Japanese survivors of the attack who were capable commited suicide by jumping off a cliff.

                    Wasn't Saipan also a part of Japan, as opposed to a conquered province/island/whatever? If so, that would also make the battle there more significant.

                    JS
                    First banzai charge was Guadalcanal.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SWPIGWANG
                      Think about it, there is no french in the battle, why would anyone care? :P

                      People don't care that much about some colonies, some isolated islands, crappy jungles and China.

                      In terms of raw combat, I'd be celebrating operation Bagration. Destroying Army Group center in one swoop is some achievement. With the same army, Stalin managed to crush the manchko Japanese army in less than two weeks.

                      Japan by 44 is already defeated, with its navy in tatters, its army tied up in China as vital shipping is being lost to submarines day after day.
                      Regarding your last sentence, yeah, Japan was already done for. Except you'd have hell to pay trying to convince them of it at the time Saipan was invaded. They didn't even surrender after the first A bomb was dropped. No, it took many more invasions and peoples' lives before they got the message. Bombing missions over the home Islands had to be conducted, yet, and the Marianas (of which Saipan was part) would be the staging area for future invasions. The locations of Saipan and Tinian were closer than the bases in China that were initially going to be used for the bombings.

                      Regarding your remarks about the Stalin's defeating the Japanese, are you talking about the 1939 Khalkin Gol fight or the 1945 land grab that they went on just a couple of days before Japan surrendered?

                      "In terms of raw combat" you go where you're sent and you do your damndest to win. While Operation Bagration was big in scope and Saipan was much smaller, it was just as deadly for those involved. Besides that, I was comparing 6/1944 invasions - Op Bagration started as early as 2/1944 as I recall and the notoriety one gets compared to the other. Yes, though Bagration deserves more press, too, but not at the expense of anything else.
                      I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Janos
                        I've heard about Saipan since I was a boy. This was a critical battle for several reasons. It was ominous since it was where the first Banzai attack took place, overrunning and nearly destroying two infantry and one artillery battalion. The Japanese survivors of the attack who were capable commited suicide by jumping off a cliff.

                        Wasn't Saipan also a part of Japan, as opposed to a conquered province/island/whatever? If so, that would also make the battle there more significant.

                        JS
                        Jeff, as RichardS said below Guadalcanal was the sight of the first Banzai charge.

                        You are right about Saipan being part of Japan. They were given control by the Versailles Treaty after their successes against the Germans in WW I. As a matter of fact they controlled all of the Marianas before the War except for Guam, which the US gained control of through victory in the Spanish American War in 1898.
                        I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RichardS
                          First banzai charge was Guadalcanal.
                          Oops.

                          I stand corrected.

                          JS
                          Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                          Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                          "Never pet a burning dog."

                          RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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                          http://www.sca.org
                          http://www.scv.org/
                          http://www.scouting.org/

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tom DeFranco
                            You are right about Saipan being part of Japan.
                            Whew! At least I got part of it right...now I don't need to jump off a cliff with my family to save our honor!

                            JS
                            Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                            Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                            "Never pet a burning dog."

                            RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                            http://www.mormon.org
                            http://www.sca.org
                            http://www.scv.org/
                            http://www.scouting.org/

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Janos
                              Whew! At least I got part of it right...now I don't need to jump off a cliff with my family to save our honor!

                              JS
                              A scary thought, indeed. My Dad witnessed that mass suicide/homicide (the Japanese soldiers were forcing the civilians off the cliffs at bayonet point.) from aboard his ship. Needless to say, it sickened him, but made him aware of Japanese barbarity quickly.
                              I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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