Central island in the Marianas Island Group, Tinian is approximately 39 square miles. 80
miles north of Guam, and 5 miles from Saipan.
The island had three good airfield (a fourth under
construction by the Japanese). Tinian, with its sister islands, had
passed through Spanish and German hands prior to becoming a Protectorate
of Japan following World War I. Under Japanese administration, Tinian
was largely a sugar plantation. Nearly
the entire northern end of the island was occupied
runways, nearly 11 miles of taxiways and the airfield
area, designed to accommodate an entire 313th Bombardment
Marines Liberate Tinian
Softened up by a 13-day naval bombardment
leading up to the invasion at Unai Chulu, U.S. forces utilized
napalm bombs for the first time on the Japanese 9,000 man garrison
commanded by Admiral Kakuda. Assaulted
on July 24, 1944 by Marines from Saipan,
which had just been taken the previous month. After a fierce bombardment,
the 4th Marine division landed against .
The Japanese were taken by surprise, and the offensive was regarded
as one of the best-executed amphibious operation of the war. The
2nd Marine Division landed on July 26th, and battled back counter
attacks against their beachheads. The island
was secured by August 1st with 328 Marines KIA, and 1,571 wounded,
and 5,000 Japanese dead.
Tinian Island Airbase
1,500 Seabees landed with the initial forces on Tinian
in July 1944 and immediately set to work repairing the damaged Japanese Ushi Point Airfield, even before all the fighting had ended.
and shape as Manhattan, and when US forces occupied it during the
they laid out a system of roads with the same general plan and
orientation as Manhattan. The main north-south road, is 'Broadway',
and it runs parallel to the other main north-south road, 8th Avenue.
During the war six air strips were constructed on Tinian and two
more on Saipan to accommodate B-29s.
Bruce Petty adds: "People I interviewed on Tinian,
who were relocated there from Yap, told me that they didn't have to
farm or do work of any kind for the first two years because the military
left entire warehouses full of everything imaginable from food, brand
new uniforms, and even ice cream makers. Anybody who wanted a vehicle
could just go pick one up and drive it until it fell apart, than
go get another one."
Tinian Town (San Jose Village)
The successful invasion of
Tinian hinged on a fake landing staged near "Tinian
Town" (presently known as San Jose village) on July 24th. While
the 2nd Marine Division pretended to ready an attack on the southern
of the island, even going so far as to lower boats and men into the water,
the 4th Marine Division was launching a full-blown invasion on Tinian’s
White 1 & 2
These were the landing beaches on Tinian selected by the Marines. There
are Japanese bunkers on White Beach, and a pillbox on White 2.
Northern most point on the island.
North Field (Ushi Point Airfield)
Originally built by
the Japanese, B-29 bomber base near the northern tip of the island
West Field (Gurguan Point Airfield)
Originally built by
the Japanese, occupied by Americans, still in use today
Japanese soldier Murata
Susumu was captured in 1953. He was living
in a small shack near a swamp since the war.
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May 14, 2011