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    Tinian Island  Mariana Islands

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USAAF 1945

Tinian is a central island in the Marianas Island Group, approximately 39 square miles in size located 80 miles north of Guam, and 5 miles from Saipan.

Tinian was claimed by the Spanish and Germany. After World War I, it became a protectorate of Japan. Under Japanese administration, Tinian was planted with sugar cane and plantations.

Wartime History
By July 1944, the island was occupied by a 9,000 man Japanese garrison commanded by Admiral Kakuda. Softened up by a 13-day naval and aerial bombardment. On July 24, 1944 After a fierce bombardment. U. S. Marines (USMC) 4th Division from Saipan landed at Unai Chulu. The Japanese were taken by surprise, and the offensive was regarded as one of the best-executed amphibious operation of the war. On July 26, 1944 the 2nd Marine Division also landed. The island was declared secure by August 1, 1944 with 328 Marines killed and 1,571 wounded. The Japanese lost 5,000 dead.   

During the inital landing, 1,500 U. S. Navy (USN) Seabees landed to begin repairing Ushi Point Airfield, even before the fighting had ended. Tinian is about the same size and shape as Manhattan, and when US forces occupied it during the war, 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.

Nearly the entire northern end of the island was occupied by the runways, nearly 11 miles of taxiways and the airfield area, designed to accommodate an entire 313th Bombardment Wing of B-29 bombers.

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 part 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 north side.

White 1 and White 2
These were the landing beaches on Tinian used by the Marines.  There are Japanese bunkers on White 1, and a pillbox on White 2.

Ushi Point
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 Holdout
In 1953, Japanese soldier Murata Susumu was captured. He was living in a small shack near a swamp since the war.

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Last Updated
February 7, 2016


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