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    Tinian Island Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands USA
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USAAF 1945

Location
Tinian Island is located in the Southern Islands Municipality of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in the United States of America (USA). Also known as simply "Tinian". The island has an area of approximately 39 square miles. Borders the Saipan Channel and Saipan Island to the north. To the south is Agrihan Island (Aguigan) and Rota Island (Luta).

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

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, Tinian was defended by a Japanese garrison that reached 9,000 men by July 1944 commanded by Admiral Kakuda.

On July 11, 1944 began a thirteen day U. S. Navy (USN) bombardment and aerial attacks to softened up the island. On July 24, 1944 the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) 4th Division from Saipan landed at Unai Chulu on Tinian. Initially, the Japanese were taken by surprise and the operating was regarded as one of the best-executed amphibious operation of the Pacific 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 initial landing, 1,500 U. S. Navy (USN) Seabees landed and immediately 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
Located at the northern tip of Tinian.

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
August 15, 2018

 

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