June 15, 1944 – Marines Invade Saipan

The Battle of Saipan started on 15 June and lasted until 9 July 1944. From Saipan, Japan would be well within the range of an air offensive relying on the new Boeing B-29 Superfortress long-range bomber with its operational radius of 1,500 mi (2,400 km).

The pre-invasion bombardment began on June 13, and the landings began at 7 AM two days later. More than 300 LVTs landed 8,000 Marines on the west coast of Saipan by about 09:00. By nightfall, the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions had a beachhead about 6 mi (10 km) wide and 0.5 mi (1 km) deep. The Japanese counter-attacked at night but were repulsed with heavy losses.

By 7 July, the Japanese forces had been beaten back to the northern end of the island, and, with nowhere to retreat, the remaining Imperial troops conducted a final suicidal banzai charge. Over 3000 men surged over the American front lines, almost destroying two battalions in the 105th Infantry Regiment. The Army and Marines ultimately held fast, however, defeating the Banazai charge and securing the island.

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