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Research paper example essay prompt: Pacific War - 1912 words

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.. hing 20 percent with only 1,500 Marines of the first wave having reached the shore. By the end of the day, nearly a third of all the troops who made the attempt at landing on Tarawa were dead. That does not include the countless that were wounded. The next morning, more landing craft moved in to bring more troops. However, enemy snipers had moved out into the lagoon in the cover of night. They were now waiting in burnt out tanks and Amphtracs.

This added firepower of the Japanese brought casualties to higher levels than the first day's landing operation. At noon, however, five U.S. destroyers began to deliver horrifying blows to the Japanese batteries and pillboxes. Troops could now raid the beaches with relative ease. The fight inland still remained a slow and stubborn one.

Marines armed with flamethrowers or sometimes just riding bulldozers tore into the Japanese pillboxes. After three grueling days, the Marines finally succeeded in taking Tarawa. Of the enemy survivors were only 1 Japanese officer, 16 soldiers, and some 129 Koreans who were used for labor. Many more committed suicide rather than be taken captive by American forces. What had bee planned as a simple one day takeover, had turned into an 18,000 man, three day operation.

The Marines had proved victorious but at no small expense; it was "'the bitterest fighting in the history of the Marine Corps'" (Costello 438). The reason the Marines were successful in the face of such a dire situation on Tarawa was the fact that the Marines never quit. They fought on and on until the last Japanese soldier was dead or captured. They displayed tenacity unmatched by any other fighting force in the war, except maybe the Japanese themselves. Had Tarawa been in the hands of any other part of the U.S.

military force, it would never have been taken. With a string of victories under their belts, the U.S. Marine Corps began a push towards the Japanese mainland. Key to posing a real threat the Japan's center was the taking of the islands of Saipan and Tinian. The U.S.

Army Air Corps needed a landing field closer to the Japan in order to launch bombing raids with their newly acquire B-29's. Saipan-Tinian was close enough to frighten the Japanese people and government and to make them see the potential seriousness of their situation. In order to take Saipan-Tinian, the Army Air Corps asked the Marines to move in. Alongside the Marines, the U.S. Army was to play a small role in the invasion.

Throughout the whole "Island Hopping" Campaign thus far, the Army had played a small role in the several battles. Their involvement was limited because they were simply not adequately trained for the constant land to sea combat that ensued. On Saipan-Tinian, the Army held a rather important role, however. In taking Tinian, the U.S. forces would move in three waves.

In the center there was an Army division under the command of Ralph Smith. He was flanked on both sides by Marine divisions. The plan was to move forward, all three units at the same time, and sweep the island clean of any Japanese threat. However, the advance did not happy quite as planned. At the operation's commencement both of the Marine divisions moved forward successfully. But, Smith's Army units moved nearly an hour late. They moved forward a little and were stopped in their tracks. Since the Marines continued to advance steadily, the operation took to a horseshoe shape with the Army sagging in the middle.

The Army simply would not budge. Holland Smith of the Marines said to Admirals Turner and Spruance, "'Ralph Smith has shown that he lacks aggressive spirit, and his division is slowing down our advance. He should be relieved'" (Manchester 314). Dismissed he was, and his Army division was reinforced with Marines from the Eighth. This gave the battle new life and the Marines began to overrun the island, destroying all Japanese presence and taking over the airfields for the Army Air Corps.

The Japanese commander, Saito, committed hara-kiri and left his troops without leadership. They resorted to one last desperate banzai mission that was put down without much of a struggle. However, much of the island's inhabitants were Japanese. At the fall of their army, they gathered together on Banzai Cliff. Children threw grenades back and forth until they exploded, parents killed their own babies, and people jumped from the cliffs.

Emperor Tojo had convinced them through anti-U.S. propaganda that the Americans were evil and that they should avoid all contact with the enemy troops. Despite the sad ending, the battles for Saipan-Tinian proved without a doubt that the Pacific War belonged to the Marines and the Army should stay at the European front. The next big battle for the Marines was perhaps their most famous, Iwo Jima. The reasons for the battle for Iwo Jima were once again because of the necessity of the Army Air Corps. While Saipan-Tinian had provided the U.S.

with key airfields close to Japan, the Air Corps wanted to be even closer to Japan in order to cut down on casualties and expense. Iwo Jima was very attractively seated halfway between Saipan-Tinian and the Japanese mainland. The Army Air Corps could launch daily B-29 raids from new airstrips on Iwo. The battle itself was expected to be huge. Admiral Kelly Turner and General Holland Smith both thought that it would be the largest battle yet and would have an estimated 20,000 casualties.

The brunt of the work was given to the 4th and 5th Divisions under Major Clifton B. Cates and Major Kelly E. Rockey. The 3rd Division was to wait in reserve. The primary goal of the battle was to capture Mount Suribachi, the most heavily fortified part of the island. By February of 1945, nearly a quarter of a million U.S.

troops were set for invasion. The Navy bombarded the island fiercely. General Smith had wanted ten days of shelling prior to landing in order to break up all Japanese defenses; the operation was that huge. When the first wave of Marines landed, Japanese troops seemed unfazed by the shelling and rained fire down upon the 9,000 Marines advancing on their beaches. The 28th Regiment made their way through 1,000 yards of defense and to the base of Mount Suribachi, the 27th was stuck by enemy firepower, and the men of the 5th Division were struggling on the beaches on "15-foot sand ridges, which made it 'like trying to fight in a bin of loose wheat'" (Costello 544). By nighttime, thirty thousand Marines were ashore on Iwo Jima and 2,000 had been killed.

The next day the Marines began their push towards the two airstrips on the island. U.S. troops were only moving 400 yards a day on Mount Suribachi (Costello). By February 23, however, Marines were at the base of the volcanic peak. On the 24th, Marines planted an American flag on a crater of the volcano; it was the first sign of victory. Away from Mount Suribachi, Marines were slowly wearing down the Japanese defenses by never resting.

They fought their enemy's war by pushing relentlessly and with extreme force. After a week or so, the Japanese line was no longer a line, but scattered groups of resistance. After nearly six weeks of fighting only 216 Japanese were taken captive of the 20,000 originally on the island. Nearly 25,000 Marines were wounded and 6,000 were dead (Costello). The invasion was a success and the B-29's began their bombings of the Japanese mainland thanks to the Marine Corps. Okinawa was the last big battle of the Marine Corps in the Pacific War.

This battle was to be the last draw for Japan. Okinawa was frighteningly close to Japan and was very heavily fortified. If captured, Japanese power and control would be destroyed. The Fifth Fleet of the Navy provided the main support of the 1,200 ships used in the invasion. The 3rd Marine Corps under Major General Roy S.

Geiger would do the fighting. The U.S. expected that a force of 154,000 would be enough to defeat the Japanese defense of 70,000. On March 26, 1945 the invasion began on a scale similar to that of D-Day's in Europe. The 77th Infantry Division moved ashore and secured a place to set up long-range guns and a headquarters for the entire operation.

On April 1, 1,300 American transports and ships moved around the island. The Marines landed with surprising ease as the Japanese were luring them inland to move them away from their Naval support. They continued moving inland with little opposition, however, after a week, U.S. forces began to encounter heavy defense. The Japanese held the Marines and fought viciously while Kamikazes rained down upon the Navy. However, a greater blow was about to occur. On April 13, the troops received word the Roosevelt was dead.

The Japanese took full advantage of this and launched an awful propaganda war on the Americans. Pamphlets fell from Japanese planes reading, "'The dreadful loss that led your late leader to death will make orphans on this island. The Japanese Special Assault Corps will sink your vessels to the last destroyer. You will witness it realized in the near future'" (Costello 560). The Japanese commander, Ushijima then launched a massive assault to back up his threat that resulted in nearly 5,000 Japanese casualties and a stalemate. Kamikaze pilots continued to decimate the U.S.

Navy and they were growing weary of waiting for victory. The U.S. situation grew even dimmer as time passed. The 27th Infantry had to be replaced by the 1st Marine Division. All was in disarray.

But, then Marines began to slowly crack through the Japanese defenses. Soon, the Japanese were in desperation as the Marines began to win. The victory on Okinawa left Japan devastated. Their armed forces were crippled and the country's morale was vastly deflated. Although the battle of Okinawa was won a great cost to the Americans, the Marines were victorious because they were able to fight to the end and put the Japanese opposition down. Through their persistence and tenacity, the U.S. Marine Corps were able to achieve victory against all odds and win the Pacific War where no one else could have.

"General Eisenhower once said that he doubted Marines were better fighters than his own army Rangers. In a sense he was probably right; if you tell picked men they are crack troops, they are likely to fight like an elite. They difference is that Ike's Rangers were small bands of commandos, while the Marine Corps, a corps d'elite, fielded six divisions in the Pacific--three corps, a whole army" (Manchester 298). The United States Marine Corps gave an entire fighting force of the most "elite" troops to the Pacific Campaign. They fought some of the most ugly and most horrific battles in all of World War II. Their training in land to sea combat gave them an edge over the U.S.

Army's land-only combat training. In sending the Marine Corps into the Pacific Campaign, the United States proved it's military dominance and resourcefulness and shocked the enemy by showing that we could actually fight a two front war and win. Without the determination, strength, and aggressiveness of the Marine Corps in World War II, the Pacific "Island Hopping" Campaign very well could have been lost to the Japanese. There was no other outfit in all the worlds' armies more capable of fighting in the Pacific than the Marines.

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