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The Taking Back of Guam
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H + 90 minutes, W-Day, Guam on Blue Beach


The American held island of Guam was taken by the Japanese only days after the attack on Pearl Harbour. This was mainly possible due to the fact it was not heavily fortified. Being the largest of the Mariana Islands, Guam was held by the United States from 1898. Due to its strategic importance in the Pacific theatre it was only a matter of time before the United States would attempt to take it back.
 
Bombardment of Guam on 14 July 1944 before the battle, as seen from
the USS New Mexico

In July 1944 the plan to retake Guam was executed. Heavy bombardment by naval gunfire was used prior to the initial invasion; air cover was provided by carrier borne aircraft from the Marshall Islands to the East of Guam who attempted to achieve air superiority to better safeguard the invasion force. Guam was chosen to be used as a base for future operations aimed towards the Philippines. The battle started on Guam on 14 July 1944 with bombardment by the USS New Mexico. On July 21 the Americans landed, but were faced with many of Mother Nature's obstacles such as reefs, cliffs, and heavy surf.

The plan was to attack both sides of the Orote peninsula at the same time to cut off the airfield on the western side of Guam.
Map showing the progress of the Guam campaign
The 3rd Marine Division landed to the North of Orote at around 0830 and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade landed just to the South near Agat. Heavy resistance was encountered almost immediately with 20 LVT’s being sunk by Japanese artillery, but tanks succeeded in arriving ashore at both landing zones by 0900. The most difficult landing was tasked to the 77th Infantry Division due to the reefs where landing craft had to stop and let troops wade ashore, but beachheads were established by nightfall and were about 2000 meters deep.

Two U.S. Marines (on the left is Captain
Paul S. O'Neal of Brighton, Mass., and on
the right is Captain Milton F. Thompson of Upper Montclair, N.J.) plant the American flag on Guam eight minutes after U.S. Marines and Army assault troops landed.

The first several days were made up of Japanese counter-attacks and were mostly at night using infiltration tactics. Although they did penetrate the American defences on several occasions they were forced back with heavy losses to both men and equipment. Lieutenant General Takeshi Takashina was killed on July 28th and was replaced by Hideyoshi Obata. But the Japanese were exhausted by the continued counter-attacks on the beachheads due to their supplies of food and ammunitions running low; by August they also had only a handful of tanks left. Obata then made plans to withdraw to the south in the mountains of the central part of the Island - he knew that reinforcements would be impossible to get due to the American control of both the sea and air around Guam. His only hope was to delay the inevitable for a few days. Mount Barrigada was the final stand.

It was particularly difficult for the American forces due to the rain and thick jungle. 2 - 4th August saw engagements of both forces, but on the 4th the Japanese line finally collapsed. The rest of the battle was a pursuit to the North resulting in heavy Japanese casualties as the forces of the IJA fought to the last man.

 

The War Thunder Team

 

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