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Battling for Saipan
     

Battling for Saipan

5.0 1
by Francis A. O'Brien
 

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When V Amphibious Corps were preparing for the invasion of the Marianas Islands—Saipan, Guam, and Tinian—they were expecting a relatively easy fight. The Japanese appeared to be on the run. As D day for Saipan (the first of the three islands scheduled for conquest) loomed, V Corps planners felt safe in allocating a single army division as corps

Overview

When V Amphibious Corps were preparing for the invasion of the Marianas Islands—Saipan, Guam, and Tinian—they were expecting a relatively easy fight. The Japanese appeared to be on the run. As D day for Saipan (the first of the three islands scheduled for conquest) loomed, V Corps planners felt safe in allocating a single army division as corps reserve for the conquest.
 
As Lt. Col. William J. O’Brien’s First Battalion and the 105th Infantry landed on Saipan, they had little idea what was in store for them. Enemy opposition was fierce. For the next several weeks they faced the unremitting terror of nearly continuous combat. For the 105th Infantry, the battle climaxed in an overwhelming Japanese banzai attack July 7, 1944. The regiment suffered more than 900 casualties, almost half of whom were killed in action, including First Battalion’s commander, William O’Brien, who later received the Medal of Honor for his efforts. Throughout the battle, O’Brien provided a stirring example of frontline leadership to his previously untested troops. His story is just as inspiring today.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This gripping story of the 27th Infantry Division and the 1944 Battle of Saipan is somewhat less successful as a biography of the author s uncle, who won a posthumous Medal of Honor in the battle. Little space goes to what kept Lt. Col. William J. O Brien in the New York National Guard for more than 20 years, or what made him the effective and courageous citizen-soldier he obviously was. Instead, the author offers a history of the 27th Division and its mobilization, followed by its baptism of fire on Makin Island in 1943. The narrative becomes more focused when O Brien gets to Saipan, where the 27th Division was rushed ashore minus a good deal of essential equipment, and eventually had its commanding Army general relieved by a Marine officer. (The 27th Infantry Division got a historical bum rap a 1944 article in Time had them froze in their foxholes and Lt. O Brien was a true hero, his nephew maintains.) Still more gripping is the account of the huge banzai charge, in which the Japanese threw in more than 4,000 men to overrun and nearly annihilate Colonel Smith s 1st Battalion of the 105th Infantry Regiment. The author researched the account thoroughly not in only printed sources, but also through interviews with surviving veterans; his book may be both an imperfect unit history and a slightly skimpy biography, but it s also a good war story. 14 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW and 8 maps. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780891418047
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/04/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
370
Sales rank:
544,532
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

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Battling for Saipan 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If there is any one book to be read on the Pacific war this is it. It tells the true story of New York's own 27th Division during one of the most important battles of WWII. For too long have Historians and the US Armed Forces blindly accepted The USMC's version of events. The 27th Infantry Division (NYNG) was one of the Army's Finest Divisions composed of 3 Infantry Regiments - the 105th (Old 2nd NY, the 106th (old 10th NY) and the 165th (The Legendary Fighting 69th) - with distinguished Histories going back to the War of independence. They were the unsung heroes who did the hardest of the fighting on Saipan which the Marine Corps had no qualms taking credit for. To reward them they were branded cowards by the Marine Corps and their Division commander Gen ralph Smith was relieved of command mid-battle. No official refutation of the Charges, which were published in the National press, were allowed in the name of interservice rivalry. This book sets the record straight and rightly vindicates the slandered heroes of the 27th Division. Battling for Saipan is based on solid original research including hundreds of interviews with survivors of the battle as well as extensive use of Archival records. O'Brien is to be praised for his work. The Narrative is excellent and rivetting. You can almost hear the Bullets whizz by and the Banzai screams of the Fanatical and demented foe. You can see American soldiers at their bravest fighting desperately against overwhelming odds. If you are going to read any book on the War in the Pacific - This is the one to Read.