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U.S. WWII Plans for Offensive Against Japanese

Plans to launch an offensive against the Japanese in the islands of the Pacific were initiated in 1943 at the Quadrant Conference held in Quebec. President Franklin Roosevelt received the proposal that the Allied effort in the Pacific should be directed first toward the Gilbert Islands, then the Marshalls, followed by Wake, the Eastern Carolines, and finally the Marianas. It was at Saipan that American military planners were presented with the problem of how to cope with a dense civilian population, the first to be encountered in the Pacific war. American forces were to be under the overall command of Admiral Chester Nimitz.

The American drive across the Pacific would be two-pronged. While Nimitz fought his way across the central Pacific, General MacArthur would advance across the southwest Pacific to the Philippines. The islands of the central Pacific either succumbed one by one under the sheer weight of American forces or were bombed, neutralized and bypassed. With their supply lines cut, the defenders of by-passed islands were left to starve. After the fall of the Marshall islands, no other island in the central Pacific would be invaded by American ground forces until the American armada reached the waters off the Marianas and the island of Saipan.

American war strategy in the western Pacific was developed around the premise that Japan would never surrender and that the nation would fight to the last man, woman, and child, particularly if the home islands were invaded. It was anticipated that such an invasion, if it were to occur, would result in the loss of one million American lives. In planning for this eventuality, air bases in the Marianas were essential in order to accommodate the new B-29 Superfortress, a U.S. bomber that was just beginning to be mass-produced in early 1944 and which had a flying range equal to the distance from Saipan, Tinian and Guam to Japan and back. The B-29's normal range was 2,850 miles at 358 m....

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U.S. WWII Plans for Offensive Against Japanese. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:51, December 07, 2021, from