World War, Pacific
Battle of the Philippine Sea 19-20 June 1944 more
Marianas Campaign June 11 - 1 August 1944
The outer ring of Japanese defenses had been breached in the Gilberts and Marshalls. Now
was a big step to the western Pacific for an attack of bases within striking distance of the Japanese home islands : Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Rota.
After the naval disasters in 1942 at Guadalcanal, each side withdraw their fleets to rebuild and were now ready again for mortal combat. Japan had ended 1942 with two damaged and two new fleet carriers plus 2 new and 7 old battleships. The U.S. with two damaged carriers plus 4 new and 7 old battleships in the Pacific. The Japanese Navy failed to continue their initiative after the death of their leader, Admiral Yamamoto 18 April 1943
A year and a half later, the tide had turned, but the sides were not too dissimilar. Japan had five large carriers, three light, and two hybrid battleship carriers plus 2 new and 3 old battleships. The U.S. brought seven large and eight light carriers plus 7 new battleships.
- Imperial Japanese Navy had at sea to defend the Marianas
CARRIERS WARSHIPS Taiho CV Yamato BB - 18" Shokaku CV Musashi BB - 18" Zuikaku CV Nagato BB - 16" Junyo CV Haruna BB - 14" Hiyo CV Kongo BB - 14" Ryujo CV 11 CA - 8" - Atago, Takao, Chokai, Maya, Kumano, Chiyoda CVL Suzuya, Tone, Chikuma, Haguro, Myoko, Mogam Chitose CVL 2 CL- 6" - Noshiro, Yahagi Zuiho CVL 27 Destroyers 24 Submarines Six oilers, 73 ships in all Plus, 1,000 land based aircraft within range in the Marianas, Carolines, Truk, and Iwo Jima. /Hyuga and Iso, BBV- 14" retro-fitted with seaplanes, were having additional AA guns fitted./United States Navy has
Enterprise CV-6 North Carolina (BB-55) Essex CV-9 Washington (BB-56) Yorktown II CV-10 South Dakota (BB-57) Hornet II CV-12 Indiana (BB-58) Lexington II CV-16 Alabama (BB-60) Bunker Hill CV-17 Iowa (BB-61) Wasp II CV-18 New Jersey (BB-62) Princeton CVL-23 8 Heavy Cruisers : Baltimore, Boston, Canberra, Indianapolis, Beleau Wood CVL-24 Wichita, Minneapolis, New Orleans, San Francisco Cowpens CVL-25 6 Light Cruisers - 6" Monterey CVL-26 7 Anti-Aircraft Cruisers - 5" Langley CVL-27 39 Destroyers Cabot CVL-28 28 Submarines Bataan CVL-29 San Jacinto CVL-30 / Saratoga (CV-3) is in the Indian Ocean. / Intrepid CV-11 - recovering from torpedo taken in raid on Truk. / Franklin CV-13, Ticonderoga CV-14, Randolph CV-15, Hancock CV-19, Bennington CV-20, Independence CV-22 are not yet complete and Boxer CV-21 is completed too late for WW2. / Massachusetts (BB-59) is in overhaul to get guns re-lined. The Fast Carrier Fleet is followed by : * Amphibious Fleet and Bombardment groups : older battleships and escort carriers. * Fleet train protected by CVE escort carriers and escort destroyers. The train included replacement aircraft and crews.
The Philippine Sea is a large chunk of ocean east of the Philippines, south of Japan, bounded on the east by a chain of volcanic islands including Iwo Jima and Saipan and on the south by islands including Palus (Pelieu) and Carolines (Yap, Ulithi)
The battle opens with Fifth Fleet carrier attacks on the airfields on the islands of Guam, Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas and more distant Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima. A replenishment convoy is discovered and sunk. Air sweeps are followed with battleship bombardment. The USN has two goals, support the troops landing and destroy the Japanese fleet ; this means the U.S. fleet is tethered to Saipan with limited freedom to maneuver or to attack and pursue the enemy.
Two carriers on the way to battle are sunk by U.S. submarines : Taiho by Albacore (SS-218) and Shokaku by Cavalla (SS-244).
The Japanese carriers attack and virtually all of the planes, 275, are destroyed for negligible results in the "Great Mariana's Turkey Shoot." The U.S. counter-attacks the next evening, sinking carrier Hiyo, damaging two others and further destroying Japanese aircraft. Whereas American aircraft losses, even damaged planes, are instantly replaced from the fleet train and half of the downed pilots and air crews are recovered, the Japanese losses are permanent. The Japanese fleet without air cover has to retreat. The conquest of the Marianas continues and these islands become the home of B-29's with which to destroy Japanese industry.
- Saipan 15 June - 9 July
- Battle of the Philippine Sea 19-20 June. More detail
Tinian 24 July - 1 Aug
- 19June England (DE-635)) sinks I-16, first of six subs in twelve days.
Return to: WW2 Menu 1944
About this page: Marianas - very brief discussion of naval battles for the Marianas in the Pacific War in 1944. Last updated on Dec 31, 2011 - remove Hyuga and Iso from battle.,
- October 8, 2005