World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF THE PACIFIC: To the Victor: the Bases

Three and a half weeks after landing on Saipan, key to the Marianas and the approaches to Tokyo, Marine and Army troops finished the U.S. conquest of the island. Thus ended the bloodiest battle of the Pacific-island offensive: thus was won an air base within 1,500 miles of Tokyo (easy range for B-29 Superfortresses).

Best of all, it was a base which could readily be supplied by sea, unlike those in China to which every drop of gasoline, every ounce of explosive, must be flown in.

If U.S. forces had paid dearly for the 14½-mile-long, 75-square-mile island, its futile defense had...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!