guam

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It must be emphasized that X-Day: Japan is not an academic work. Still, we’re proud of the research and detail that went into it. Some readers have asked for more information about certain details, or for a longer list of references than in the bibliography.

In the margins of the main manuscript can be found links to many of the little facts that decorate the novel. We’ve compiled them into a list, sorted by the Tuttle journal dates in which each was found. A bunch of them are given below. The list will be completed in later installments.

July 16, 1945
FM 30-26 Regulations for Correspondents Accompanying U.S Army Forces in the Field,
archive.org

July 19, 1945
Macarthur’s personal plane, and his assistants,
donmooreswartales.com
ozatwar.com
Flying across the Pacific in a hurry,
wikipedia.org
wikipedia.org
uswarplanes.net

July 22, 1945
USO,
archive.org
Hawaii – it’s history, economy, defenses, and outlook – as of late 1940,
fortune.com
Prostitution in Hawaii,
library.manoa.hawaii.edu
Actual USO show,
gvnews.com
abebooks.com

July 23, 1945
Training on Hawaii up in Camp Tarawa,
Chuck Tatum, Red Blood, Black Sand
DE’s by class and commissioning year,
ibiblio.org/hyperwar/

July 26, 1945
NATS,
wikipedia.org
vpnavy.org
FDR’s line crossing ceremony,
ww2db.com

July 27, 1945
Marpi Airfield, Saipan,
airfields-freeman.com

July 28, 1945
SB2C Helldiver,
wikipedia.org
Marine close air support,
ibiblio.org

July 29, 1945
Facilities and engineers in the Marianas,
ibiblio.org
Floating dry-dock example,
navsource.org
navsource.org
Log of bombing missions from one group,
39th.org

July 30, 1945
458th Squadron, 33th Bomb Group,
rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ny330bg/
mission log including radio report from Ray Clark,
rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ny330bg/

August 3, 1945
Baseball in wartime,
baseballinwartime.com
Navy reports on typhoon of June 1945 (Connie),
history.navy.mil
USS Red Oak Victory, cargo ship AK-235 [MUSEUM SHIP],
navsource.org
navy.memorieshop.com
richmondmuseum.org
Shortage of loading berths at Okinawa,
Nimitz Gray Books [multiple references]

August 6, 1945
Yonabaru Naval Air Station,
rememberingokinawa.com
Buckner Bay and Navy HQ buildings,
rememberingokinawa.com
Sinking of the USS Indianapolis,
history.com

August 9, 1945
Trial of Captain McVay of the Indianapolis,
ussindianapolis.org

August 10, 1945
Active airfields on Okinawa, 1945,
wikimedia.org

August 16, 1945
USO show on Okinawa,
rememberingokinawa.com
Betty Hutton,
bettyhuttonestate.com

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[It wasn’t all work and no play even in the raw Pacific theater.]

Baseball is nuts here. Every base has a team, with natty custom uniforms and groomed fields to play on. Every field unit, down to battalion size or even smaller, has a competitive team with whatever equipment they can get a hold of. Somehow every ship with more than 9 sailors on it shows up with a team itching to play (I suppose they practice over the water with sharks and rays as bases). Leagues form up spontaneously any time two teams are within a day hike of each other. The Navy formally organizes a larger league for the whole Marianas. You’ve probably read about the top level leagues run by the military. If you don’t follow, know that last year Navy beat Army for the “Pacific World Series” in Hawaii. Both are dead serious about putting up good teams for the rematch this year.

Today a top-flight match was played on a professionally laid field. Construction teams here did not neglect sport and recreation facilities, and Trimble Field is one of their best. Named after Jimmy Trimble, who passed on a pro contract to fight with the Marines and was killed at Iwo Jima, the field has a fine scoreboard and a few small grandstands. The top teams of the Third and Sixth Marine divisions faced off for a full nine inning game. It’s an open secret that major leaguers in the military are kept out of risky combat roles, but the Marine divisions still have plenty of ringers.

I hitched a ride up to the field, which wasn’t hard because practically everyone was heading there. Upon arrival I gave up hope of watching much of the action. The few grandstands were burdened with brass, and guys were standing ten or twenty deep along the foul lines, all the way out further than Ty Cobb’s longest home run. People watching was going to be my sport for the afternoon.

Baseball on Guam, 1945

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[For the first time Tuttle got to watch a large bomber attack form up and head off into the sunset toward Japan.]

The large Army air bases are fifteen miles from where I am near the giant naval station, but the bombers can be heard before they even get airborne. The insistent hum from thousands of cylinders in hundreds of radial engines shoves through the few gaps in the range of hills that cover Guam. The hum becomes an angry buzz as the engines rev and the 200 inch diameter propellers rip into the warm evening air, pulling the planes in close groups down parallel runways. The sound sharpens and takes focus as pairs of bombers come into view past the hills that had hidden them, slowly climbing over the water.

The evening sun warms each shiny silver bird with a fiery orange hue. I think it must look much the same when they circle back over a freshly fire-bombed city, widespread fires lighting up the sky as the injured city calls out her attackers in the sky.

The planes turn and continue climbing, moving to where they will meet bomber groups from the other islands. On each mission dozens or hundreds of planes from Guam meet a similar number from Tinian and/or Saipan. Together they pick up dozens or hundreds of fighter escorts near Iwo Jima.

The whole force moves toward Japan, where it will either split up or focus on just one large or important target. At night aiming points are found by radar. Coast line features, river junctions, and large landmarks show up well on even the most basic set. Thankfully Japanese defense radar and night fighters haven’t been very effective so far. That was a big unknown when the Army Air Force first started night bombing runs last spring, and at that time they had no option of fighter cover.

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[Tuttle wrote in real time as he was flown over the U.S. Navy’s island-smothering buildup on the Mariana Islands.]

Our plane ascends into an expansive blue field of distant white puffs, scattered high clouds well above our sight-seer’s flight plan. We start west bound, with a warm mid-morning sun behind us. As we gain altitude Tom makes a long lazy turn to the north. We level off and he points out some of the minor islands north of Saipan. After the big fighting was over we secured a few of them. Others are simply cut off. Whatever Japanese garrisons are left there will be tending vegetable gardens until the end of the war.

Turning back to the south, we pass Saipan on our right. Some areas where the fighting was hard are still pock marked and denuded. Other substantial areas are clear-cut and developed, including multiple airfields larger than the one we left. The 2nd Marine Division is camped somewhere between the clusters of runways and rows of Quonset huts. The rapidity of development since just last fall is awesome.

Tinian comes up quickly, and if our bases on Saipan are impressive, Tinian is simply gob-smacking. The whole island looks like it lost a fight with a giant cat. Parallel lines of broad white scratches cut across it at irregular intervals, with raw blisters of new buildings and other facilities ringing each big paw swipe. The largest ‘wound’ is called simply North Field, which has four parallel 8,000 foot runways and scattered parking for a secret but triple-digit number of heavy bombers.

Tom intends to cut across the middle of Tinian, to get me a better look, and communicates that to the appropriate party by radio. He is reminded to steer clear of the north end of the island, but otherwise cleared. We cut altitude and airspeed and move toward the center of the island, which from a low approach still looks tranquil and lush with green fur. Clearing the first line of trees, and conspicuous gun emplacements, the scene changes quickly.

I can barely see the ground for all the variety of patrol planes, long range fighters, inky black night fighters, and broad acres of shiny metal bombers. Most are parked out in the open, on pads off of curving paths that slink off of the runways and service ramps. The pads are scattered and staggered so an attacker can’t wreck a bunch of parked aircraft at once, but I think I could drop a rock from this plane at random and have even odds on dinging two of them in one go.

A southerly turn and another twenty some minutes flying brings us to Guam. I am still writing notes about Tinian as the facilities on Guam make themselves clear. Guam is the new home-away-from-home for a large part of the United States Marine Corps. The scene from Tinian is repeated, a dense clutter of war material making up most of the landscape. But the shiny bombers are here replaced by long rows and expansive clusters of tents, Quonset huts, and a growing variety of more permanent structures.

Guam today hosts two divisions of the United States Marine Corps. Before the war there wasn’t even such a thing as a Marine Corps division. Now there are six.

Seabees base on Guam 1945

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[With road construction season kicking off over much of the U.S., we thought it would be timely to share another of our favorite quotes from the book.]

One can hardly say enough about the Seabees and what they’ve done out here. Graded land and hard surfaced roads are placed almost as if the Seabees have them in suitcases ready to fold out when they check in to each tropical hostelry they visit. I understand a great deal of dynamite was actually involved.

If you’ve ever complained about the quality and condition of roads in your home county, instead of writing letters to the local newspaper editor, I suggest you write to some ambitious foreign power asking to be invaded. With any luck, the Navy will have a hand in taking your town back, and will bring the Seabees with them.

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