Tinian is a small island in the Marianas group lying approximately 3,500 miles west of Hawaii and 1,400 miles southeast of Tokyo Japan. The island was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan who landed on the island of Guam first in 1521. The island remained under Spanish control for centuries. Tinian remained under Spanish control until the Spanish-American war of 1898, when the American cruiser USS Charleston entered the harbor in Guam to claim that island. Spain took notice at the end of the war and sold the remaining islands of the Marianas to include Tinian to Germany. Germany’s regime lasted shortly when the first world war and seized the Mariana Islands except for Guam which remained under US control. The native people of the Marianas are known as Chamorros, and the native language is Chamorro. Although the original language is now mixed with Spanish, German, and Japanese, it is still thought until today.
During the Second World War after the attack on Pearl Harbor Guam was also attacked and seized by the Japanese military this is when the Pacific war had begun. The United States now focused their attention on the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and the Mariana Islands. Hoping to capture Guam back from the Japanese, United States also wanted to capture the remaining islands. These islands would be in the front lines of the war in the Pacific. 1
Why did the United States Military want to take control of Tinian? The island would be the new home of the newly created Twentieth Air Force. The United States saw Ushi Point Airfield as the perfect location to set up the air base, which would land its B-29s while en route to bomb Japan. The Marines also needed to take control of Tinian in order to prevent the Japanese from communicating with Tokyo on the activities happening on Saipan’s naval and air base. During many decades the Japanese had controlled Tinian and Saipan, the Japanese developed the islands military and agricultural needed. 2
The Japanese military was controlled by Vice Admiral Kakuji Kakuda, but Colonel Kiyochi Ogata was designated by the Admiral Kakuda to run the defense of the island. On July 9th the US Marines seized control of Saipan which was not far north of Tinian. Colonel Ogata’s plan for the defense of the island was based upon the assumption that the US forces would land on the beaches facing Tinian Town on the south west, or on the east coast between Asiga and Masalog Points. Colonel Ogata considered that the US might land on the northwest beaches, but it was not enough to warrant that to mention in his defense plans. The possibility of major US landings on the northwest tiny beaches (White 1 and 2), was never really recognized. Plans were in place to only put a few Japanese troops to defend the northwest beaches, because Ogata expected if a landing occurred it would only be a small US landing party. Ogata divided his defense of the island into three sectors; Northern Sector was 2d Battalion, 50th...