History, from a different perspective part 2…

21 June 1944, the 3rd Marine Division landed on Guam at Asan Beach, link HERE

This photo is from the South side of the beach, with Asan Point at my back.  You can see the hills to the East, within about 2 miles of the beach.

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They came under direct fire from Asan Point just to the right of the beach and from the hills backing the beach.  And another problem was the lack of amphibious units like AMTRACS and DUKWs, as the shallow water extends out over 200 yards from the beach.  And due to damage done to the vehicles by the reef, Marines ended up wading the 100+ yards in full combat gear under pretty intense fire.

This photo shows the memorial to all the services that fought on Guam, and you see the rise of Asan Point in the background.

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And this is a close up of Asan Point and how quickly the jungle takes over…

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Did you see the cave in the picture above?  It’s just to the right of the trail in the center of the picture.

This is the cave from the pic above- This one contained a mortar team… And was one of MANY caves dug by the Chamorro natives as slave labor.

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At Agat Beach, about 5 miles South of Asan, Marine units and the 77th Division of the Army came ashore with considerably less problems, but again were hampered by the lack of AMTRACS and DUKWs…

In this picture, taken from the South side of Agat, you can see Orote Point in the left side and panning around to the right was the main landing beach.  Orote Point is now the home of Naval Station Guam.

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And here are some of the guns the Japanese used…

The Japanese AA guns, 25mm 300 rounds per minute-IMG_1272

And the Japanese shore defense battery, 20cm (8 inch)-

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These only had a 10nm range, but that was plenty to hit the landing craft and any other ships that came too close…

And this is looking down from the Bundschu Ridge on Asan Beach…

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The Japanese HQ was about 1/4 mile to the right of where this picture was taken.  Effectively they had a ‘perfect’ sand table view (except real) to what the 3rd Marines were doing.  Note the scrub between the beach line and the final slope of the ridge.  Some Marine units had HEAVY casualties trying to get up this ridge, and some spent 24 hours pinned down before the ridge was taken from behind.  Also, you can Asan Point to the left side of the picture, which was heavily fortified and honeycombed with caves.

I cannot imagine the courage of the Marines and Army fighting up these slopes against Japanese who were NOT going to surrender… Over 18,000 Japanese dead, but the US forces lost over 10,000 dead and wounded.

My hat is off to all those who made this, and Iwo, and Saipan, and Tinian, and all the other islands that were re-taken.  And the Chamorros, just like the Pilipinas, who fought beside the Army and Marines, and conducted guerrilla  operations on their respective islands.

Now back to your regularly scheduled random BS…

Comments

History, from a different perspective part 2… — 11 Comments

  1. Thanks for these pic’s. Have always been a lover of WWII history and especially the Island hopping in the Wpac. Have read quite a few books on it and have always had trouble visualizing the lay of the land. These pics brought a life time of reading into sharp focus!! Thanks again!

  2. Great pics,and a good reminder of what those guys went through. And to see them now and all the mental images. Good Post.

  3. Like Peripatetic Engineer mentioned in Part 1, I am friends with a WWII Marine decorated veteran who will having nothing to do with anything related to the Japanese. Based on his stories about what he experienced, I can understand his position.

    Nothing against Japan today … I lived there for 3 years, and had a very positive experience … but to ignore history would be to fail to learn from the past.

  4. Walking the hallowed ground, consecrated by blood, provides a new perspective of valor and suffering on both sides. The Japanese soldiers who fought to the last did it because they were good soldiers and they followed corrupt and vainglorious politicians, who ordered them to their deaths — for absolutely no good reason beyond the glorification of those freaks in high office.

    I’m not justifying the Japanese barbarism of the Second World War, nor am I condemning the Americans, Australians, Kiwis and Brits who fought in that theater. I’m simply saying that the average man with a rifle in his hands had nothing to do with starting the fight that ended with the necessary of reduction of Japan to ash.

  5. Ev- You’re welcome. And it’s nice to be able to actually SEEE the land. It makes sense then.

    Ed- It keeps me out of the bars… :-D

    CP/Rick/Brighid- Thanks!

    Tim- Good point(s)!

    LL- Yep, the lone sailor, marine, airman, or grunt regardless of sides, was nothing more than cannon fodder. Luckily at least some of them survived it.

    Six- You’re welcome!

    True Blue- Thanks! And nice pics!