June 1944 (4)


Pacific Paratrooper

Tanapag, Saipan, June 1944. Image by Life photographer W. Eugene Smith Tanapag, Saipan, June 1944. Image by Life photographer W. Eugene Smith

19-20 June – the second stage of the naval battle in the Philippine Sea, the Japanese fleet finally had come within range of Adm. Spruance and his carrier aircraft went airborne. [between the Spruance fleet and Mitscher’s, there were 956 aircraft]  Even as the enemy retreated, the aircraft, running low on fuel, engaged in an even larger “turkey shoot”. [differences claim conflicting numbers, but to estimate: Japan had 450 carrier planes and 300 land based – with a loss of 550-645.  The US lost 123].  The Japanese carrier IJN Hiyo sank after 2 torpedo hits and bombs damaged the Zuikaku and the Chiyoda.  Night rescues for US aircraft crews went out for the survivors.

Battle of Saipan, June 1944 Battle of Saipan, June 1944

A third wave of attacks caused more losses for the enemy and on the fourth wave Adm. Ozawa barely…

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