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In May, 1944, the 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion left for war.  Its orders: lead sea-borne shock troops against the Japanese island stronghold of Saipan in the Central Pacific. Its weapons were novel, never before tested or deployed in combat: 70 amphibian tanks carrying 75mm howitzers in an armored first wave against Saipan's fortified beaches, clearing the way for Marine infantry landing behind them.

To accomplish this mission the amphibian tanks would surmount the island's offshore reef and swim its lagoon, firing howitzers and machine guns to neutralize beach defenses, then storm ashore and overrun fortifications to a tractor control line that marked off an initial beachhead.  Next the amphibian tanks would support the infantry until land tanks came ashore, and thereafter enforce the Marine flank against sea-borne and beach counter-attack.

Thus on 15 June 1944 the Battalion led the 2nd Marine Division into Saipan.  And on 24 July it led the 4th Marine Division into Tinian Island.  Next it comprised the initial wave of the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions into Iwo Jima on 19 February, 1945.  Its men were poised to attack Japan's home islands when Japan's unconditional surrender made their final assault unnecessary.  This is their story, told in their own words.  It started at Saipan.

(To begin the story of the 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion please click Saipan in above Banner)