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In late May, 1944, the 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion left for war.  It orders: lead sea-borne shock troops against the Japanese stronghold of Saipan in the Central Pacific. Its weapon was novel, never tested or deployed in combat.  70 amphibian tanks carrying 75mm howitzers in an armored first wave against fortified enemy beachheads, clearing the way for infantry landing behind them.

Its tasks included: first, surmount Saipan's offshore reef then swim its lagoon, firing howitzers and machine guns at onshore defenses to neutralize the landing beaches.  Second: storm ashore and overrun fortified defenses as the infantry came in behind.  Third: drive inland destroying the enemy to a tractor control line that established an initial beachhead.  Forth: support attacking troops until land tanks and artillery arrived.  Fifth, enforce flank defenses against the enemy's sea-borne attack.

The Battalion led the 2nd Marine Division into Saipan on 15 June.  It led the 4th Marine Division into Tinian on 24 July , and the 4th & 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.