During World War Two, in the Pacific Theatre, the Japanese forces had occupied many of the Pacific Islands. The Japanese fortified these islands in a variety of ways to defend them from the attacking American Forces, one of which was to use and/or construct caves for highly strategic military purposes and as protective shelters for both the Japanese forces, and the civilian population of these islands.
For my directed study, I’ve been tasked with identifying the use of the caves (i.e.fortified positions, machine gun emplacements, storage, etc.) on the island of Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, by collating historical and archival data to extract as many locations for cave sites on the island as possible.
Before researching into Saipan’s caves, I’ve decided to look at “Know Your Enemy!”, a declassified US Military report on the Japanese Military Caves on Peleliu. This report complies the information gained after the extensive study and analysis of the cave system found on Peleliu, Palau.
Peleliu was the site of Operation Stalemate II, which had occurred after the Americans gained control of Saipan, Guam and Tinian, and before the Volcano and Ryūkyū Islands campaign (Iwo Jima and Okinawa). As such, some of the techniques to defend the island came from what had been learnt when previous islands were taken. This potentially means that how the Japanese used the caves on Peleliu would be similar to, or an improvement on how the caves were used on Saipan.
The following are some extracts from the report that I believe could help me for the Saipan research:
Differences between the Army and Navy:
In relation to I, L, and T shaped caves:
And, something to chill the spine: