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Amphibious Operations


Demolition Crew The Marianas
Robert Benney #1
Oil on board, 1944
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

Before D-Day and H-Hour, these tough, hardened, and highly trained men went in on the beaches at Saipan to pave the way for invasion. It was they who made possible the approaches to the beach and the subsequent landings of our Army and Marines. Pictured here, a group of men have approached the beach at low water at a previously charted area. They are attaching "satchel" charges to the "Crib" in the rear. In the foreground is a Japanese horned "Scully" and the man directly behind it is attaching a demolition cap to a "J-13 Mine." In a few minutes their hazardous job will have been completed and another highway to Tokyo opened, thanks to the "Demolition Demons".


The Morning After the Saki Run (The Beach at Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, July 7, 1944)
Robert Benney #2
Oil on canvas, circa 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

This is the scene that greeted the survivors of the 27th division after the famous "big Banzai" when the Japanese unsuccessfully attempted to push our men back to the original landing point at Charan Kanoa. That night the cries of American wounded were heard when the saki-mad Japanese over-ran our perimeter aid stations and showed no mercy to the defenseless wounded.


Enemy Cave (The Marianas)
Robert Benney #9
Oil on board, circa 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

The long and costly struggle for these strategic islands was due in large measure to the numerous caves which the Japanese had blasted in the volcanic rock. These formidable fortifications frequently concealed heavy gun batteries as well as vast supplies of food and ammunition. Those that were not blasted by our heavy ships' batteries required slow and costly elimination by our ground forces. Here a couple of GI's are mopping up a cave. In the eerie light of the interior of the cave they cautiously search for signs of the enemy.


Mopping Up, Charan Kanoa
Robert Benney #5
Watercolor, 1944
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

The first landings made on Saipan were made at Charan Kanoa. The landmark of this once industrial city was the sugar mill that stands wrecked in the middle distance, which for many days concealed Japanese spotters in the smokestack. Securing Charan Kanoa made possible our advance over Mt. Topatchu, to the capital city of Garapan and on to Marpi Point.


Enemy Gun Emplacement (Nafutan Point at Saipan)
Robert Benney #10
Watercolor, 1944
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

This shore battery was captured by the Japanese at British Samoa and moved to Saipan. Pictured here are a couple of Marines cautiously checking the rubble around the enemy gun emplacement knocked out by our naval guns.


Inching In (The Beach at Saipan, June 1944)
Robert Benney #13
Oil on canvas, circa 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

At this point our Marines have just left their landing craft and made it to the beach wall. With the platoon is a flame thrower. A squirt from the flame thrower will hold up the Japanese long enough to enable the Marines to leap over the barbed wire and other entanglements and push inland. From now on, the beach-head established, the long and difficult struggle to conquer the island begins.


Last Call for Water
Robert Benney #3
Watercolor, circa 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

Tomorrow is the big day all the years of hard training, the tedious months of sweating it out for the big show will be at an end. Over the "Squawk Box" comes the order "last call, fill canteens." Tomorrow these men will hit the beach, some on their first assault, others, veterans of previous campaigns, but all subject to the same fundamental needs to sustain life on unknown enemy-held territory.


Roger Three (Scout and Raiders)
Robert Benney #12
Oil on canvas, circa 1943
Gift of Abbott Laboratories

Silently, stealthily, these specially trained men of our Amphibious Forces approach the enemy strongholds. Their job is to land on enemy-held territory, often hundreds of miles from our own forces. There they are left to their own resourcefulness, to make their way to the civilian inhabitants who have been dominated by the Japanese oppressors. They speak the language of the country or island where they will do their job. Information on enemy strength and supplies is thus obtained sometimes long before our Army or Marines will land, and when our forces arrive, the success or failure of the battle will, in large measure, be due to the information brought back by these skillful and courageous men.

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21 April 2006