Most people recognize 6 June 1944 as D-Day, when Americans, British, and Canadians, with assistance from the forces of 17 other nations, assaulted northern France in Operation Neptune, the initial phase of the invasion of Normandy, Operation Overlord. Fewer people remember that June 1944 had another D-Day, when on the 15th, the United States conducted a massive amphibious landing on the Japanese-held Mariana Islands. Known as Operation Forager, this D-Day equaled Neptune in some respects and exceeded it in others.
1. Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, vol. 8, New Guinea and the Marianas March 1944–August 1944 (Boston: Little Brown & Co, 1984), 162.
2. The air sorties for 6 June appear, for example in www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/06/d-day-landings-operation-overlord-in-numbers2/11590-aircraft-were-available-to-support-the-landings-on-d-day-a/. The total number of air sorties for Forager is not given in any of the sources consulted. The approximation of 1,200 is based on the air report of the USS Midway (CVE-63) for 15 June, which reported 72 sorties for her air group and stated that the other carriers had a similar total. Commander, Task Force 58, “Action Report of Operations in Support of the Capture of the Marianas,” 11 September 1944, 96, only lists targets. Task Group 58.3’s action report specifies 332 sorties.
3. Alex Danchev and Daniel Todman, eds., War Diaries 1939–1945 Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001), 554, 551.
4. Robert H. Ferrell, ed., The Eisenhower Diaries (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1981), 115.
5. VADM George Carroll Dyer, USN (Ret.), The Amphibians Came to Conquer: The Story of Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, vol. 2 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969), 946.