American Forts: West

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS

Camp Calhoun | Camp Chalan Kanoa | Camp Churo | Camp Susupi

Pagan Island | Rota Island | Saipan Island | Tinian Island
Other Islands

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS HISTORY
CNMI DIVISION OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION
COMMONWEALTH OVERVIEW AND HISTORY

Last Update: 05/APRIL/2008
Compiled by Pete Payette - ©2008 American Forts Network

Saipan Island
(1934 - 1949)
The Saipan International Airport was built by the Japanese as Aslito Field in 1934. The Americans took over in 1944 and renamed it Isley Field. Numerous WWII structures and bunkers still exist here, some still in use. To the south at Obyan Beach is a Japanese bunker built for 20mm guns, and further south at Naftan Point were three gun positions for 140mm M1925 Yokosuka guns (a 6-inch M1900 British Whitworth-Armstrong still remains).

At Agingan Point, south of San Antonio, a Japanese 120mm gun and a 140mm gun still remain near the present-day sewage treatment plant. Nearby at the Coral Ocean Point Resort is the Agingan Historical Park which contains two Japanese bunkers on Agingan Beach. Nearby is the former American Kobler Field (1944), which was still in use locally until 1975.

Several Japanese structures are located in the village of Chalan Kanoa. A Japanese bunker is in the Mount Carmel Cemetery. In the village of Susupi is a Japanese bunker in Susupi Regional Beach Park at Susupi Point. Japanese Camp Susupi (1944), for Saipanese civilians, was located behind Point Susupi, now the site of the Susupi Civic Center. The Americans established Camp Chalan Kanoa (1944 - 1946) for civilians after the island was secured. The U.S Armed Forces Memorial (with two Japanese 47mm anti-tank guns) and the Saipanese Memorial are located in the village of San Jose. Along Beach Road north of San Jose is a Japanese bunker (for 20mm guns) with a Japanese model 89A medium tank on top.

In the village of Garapan are two Japanese bunkers on Beach Road, a Japanese bunker at Muchot Point (Garapan Point) for a 120mm gun, and two Japanese bunkers on Navy Hill about 500 feet north of the old lighthouse. Near Garapan Point is the American Memorial Park with two Japanese bunkers, two Japanese model 97 medium tanks, a Japanese 47mm anti-tank gun, and a Japanese 25mm dual AA gun. The American Battle Monument Commission Memorial is also here. See also the World War II Museum. The park was once the administrative center for the U.S. Naval Operating Base, which closed in 1949. East of the park, a Japanese bunker is located along Beach Road east of the Smiling Cove Marina north of the village. The Commonwealth Museum of History and Culture is located in the old Japanese hospital on Middle Road. Offshore of Garapan on Mañagaha Island in Tanapag Harbor two Japanese 140mm coast defense guns and two AA guns still remain.

In the village of Tanapag are a Japanese bunker at Flores Point, another bunker at Tanapag Beach, several Japanese air raid shelters, and the ruins of a Japanese seaplane base (1935) at Flores Point. The American Navy used the seaplane base in 1945. The U.S. Marine Corps Memorial is located on Capital Hill Road. Remnants of an American radar station are located on Mount Takpochao, south of Capital Hill.
20th Century History of Tanapag, Saipan from Pacific Worlds.com

In the village of San Roque are a Japanese bunker at Achugao Point, three Japanese bunkers in the cliffs north of Papao Beach, and a Japanese bunker at Wing Beach south of Makpe Point. American Camp Calhoun was located at Papao Beach. Several concrete gun platforms for AA guns still exist. Over 100 sod-covered steel ammo magazines and 25 coral revetments were located in the hills to the east (Kalabera Pass), and northeast of San Roque (Makpe area) along the coast highway. Several still exist.

At the northern end of the island near Sabaneta Point is the Japanese Last Command Post located inside a cave. The last Japanese troops on the island surrendered in December 1945. Japanese guns that still exist here within the Marpi National Historic Landmark include one 200mm, one 140mm, and three 120mm dual-purpose guns. The Japanese built Marpi Field here in 1944, finished by the Americans in 1945, now abandoned. Also here in Peace Memorial Park are the Japanese Peace Memorial, the Korean Peace Memorial, and the Okinawan Peace Memorial. To the east at Laggua Beach is a Japanese bunker. Six Japanese gun emplacements were at Laggua Lichan Point.

On the Kagman Peninsula is a Japanese bunker at Marine (Halaihai) Beach. Two more Japanese bunkers are located at Tank (Laolao Kattan) Beach just to the south. Nearby is the abandoned American East (or Kagman) Field (1944). The runway was later used by the CIA to launch covert operations from 1948-62 against China.
Cold War Covert Activities on Saipan by William H. Stewart

Near the village of San Vincente on Hill 500 are the ruins of a Japanese command bunker. A Japanese bunker, built for four 20mm guns, is located to the east at Laolao Beach. Further east at Bapot Point is a Japanese bunker for two guns (one 120mm coast defense gun still remains here). Another Japanese bunker is on the eastern side of Bapot Point.

A Japanese bunker is located in the village of Dan Dan, and two Japanese bunkers are at Dan Dan Point.

Several 3-inch M1900 British model guns still exist on the island, plus one 76mm M1898 British gun.

The U.S. Army emplaced 155mm guns in several positions after the island's capture in 1944.

Tinian Island
(1936 - 1945)
The remnants of American North Field (1945) are located at the northern part of the island. The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan were loaded onto B-29 bombers here. The base was formerly the Japanese Ushi Point Field (1939). North Field is now a National Historic Landmark. West of the runways along White Beach 2 (Chulu Beach) is a Japanese bunker.

The present Tinian Airport, northwest of San Jose, was formerly the American West Field (1945), used by both the Navy and Army Air Force. The uncompleted Japanese Kahit Field (1944) was nearby. A Japanese 150mm gun is located in a cave at Peipeinigul Cliff just west of the airport runway. Japanese bunkers are located along the south-end of Long Beach northeast of the airport, and also at the eastern base of Mount Lasso north of the airport. Japanese and American radars were located on top of Mount Lasso, concrete mountings remain. American Camp Churo (1944 - 1946), for Japanese and Korean civilians, was located north of the airport on 96th Street east of 8th Avenue.

Ruins of several Japanese occupation buildings are in the village of San Jose (Tinian Town) at Tinian Harbor. A Japanese bunker built for a 20mm gun is located on the beach west of the village. The docks and breakwater were built by the Americans in 1944. A Japanese 150mm gun still exists in a cave above the harbor. A Japanese 140mm gun still exists in an unspecified cave. Several 3-inch M1900 British model guns, used by the Japanese, also still exist on the island.

The U.S. Army emplaced 155mm guns in several positions after the island's capture in 1944.

Rota Island
(1936 - 1945)
Japanese artillery was located on this island during World War II. One 140mm gun (of two) still exists in a cave at East Harbor, southeast of Songsong, and one 120mm dual-purpose gun still exists in a cave on the road to Sabana. Japanese bunkers are located in the village of Songsong. The Japanese Peace Memorial is at Sabana. The Rota Museum at Antigo Cave, one mile north of Songsong, has WWII relics, including a Japanese dual 25mm AA gun. A Japanese bunker is at Tatachok Beach. A Japanese lookout post as on Isang Peak. The Rota Airport was originally built by the Japanese. Bunkers are located along the cliffs at Ginalangan, south of the airport. The last Japanese troops on the island surrendered on the same day as the official surrender in Tokyo.

The U.S. Army emplaced 155mm guns in several positions after the island's capture in 1944.

Pagan Island
(1936 - 1945)
The Japanese lightly garrisoned this island, and an airfield was also constructed. Remnants exist of a Japanese village, bunkers, a weather station, and a crashed Japanese G3M "Nell" bomber, an A6M "Zero" fighter, and an American F6F "Hellcat" fighter.

Other Islands
(1936 - 1945)
Remnants and traces of the Japanese occupation exist on several of the minor islands:
Aguijan Island contains remnants of a Japanese village, a signal tower, docks, and a crashed A6M "Zero" fighter. Japanese troops here surrendered two days after the official surrender in Tokyo.
Anatahan Island contains remnants of a Japanese village, and a crashed American B-29 bomber. Japanese troops here did not surrender until June 1951.
Alamagan Island contains remnants of a Japanese village.
Agrihan Island contains remnants of a Japanese village.
Asuncion Island contains remnants of a Japanese village.
Maug Islands contains ruins of a Japanese weather station.


NOTE: The Marianas (except Guam) were ruled by Spain 1565 - 1899 (colonized beginning in 1668), Germany 1899 - 1914, Japan 1914 - 1944 (fortified beginning in 1936), and by the U.S. 1944 - present. The Northern Marianas became a United States Commonwealth in 1986.

Special thanks to Dirk H.R. Spennemann of the Coast Defense Study Group for providing WWII Japanese gun locations.
Thanks also to Colt Denfeld and Glen Williford of the CDSG for providing a current inventory of surviving Japanese guns.

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