Warfare History Network
History was changed forever during this battle.
Aircraft Carrier vs. Aircraft Carrier: The Day the U.S. Navy Crushed Imperial Japan
The American air raids on the Marianas continued through June 15, and U.S. ships began an additional bombardment of the islands. On June 15, three divisions of American troops, two Marine divisions and one Army division, went ashore on Saipan, and Toyoda committed nearly the entire Japanese Navy to a counterattack. Toyoda wired Ozawa that he was to attack the Americans and annihilate their fleet. “The rise and fall of Imperial Japan depends on this one battle,” Toyoda wrote.
The Philippine Sea encompasses two million square miles of the western part of the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded by the Philippine Islands on the west, the Mariana Islands on the east, the Caroline Islands to the south, and the Japanese Islands to the north. In the summer of 1944 it was the battleground of two great carrier strike forces. One of these belonged to Japanese Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa. The other belonged to U.S. Admiral Raymond Spruance, and its carriers were under the tactical command of Marc Mitscher. Ozawa had explicit orders to halt the steady advance of the U.S. 5th Fleet, to which Mitscher’s carriers belonged, across the vast Pacific Ocean toward Japan.