War Stories: Assault on the Marianas

Sunday, February 22 17 at 8 p.m. ET

Hosted by Oliver North

Say "D-Day" and most people will think of the Normandy (search) invasion in June of 1944. But, many remarkable amphibious landings played out during World War II. During the same month "Operation Overlord" unfolded in Europe, another massive armada began. "Operation Forager" stood ready to storm the beaches of the Mariana Islands (search). Some 3,700 miles from Hawaii, the Mariana Islands were the main Pacific outpost for the Japanese Empire. 

Fiercely defended by over 70,000 Japanese troops, the island airfields on Saipan, Guam and Tinian were "must have pieces of real estate." If taken, swarms of our massive four-engine B-29 bombers would be able to devastate mainland Japan and stop the war machine in its tracks.

On these tiny islands, the 100,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines faced a determined enemy. The Japanese defenders had been given a simple order… absolutely no surrender. Our victory would come at a very high price.

This chilling episode of "War Stories with Oliver North" brings you onto the "white sands of hell." You’ll face an enemy 4,000 strong in a "banzai" charge. You will hear the actual recording of an amphibious landing of Marines hitting the beach. And you will witness how thousands of Japanese civilians took their own lives at "Suicide Gulch." From the "Great Mariana’s Turkey Shoot" you will meet legendary Navy ace pilot Alex Vraciu (search), who shot down six Japanese bombers in less than eight minutes. 

Staff for this episode:

Senior Producer: Pamela K. Browne

Produced and written by: Martin Hinton and Jason M. Kopp

Editor: Patrick Flynn 

Designer: Greg Van Why