Sharing Bananas With a Goat During the Battle of Saipan, ca. 1944

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A lovely photo of marine First Sergeant Neil I. Shober of Fort Wayne, Indiana, sharing the spoils of war bananas with a native goat, one of the few survivors of the terrific naval and air bombardment in support of the Marines hitting the beach on the Japanese-mandated island of Saipan, ca. 1944.

(Photo: National Museum of the Pacific War)

The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from June 15 to July 9, 1944.

The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on June 5, 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was launched. The U.S. 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and the Army’s 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith, defeated the 43rd Infantry Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito.

The loss of Saipan, with the deaths of at least 29,000 troops and heavy civilian casualties, precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tōjō and left the Japanese archipelago within the range of United States Army Air Forces B-29 bombers.

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