The Marianas Campaign – Operation Forager – was designed to take the key islands of Saipan, Tinian and Guam providing bases for B-29 bombers to reach the Japanese Home Islands and as a staging area for the eventual invasion of Japan. Saipan was a strategic target and heavily defensed. In June American forces invaded Saipan and Japanese counterattacks inflicted heavy losses. The battlefield loses were severe on both sides with Japanese dead at 50,000+ and marines over 16,000.The island was finally secured on July 9th with the next stop Tinian Island. In the air, a huge battle ensued, the ‘Marianas Turkey Shoot’, with Japanese losses of 433 carrier aircraft and 200 land-based aircraft. After Saipan fell, the Japanese War Cabinet resigned and American forces took Tinian, that became a major air base for the remainder of the war and from which the atomic bomb flights would originate in August 1945.