Battlefield intelligence by the NY National Guard's 27th Division is subject of free talk on Feb. 1

Talk on the Battle of Saipan kicks off the Museum's winter and spring 2020 series of free presentations.

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An interpreter with the 27th Infantry Division (right) questions a captured Japanese soldier during the Battle of Saipan.

SARATOGA SPRINGS (01/27/2020) (readMedia)-- The successes and failures of the intelligence work done by New York National Guard's 27th Infantry Division during the 1944 Battle of Saipan will be the subject of a free talk at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, Feb. 1.

The talk starts at 2 p.m. in the museum's public room.

The 27th Infantry Division and the Marine Corps 2nd and 4th Divisions invaded the island on June 15, 1944 and finally defeated the Japanese 43rd Division on July 9, 1944.

On July 7 the 27th Division fought a 15 hour battle against the largest Japanese "banzai" attack of World War II in which four members of the division received the Medal of Honor posthumously. But the battle was marked by controversy when the Marine Corps commander, Lt. General Holland "Howling Mad" Smith, relived the 27th Infantry Division commander, Major General Harry Smith.

Dr. Andrew Tompkins, a history professor at Manhattan College will outline how the intelligence section of the 27th Infantry Division prepared for the battle and what they did well and not so well during the fight.

Tompkins talk is based on books about the battle and military after action reports. Tompkins will note the lessons learned in the battle which were incorporated in to later operations in the Pacific.

Dr. Andrew Tompkins is a historian of World War II-era American intelligence and diplomacy. He received his Ph.D. from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey in 2018, where he studied Franco-American relations during the Vichy era. Dr. Tompkins presently serves as adjunct instructor at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, where he has taught, among other courses, a survey of American intelligence history.

The New York State Military Museum is located at 61 Lake 61 Lake Ave.

Other talks in the series will focus on:

  • The Civil War Battle of Port Hudson and the 177th New York Volunteer Infantry on February 8;
  • The career of Artist Charles Johnson Post who painted poctures of New York National Guard Soldiers during the Spanish American War on Feb. 22;
  • The history of underwater archeologist Dr. Robert Inferarity and his work exploring Lake George's French and Indian War boats on Feb 29;
  • The Saratoga Campaign through the art of painter Don Troiani on March 7;
  • The history of the New York National Guard's law enforcement role in the 19th Century on March 14;

And the 42nd Infantry Division's battle during World War II and the liberation of Dachau on March 21.

All the talks begin at 2 p.m.