The defenders lost 4,690 dead, the attackers 1,000 dead and 2,100 wounded. The task of dislodging this force fell to the Marines of the 2nd Division. While only 4,500 enemy troops guarded the base, the American military leaders knew it would not be an easy fight. The Battle for Tarawa comprised a part of a larger U.S. invasion (Operation GALVANIC) intended to capture Japanese-held territory within the Gilbert Islands. The Green beach was the western base of the island and black beach was the southern shore but were not considered suitable to conduct a beach landing. The battle for Tarawa, regarded as one of the fiercest in Marine Corps history, ended 76 years ago, on November 23, 1943. The landing force consisted of the Army’s 27th Infantry Division and the USMC 2nd Division for a total of 35,000 Marines and soldiers. The reason the island was sought after was its strategic location that was centrally located in the Pacific for the Philippine islands. Both sides prepared extensively for the fighting on Tarawa though the Americans did so from a position of ignorance.Tarawa is an atoll made up of fifteen small islands in the shape of a triangle, their total land area only twelve square miles. But Tarawa was different. The invasion force for the Battle of Tarawa consisted of 17 aircraft carriers (6 CVs, 6 CVLs, and 6 CVEs), 12 battleships, 8 heavy and four light cruisers, 66 destroyers, and 36 transport vessels. In just 4 days, there were almost 1,000 Marines who would lose their lives with a long way to go to get to Tokyo. The resulting struggle produced one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles in Marine Corps. German Mass Grave Discovered in Stalingrad, Company Imports Trove of M1 Carbines from Ethiopia to Sell in US, The Highest-Scoring Female Fighter Ace Ever: The Short but Daring Life of Lydia Litvyak, Wreckage from the USS Lexington (CV-2) Located in the Coral Sea 76 Years after the Aircraft Carrier was Sunk, Predators of the Seas: Life Inside a U-Boat – In 41 Images, Divers cleaning up the ocean net themselves an Enigma machine, US Marine MIA for More Than 70 Years on Tarawa Atoll Returned to Home Town from Pacific Atoll, Footage of 60,000 German Prisoners Paraded Through Moscow, “Big Lizzie” met 2 Russian Blackjacks Last Week off the Coast of Scotland, A Massive Operation – Raising A U-Boat To Recover Her Precious Cargo. By the end of the day, most of the remaining Japanese were contained in the east end of Betio. Battle Of Tarawa summary: A group of islands about 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii makes up those of Tarawa and during 1941-1943 they were held by the Japanese. Accessed March 9th, 2013. In the center is a lagoon, and reefs shelter many parts of the atoll. In late 1943, the United States launched attacks in the central Pacific. 97. The objective on the thin island was the airfield, located in the southwest corner. The British, who had governed the atoll before the war, were remarkably ill-informed about it. Author: History.com Editors Video Rating: TV-PG Video Duration: 3:31. The main Japanese garrison of… The US sent 18,000 Marines to capture tiny Betio. One of the problems with the operation was a lack of sufficient transports. Historic Significance. Air strikes weakened the Japanese artillery, and Major Ryan’s 3rd Battalion were able to advance, clearing the western beach and the coast opposite the pier. The Battle of Tarawa was one of the more terrible American experiences in the Pacific theater of World War Two. The Tarawa Atoll, part of the Gilbert Islands, was one of the targets of this advance. During World War II, Tarawa was occupied by the Japanese, and beginning on 20 November 1943 it was the scene of the bloody Battle of Tarawa. Beyond those were pillboxes holding anti-tank guns and field guns. Paperback $9.97 $ 9. At the same time the Marines on Red 1 were directed to secure Green Beach. Naval Institute Press. Tarawa is an atoll made up of fifteen small islands in the shape of a triangle, their total land area only twelve square miles. All bombardment had ended ten minutes before, and the Japanese had had time to recover. In late 1943, the United States launched attacks in the central Pacific. In the center is a lagoon, and reefs shelter many parts of the atoll. By mid-day, the Marines had amassed their own machine guns, and were able to cross the airstrip on Tarawa. The 2nd Marines, who would head the landings on the 20th of November, believed that the mission was going to be a piece of cake. It was one that would shape the future of amphibious assaults. Troops became scattered by Japanese fire. Just two miles long and a few hundred yards wide, this flat island guarded the only entrance to the lagoon, and had a pier for small boats, though this could only be used at high tide. In addition, the film focuses on how lives were saved by competent medical personnel and … The Japanese runway divided the island into a north and southern half. 00. The reason the island was sought after was its strategic location that was centrally located in the Pacific for the Philippine islands. At the tops of those beaches were walls of palm logs and wire up to five feet high, behind them rifle pits and machine-guns. Battle of Tarawa. The Battle of Tarawa was the bloodiest battle fought between American and Japanese soldiers on 20–23 November 1943. With no other option than to aband… In order to start an attack on these islands, however, the road to invasion had to start far to the east at Tarawa. 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