Gilbert Islands

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GILBERT ISLANDS. In November 1943 U. S. military planners decided that the planned assault on the Marshall Islands required the capture of the Japanese-occupied Gilbert Islands, a collection of islands and atolls about two thousand miles southwest of Honolulu. After a two-hour preliminary bombardment by ships and naval planes under the command of Adm. Chester W. Nimitz and Vice Adm. Raymond A. Spruance, army troops of the Twenty-seventh Infantry Division landed on Butaritari Island in Makin Atoll on the morning of 23 November and quickly subdued the small Japanese force there with minimal casaulties. The Second Marine Division's assault on the heavily defended Betio Island in Tarawa Atoll, however, cost 3,300 casualties, making Tarawa one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific War.


Crowl, Philip A., and Edmund G. Love. Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls. Washington, D. C. : Office of the Chief of Military History, 1955.

Gregg, Charles T. Tarawa. New York: Stein and Day, 1984.

Isely, Jeter A., and Philip A. Crowl. The U. S. Marines and Amphibious War: Its Theory and Its Practice in the Pacific. Princeton, N. J. : Princeton University Press, 1951.

Philip A.Crowl/a. r.

See alsoMarine Corps, United States ; Marshall Islands ; Tarawa ; World War II ; World War II, Navy in .