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The Battle of Tarawa | Photos

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of the 76-hour Battle of Tarawa, the U.S. Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections has released several photos of the battle. Fought from Nov. 20-23, 1943, Tarawa was the first U.S. amphibious operation that was seriously opposed by the Japanese. The price was steep for the Marines of the 2nd Marine Division, who were given the task to seize Tarawa atoll, primarily the main island of Betio, with its airfield. Out of the assault force of 18,000 Marines, nearly 1,000 Marines were killed seizing the atoll. Of the Japanese garrison of around 4,000, only one Japanese officer, 16 enlisted men, and 129 Korean laborers survived to be captured. Tarawa provided the U.S. Marines Corps some hard-earned lessons that they applied to future amphibious operations.


Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...