The Capture of Makin: (20 November-24 November 1943)

The Capture of Makin: (20 November-24 November 1943)

The Capture of Makin: (20 November-24 November 1943)

The Capture of Makin: (20 November-24 November 1943)

Excerpt

Before dawn on 20 November 1943, an assemblage of American military might lay waiting off the western shore of Makin, northernmost atoll in the Gilbert Islands (Map No. 2, page 2). A strong task force, with transports carrying men of the U. S. Army, was about to commence the assault on Makin. Off Tarawa, about 105 miles to the south, an even larger force of U. S. Marines was poised in readiness to seize the airfield and destroy the Japanese there. From points as distant as the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand, and by several different routes, the separate elements of this armada had gathered to carry out our first aggressive mission in the Central Pacific. The attack upon Makin would be the first seizure of an atoll by an Army landing force.

Invasion of the Gilbert Islands brought the war in the Central Pacific to a new phase. After almost two years of defense, of critical engagements like the Battle of Midway (3-6 June 1942) and hitand-run raids like those against Makin (17 August 1942) and Wake Island (24 December 1942), the United Nations were taking the offensive. They were to do in that area what had been done for a year in the Southwest Pacific. The attack upon the Gilberts was for the Central Pacific the counterpart of that upon the Solomons (7 August 1942) in the Southwest Pacific. Japanese-held bases were to be recovered and used against the enemy in further strikes toward the heart of his empire. (Map No. 1, opposite.)

For almost a year after the Battle of Midway, the strength of the United Nations had permitted aggressive action in only one Pacific area at a time. Then, in the Aleutians, Attu had been seized in May 1943, and Kiska had been occupied in August, while the Japanese were also being driven from their bases in the Solomons and New Georgia. With the threat to the western coast of Canada . . .

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