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Tarawa Landings and Combat Operations

20–23 November 1943

Tarawa Operation, November 1943
En route to the operational area, Marines and sailors study a relief model of Betio Island, Tarawa atoll, mid-November 1943 (USMC-67706).

Photo #: 80-G-K-13670 USS Colorado (BB-45)
USS Colorado (BB-45) fring her aft 16-inch/45-caliber guns during preparations for the Tarawa landings. Crewmen visible in this photo are not in combat dress, indicating that the view was taken during battle practice (80-G-K-13670).

Marines wade ashore

Despite enemy fire, Marines wade through the surf off Betio, Tarawa atoll. Landing craft and barges brought them to within 500 yards of the beach, but the coral bottom prevented the craft from coming any closer to the shore (UA 55.01.06).

Tarawa Invasion, November 1943
Wounded man receives blood plasma at an aid station on a Betio Island beach, 22 November 1943 (USMC-67703).

Tarawa Operation, November 1943
Northwestern end of Betio Island, Tarawa, 22 November 1943, with Beach Red 1 at left and Green Beach in center and right. Several LVTs and a Japanese landing craft are on the beach. Several coast-defense guns are also visible (NH-95704).

Tarawa Operation, November 1943
Marine throwing a grenade during the fight for Betio Island, circa 20–23 November 1943. Note sand hill at far right, possibly a Japanese defensive position, and fixed bayonet on M-1 rifle (USMC-63658).

In the shade of the Old 23

Marines rest beside an amphibian tractor (LVT) on the beach at Tarawa (UA 55.01.07).

Tarawa Operation, November 1943
View of the western part of Betio Island, Tarawa atoll, on 24 November 1943, after its capture by U.S. Marines. Taken from a USS Essex (CV-9) aircraft looking north, with part of Beach Green in upper left and part of Beach Red 1 in top right (80-G-90388).

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, CINCPAC, is Shown Damage
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, CINCPAC, is shown damage caused by naval gunfire after the capture of Tarawa, November 1943 (NH 62242).

Tarawa Invasion, November 1943.
The amphibious task force en route to Tarawa, just before the invasion (NH 92617).

Photo #: 80-G-54398 Tarawa Invasion, November 1943
USS Maryland (BB-46) firing her after 16-inch/45-caliber guns during the pre-invasion bombardment of Tarawa, 20 November 1943 (80-G-54398).

Tarawa Invasion, November 1943
Marines resting and removing casualties on one of the Betio Island landing beaches, circa 21–22 November 1943 (USMC-67705).

Tarawa Operation, 1943
View looking toward "No Man's Land" from the head of the pier, on Betio Island, Tarawa atoll, as Marines fight to dislodge Japanese defenders from strongpoints around the airfield, 22 November 1943. Note wrecked truck and other equipment beyond the Marines (USMC-67707).

Tarawa Invasion, November 1943
Marine dead on one of the Betio landing beaches, 22 November 1943. Other Marines are resting in the background, two of them on a broken-down M-4 Sherman tank (80-G-57405).

Tarawa Invasion, November 1944
A Marine takes aim at a Japanese sniper during fighting on Betio on 20–23 November 1943. Note heavy Japanese coast-defense guns at right (80-G-44008).

Tarawa Invasion, November 1943.
After the smoke of battle had cleared on Betio Island, Tarawa, this tiny kitten crept out from beneath a wrecked Japanese tank to receive a drink from a Marine (80-G-211657).

Photo #: 80-G-212220 Tarawa Invasion, November 1943
Major General Holland M. Smith, USMC (center), commanding the V Amphibious Force ground forces, and Major General Julian C. Smith, commanding the 2nd Marine Division, inspect Betio Island, Tarawa atoll, in late November 1943 (80-G-212220).

Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll
A wrecked Japanese tank and three U.S. Marine LVT-1 amphibious vehicles litter a Betio beach, where they were destroyed in battle on 20–23 November 1943 (80-G-401620).

Tarawa Operation, November 1943
Marines attend Catholic mass on Tarawa, 29 November 1943 (USMC-67697).
Published: Fri Nov 15 10:34:50 EST 2019