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Thread: Japan Thought It Would Take One Million Men 100 Years To Take This Fortified Island

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    Japan Thought It Would Take One Million Men 100 Years To Take This Fortified Island

    But The US Marines Did It In Three Days

    Seventy-four years ago, the U.S. Marines waged war against hardened Japanese forces across the Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands and emerged victorious.
    Japanese Admiral Keiji Shibasaki, commander of the highly-fortified garrison on Betio Island, was reportedly so confident in his position that he claimed it would take one million men 100 years to take control of the atoll. The U.S. Marines took it in three days, but it was, according to one historian and Business Insider, “the toughest battle in Marine Corps history.”
    The Battle of Tarawa, the first target of the broader Central Pacific campaign in World War II and part of Operation Galvanic, began on Nov. 20, 1943 as 18,000 U.S. Marines stormed the beaches at Betio, Tarawa’s largest island defended by around 4,500 Japanese troops, many of which were first-rate troops, as well as mines, barbed wire, machine gun nests and pillboxes, and various heavy artillery. As Tarawa was the most fortified atoll the U.S. would invade during the Pacific campaign, the brutal battle proved to be much more difficult than U.S. troops initially expected.
    Before the Marines made their assault, the Navy opened fire on the beach defenses with repeated bombardments, but the Navy warships failed to eliminate the vast majority of the Japanese defenses.

    The Marines encountered numerous setbacks during the Tarawa assault, including low tides that prevented the landing craft from clearing the coral reefs. As the Japanese pounded the stranded crafts, the U.S. Marines were forced to wade over 500 yards in chest-deep water under fire to get to shore. After reaching the beach, the exhausted Marines pushed forward, engaging the elite Japanese troops in a bloody battle that resulted in the deaths of thousands on both sides.
    The U.S. Marines lost around 1,000 men, and another 2,000 were wounded in the Battle of Tarawa, but the Japanese losses were far worse. After three days of intense fighting, only seventeen Japanese soldiers were left to surrender.
    Admiral Shibasaki was reportedly killed on the third of the fight. Sixteen enlisted men and one officer were all that remained at first light on November 23, 1943, 76 hours after the battle began.

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/21/fl...in-three-days/
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    Marines.

    They are the best at breaking stuff.

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    Sixteen enlisted men and one officer were all that remained at first light on November 23, 1943, 76 hours after the battle began.
    I like that part.
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    Thank you for refreshing my recollection. Wow.
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    The IJA was so badly outgunned in the Pacific Theater all of these battles were foregone conclusions...at least in hindsight.
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    My late father-in-law was with the Second Marine Division on Tarawa. I once got him to describe how he received his Purple Heart during the fighting for Saipan, but he never talked about Tarawa, and I had read enough not to ask. I only know anything about his time on Tarawa from a book that he was interviewed for, in which he spoke about wading in from the landing craft to the beach under heavy fire. His sergeant was beside him one minute, and then he wasn't. When that happened, he said that his first instinct was to get down lower in the water, with just his head and his rifle above the surface; then he realized that he was only giving the Japanese his head for a target, and that there were "better" places to get shot, so he stood up and continued wading into shore.

    My father-in-law had a Japanese bayonet in its scabbard that he brought back from Tarawa (by way of Saipan, where he had his leg snapped in half by the concussion from a Japanese artillery shell). He told me about how he and some of his fellow Marines saw an enemy soldier's body lying on the edge of a landing strip and went to investigate. That's where he picked up the bayonet and scabbard; a metal part of the scabbard has the clear impression of a bullet having been deflected off of it. Fortunately, the body wasn't booby-trapped, but it might as well have been, because just as he was picking up his souvenir they came under fire, but managed to get away safely. He told me it was without a doubt the dumbest thing he had ever done in his life.

    When Joe's cancer diagnosis came back and he began to get all his affairs in order, disposing of various things and so on, he handed the bayonet to my wife and suggested that she might want to "put it on Ebay or something". She told him, "No, I don't think so. When he's old enough, this and your medals will go to your grandson". And so they have.
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    Japanese bayonets are nice. There are quite a few on the market so they really aren't expensive.
    Whoever criticizes capitalism, while approving immigration, whose working class is its first victim, had better shut up. Whoever criticizes immigration, while remaining silent about capitalism, should do the same.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister D View Post
    Japanese bayonets are nice. There are quite a few on the market so they really aren't expensive.
    A little piece of family history - however unpleasant - is priceless, though.
    "If you get hurt, hurt 'em back. If you get killed...walk it off." - Captain America in Captain America: Civil War

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standing Wolf View Post
    A little piece of family history - however unpleasant - is priceless, though.
    Oh, no doubt. A bayonet with a family story is in a league of its own.

    Ever since I bought my house I stopped buying antiques and militaria. It's a hobby of mine but one I haven't indulged in since 2010.
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    The battle for Tarawa began 77 years ago today.

    "If you get hurt, hurt 'em back. If you get killed...walk it off." - Captain America in Captain America: Civil War

    "The guy who kills me... I hope he does it because he hates my guts, not because it's his job." - Sonny (Al Pacino) in Dog Day Afternoon

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