World War Ii

Across the Reef: The Marine Assault of Tarawa by Col. Joseph H. Alexander USMC-R

By Col. Joseph H. Alexander USMC-R

This e-book, one in a sequence dedicated to U.S. Marines on the earth warfare II period, is released for the schooling and coaching of Marines by way of the historical past and Museums department, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., as part of the U.S. division of security observance of the fiftieth anniversary of victory in that war."

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Chaplains worke d alongside burial teams equipped wit h bulldozers . General Smith's adminis trative staff worked hard to prepare accurate casualty lists . More casual ties were expected in the mop-u p operations in the surrounding island s and Apamama . Particularly distressing was the report that nearly 100 en listed Marines were missing an d presumed dead . The changing tide s had swept many bodies of the assaul t troops out to sea . The first pilot ashore reported seeing scores of float - Shortly before General Julia n Smith's announcement of victory a t Betio, his Army counterpart, Genera l Ralph Smith, signalled "Maki n ing corpses, miles away, over th e Smith over the conduct of this operation which would have unfortunat e consequences in a later amphibiou s horizon .

At 152 5 he queried division about the esti mated landing time of LT 1/6 . H e wanted Jones ashore and on the at tack before dark . Meanwhile, Shoup and his small staff were beset by logistic suppor t problems . Already there were team s organized to strip the dead of thei r ammunition, canteens, and first ai d pouches . Lieutenant Colonel Carlson helped organize a "false beachhead " at the end of the pier . Most progres s came from the combined efforts o f Lieutenant Colonel Chester J . Sala zar, commanding the shore party ; Captain John B .

Aerial photographs revealed many defensive positions still intac t throughout much of Betio 's easter n tail . Smith and Edson believed the y would need the entire 6th Marines to complete the job . When Colonel Holmes landed with the 6th Marine s headquarters group, Smith told hi m to take command of his three landing teams by 2100 . Smith then calle d a meeting of his commanders to assign orders for D+3 . Smith directed Holmes to have McLeod's 3/6 pass through the lines of Jones' 1/6 in order to have a fresh battalion lead the assault eastward .

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