Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls

Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls


(Includes Maps) "Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls" deals with amphibious warfare as waged by American forces against the Japanese-held atolls of the Central Pacific during World War II. The word amphibious, as here used, includes the landing and supply of troops in combat as well as the air and naval support of the operations. The atoll operations described in this volume were amphibious from beginning to end. They were not simple seaborne hit-and-run raids of the Dieppe type. The objective was to secure the atolls as steppingstones to the next advance. The islands were relatively small, permitting continual naval and air support of the ground operations. Some outstanding examples of the co-ordination of fire support by artillery, naval gunfire, and air are found in this book. The advantages of simple plans and the disadvantages of the more complicated will stand out for the careful reader. The story of the capture of these atolls of Micronesia offers some of the best examples of combined operations that are available in the annals of modern war. Ground, sea, and air components were always present, and the effectiveness with which they were combined and co-ordinated accounts in large measure for the rapid success enjoyed in these instances by American arms. Units of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps were active participants in the operations and the role they played is treated in this volume as fully as is considered appropriate in a series devoted to the history of the U.S. Army in World War II. From the point of view of strategy, the significance of this volume lies in the fact that it tells the story of the beginnings of the drive across the Central Pacific toward the Japanese homeland. This concept of defeating Japan by pushing directly westward from Hawaii through the island bases of the mid-Pacific was traditional in American strategic thinking, but had never been put to test and was seriously challenged in some quarters. As is shown here, the test was first made in the campaigns against the Gilberts and Marshalls, the outcome was successful, and the experience gained was of inestimable value in planning for the subsequent conduct of the war in the Pacific.

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