Battle of Eniwetok
|This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (September 2014)|
|Battle of Eniwetok|
|Part of World War II, Pacific War|
Landing craft heading for Eniwetok Island
on 19 February 1944
|Commanders and leaders|
|Harry W. Hill
John T. Walker
Thomas E. Watson
|Yoshimi Nishida †|
-22nd Marine Regiment
-106th Infantry Regiment
|Casualties and losses|
The invasion of Eniwetok followed the American success in the Battle of Kwajalein to the southeast. Capture of Eniwetok would provide an airfield and harbor to support attacks on the Mariana Islands to the northwest.
In 1943 the Japanese established light defenses at Eniwetok; they believed that the Americans would strike at the southwestern Marshalls first. The 1st Amphibious Brigade reinforced the defenders in January 1944. Its commander was Major General Yoshimi Nishida.:32 There was also a company of nine Type 95 light tanks, led by First Lieutenant Ichikawa. The 1st Amphibious began to construct defenses, but repeated air attacks made this difficult, and the tiny coral islands meant that defense in depth would be impossible.
Vice Admiral Raymond Spruance preceded the invasion with Operation Hailstone, a carrier strike against the Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline Islands.:67 This raid destroyed 39 warships and more than 200 planes.:67
Naval bombardment of Eniwetok began on 17 February, and the 22nd Marine Regiment, commanded by Colonel John T. Walker, landed on Engebi Island, on 18 February at 08:43 the next day.:69–70 Resistance was light, and the island was declared secure by 14:50, though mopping-up continued through the next day.:70 US losses included 85 dead and missing plus 166 wounded.:73
Intelligence suggested that the defenses on Eniwetok Island would be heavier than planned, though there was a comparatively heavy preparatory bombardment before the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 106th Infantry Regiment went ashore at 09:16 on 19 February, followed by the 3/22 at 14:25.:77 However, the Japanese soldiers had strong spider hole positions, plus the Japanese concentrated their forces to the southwest, counterattacking the American flank, which forced the Americans to attack through the night.:78 The island was not secured until 21 February.:78 37 Americans were killed or missing and 94 wounded.:78
The mistake was not repeated at Parry Island. The battleships USS Tennessee and USS Pennsylvania and other ships delivered more than 900 tons of explosive onto the island. The 104th Field Artillery on Eniwetok and the 2nd Separate Pack Howitzer Battalions on Japtan provided additional fire support.:79 The 1/22 and 2/22 Marines landed at 09:00 on 22 February:80–81 At 19:30, the regimental commander radioed "I present you with the island of Parry", though operations continued through the next day.:83–85 US casualties included 73 dead and missing plus 261 wounded.:83
The vast majority of Japanese soldiers were killed, though 105 survivors were captured.
Eniwetok Atoll provided a forward base for the United States Navy for its later operations.
- Morison, Samuel Eliot (1961). Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ASIN B0007FBB8I.
- Rottman, Gordon; Howard Gerrard (2004). The Marshall Islands 1944: Operation Flintlock, the capture of Kwajalein and Eniwetok. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-851-0.
- Rottman, Gordon; Dr Duncan Anderson (2004). US Marine Corps Pacific Theater of Operations 1943-44. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-651-8.
- Eastern Mandates. US Army Campaigns in World War II. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 72-23.
- Breaking the Outer Ring: Marine Landings in the Marshall Islands
- Heinl, Robert D., and John A. Crown (1954). "The Marshalls: Increasing the Tempo". USMC Historical Monograph. Historical Division, Division of Public Information, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
- Dyer, George Carroll (1956). "The Amphibians Came to Conquer: The Story of Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner". United States Government Printing Office. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of Eniwetok.|
- Animated History of The Battle for Eniwetok
- Soldiers of the 184th Infantry, 7th ID in the Pacific, 1943-1945