Talk:Battle of Tarawa

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Insert heading[edit]

The table for this article seems to say that around 3,600 troops took part on the Japanese side, of which 4,600 were casualties. DJ Clayworth 13:15, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)


The Image:Kr-map.png is overlapping the text "the defenses, 1,000 Japanese and 1,200 Korean workers" in Mozilla firefox, not in IE. Someone who actually knows how to edit text should fix this. 16:46, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Untitled 2[edit]

In Snow Falling on the Cedars, is this where Ishmael Chambers was to have lost his arm? 23:38, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes. Gunbirddriver (talk) 22:37, 15 April 2013 (UTC)


" 8-inch guns taken from the defenses at Singapore" - The fact these were taken from Singapore is apparently a myth, so ive removed it for now. If anyone finds evidence or sources to the contrary, please put it back.

According to a 2nd Marine Division history of the battle these guns were in fact from Singapore. (Richard Johnston's Follow Me!, cited in main article). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:32, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Would've been great if they were from Singapore, more info to add to the article. Truth is, at least from what I've read, there were no Vickers 8-inch guns in Singapore, but 15-inches. Wolcott (talk) 19:38, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

In 1977 an historian located the serial numbers on the guns and used them to track down their origin. They were British made, and had been part of a purchase of twelve 8" guns from England by Japan during their conflict with Russia in 1905. The four guns were shipped out to Tarawa from Japan in 1943. Gunbirddriver (talk) 00:51, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Magnetic Mine??[edit]

There is a statement that implys that the japanese forces used a Magnetic Mine to knock out a tank during the first day of the invasion, If this was the japanese version of the German Magnetic anti tank mine then this is auctaly not true, as the mine did not have a magnet on it, it was expected that the sodgler would simply hold the mine aginst the target and wait for it to explode. I would like to see the research on what auctaly happened to this petuiclar tank. Kera Dahlin, added Friday aug 3 2007

Tarawa rulez —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:37, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

According to this book ( and this wikipedia article ( the Japanese Army did have a magnetic mine in its’ arsenal. The book does state, however, that these often did not work properly due to poor manufacture and/or weak magnets, so the soldier would have to press it against a vehicle until it exploded, thereby sacrificing himself. Furthermore, the German "Hafthohlladung" (= attaching hollow charge) anti tank mine/grenade did have magnets on its’ base. So there is no reason why that tank could not have been disabled by a magnetic mine. (talk) 13:10, 15 January 2014 (UTC)koookeee


This article does not make sense. The numbers do not add up, i.e. 4859 dead and captured Japanese and Koreans out of 4836 on the island. Why did the US Army have no casualties and what did the US Army do? This is a nice Marine Corp propaganda piece, however, I would like to know the truth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tqf (talkcontribs) 13:41, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

The Army had no casulaties because it was the Army Air Force, mostly bombing from relatively high altitude using planes based on other islands. The Navy also bombed heavily. It isn't at all clear why you consider this a "Marine Corp propaganda piece", but the fact is that the Marine Corps soldiers were the ones that were in the initial landings, and as well as capturing the island, they really took it on the chin. Thus, most of the description of the battle is likely to involve the Marines and the Japanese troups.
As for body count totals: those are of great interest to people lounging in front of the TV that have never seen a battle. While we can get a pretty good idea of the number of people *we* lost in the battle (by seeing how many didn't show up for role call afterwards), it is very difficult to get a similar count for the Japanese. For one thing, the lists of those assigned to the island were probably lost on the island itself. And bodies were not always available for easy counting. Loren.wilton (talk) 04:24, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
To be honest, I also think there are POV problems with the article. For example, it says the second or third day was all about "consolidating gains" and "moving supplies ashore" without stating explicitly that the American troops were doing this (the writer is assuming that the reader is American). Also, it talks about such-and-such marine unit and so-and-so marine unit without saying they are American. If you remember that Japan also had marine units, it's clear that the writer is US POV. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:38, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

My Grandfather landed on Tarawa during the second day of the invasion. He was in the Army as a dog handler, and he travelled extensively around the Pacific theatre during the war. The dog handlers were utilized for clearing caves and deep bunkers during the mop-up. Grandpa said that there was no resistance to their operations by this point on Tarawa as any enemy soldiers left had commited suicide in their holes. Correctionpatrol4 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:46, 10 January 2010 (UTC).

Someone's dad is not a good and reliable source for a Wikipedia article.
Let's be reasonable. Of the few surviving Japaneses, only one was an officer-- and because communication was destroyed before the first landing, he would not have been able to have given much an account even had he wanted to-- and I doubt any survivors wanted to. Find a Japanese source and add it, otherwise, accusations of propaganda only tell us about the one making the accusation. --cregil (talk) 11:51, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Propaganda II[edit]

I also agree on the POV problem with the article. After some sections I felt like reading a war bulletin. It uses military language and rhetorics and it is absolutely US-centered. I very much miss numbers and a discussion about the civilians which I actually came for. But this article treats - in a very army manner - the islands as an uninhabited platform of battle.

1st Marine Division participation at Tarawa??[edit]

New question, new topic: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 12 July 2009 (UTC) My question relates to the photo of the flame thrower attack against the pill box labeled as from the first marine division? I don't not believe that 1st MAR Div units were deployed to Tarawa as the division was preparing for the invasion of Cape Gloucester which began about a month after Tarawa. Is this a mistake or were elements assigned to Tarawa? The !st Marine Division history does not cite any involvement in the battle which makes it suspect to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:08, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

1st MARDIV was not at Tarawa; Tarawa was taken by two regiments of the 2d MARDIV, the 2nd and 8th Marines. The 6th Marines were withheld as V Amphibious Corps Reserve by either Holland Smith or Kelly Turner, and did not land. I don't know where that picture was from but it wasn't Tarawa. Terrain isn't right either.

That dovetails in with the stupid line about the Japanese garrison being outnumbered 7-1. The Marines ended up attacking with less than 7,000 men; there were over 4,000 Japanese rikusentai, other troops, and Korean laborers on the island at the time. The Marines attacked with a 1.66/1 ratio - attacks generally call for a 3-1 superiority, and amphibious assaults usually had a much higher level of overall superiority.

This article, in short, is terrible. It needs a complete reworking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:35, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

The 1st Marine Division did not serve at Tarawa, Operation GALVANIC was 2nd Marine Division Operation.(pg. 103) The picture needs to be removed, the terrain is completely wrong. It looks like maybe Peleliu? Or any of the other rocky islands on which Marines fought. Not flat sandy Betio, which was covered by palm trees prior to attack (and the Japanese use of palm tree trunks in building their fortifications). Also, the 6th Marines served on Betio with 1/6 hitting Beach Green at 1800 D+1 and 3/6 landing at the same beach at 1000 D+2.(pg. 141) 2/6 landed on Bairiki around 1700 on D+1.(pg. 134) In total the 2nd Division landed about 12,000 Marines against the roughly 5,000 strong garrison.(pg. 164) The page numbers given come from Richard Johnston's book Follow Me!, which I have cited in the main article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:25, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

General Smith[edit]

It seems like the article should have a quote or mention from someone giving an opinion that it was necessary to take Tarawa, to help balance against Gen Smith's quote. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:42, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

A quote from Admiral Nimitz was added.Gunbirddriver (talk) 16:41, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Battle of Betio[edit]

This is referred to as the Battle of Betio in Murray/Millet A War To Be Won p345. I'm not pushing for a page move, but perhaps a redirect and a mention of this alternative name would be appropriate? Digestible (talk) 10:57, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Second Offensive?[edit]

Since when was Tarawa the "second time" the Allies went on the offensive? Haven't you ever heard of MacArthur's offensive in New Guinea against Buna? Or what about the capture of Lae and Salumaua the month before the landings on Tarawa? The Navy and Marines were not the only ones fighting in the Pacific Theater. SamMcGowan (talk) 17:15, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

1/6th Marines Insignia[edit]

The 1st Battalion, Sixth Marines insignia shown (the Indian head in a red diamond) is from WWI, when they were part of the army 2nd Division. It has nothing to do with WWII. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:56, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Changed the image to the insignia of the 2nd Marine Division. Gunbirddriver (talk) 06:36, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Marines or marines?[edit]

It is my understanding that if you are speaking of the United States Marine Corps, the word Marine would be capitalized, but if you were speaking of marines in general, as in a particular type of soldier who might serve on ships and be trained in seagoing and amphibious warfare, the word would remain small case. Thus in the sentence:

The force carried the 2nd Marine Division and a part of the army's 27th Infantry Division, for a total of about 35,000 soldiers and marines.

The first instance of the word would be capitalized, and the second would not. Is there a Wiki directive on this or a consensus opinion to be referred to for guidance? Gunbirddriver (talk) 03:28, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

I figure that, when the reference is to the US Marines, it is a proper noun that should be capitalized. If the reference is to the Japanese SNLF, who were a marine force, but not "the" Marines, it should not be capitalized. (talk) 22:05, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Rank of Admiral Shibasaki[edit]

Am I the only person who think the insistence of some folks to put ranks of Japanese officers without translation? Japanese themselves, historically, translated their ranks into their English equivalents. It seems rather over the top to list Shibasaki's rank as "Kaigun Shōshō" rather than "Rear Admiral." (talk) 22:05, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Okay. Seems like a fine idea to go through and translate the ranks of Japanese officers, as long as you are confident that the translated rank is the U.S. equivalent, or near equivalent. Gunbirddriver (talk) 22:42, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
Agree. This is the English language wiki. Leaving the ranks untranslated frankly strikes me as pretentious. --Yaush (talk) 14:55, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Also agree, but it's appropriate to add the Japanese rank in parentheses on the first mention. This first mention might reasonably link to an en.wikipedia article describing the equivalence. No article? Add it, even if it's a stub. We can hope that our jp.wikipedia colleagues will add an equivilent article so we can cross-link. Yes, I know that Wikipedia is not a dictionary, but military rank equivalences are generally more nuanced than simple dictionary definitions-Arch dude (talk) 02:25, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
It looks like all such links can go to Naval ranks of the Japanese Empire during World War II -Arch dude (talk) 03:42, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Was the battle of Tarawa a tactical necessity?[edit]

Couldn't we have bombed it out of existence? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

King's plan was to take the Central Pacific islands as a base for airpower in preparation for an invasion of Japan. At the time, it was believed that carrier based aircraft were no match for land based aircraft, which were bigger and more powerful, and whose bases were not subject to being sunk. To get to the Marianas we had to first take the Marshalls. No land based aircraft could reach the Marshalls, so it was felt necessary to take the Gilberts first to provide the airbases necessary to take the Marshalls, which would provide the airbases necessary to take the Marianas. No one had any idea of the extent of power the Fast Carrier Task Force was going to be able to generate. Even aviation men like Mitscher were unsure of the ability of a carrier task force to operate off shore in the face of large land based airforces. The success of the raids on Truk came as a surprise to all. Gunbirddriver (talk) 20:34, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Remains of 26 Marines found, July 2015.[edit]

News articles dated on or about 09-Jul-2015 are stating that thirty six bodies, yet to be formally identified, have been discovered and will be returned to USA.

The link I attempted to provide is marked as "blocked" but if any of you still dance around Wiki's totalitarian political ideology, please do-- it is why I don't go beyond a talk page anymore.

Oh-- and there is a typo in there somewhere-- as I recall, it was "though" when the word was "thought."

Good article with good prose and which I enjoyed reading. Thanks.

--cregil (talk) 12:07, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Operation Galvanic[edit]

Operation Galvanic links to this page. But was this operation only about Tarawa? According other sources (e.g. [1]: "The basic organization for GALVANIC was established by Operation Plan 143, issued by Admiral Spruance on 25 October. The task organization consisted of three major groups [...] One of these, the Northern Attack Force (TF 52) remained under Turner's command and was assigned to capture Makin.") it seems to me like Galvanic was about capturing Gilbert Islands - that means also Battle of Makin was part of this operation together with Battle of Apamama. Maybe it'll be better to have separate article about whole operation Galvanic. --Ozzy (talk) 14:13, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

As far as I know the Battle of Tarawa was the biggist, most known, most important and most bloody of the three operations. The Banner talk 15:36, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

USS Liscome Bay Counted Twice[edit]

Why is the loss of a single escort carrier and her complement counted as losses in both the Battle of Tarawa *and* the Battle of Makin? I understand that the carrier provided support in both battles, but to count the losses in both battles seems like double-dipping to make the US forces sound weaker. Thoughts? DeeJaye6 (talk) 18:06, 22 August 2016 (UTC)