Tarawa (2)

Pacific Paratrooper

Betio, Tarawa after the fighting Betio, Tarawa after the fighting

Miscommunication blighted the operation. As a result, the 1st Battalion spent a miserable night bobbing up and down in their landing craft before landing on the second day, not using a deep water channel that had been found, but once again wading across the reefs in the face of enemy gunfire.

Despite their struggles, the Americans were finally making headway.  Air strikes weakened the Japanese artillery, and Major Ryan’s 3rd Battalion were able to advance, clearing the western beach and the coast opposite the pier.  More troops landed on the second evening.

The troopship Doyen was ordered into the lagoon to accept the most critically wounded.  Lt.Cmdr. James Oliver, Medical Corps, led a 5-man surgical team with experience in the Aleutians.  They treated 390 Marines and only lost 9 men.

Meanwhile, an air attack on the neighboring island of Bairiki blew…

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