In the first section of , the U.S. Army captured the Marshall Islands of the Gilbert Islands, which is located in the vast sea area between 162 degrees to 173 degrees east longitude and 5 degrees to 12 degrees north latitude.
In the Northeast are Wake Island and Hawaii Islands, in the West are Caroline Islands and Mariana Islands, and in the south are Gilbert Islands.
The archipelago has a sea area of 1275000 square kilometers and a land area of about 190 square kilometers.
It is composed of 32 atolls.
These atolls are in parallel two rows from northwest to Southeast, mainly including kwajalin, Eniwetok, Majuro, mili, Maloelap, watje, Jaluit and bikini.
The largest is kwajalin island in the west of the islands.
In the autumn of 1943, the United States opened the prelude to the great counter offensive in the central Pacific.
The first line of defense of the Japanese army, the Marshall Islands and the Gilbert Islands, was in front of the United States, which was called the “outer defense circle” by Japan.
The US military must break through this line of defense in order to obtain a forward base to attack Japan.
Gilbert Islands is located in the southeast of Marshall Islands, across the equator and on the transportation line between the United States and Australia.
It has a very important strategic position.
The archipelago consists of 16 coral atolls such as Tarawa island and makin island.
The total land area is 864 square kilometers.
After the outbreak of the Pacific War, the Japanese Navy occupied the main islands of the islands on December 10, 1941, built airports in Tarawa and makin, and set up coastal observation posts on some other islands.
The capture of the Gilbert Islands is not only a rehearsal for the US military to implement a strategic counter offensive from the central Pacific, but more importantly, once the Gilbert Islands are occupied, it can obtain the forward base necessary to attack the Marshall Islands and establish a new air springboard to clear the obstacles for the next attack on the Marshall Islands.
To this end, the Joint Chiefs of staff of the United States agreed to general Nimitz’s operational plan for the attack and occupation of the Gilbert Islands, and officially issued an instruction on July 20, 1943: first attack and occupation of the Gilbert Islands, and then the Marshall Islands, and officially named the Gilbert campaign “current campaign”.
In addition, the US Joint Chiefs of staff also stressed that the central Pacific is the main direction of counter offensive in the Pacific, and priority should be given to the central Pacific forces in terms of human and material resources.
To this end, the newly formed central Pacific Fleet, the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy, was specially designated to undertake the strategic task of a major counter offensive from the central Pacific.
Lieutenant general Spruance, who played an important role in the sea and air battle of Midway, was later appointed chief of staff of the US Pacific Fleet and became Nimitz’s right-hand man.
On August 5, 1943, he was appointed commander of the newly formed Fifth Fleet and became the commander in chief of the front line of the US military’s massive counter offensive from the central Pacific.
The strength of the Fifth Fleet is very strong.
It actually includes all the forces of the Pacific Fleet except Halsey’s third fleet, Fletcher’s ninth fleet and MacArthur’s seventh fleet.
By the autumn of 1943, it had 19 aircraft carriers of various types and 12 battleships of various types, with a total of more than 200 ships and 1080 aircraft of various types.
The pioneer of the fleet is the fast aircraft carrier commando team.
The designation is the 58th aircraft carrier special task force.
The commander is major general Mitchell.
It has four special task forces under its jurisdiction, with a total of 12 aircraft carriers and more than 800 combat aircraft.
Before the start of the campaign, the U.S. military actively made pre operational preparations.
In late August, the US carrier aircraft bombed the Japanese base on a large scale.
On September 18, a special task force composed of three aircraft carriers raided Gilbert’s Tarawa and makin Island, giving the Japanese a blow first, causing most of the Japanese planes in Tarawa to be destroyed.
Since October, US ship borne aircraft and shore based heavy bombers have carried out irregular Super Intensive bombing of the scheduled targets, with more than 100 tons of bombs dropped on Tarawa every day.
In this way, by November 20, US naval guns and aviation troops fired more than 3000 tons of shells and dropped more than 1000 tons on this small island with an area of less than 2.
5 square kilometers.
On the evening of November 19, all the warships of the southern landing formation assembled in the southeast sea area of Tarawa island and headed for the landing area under the leadership of major general hill, the commander of the formation.
In the early morning of November 20, the second marine division in charge of ground operations was ready to land in Tarawa under the command of Major General Smith.
The northern landing formation led by major general Turner also arrived in the waters near makin island to prepare for landing on makin island.
However, the thousands of tons of bombs previously dropped by the US military did not receive the expected effect.
Because most of the Japanese fortifications, especially artillery bunkers, are deeply buried underground, they can only be destroyed by large caliber artillery and time-delay fuze shells.
The landing of the US Army has not yet begun, and the Japanese coastal artillery opened fire, making the landing encounter unexpected difficulties.
The “tracking” Minesweeper, which was responsible for marking the channel, was hit by the Japanese coastal artillery during operation.
While working, it fought with the Japanese artillery, resulting in the marked channel to the West.
In addition, there was a strong westerly wind in the lagoon at that time, so the navigation speed of the amphibious vehicle was slower than planned.
A Navy observation and liaison aircraft found that the amphibious vehicle could not rush to the beach at 9 o’clock, so it reported to the flagship battleship “Maryland”.
However, the communication equipment of “Maryland” had failed and did not receive this important report, so that everything was still implemented according to the plan of landing at 9 o’clock.
At 0900 hours, the carrier aircraft flew to the beach and carried out air fire cover.
However, due to the smog on the ground, the pilot could not see the target, and the effect of ground attack was very poor.
Many Japanese fortifications were safe.
When the US aircraft ended the attack and flew away, the naval gun fire had extended to depth, and there was a 23 minute fire interval on the beach! This period of time was enough for the Japanese army to enter the fortification from the concealed department and prepare for attack.
Sure enough, the American amphibious vehicle was hit head-on by Japanese fire when it approached the beach! Most amphibious vehicles were shot and lost their mobility.
Only a few were able to get ashore.
The beach was full of burning amphibious vehicles and dead and wounded soldiers.
The blood had dyed the Sea red.
The Marines who finally rushed ashore were suppressed by the intensive fire of the Japanese army on the beach under the levee and could not move forward at all.
Colonel Schopp, the head of the second Marine Regiment, was desperately looking for a usable radio station on the beach to get in touch with the rear.
He was the chief of the combat section of the second marine division just a week agoTo replace the former head of the second regiment who was injured in the exercise, because he participated in the formulation of the landing plan of Tarawa Island, he was very familiar with the terrain and defense of the island, which was a blessing in misfortune for the second Marine Regiment.
At 10:30, he finally found a usable radio station, but it was not until after noon that he contacted major general hill, the commander of the formation, and Smith, the commander of the second marine division, and reported the extremely severe situation.
At this time, the landing U.S. military only occupied the beach with a depth of several meters, and the casualties have exceeded 20%.
Hill had already known that the situation on the beach was bad by observing the plane.
He was even more shocked when he received the report from Shaw.
On the one hand, he ordered the naval guns to continue shooting fiercely to provide artillery cover for the troops on the beach, and on the other hand, he joined the division reserve team.
At the same time, request the general reserve team to reinforce.
By this time, the US military had almost reached the brink of failure in the battle of Tarawa.
Most of the landing craft loaded with follow-up troops and heavy weapons were stuck on the coral reef and could not move.
The rest had to wait for the rising tide in the waters outside the coral reef.
The troops on the beach were in a mess, unable to move forward under the fire of the Japanese army.
Few amphibious vehicles left ran back and forth, carrying supplies and removing the wounded.
At such a critical moment, the second marine division fully carried forward the unique indomitable fighting will and indomitable fighting style of the Marine Corps.
Although the casualties were heavy, the organizational system had been disrupted, and most of the commanders were killed and injured, lower level officers, sergeants and soldiers took the initiative to organize and fight to the death.
Lieutenant Hawkins led 34 soldiers, advancing 300 meters by using a cartridge, bayonet and shovel step by step, and occupied a long Dyke on the east side of the beachhead, and got a place to expand artillery.
The artillery immediately disassembled the 75mm howitzer, transported the parts to the beach, assembled them, and then provided artillery support for the troops.
Lieutenant Hawkins died bravely in the battle.
In recognition of his heroic achievements, the US military named the airport on the island Hawkins airport.
Captain Schopp set the regiment headquarters in a Japanese air raid shelter just captured, organized five attacks in succession, and finally captured the trestle with the strong support of 32 shipborne aircraft.
The Navy and air force made every effort to provide support for the landing forces.
Four destroyers were always parked in the lagoon and carried out naval gun support at any time according to the call of landing.
The carrier aircraft on the aircraft carrier also sent out from time to time to provide aviation firepower support.
The US military finally reversed the disadvantage in the early stage of landing and began to gain the upper hand.
However, the Japanese army is still fighting tenaciously, and the tragedy of the battle is difficult to describe in words.
By the early morning of November 23, the remnants of the Japanese army, compressed in the narrow strip in the east of the island, had launched three large-scale suicide attacks in a row.
Although they had no effect on the war situation, they had caused huge casualties and psychological panic to the US Army.
At about 5 o’clock, the Japanese counterattack finally subsided.
After noon, the US Army broke through the last position of the Japanese army and wiped out the defenders.
Smith, commander of the second marine division, announced at 13:12 that he had occupied bito Island (the most important defensive core island of Tarawa).
In this battle, more than 4000 Japanese garrison troops were killed except 146 captured.
129 of the captured personnel were Korean engineers.
1013 US soldiers were killed and 2072 wounded, including 984 Marines and 2001 wounded.
After capturing bito island at a huge cost, the US army occupied ETA island to the east of bito island on November 24.
On the 29th, he landed on abriki Island, destroyed 160 Japanese troops on the island and occupied the island.
So far, the US military has controlled all of Tarawa island.
After three days of fighting, the northern landing formation also occupied makin island at 13:00 on November 23.
On November 24, major general Holland Smith, the commander of the 5th Liangqi army, boarded bito island.
Facing the scene that had just been baptized by the cruel war, the war-torn general was greatly shocked.
He said: I can’t imagine how they captured this island.
This is the most well defended island I’ve ever seen! On November 27, Nimitz visited Tarawa island and awarded medals to meritorious soldiers.
At that time, a large number of dead bodies had not time to be buried, and the stench of dead bodies filled the air.
Facing the battlefield full of bullet marks and corpses, the veteran general said with emotion: I have never seen such a ferocious battlefield! He believed that the intensity of this bloody battle was no less than Verdun, known as the “meat grinder” in the first World War.
In terms of military theory, the victory of the Gilbert Islands campaign completely solved the doubts about landing operations since the first World War.
Facts have proved that the landing side, with the strong support of a strong aircraft carrier fleet and shore based aviation, can completely occupy the island with solid defense.
In terms of military geography, it not only captured an important sea and air advance base for the upcoming landing campaign of the Marshall Islands, but also eliminated the threat of maritime traffic lines from Pearl Harbor to the Southern Ocean and the southwest Pacific.
More importantly, the US military has gained extremely valuable experience and lessons at a huge cost, creating a new era of sea and air war with new characteristics in the Pacific counterattack – dominated by powerful sea and air forces, and cooperating with landing forces to pull out the tenacious fortress of the Japanese army in the Pacific.
After the capture of the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands will undoubtedly be the next target of U.S. military attack in the central Pacific.
Section II Nimitz formulated the “one size fits all” plan.
As early as July 20, 1943, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff issued an instruction to Admiral Nimitz, commander in chief of the central Pacific theater and Pacific Fleet, to attack the Marshall Islands.
However, given that the Marshall Islands has 32 atolls, it is difficult to determine which atoll is the most favorable to attack first.
After careful and repeated study, Nimitz and his staff decided to seize the atolls of kwajalin, watje and Maloelap in August 1943.
Because kwajalin is the headquarters of the Japanese army in the Marshall Islands and its command center, while the other two atolls are closest to the Hawaiian Islands and pose a great threat to the US military’s maritime traffic line, they must be captured first.
However, the Joint Chiefs of staff considered that the attack area selected in Nimitz’s plan was too narrow.
In early September, they approved that in addition to attacking the three atolls of the Marshall Islands, they should also attack and occupy Wake Island, cusaile Island, binape island and the central part of the Caroline Islands, including Truk.
Nimitz and his staff considered this requirementIt’s too high.
According to the current strength of the US military, it can’t be achieved at all.
In mid October, Nimitz still organized relevant personnel to start formulating operational plans in accordance with the original plan.
In late November, after the battle of Gilbert Islands, some generals of the Fifth Fleet also carefully studied the battle plan according to the just concluded battle.
Lieutenant general Spruance, commander of the Fifth Fleet, and major general Turner, commander of the fifth amphibious force, also known as the joint expeditionary force, both believe that if three atolls are attacked at the same time, the landing ships and fire support ships transporting ground forces are not enough.
Major General Smith, commander of the fifth and second armies, also believed that landing on the three atolls at the same time was far from enough with the current ground forces.
After repeated consultations and discussions, it was finally decided to go in two steps.
The first step was to capture watje and malloerapp atolls, and the second step was to capture kwajalin to solve the problem of insufficient troops and ships.
Since December, U.S. B-24 bombers have taken off from the Gilbert Islands almost every day to the Marshall Islands for bombing and reconnaissance.
Through these aerial reconnaissance, it was found that the Japanese army had built airports on both the north and south islands of kwajalin Atoll, and was recently transferring the troops of kwajalin island to the peripheral islands.
The lagoon of kwajalin atoll is an ideal deep-water anchorage.
With his excellent military literacy and intuition, Nimitz realized that kwajalin has great value.
The Japanese army is weakening its defense, which is a great opportunity for attack.
After studying with rear admiral Mitchell, commander of the fast aircraft carrier commando team, he believed that aircraft carrier based aircraft and shore based aircraft could be used to suppress the airmen at the airport near the Japanese army and ensure the success of landing.
Therefore, he resolutely decided to land in kwajalin first, so as to make a straight cut and blossom in the center.
Spruance, Turner and Smith were deeply shocked by this bold plan and worried that the attack on kwajalin would be besieged by Japanese planes taking off from the airport of the outer island.
Once the battle cannot be ended in time due to heavy casualties or slow progress, the US military will fall into an extremely passive situation if it is seized by the Japanese joint fleet.
To take a step back, even if kwajalin can be captured quickly, after the rapid aircraft carrier commando team withdraws, kwajalin will become the target of concentrated attack by the Japanese aviation forces, and the maritime transportation line will also be seriously threatened by the Japanese army.
Therefore, they tried their best to persuade Nimitz to fight watje and malloerapp atolls first, but Nimitz’s determination was unwavering.
In desperation, Spruance had to suggest to capture Majuro in the eastern Marshall Islands before attacking kwajalin, so as to obtain the forward base of attacking kwajalin.
Nimitz saw that Majuro has a lagoon that can be used as an anchorage for the fleet.
The terrain on the island is flat and an airport can be built.
Once the shore based aviation troops are stationed, they can not only support the battle against kwajalin, but also effectively cover the maritime traffic line connecting kwajalin.
It is an ideal springboard.
Therefore, he agreed with this proposal.
Section III the US Navy carried out the “flint gun battle”.
In mid January 1944, Nimitz issued a battle order to attack the Marshall Islands.
The operation will be divided into four steps: the first step is to occupy Majuro to obtain the forward supply base and aviation base.
The second step is to capture kwajalin.
The third step is to capture Eniwetok Atoll.
Finally, capture the remaining atolls in the Marshall Islands except the four atolls of Miley, watje, Maloelap and Jaluit, and block the remaining four atolls without attacking.
The campaign code “bank daily interest” was later changed to “flint gun”.
Nimitz dared to attack Kwajalein first.
On the one hand, according to the position of the Marshall Islands in the overall strategic defense of the Japanese army, Nimitz believed that the Japanese joint fleet would not come to meet and could seize Kwajalein.
On the other hand, the U.S. military has learned from the landing battle in Tarawa and greatly improved its equipment and training.
He fully believes that the strength of the U.S. military can quickly capture kwajalin and achieve the purpose of the campaign.
Before the battle, the US army made careful preparations.
The two special command ships “Rocky Mountain” and “Appalachian Mountain” customized by the US Navy for the landing war have been completed and put into service, and two new 4000 ton fast battleships “Iowa” and “New Jersey” have also joined the Pacific Fleet, greatly improving the strength of the ship fleet.
The new individual radio station has also been successfully developed and has been used in the army.
This radio station has small volume, light weight and waterproof performance.
It is very suitable for landing troops.
Engineers of the naval aviation corps modified the “Avenger” torpedo aircraft to carry 1000 kg heavy bombs and cluster bombs for ground attack, and installed rocket launchers for “pirate” fighters and “evil woman” fighters, which greatly improved the power of ground attack.
On cahourave island in the Hawaiian Islands, the US Navy “cloned” the fortifications in full accordance with the Japanese defense system in Tarawa, and then organized warships and aircraft to carry out fire bombardment.
The results show that only at a distance of 3000-5000 meters, the large caliber naval gun can be destroyed by firing the armor piercing projectile with the time-delay fuse and firing the projectile in a row, and the firing speed should be slow, with interval and rhythm.
According to this experimental conclusion, the ships supported by naval guns of the U.S. Navy have carried out intensive training in accurate shore shelling, which has greatly improved the firing accuracy of naval guns.
Pilots of the naval aviation corps also conducted intensive training in ground attack.
In particular, the pilots of “hell diver” dive bombers have specially conducted special training to accurately attack point ground targets with 250kg or 500kg armor piercing projectiles.
The Marshall campaign plan personally formulated by general Nimitz consists of two stages, code named “flint gun campaign” and “bailiff campaign”.
Among them, the d day of “flint gun campaign” is January 31, 1944, and the main target is kwajalin island.
If the “flint gun battle” progresses rapidly, the “bailiff battle” will be carried out immediately, that is, the whole island of Marshall will be captured.
In January 1944, the Japanese army had 43000 ground troops in the Marshall Islands, including 16000 army troops, 12000 Navy troops and 15000 other troops.
The aviation force stationed in the region is the 24th aviation corps, with about 130 original aircraft.
During the Gilbert campaign, 88 aircraft were transferred from Hokkaido, Kuril Islands and Rabaul to strengthen it.
However, under the repeated attacks of the US military, by JanuaryThe island chokes the throat of the US military’s attack from the central Pacific and is in a favorable position to advance and retreat.
East can support Gilbert and Marshall Islands.
South could threaten New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
West can shelter Palau to the Philippine Islands.
The north can become a barrier for the Ogasawara Islands, the Mariana Islands and even Japan.
In addition, it is also the most important link in the chain of Japan’s so-called “absolute national defense circle”.
There are also large airports on the island, and hundreds of Japanese aircraft constitute a strong attack force.
Therefore, its strategic position is very important, known as “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and “Gibraltar in the Pacific”.
In July 1942, just after the sea and air battle on Midway, Yamamoto moved his Joint Fleet Command to the port of Truk.
Since then, it has become the headquarters of the Japanese Navy.
After that, the Japanese worked hard.
For Japan, Truk port has a special strategic position just as pearl port has a special strategic position for the United States.
Therefore, Truk is also known as “Japan’s Pearl Harbor”.
In February 1944, when the U.S. army fought in the Marshall Islands, general Nimitz realized that the strong aviation of the Truk Japanese army would be a great threat to the ongoing counter attack of the central Pacific Fleet, so he decided to destroy the Truk Japanese army base with his absolute advantage of air power before the “bailiff battle”.
On the evening of February 10, Musashi, the flagship of the Japanese joint fleet, quietly anchored in the port of Truk.
“Find the enemy plane!” The report of the observation post on board surprised Sato, the captain of the Musashi.
At this time, in the sky directly in front of the bow of Musashi, two US B-25 twin engine bombers were looming and looming in the clouds above Truk.
The anti-aircraft fire on Musashi and the adjacent ship Yamato roared in unison, and the two B-25 quickly hid in the clouds.
It turned out that this was a strategic reconnaissance of Truk specially arranged by general Nimitz.
The two reconnaissance bombers, which took off from the East Solomon Islands base and had a range of more than 2000 nautical miles, carried no weapons and only cameras.
Regardless of the threat of anti-aircraft fire from the Japanese ship, the crew on board kept taking photos and reconnaissance.
In this way, although they stayed over Truk for less than 20 minutes, they brought back valuable information to general Nimitz: hundreds of Japanese ships gathered in the port of Truk.
The sudden appearance of a US reconnaissance plane over Truk immediately caused panic and unease among the then commander of the Japanese Navy’s joint fleet, kuha.
Because at this moment, the whole war situation is very unfavorable to him.
If he doesn’t pay attention, he may be destroyed by the whole army.
In the south, Japan has completely lost the Solomon Islands, and MacArthur’s troops are marching along the long line of New Guinea.
In the southeast, the Japanese also collapsed across the Gilbert Islands.
In the northeast, the Marshall Islands, which the Japanese have worked hard for 25 years, are precarious.
Faced with such a dangerous situation, Guhe had a premonition that the ruthless bomb of the Americans would soon hit his head.
So he immediately ordered the joint fleet to evacuate the port of Truk.
On the evening of February 12, nine aircraft carriers and a large number of escorting battleships and destroyers belonging to Mitchell’s 58th task force quietly left the Majuro naval base just occupied in the southeast of the Marshall Islands and headed southwest.
During this trip, everything was kept in absolute secrecy.
No one knew the specific task except Mitchell and several key staff officers.
For the sake of confidentiality, the use of radio is also strictly prohibited along the way.
At 6:30 a.m. on February 16, after three days and four nights of driving, the 58th special task force was about to enter the scheduled attack sea area, and the crew learned that the combat mission of this trip was to attack Truk.
At this time, the huge US special task force was only 100 nautical miles away from Truk, which was a good time to launch an attack.
Nine aircraft carriers immediately turned against the wind, and the engines of carrier aircraft roared on the deck of the aircraft carrier.
At 6:45, 70 “evil women” fighters of the first attack wave roared off the ship.
Then, 24 “fearless” dive bombers, 36 “Predator” torpedoes and 18 “Avenger” bombers also shot at the sea and air.
148 US planes flew rapidly towards Truk in the morning light.
At this moment, Truk is as careless as Pearl Harbor in the United States.
Although there are still 300 aircraft with considerable strength on the airport, most pilots have been approved to go out on holiday.
It was not until 7:12 that the US large fleet of aircraft was ready to leave the city that the Truk command center issued a panic alarm.
However, when the US aircraft group reached the sky over Truk, the “prey” in the port was far less abundant than that reported by the reconnaissance report.
At this time, the first 70 “evil woman” fighters had passed through the big lagoon.
First, more than 30 “zero” fighters with emergency take-off were found coming head-on.
However, once a war broke out, the US aircraft gained the upper hand.
The US aircraft fleet is not only far superior to Japanese aircraft in quantity, but also far superior to Japanese aircraft in aircraft performance and pilot quality.
Therefore, it is in an absolute dominant position in air combat.
Since the battle of Guadao, the quality of carrier aircraft of the US Navy has been improved to a considerable extent.
The “evil woman” fighters manufactured by Grumman company are the first batch of Shipborne fighters of the US Navy with slightly better comprehensive performance than the latest “zero” fighters of the Japanese army.
They began to equip the troops in small quantities in early 1942.
It is equipped with six 12.
7mm machine guns.
Although it is slightly less flexible than the zero because of its heavy armor and self sealing fuel tank, it is better than the zero in flight speed, climb and dive.
The “evil woman” fighter has a speed of 600 kilometers per hour and a maximum payload range of 2400 kilometers.
Japan’s most advanced “zero” fighter has a speed of only 500 kilometers per hour and a maximum payload range of only 1800 kilometers.
In addition, the Zero fighter has another fatal weakness, that is, it lacks protection for pilots and fuel tanks, and is very vulnerable to attack.
It was this that made it suffer a great loss in air combat.
The “evil woman” fighter’s driver is protected by a thick armor plate at the rear and a thick bulletproof windshield at the front, which is generally not easy to be attacked.
Therefore, this new type of fighter is very popularMove the first brigade and regiment to strengthen defense.
The Japanese ground force mainly defends the three islands and reefs of ngibi Island, Eniwetok and parry.
It is specifically deployed in ngibi island with more than 1200 people, Eniwetok with more than 800 people and parry island with nearly 1500 people, totaling more than 3500 people, including about 800 engineers and 2700 combat troops.
The command department of the first brigade is located in Parry island.
On February 15, 1943, rear admiral Hill led the landing formation from kwajalin and arrived at the Eniwetok sea area on February 17.
Because the landing force was only 8000, it had only a 2.
2:1 advantage compared with the Japanese army.
It was unable to land on three islands and reefs at the same time, so it could only be captured one by one.
The fourth brigade of the 58th special mixed formation under the command of major general Jinde has 3 aircraft carriers, 3 cruisers and 8 destroyers, with about 150 carrier aircraft.
At the same time, it reaches the sea area of Eniwetok and is responsible for providing air cover and aviation fire support together with the escort aircraft carrier in the landing formation.
In view of the airport built on ngibi Island, the US military took it as the first target.
On February 17, the naval gun fire support brigade composed of cruisers and destroyers under the command of rear admiral odendov first shelled the islands and reefs on both sides of the lagoon, covered the minesweepers to enter the lagoon and cleaned the mines to mark the channel.
At about 1400 hours, Hill sent two reconnaissance teams to land on shanchahua island and luzhoulu island in the southeast of ngibi island by tracked landing vehicles.
The Japanese army did not deploy troops on the two islands, so the US Army did not encounter resistance and successfully occupied the two islands.
Immediately, 12 105 mm howitzers and 12 75 mm howitzers were transported to the two islands respectively, preparing for the attack on ngibi island the next day.
On the morning of February 18, US cruisers, destroyers, carrier based aircraft and artillery on two small islands launched a fierce fire bombardment on ngibi island.
Under the fierce fire bombardment of the US military, more than half of the casualties and most of the links between the remnants of the Japanese army were cut off.
They were isolated and scattered, making it difficult to organize effective resistance.
At 0800 hours, the US Army formed the first landing wave with 6 landing gunboats, 20 crawler landing vehicles and 17 land and water tanks and impacted on the beach of ngibi island.
At 9:00, the 22nd regiment of the landing force landed smoothly, and the landing force in the East made smooth progress.
However, due to the close proximity of the airport in the west, the Japanese defense was relatively tight, and the US military encountered tenacious resistance.
In particular, the Japanese Army stood high and blocked the advance of the US Army by virtue of a 3-meter-high dike behind the beach.
The head of the 22nd Marine Regiment immediately joined the reserve team and broke through the Japanese defense line.
The Marines are worthy of being the elite division of the US Army.
With the support of tanks, they immediately cleared the Japanese army and occupied the whole island of ngibi at 1640.
The Japanese garrison killed 1261 people and captured 16.
85 US troops were killed and 166 wounded.
The U.S. military originally planned to launch landing at Eniwetok and parry island at the same time after capturing ngibi island.
However, according to the Japanese military documents captured on ngibi Island, the Japanese garrison on these two islands and reefs are the elite of the first maritime mobile brigade with strong combat effectiveness.
After consultation, hill and Watson decided to change the plan and concentrate their forces to seize Eniwetok first, Attack Parry island after success.
On the morning of February 19, the 16th infantry regiment launched an attack under the cover of naval guns and carrier based aircraft at 8:30 and landed smoothly at 9:20.
As the troops advanced in depth, the Japanese resistance by virtue of fortifications became more and more intense.
The US Army had to send the Third Battalion of the 22nd Marine Regiment and some tanks ashore to reinforce the 1st and 6th regiments.
It did not break through the Japanese defense line until dusk, But when it was getting dark, the US military stopped attacking and turned to defense.
On February 20, the Third Battalion of the 22nd Marine Regiment made rapid progress with the support of tanks.
It soon occupied the area it undertook, and then took the initiative to cooperate with the first battalion of the 1st 6th regiment in the left neighbor to annihilate all Japanese troops in the southern part of the island.
The Third Battalion of the 16th regiment, which was responsible for attacking and occupying the northern region, was blocked by the defense fortification built by the Japanese army relying on the narrowest part of the island and reef, summoned ship guns and ship-based aircraft to carry out fierce fire bombardment, but the ground forces still did not make a breakthrough until dark.
On the same day, in order to cover the landing on Parry Island, the 22nd Marine Regiment transported 12 75mm guns to pughana Island, which is close to parry Island, and began shelling Parry island from 2000.
Three battleships and two cruisers of the Navy also shelled Parry island at close range.
Because most of the Japanese fortifications were underground and semi underground, the firing effect of naval guns was not ideal.
The US military took off ship-based aircraft from the escort aircraft carrier and carried out aviation firepower preparation, which caused great damage to the Japanese fortifications.
On February 21, the US military dispatched a large number of carrier based aircraft to carry out a fierce attack on Eniwetok.
With this support, the ground forces finally broke through the Japanese defense line and occupied the whole island that afternoon.
On February 22, the first and second battalions of the 22nd Marine Regiment landed from the north of Parry island at the same time, and then the Third Battalion of the 22nd Marine Regiment landed.
The three battalions advanced in depth together.
Although most of the fortifications on the island were destroyed and more than half of the personnel were killed and injured after three consecutive days and nights of fire bombardment, the remnant still resisted with some undeveloped fortifications.
At noon, the U.S. Army formed a bomb group to cover the northern area of Watson Island, and the battle of the occupied area of Watson island was ended at 19:00 PM.
In the whole “bailiff” operation, only two landing gunboats of the U.S. military were injured by their own side.
At the cost of 195 people dead and 521 injured, they completely annihilated more than 3500 Japanese troops in Eniwetok and occupied Eniwetok Atoll.
The battle of the Marshall islands ended here.
Through the “tunnel gun” and “bailiff” campaigns, the US military captured the islands and reefs of kwajalin, Roy Island, Namur island and Eniwetok, killed and injured about 11000 Japanese troops and captured 329 people.
568 US troops were killed and missing and 2108 wounded.
The US military’s extremely high tactical level in the landing operation in the Marshall Islands, the cooperation and coordination among the various services and arms involved in the war, and the perfect tacit understanding can be called a classic.
Many U.S. generals believe that this battle is the most beautiful amphibious landing battle.
Even commander Smith of the fifth and second armies, who rarely praises others, said: “the battle in kwajalin is the most satisfactory one so far!” In order to commend the excellent performance, superb command skills and organizational ability of the senior commander of the Fifth Fleet, and in view of the continuous expansion of the fleet, the Joint Chiefs of staff approved the promotion of some generals.
February 4th, lieutenant general Spruance, commander of the Fifth Fleet, was promoted to four-star admiral.
Major general Turner, commander of the fifth amphibious force, Major General Smith, commander of the fifth amphibious force and major general Mitchell, commander of the 58th special mixed unit, were promoted to lieutenant general on March 7, 14 and 21, respectively.