One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa

Within the Tarawa atoll lies the tiny islet of Betio. In November of 1943, the boys of the 2d Marine department watched as bombardments destroyed the island's jap defenses. but if the Marines landed, the japanese poured out in their protecting bunkers and started the most brutal encounters of the battle.

Drawn from resources equivalent to members' letters and diaries and interviews with survivors, One sq. Mile of Hell is the riveting actual account of a conflict among decided foes, neither of whom might ever examine one another within the similar manner back.

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A 1915 graduate of Japan’s naval academy, Shibasaki served in a few posts sooner than Betio, together with command of a boat, a naval station, and repair in China. an outstanding officer who studied on the college of Tokyo, Shibasaki’s talents at fortifying Betio may confound and hang-out the Marines of the second department. lower than Shibasaki, the garrison built defenses for many of the day, via army drills the remaining. Shibasaki not just sought after his males to struggle from in the back of the best-constructed defenses, yet he meant that his younger warriors might understand what to do as soon as the americans seemed. Shibasaki despatched Warrant Officer Ota and different infantrymen to chop down coconut timber on Tarawa’s different islands so he might use them in strengthening Betio’s defenses and in developing a 3- to five-foot log seawall alongside the isle’s most probably invasion shores. He blasted coral rock out of the reef to make concrete for shelters and pillboxes. not anything for which the Marines had educated in New Zealand ready them for what Shibasaki deliberate. a regular eastern pillbox—and hundreds of thousands dotted Betio’s landscape—featured a chain of concentric partitions, together with a twelve-inch bolstered concrete wall, round a 3- to five-foot concrete flooring. squaddies packed alternating layers of sand, coconut logs, and sandbags on most sensible till the specified thickness for either partitions and roof were completed, then tapered the sand to cast off the presence of shadows that will be saw via American surveillance airplane. Shibasaki shaped angled trenches as access issues to the pillboxes in order that direct fireplace into the positions wouldn't achieve his squaddies, and partitioned interiors further additional safeguard from explosions. Shibasaki located his defenses in order that each time the Marines attacked any pillbox, they got here less than withering hearth from different jap emplacements. After a September American airplane provider air raid, Shibasaki began paintings on a wide bombproof look after, whole with concrete partitions a number of ft thick and strengthened with metal beams, to function his communications and command put up. The triple-tiered bunker housed 300 males. computing device gun nests surrounded the bombproof look after, and 1000s of squaddies manned pillboxes and bunkers within sight to safeguard it. Shibasaki was hoping he should not have to depend upon his land defenses, besides the fact that. In an try and halt the yank attack ahead of it reached the shorelines, he emplaced a chain of antiboat stumbling blocks within the waters surrounding Betio. Enemy touchdown craft might first stumble upon underwater boundaries, together with mine-laden concrete tetrahedrons, cunningly positioned within the lagoon to channel touchdown craft into the trail of point-blank hearth. Barbed twine and log barricades waited less than the water to capture intruders. different scary guns further extra punch. huge weapons, together with giant 8-inch naval cannon and 3-inch and 5-inch antiaircraft and antiboat weapons, might lob shells into the enemy’s midst at lengthy variety, whereas desktop weapons and mortars could open up from nearer distances.

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