Makin Island Raid 17 Aug 1942 - 18 Aug 1942 Contributor: C. Peter Chen Makin Atoll, with the main island of Butaritari, was taken by the Japanese at the first phase of the quick expansion across the Pacific, two days after the Pearl Harbor attack. U.S. Navy losses were significantly higher: 644 deaths on the Liscome Bay, 43 killed in a turret fire on the battleship USS Mississippi, and 10 killed in action with naval shore parties or as aviators, for a total of 697 naval deaths. The Japanese moved their prisoners to Kwajalein Atoll, where they were later beheaded. The island that is referred to as Makin Island is, in fact, the island of Butaritari. The total population of Makin is 1,798 (2010 Census). In 1942 the island had a small, roughly 160 man garrison, and was the site of a Japanese Airfield. The high tide and surf worked against their rubber boats, washing them back onto the beach. The raid was among the first American offensive ground combat operations of World War II. During the bombardment, a turret explosion on battleship USS Mississippi killed 43 sailors. Japanese planes had bombed and strafed Keuea Village, 10 miles to the northeast. During the war, at least four seaplanes were sunk in the lagoon. The attack, which occurred on August 17-18, 1942, was designed to draw attention away from another U.S. Marine attack on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The V Amphibious Corps had the only two divisions, the 2nd Marine Division based in New Zealand, and the U.S. Army's 27th Infantry Division based in Hawaii. A battle-weary LT. Col Evans Carlson, USMC, back onboard Nautilus after the first blooding of "Carlson's Raiders" at Makin Atoll. Planners selected Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands as the target. Taniura dispatched two military doctors who provided medical service to the village for two days. MAKIN ISLAND received five battle stars for World War II service. Taniura Hideo’s Accounts: What Happened to the Captured Marines. Troops began to go ashore at two beaches at 08:30 on 20 November. There are several gaps through which a small boat may pass to gain access to the ocean, all of them on the western side of the atoll. They made available two large mine-laying submarines, the Nautilus and the Argonaut. In August 1942, the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion conducted the Makin Island raid in the Central Pacific. Reduction operations were hampered by the frequent inability to use heavy support weapons, including tanks, because of the danger of cross-fire. At a U.S. Navy tribunal held on Guam on May 15, 1946, Commander Abe was sentenced to death. Since 1940, Lieutenant Taniura Hideo had been a squad leader of the Japanese 6th Defense Force stationed on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. Air operations against Makin began on 13 November, with USAAF B-24 bombers of the Seventh Air Force from the Ellice Islands. By 1942, much of the garrison established on Makin was moved out because of little Allied threat leaving the Japanese garrison on the island with a small seaplane base, weather … There is still some uncertainty over how the surrender overture was delivered to Japanese military forces and how they responded. Makin has a land area of 6.7 km² and a population of 1,798 (census of 2010). By July 1943 the seaplane base on Makin was completed and ready to accommodate Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boat bombers, Nakajima A6M2-N "Rufe" floatplane fighters and Aichi E13A "Jake" reconnaissance seaplanes. They could not get over the reef to the deeper water where the submarines were. It was protected by a double apron of barbed wire and an intricate system of gun emplacements and rifle pits. Makin Atoll is a triangle-shaped formation of reefs and islands, the largest of which is named Butaritari. In August 1942 the 2nd Marine “Raider” Battalion raided what was then called Makin Island in the Gilbert Archipelago of the South Pacific. The few that even care to know about the raid that took place during 17th and 18th August 1942 in the Gilbert Islands call it the ‘Makin Island Raid.’ In reality, there is no island called Makin. 3, page 8). One Japanese Ha-Go tank was destroyed in combat, and two tanks placed in revetments were abandoned without being used in combat. There were two tank barrier systems: The west tank barrier extended from the lagoon two-thirds of the way across Butaritari, was 12 to 13 feet (4.0 m) wide and 15 feet (4.6 m) deep, and was protected by one anti-tank gun in a concrete pillbox, six machine gun positions, and 50 rifle pits. King, the Chief of Naval Operations, wanted to attack right into the heart of the Japanese outer defense perimeter, but any plan for assaulting the Marshalls directly from Pearl Harbor would have required more troops and transports than the Pacific Fleet had at the time. In his memoir, Taniura recorded the accounts given to him by two of the Marines. The next morning, Japanese soldiers arrived, and they were captured. But when the time came to withdraw and return to the waiting submarines, there was a problem. Against an estimated 395 Japanese killed in action during the operation,[9] American ground casualties numbered 66 killed and 152 wounded. The Gilbert Islands were the first step in this chain. 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