Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > War and Military History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

War and Military History War and Military History Forum - Warfare, Tactics, and Military Technology over the centuries


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old November 14th, 2017, 05:36 PM   #1
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2013
From: Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Posts: 2,926
Was Tarawa-November 1943-worth it or even neccesaary ?


November and once again the anniversary of 'OPERATION GALVANIC'-THE capture by the US Marines of bloody Tarawa -the British Crown colony in the Gilbert Islands comes around.
But the question is =given the terrible losses for such a tiny piece of conquered Japanese real estate was it worth it?
Many of the parents of the dead Marines back ni the USA angrily protested to their Congressmen about the casualty rates once they saw how small Tarawa Betio was . and questioned how such an ostensibly insgnificant lump of coral could cost so may of their sons/bros Faher's lives.
Looking back the thing that strikes me is that once Tarawa/Betio was captured it rapidly vanishes from Pacific war history accounts.
In contrast,.Iwo Jima-although costly to liberate- became a valuable landing strip with which to assist B-29s bombing Japan. As did other later US conquests after Tarawa.
Conclusion?- given its low subsequent strategic and tactical use after November 1943 why did the US HIGH COMMAND not just bypass TARAWA/Betio like they did Trruk and Rabaul etc which were left to wither on the vine ?
Pendennis is offline  
Remove Ads
Old November 14th, 2017, 06:03 PM   #2

RidiculousName's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Aug 2016
From: USA
Posts: 343

I would like to know this too. It seems like many parts of the Pacific campaign were unnecessary. The Philippines for example.
RidiculousName is offline  
Old November 14th, 2017, 07:03 PM   #3
Lecturer
 
Joined: Oct 2015
From: Virginia
Posts: 438

Tarawa Abemama and Makin were attacked to provide air bases for reconnaissance and bomber support for the planned attack on the Marshall Islands (FLINTLOCK). More importantly, GALVANIC provided an opportunity to test doctrine, techniques, procedures and equipment being developed for amphibious assault (a tactic that had not been tried since Gallipoli) on objectives believed to be less well fortified (?) and with smaller garrisons than the Marshalls.

The problems and failures experienced at Tarawa were identified, studied and corrected by the Navy, Army and Marine Corps. Lessons learned at Tarawa made possible the bypassing of the Eastern Marshalls (Wotje, Maloelap, Mille, Jaluit) and the comparatively low casualties and rapid conquest of Kwajelein, Majuro and Eniwetok.

As the Navy, Marines and Army gained experience in amphibious assault, base development and sea control, more and more potential objectives were bypassed (Truk, Hansa Bay, Rabaul, Kavieng, Yap, Woleai, Kusai, Ponape, Wake, Palau, the Talauds, Sarangani Bay). Cape Gloucester, Arawe, Attu, Peleliu and Angaur probably could have been bypassed as well, but its easy to criticize after the fact.

Leyte, Mindanao and Luzon were probably necessary to cut off Japanese access to the resource areas of Indonesia, Malaya and Indochina, and to provide a base for the final attack on Japan (Formosa and Amoy on the China coast were the alternative). MacArthur moved against the Visayas and Mindanao on his own, without a directive.

Last edited by Dentatus; November 14th, 2017 at 07:57 PM.
Dentatus is online now  
Old November 14th, 2017, 08:22 PM   #4

Kahu's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: May 2015
From: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 721
Blog Entries: 1
Tarawa - Kiribati


At dawn on November 20, 1943, off Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, a task force of U.S. Navy battleships, cruisers and destroyers moved into position for pre-invasion bombardment while transports carrying soldiers of the 165th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) sailed quietly into their assigned areas off Makinís main island, Butaritari, at the southern edge of the atoll. Their mission: to capture the atoll from the Japanese for use as a base during future attacks on the nearby Japanese-held Marshall Islands.

Gilbert Islands Campaign: Capturing Makin Atoll | HistoryNet

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/nz-co...cuted-japanese

NZDF - Government works to establish if Tarawa remains those of Coastwatchers
Kahu is offline  
Old November 15th, 2017, 06:49 AM   #5
Historian
 
Joined: Jul 2016
From: USA
Posts: 4,018

Most of the amphibious assaults of the Pacific can be deemed unnecessary when viewed through hindsight.

There were only a few with legitimate reasons at the time they were launched to justify their practicality being questioned. Peleliu for one. Its strategic value was negated weeks before the invasion but they didn't cancel it because it would have been too bothersome to recall the fleet.

But at least Tarawa had some strategic and tactical value to use to support later amphibious assaults .

One of the big disconnects was the Navy always underestimated Japanese resistance when they planned amphibious assaults. There were often not enough assault forces, fire support was often pretty poor, intelligence was terrible, time tables were too restrictive. The justification for a lot of the amphibious assaults was simply that an airfield was already built, to save a few days or maybe weeks doing construction on a fresh location we instead knocked out two birds with one stone, we got ourselves an airfield and took one away from the Japanese. However, if we are basically destroying divisions in the process, that's not a fair trade.
aggienation is offline  
Old November 15th, 2017, 06:58 AM   #6

zincwarrior's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
From: Texas
Posts: 4,867

Quote:
Originally Posted by aggienation View Post
Most of the amphibious assaults of the Pacific can be deemed unnecessary when viewed through hindsight.

There were only a few with legitimate reasons at the time they were launched to justify their practicality being questioned. Peleliu for one. Its strategic value was negated weeks before the invasion but they didn't cancel it because it would have been too bothersome to recall the fleet.

But at least Tarawa had some strategic and tactical value to use to support later amphibious assaults .

One of the big disconnects was the Navy always underestimated Japanese resistance when they planned amphibious assaults. There were often not enough assault forces, fire support was often pretty poor, intelligence was terrible, time tables were too restrictive. The justification for a lot of the amphibious assaults was simply that an airfield was already built, to save a few days or maybe weeks doing construction on a fresh location we instead knocked out two birds with one stone, we got ourselves an airfield and took one away from the Japanese. However, if we are basically destroying divisions in the process, that's not a fair trade.
Indeed, additionally the Allies proved adept at bypassing and isolating strongly held Japanese Islands. Rubaul is an excellent example of it.
zincwarrior is online now  
Old November 15th, 2017, 07:15 AM   #7
Historian
 
Joined: Jul 2016
From: USA
Posts: 4,018

Quote:
Originally Posted by zincwarrior View Post
Indeed, additionally the Allies proved adept at bypassing and isolating strongly held Japanese Islands. Rubaul is an excellent example of it.
Overall, I'd not all that impressed with how the Pacific theater was conducted.

First, we should have appointed one single commander to promote one single strategic goal. Instead we had two, we had Nimitz doing his thing, which often conflicted with MacArthur doing his thing. In the end I'd say MacArthur's view was more correct.

Second, so much of the island hopping was working toward supporting heavy bombing raids on Japan. Marshall Islands, Iwo, etc. And I'm not a fan of non-nuclear strategic bombing to end wars, which is what the USAAF was promising to get the Army and Marine Corps to take these islands they wanted. A whole lot of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines died taking those islands and the juice was not worth the squeeze, strategic bombing didn't do much to end the war, at least not in comparison to what it costed.

Third, early war we dominating the Japanese in maneuver warfare, and I think a lot of senior brass started assuming it would always be like that. Instead, we should have taken a pause after Saipan and realized that the Japanese had completely shifted defensive tactics, techniques, and procedures and we needed to readjust off of them. We didn't, we were still more or less launching amphibious invasions with the same way, moving across islands the same way. Timetables for movement and objectives were still rushed. All of which caused undue casualties in my opinion.

However, Nimitz and many others never seemed to be bothered by casualties much, so I guess it worked out fine for them.
aggienation is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > War and Military History

Tags
1943worth, neccesaary, tarawanovember



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
9 November 1989 Zhang LaoYong European History 48 November 17th, 2014 04:03 AM
November 14th Vajra Asian History 20 November 16th, 2014 01:45 AM
70th anninvesary of Tarawa/Betio assualt Pendennis War and Military History 9 February 6th, 2014 10:08 PM
Net-worth and self-worth: what is difference? coberst Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology 0 September 5th, 2009 06:46 AM
November 8th, 1965 MrStoff1989 American History 0 October 12th, 2006 03:29 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.