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One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa

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  • One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa

    Having focused much of reading on the European theatre during WW2 all these years, only recently have I begun studying the Pacific Theatre in-depth.

    As luck would have it I believe I struck gold with John Wukovits's "One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa."

    It covers the 3 days of torturous combat faced by the 2nd Marine Division, November 20-23, 1943, as they battled for control of Tarawa atoll & Betio with the Japanese. Of the Marines that landed, there were over 3,000 casualties, including just over 1,000 killed. The Japanese lost over 4,700 soldiers- only 17 survived.

    The fighting is disturbingly portrayed & well written. I think this book pays honor to the courage & sacrifices of USMC during WW2 like no other book I've read thus far.

    Highly recommended.
    Kampfgruppe - A war gaming clan since 1998

  • #2
    Direct link to excellent colour footage of the assault on Tarawa:


    • #3
      The fighting at Tarawa gives you a keen insight into the brutality of the fighting in the Pacific. Unlike Western Europe where surrender was a real option for German troops, Japanese troops typically fought to the death. Marines and Army troops routinely fought an enemy that did not yield and just as bad, could not see.

      Tarawa gives you a sincere appreciation for the fighting elan of the USMC. The sheer amount of damage that USMC units could take and still function was amazing and the enormously high casualty rate among officers showed that Marine officers definitely lead from the front. Wading into an island from several hundred yards out while under heavy enemy fire takes a special type of man.


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