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Battle of Tarawa

2015-08-28 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Paper范文

51due网站精选paper代写范文:“Battle of Tarawa”,这篇paper讲述的是太平洋战争塔拉瓦战役。参战双方为美国和日本,这一次战役是美军首次面临日军的猛烈还击。经过76小时地连续作战,最终美军以阵亡1696名士兵为代价取得了最后的胜利。


Battle of Tarawa This research paper addresses the topic of the Battle of Tarawa and its historical relevance to the evolution of warfare. Research employed an external critique and examination of the literature, historical documents, and periodicals that examine and bring to life the pivotal battle that takes place on Betio. Research revealed that the Battle of Tarawa was the key element for allied forces winning the war in the Pacific, and lent a decisive hand in the changing of amphibious doctrine. This Research also focuses on the mistakes made in a doctrine prepared during the First World War and never put into affect until the Pacific War. This doctrine used in the pacific theater would be refined and eventually lead to successful engagements in the Korean War. The Battle of Tarawa and Amphibious Doctrine In the two decades before the United States entered World War Two, the United States Marine Corps made a name for itself in the military establishment by being the only force to develop and prepare for amphibious warfare. 

The war in the pacific was to be the proving grounds for this amphibious doctrine and revalidate the Marines as the Americas premier fighting force. Tarawa was an example of the worst kind of close quarter fighting between two dedicated, relentless, and ruthless forces, the Japanese and Americans. Eventual success at the Battle of Tarawa made it appear to some that the amphibious doctrine was already "a firmly established doctrine" and was the reason the Americans succeeded in capturing Betio. (Shaw, 156). Just the opposite the doctrine was completely fouled, it was the Marines on the ground that won the battle. The exact start can be placed at July 23, 1921 when the Marine Commandant, Major General John A. Lejeune officially approved a plan of operation submitted by Major Earl Ellis which became the keystone of Marine Corps strategic planning for the Pacific war. At this time it was only a theory that we would wage war in the Pacific against Japan. From this initial plan the Marines began to develop and test their concepts of amphibious warfare, but only Marines in leadership positions attending the new amphibious warfare school in Quantico, Virginia. There was no real training of ground troops in this doctrine. After fleet exercises in 1922 and 1925, the Marines opened two Expeditionary Force bases, one in Quantico, Virginia and the other in San Diego California. In 1929, a Joint Army and Navy Board directive acknowledged the Marines role to act as an amphibious assault force (Isley & Crowl). This directive established the United States Marine Corps as the only small, well-trained amphibious assault force to seize and occupy overseas bases, thereby guaranteeing the Marine Corps' future. (Isley & Crowl, 24-33). 

The remaining test was the ultimate one of battle that was predicted by Major Ellis (Isley & Crowl, 71). With the threat of the Japanese in the Pacific the seizure of the Gilberts was necessary prior to entering the Marshall Islands (Isley & Crowl, 192). The Gilberts campaign was largely a means of obtaining a jump off position, hence the name “Island hopping campaign”. Operation Galvanic (Isley & Crowl) was aimed at taking Tarawa Atoll because it had the largest airfield in the island group and this put America’s air power in reach of the Japanese mainland and a continuance in logistics (Great Battles of World War II, 135). The Second Marine Division launched its invasion on November 20 1943, which was a disaster for the Marine Corps as far as the doctrine, Tentative Manual for Landing Operations, is concerned. The first principle of mistakes made during the initial assault tells us that the concept of unity in command had failed. Mistakes, weaknesses, and errors in command decisions before and during the invasion negatively impacted the first part of the amphibious doctrine. Admiral Nimitz is quoted as saying “that the requirement for strategic surprise limited preliminary bombardment of Betio to about three hours on the morning of D-Day” (Alexander, Across The Reef; 4). Then Major General Holland M. "Howling Mad" Smith, commander of fifth Amphibious Corps, announced that 6th Marines would be held as corps reserve. (Across The Reef; 4). This put Major General Julian Smith, Commander of 2nd Marine Division into a tough situation; he was forced to attack the island with only a 2 to 1 ratio in troops (Across The Reef; 4-5). 

The idea of the mission under unity of one competent commander was so grossly misunderstood that it would take the permission of Maj. Gen. Holland Smith and Rea! r Admiral Kelly Turner, Commander Amphibious Force, to release 6th Marines if and when 2nd Marine Division needed it. (Isley & Crowl, 203). Besides the obvious the commanders made basic mistakes in mass, and security. Failing to realize that the troops being deployed lacked mass to properly deal with the Japanese in the initial wave, and security the Marines were picked off peace meal entering the assault. To make matters worse the commanders of the invasion then put themselves in an isolated area, the Makin Islands, eighty-five miles away from the more dangerous and difficult battle than on Tarawa. The U.S. commanders made three planning assumptions, violating the principles of strategy and operations, about Tarawa that also proved disastrous to the assault. (Alexander, Bloody Tarawa, 13). One mistake was that there would be adequate communication for the mission, that that there would be sufficient water over Betio's reef to permit Higgins boats to reach the shore and that prior bombardment by naval guns and carrier aircraft would destroy the fortifications on the island. (Bloody Tarawa, 13). All of the presumptions made by the commanders proved to be wrong. The Naval air and gun assets were unable to break down the Japanese defenses and only displaced them for a short time. It was clear that the landing force would have to provide the full force to seize the island with very little direct or indirect support. The arrival of the landing force in a solid, cohesive, functioning force was imperative. The initial assault plan was thrown out the window because of the transport shift and because stiff headwinds added to the delays at the assembly point including a ten mile round trip outside of enemy fire creating a delay in waves by twenty-eight minutes, which permitted Japanese to get heavy and accurate fire at the LVTs as they were channeled into the beach (Costello, 433). This created an overwhelming problem in itself not including the Higgins boats and the Marines they carried essential to victory had to wade in across the reef due to low tides, exposed to enemy fire. Tank loaded LCMs stranded on the coral ridge, which also needed adequate water clearance, were forced to disembark Sherman tanks into three feet of water, which drowned out some of the engines creating further obstacles to overcome (Morison, 303). With the heavy loses of LVTs, which had been planned to shuttle troops and supplies over the reef if necessary, and no landing craft able to float over the reef, "troops had to wade for 400 to 500 yards under heavy fire, in water waist-deep, which meant death by drowning from a wound, mine, or stumble into an underwater shell hole. (Morison, 303). These mistakes are indicative of the landings that occurred. The only part of the operation that went as planned was the taking of the dividing pier by second scout-sniper platoon allowing some relief from automatic-fire as Marines moved shoreward. Then the first element of Third Battalion, Second Marines advanced on red beach one with Red two on their left, a strong Japanese surface, causing approximately fifty percent casualties. Red beach three was taken by minimal force and Second Battalion, Eighth Marines only sustained twenty-five casualties, but was not able to gain forward momentum. Second Battalion, Second Marines were hit the worst, due to the inaccurate information on the tides and heavy machine gun fire they were forced to land on Red beach one and forced to drift to Red beach two. The remaining two waves were forced to wade in and were subsequently cut down inflicting approximately eighty percent casualties. The assault was now being bogged down with the failure of an adequate movement of men and material from ship to shore, the assault was losing momentum fast (Costello, 434). By this point the furthest beachhead was only fifty meters, and at a stand still. The 1,500 Marines who had landed needed to expand the beachhead in order to allow follow on forces and supplies. This is indicative of the orders by General Smith and Admiral Turner, which caused a lapse in the time line, and the inadequate force of 2:1; the push was gone! Along with 1,500 surviving Marines, the only other materials to survive were four 75 mm pack howitzers, two half tracks, four Sherman tanks, and a few 37 mm antitank guns (Hammel, 32). 

 One part of the doctrine that has received much attention after battles such as Tarawa is that of Logistics, one of the most important factors in successful amphibious assaults or “sea to land movement.” The obvious haste of the operation was shown in the inadequate supply of the forces at the beachhead. The Marines lacked sufficient supplies to take on the massive fortifications of the Japanese. Major military historians suggest that when the Division left New Zealand, supply sources had provided the Division with only a company of medium tanks, a platoon number of flamethrowers, and 243 bazookas which ended up missing (How Can Men like that be Defeated, 28). Oddly enough, even though there was a shortage of amphibious vehicles the division did have more than 650 vehicles other than those required for ship to shore operations such as jeeps (Utmost Savagery, 56). The problem that existed now was that enemy fire had destroyed the majority of ship to shore capabilities and controlled avenues of fire to where Marines stayed at the beachhead. During this time when the Marines were pinned down in an area of seven hundred by three hundred yards they were vulnerable. When night came the counter attack that the Marines had expected, and which would have wiped them out, never came. Edwin Hoyt also declared that, "A Japanese counter attack on the first night would have knocked the Marines off the island and the invasion would have failed." [sic](Hoyt, 97). Stripping the dead of essential ammunition and supplies needed the Marines were resolved to push on. On D Day +1 First Battalion, Eighth Marines finally landed and reinforced Red Beach one. Simultaneously the Marines at Red Beach two made a push at a gap in the southern coast of the island and cut the Japanese into two groups eventually controlling Green Beach. Now the remaining forces had a secure beachhead in which they could land additional forces and crucial re-supply items. Now that the logistics flow had been reestablished the fully intact and equipped First Battalion, Sixth Marines landed and began a full push inland. On D Day +2 the Japanese only controlled a small eastern portion of the island at Red Beach one, but still a strong point. 

It took the combined effort of Sherman tanks supported by demolition and flamethrower men to destroy enemy fortifications and gain access to Red Beach one, and the eastern edge of the airfield. During the night the Japanese made three counter attacks against First Battalion, Sixth Marines, but were fought off (Himmel, 202). Finally on D Day +3 the opposition lagged under the tenacity of U.S. forces, and Third Battalion, Sixth Marines successfully entered the eastern end of the island and cleared it for follow on forces of Seabees and engineers to begin the repair of the airstrip. The final pocket of resistance was on the small islet of Buariki where the remaining Japanese force of 156 fought to the death. In all the Second Marine Division suffered 1,027 dead, 88 missing, and 2,292 wounded in the three days of fighting, which was considered unacceptable by the military and public at large (Hoyt, 109). A change to the amphibious doctrine was in need. In all aspects the doctrine of amphibious warfare may have been sound on paper but lacked in practical application at each part of the battle. If it were not for the Japanese failing to conduct a decisive counter attack on a weaker force the Marines would have failed to take the island, thus failing the Pacific drive was conceivable. Strategically the victory opened the way to the Marshall Islands, and tactically it established the amphibious assault as the means used to defeat Japan in the Pacific campaign and supplied an endorsement of the Marines for future engagements that would end successfully such as Tarawa. Finally, it was not the doctrine, the equipment, or the strategy, but the Marines that saved the day on Tarawa. The Marines who had not gone to the Amphibious School and had not been part of pre-war training exercises, but the individual marines who fought to knockout a bunker, who fought to save a buddy, or fought to survive. Edwin Hoyt proclaimed that the invasion "was saved from becoming a disaster only by the magnificent performance of the individual soldier." (Hoyt, 90). Bibliography: Alexander, Col. Joseph H. USMC (Ret). Across The Reef: The Marine Assault Of Tarawa -Marines In World War II Commemorative Series. Washington D.C.: Marine Corps Historical Center, 1993 Alexander, Col. Joseph H. USMC (Ret). Utmost Savagery. New York: Ivy Books, 1995. (paperback) Baldwin, Hanson. 

Battles Lost And Won. New York: Harper & Row, 1966. Berry, Henry. Semper Fi, Mac. New York: Arbor House, 1982 Costello, John. The Pacific War 1941 -1945. New York: Quill, 1981 Unknown Author Great Battle Of World War II. New York: Shooting Star Press, 1995. Hoyt, Edwin P.Storm Over The Gilberts. New York: Mason/Charter Publishers, 1978 Isley, Jeter A., and Crowl, Philip A. The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1951. Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Two -Ocean War. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1963. Potter, E. B. Nimitz. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1976. Shaw Jr., Henry I. Tarawa: A Legend Is Born. New York: Ballantine Books, 1968. Sherrod, Robert. Tarawa: The Story Of A Battle. Fredricksburg, Texas: The Admiral Nimitz Foundation,1973. (paperback) Simmons, Brigadier General Edwin H. USMC (Ret). The United States Marines: The First Two Hundred Years, 1775-1975. Spector,Ronald H. Eagle Against The Sun. New York: The Free Press, 1985. Steinberg, Rafael. Island Fighting. Alexandria, Virginia: Time -Life Books, 1978. Tapert, Annette. Lines Of Battle. New York: Pocket Books, 1987. Wheeler, Richard. A Special Valor. Edison, New jersey: Castle Books, 1996.Alexander, Col. Joseph H. USMC (Ret). "Bloody Tarawa." Naval History, December, 1993, 10-16. Alexander, Col. Joseph H. USMC (Ret). "How Can Men Like That Ever Be Defeated'" Leatherneck, November, 1994, 28-33. Alexander, Col. Joseph H. USMC (Ret). "Tested At Tarawa." World War II, January, 1995, 42-48. Fleming Jr., V. Keith. "Hurried Invasion's Grim Toll." World War II, January, 1987, 16-25. Hammel, Eric. "The Invasion Of Tarawa." Leatherneck, November, 1984, 28-33. Hoffman, Major Jon T. USMC Reserve. "Red Mike Fights On." Naval History, December, 1993, 17-22. Moise, Norman S. "Unconquerable Ground Reclaimed." World War II, November, 1993, 42-48. Shaw Jr., Henry I. "Tarawa: The Atoll War Begins." History Of The Second World War, part 57, 1994. -C


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