"Fifty Years Ago, American troops came perilously close to disaster on the Pacific's remote Gilbert Islands. Just before dawn on Sunday, November 20, 1943, Operation Galvanic was launched - the first major amphibious operation against Japanese-held islands. Over 100,000 men and the largest assembly of warships in history were in place off islands shielded by razor-sharp barrier reefs. An easy and "glorious" victory was anticipated in this battle, the symbolic first step toward Tokyo." "Confidence was high as the Americans boarded their landing craft. It seemed impossible that any living thing could have survived the intensity of the naval and air bombardment that had been aimed at these small spits of land for the past few days. But the Japanese had prepared well. Just a few hours later, at Tarawa Atoll, the confidence changed to horror as the amphibious vehicles were torn apart by murderous fire, and the Marines, forced to wade ashore, were cut down by enemy machine guns. The few survivors who made it to the beach huddled behind a seawall amid piles of bodies and hideously twisted wreckage, numbed by the ferocity of the resistance." "Based on careful research of all unpublished and published sources - the first such synthesis of all available material - Michael Graham has written one of the most readable pieces of military history to be published in many years. The capture of Tarawa and Makin atolls was billed as a stunning victory, but the cost is questioned to this day."--BOOK JACKET.
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