Tarawa, or Betio Island, was assaulted on November 20th, 1943 by the 2nd Marine Division. The Japanese defended Tarawa with approximately 3,000 men of the 7th Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force, "Japanese Imperial Marines," and 1,000 Korean laborers. By the end of the battle 990 U.S. Marines were listed as killed-in-action. Out of the entire Japanese garrison 1 officer and 16 Japanese enlisted men survived. The American public was outraged; by the 3,286 casualties, inflicted on the Marines, for an island 1 square mile in size.
Marine cameraman took amazing combat footage of the 3 day battle. It was up to that time a shocking account of combat in the Pacific. So shocking was the footage, that many top military figures opposed releasing the film: "With the Marines at Tarawa." President Roosevelt overruled all opposition and the film was released for general circulation.
"With the Marines at Tarawa" won an Academy award for: Best Short Documentary in 1945
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