1941 10 Dec. Makin seized by Japanese landing force; Tarawa raided by Japanese landing party. 1942 2 Feb. United States Naval Forces attack Japanese bases in Marshalls and Gilberts; Japanese bases, shipping and installations damaged. 17 Aug. U.S. Marines raid Makin Atoll. 1943 January Airfield on Betio first observed by American planes. 21 Feb. American planes fly reconnaissance mission over Tarawa. August 2d Marine Division first learns of plans for Gilberts Operation. 4 Sep. V Amphibious Corps become a part of Fifth Amphibious Force. 7 Sep. 2d Marine Division starts amphibious training with transports. 16 Sep. 2d Marine Division reports for operational control to V Amphibious Corps. 18, 19 Sep. U.S. Naval and Army aircraft bomb and photograph Tarawa. 2 Oct. Maj. Gen. Julian C. Smith and staff representatives report to V Amphibious Corps, Pearl Harbor, for conference regarding Tarawa operation. 12 Oct. Maj. Gen. Julian C. Smith holds conference with regimental commanders and staff at Wellington, New Zealand, to discuss Tarawa plans. 30 Oct. 2d Marine Division completes loading aboard ship for Tarawa. 1 Nov. 2d Marine Division leaves Wellington for Efate, New Hebrides. 7 Nov. Task Force 53 assembles at Efate for rehearsal; first rehearsal exercise takes place. 9 Nov. Second rehearsal exercise held. 13 Nov. Southern Attack Force (Task Force 53), leaves Efate for Tarawa. 16-19 Nov. Preliminary bombardment and shelling of Tarawa in progress. 20 Nov. 2d Marine Division lands on Betio, 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, 2d and 3d Battalions, 2d Marines in assault; 1st Battalion, 2d Marines and 3d Battalion, 8th Marines land in reserve. Small beachhead established by sundown. 21 Nov. 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, lands on RED 2. 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, is sent to Bairiki. 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, lands on GREEN Beach. Beachhead expanded slightly during the day.
22 Nov. 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, lands on GREEN Beach. 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, attacks along south side of island. 23 Nov. During night 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, repels 3 vicious counterattacks. 3d Battalion, 6th Marines, attacks to clean up east end of island. Betio declared secure. 24 Nov. 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, mopping up rest of Tarawa. 2d and 8th Marines leave Tarawa for Hawaii. Maj. Gen. H.M. Smith arrives to inspect Betio. 25 Nov. Apamama Attack Force leaves Tarawa for Apamama. 26 Nov. Apamama occupied. Admiral Nimitz and Vice Admiral Spruance arrive to inspect Betio. 28 Nov. Maj. Gen. Julian C. Smith announces "Remaining enemy forces on Tarawa wiped out." 29 Nov. 2d Division Scout Company leaves to reconnoiter Abaiang, Marakei, and Maiana Atolls. 4 Dec. Command of Tarawa turned over to Advance Base Commander.
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