World War 2
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Tarawa: The Island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands was defended by 2,600 well trained Japanese troops. Its Commander, Rear Admiral Shibasaki, boasted that a million Marines could not take Tarawa even if they had a hundred years to do it. A thousand yards off shore, a bow shaped coral reef assured that American landing craft would be unable to reach the beaches. The Marines would have to walk ashore in water up to their chins under withering fire from well sited Japanese machine guns and artillery.