Makin Atoll 20–23 November 1943


Map Code: Ax00347

To launch an attack on the Marshall Islands, a suitable island base was needed as a stepping-stone. After plans to invade Nauru fell through, Makin Atoll was chosen as a suitable location. The invasion plan comprised a two-pronged attack. Firstly, troops would land on Red Beach in the west in an attempt to draw the Japanese out from their defences, followed by a landing on Yellow Beach in the east, which it was hoped would enable an attack on the now exposed Japanese rear. The Japanese had built significant defences on the island, but focussed sea defences on the southern shore, not expecting an American invasion from the north. Although the attack on Red Beach did not serve its purpose as a distraction, and the landings from the lagoon were made more difficult because of its shallow waters, the island was captured within two days, with only minimal US ground troop losses.

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