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The Republic of Kiribati is located in the central Pacific Ocean. Also known as simply Kiribati. Prewar and during World War II known as the Gilbert Islands.
During December 1941 Japanese forces occupied Tarawa. Although the Gilbert Islands were deemed "nonessential territories" by Japanese Imperial headquarters at the start of the Pacific War and were developed into airfields and bases to support the Japanese in the central Pacific.
On November 20, 1943 the two most westerly islands Tarawa and Makin were targeted by U.S. forces after a heavy naval and aerial bombardment. After a heavy naval and aerial bombardment of Tarawa the 2mnd Marine Division landed 5,000 Marines against the heavily defended island. During the Battle of Tarawa nearly 1,000 Americans were killed and over 2,000 wounded.
Republic of Kiribati (Gilbert Islands)
Tarawa Atoll triangular shaped atoll includes Tarawa (Betio) and Tarawa Lagoon.
Tarawa Island (Betio Island) located at the southwest end of Tarawa Atoll, USMC landing November 20, 1943.
Tarawa Airfield (Hawkins Field) located on Tarawa Island used by the Japanese and expanded by the US.
Tarawa Lagoon (Betio Lagoon) borders Tarawa Island November 20, 1943 amphibious landing.
Bonriki Island located at the eastern tip of Tarawa Atoll.
Bonriki Airfield (Mullinix Field) located on Bonriki Island.
Bairiki Island located in Tarawa Atoll, capital of
Buariki Island located at the northern tip of Tarawa Atoll.
Maiana Island located to the south of Tarawa Atoll.
Apamama Atoll (Abemama) located to the southeast of Maiana Atoll and Tarawa Atoll.
Apamama Atoll (Abemama, Hopper) largest island in Apamama Atoll with Apamama Airfield
Apemama Airfield (O'Hare Field) located on Apamama Island.
Abatiku Island (Matt) located on the southwestern side of Apamama Atoll.
Entrance Island (Nick) located on the southwestern side of Apamama Atoll.
Makin Island (Butaritari)
Makin Island (Butaritari) northeast of Makin Atoll, "Makin Raid" Aug. 17, 1942 and USMC landing Nov 20, 1943.
Makin Airfield (Butaritari, Antakana, Starmann) located on Makin Island built by the Americans in late 1943.
Makin Lagoon (Butaritari Lagoon) borders Makin Island used as seaplane operating area.
Makin Seaplane Base located in Makin Lagoon used by the Japanese.
Ocean Island (Banaba) located to the west of the Gilbert Islands, 300km east of Nauru.
Phoenix Island Group (Phoenix Islands, Rawaki)
Canton Island (Kanton) largest island in the north of the Phoenix Islands wartime airfield.
Line Island Group (Line Islands)
Christmas Island (Kiritimati) located 50 miles north of the equator.
Christmas Island Airfield (Cassidy) located at the northern portion of Christmas Island.
Aeon Field located at the northern portion of Christmas Island, built postwar.
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