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    Republic of Kiribati (Gilbert Islands)  
The Republic of Kiribati is comprised of sixteen atolls surrounded by the central Pacific Ocean. Also known as simply Kiribati. Prewar and during World War II known as the Gilbert Islands. Previously known as the Kingsmill Islands or King's-Mill Islands. To the south is the equator and to the east is the International Date Line.

Wartime History
On December 10, 1941 the Japanese Navy first attacked the Gilbert Islands and claimed as occupied but deemed "nonessential territories" by Japanese Imperial headquarters. After the U.S. Marine raid on Makin Island (Butaritari) on August 17-18, 1942 the Japanese reinforced the Gilbert Islands. On September 15, 1942 the Yokosuka 6th Special Navy Landing Force (Yokosuka 6th SNLF) was assigned to Tarawa (Betio) for garrison duty.

On November 20, 1943 the 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
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 Atoll
Maiana Island  located to the south of Tarawa Atoll.
Apemama 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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Last Updated
November 20, 2022


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