ADM C.W. Nimitz, Cincpac, and men inspect Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll. NH 124492

Nimitiz begins “island-hopping” in the central Pacific through Micronesia. The 2nd Marine Division invades heavily fortified Tarawa, and the Army’s 27th Infantry Division lands on Main (both part of Kiribati, formerly the Gilbert Islands). The battles in this eastern-most part of the Micronesian Region are costly; while only 60 men were killed at tiny Makin, 1,056 die in 76 hours of fierce fighting at Tarawa. Future invasions, in the Marshalls and Marianas, feature better intelligence, better ship-to-shore transfer of troops, equipment and supplies.