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.
December 1941, the Japanese occupied Tarawa. Although the islands were deemed "nonessential territories" by
Japanese Imperial HQ, they were awaiting reinforcements.
The two most westerly islands Makin and Tarawa were
invaded by the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) on November 20,
1943. A heavy naval and aerial bombardment of Tarawa
preceded the landing of 5,000 men of the 2nd Marine Division against the defending Japanese. Close to 1,000 Americans
were killed, and over 2,000 wounded during the operation.
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.
Canton Airfield located on Canton Island used as part of Pacific ferry route.
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.
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 23, 2019