ACROSS THE REEF: THE MARINE ASSAULT OF TARAWA – AUDIOBOOK
By Joseph H. Alexander (1938 – 2014)
“Tarawa Atoll is 2085 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor and 540 miles southeast of Kwajalein in the Marshalls. Betio is the principal island in the atoll. The Japanese seized Tarawa from the British within the first three days after Pearl Harbor. In August 1943, to meet in secret with Major General Julian C. Smith and his principal staff officers, Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance flew to New Zealand from Pearl Harbor. Spruance told the Marines to prepare for an amphibious assault against Japanese positions in the Gilbert Islands in November. General Smith’s operations officer, Lieutenant Colonel David M. Shoup, studied the primitive chart of Betio and saw that the tiny island was surrounded by a barrier reef. Shoup asked Spruance if any of the Navy’s experimental, shallow-draft, plastic boats could be provided. ‘Not available,’ replied the admiral, ‘expect only the usual wooden landing craft.’ Shoup frowned. General Smith could sense that Shoup’s gifted mind was already formulating a plan. The results of that plan were momentous. The Tarawa operation became a tactical watershed: the first, large-scale test of American amphibious doctrine against a strongly fortified beachhead.”
This audiobook is recorded by Librivox, which has released it into the public domain.