78 years ago today, November 20th 1943, the Battle for Tarawa began. Operation Galvanic was the first battle in the central Pacific and the first to meet serious resistance on the landing beach. Lasting only a fierce 3 days the battle saw 1009 Marine dead (and 687 Seaman on the Carrier Liscome Bay that was sunk) While a short battle compared to others and not having the most casualties overall. Tarawa did have the highest rate of casualties for the USMC. On Tarawa the daily toll was about 336 dead and a combined dead/wounded of 1037. Iwo Jima averages about 190 dead per day and a combined casualty toll of 723. Just to give an idea of the ferocity of that little spec of sand in November ’43.
This set up is inspired by the first two period photos. Although I don’t have a PAL or Mark I knife and I used the P42 brown side instead of the regular P41s because this is pretty much the only time I get to use the brown side and I love the look of it. Tarawa and Bougainville are where you will see the largest use of the frogskin camo. After that it begins to fade until virtually non-existent by 1945. I have a theory that only the 2nd and 3rd Mardiv received a regular issue of the camo based off of the photos I’ve seen, but I’m not sure there is a way to prove/disprove it.
Interesting thing in the photo of the BAR man is that he has M1936 suspenders instead of the M1941. As well the famous photo of the Marine with the 4 grenade he has a Musette bag in from of him. Marines did get a little M1936 gear.
A cool picture I haven’t seen before. Not sure the unit but I’m assuming a marine support unit by the camo (all the Navy personnel I’ve seen wore plain green on Tarawa. They could be but just my theory) and the packs look like the old M1910 packs Marines were using pre M1941 Haversack. So I would think it would be a second line unit still using the older gear.