The Battle of Eniwetok, February 17-23, 1944

The campaign in the Marshalls was a necessary stepping stone in the battle for the Central Pacific. Eniwetok was a central target, with 3,500 Japanese and Korean defenders. Landings were made on February 17, 1944.

The Americans moved with air, sea and land coordination, and used the tactics they developed under fire at Tarawa. Battleships moved to within 1,500 yards of the shore to fire on Japanese positions. A combined force of US Army and US Marines landed and began moving behind massed artillery barrages.

Within six days, the Americans had cleared the island, again taking few prisoners. Most of the 3500 defenders were dead, and the Americans took 348 casualties.

Eniwetok’s airfield, Engebi, and airfields on Kwajalein allowed the Marshalls to be dominated by air, rendering further landings unnecessary.

After the war, Eniwetok, now Enewetak, became the test ground for the first US hydrogen bomb.