Throughout the battle and especially during the landings on Red Beach One, the area known as "The Pocket" kept up a steady stream of lead against the advancing Marines. It was also the last area controlled by the Japanese on the western part of Betio. As shown in the following picture numerous LVT's were knocked out or disabled while attempting to land troops. Ryan's troops, that were supposed to land on Red One, were forced to land on the western most tip of the island to avoid the deadly guns firing from 35 different bunkers.1 On D+1 the the men of 1st battlion, 8th Marines were cut down in rows from the withering fire directed at them from the pocket as they waded over the reef toward Red Beach 2. The area was finally taken on the morning of D+3 by Hays's 1st battalion, 8th Marines and Schoettel's 3rd battalion 2nd Marines. The most effective weapons in reducing "The Pocket" besides Marines in dungarees were the flamethrowers used by the engineers of Lt. Leslie's assault platoon and a pair of halftracks mounting 75mm guns. The assault began around 0900 23 November and the last bunker was eliminated by 1300. Alexander says that the Japanese defenders in this area, led by Commander Sugai, were, "...clearly the most disciplined, and the deadliest on the island."2
This picture was taken by the Kingfisher observation aircraft launched from the battleship Maryland.
1. Alexander p.204-205.
2. Alexander p. 204.
copyright 2000 T.O.T.W.
Created March 11, 2000