December 9, 1943

Marine Dead High Price for Tarawa
SYDNEY—Tiny Tarawa atoll was won at the highest cost of human life per square yard ever paid by U. S. marines. Of the first two battalions to hit the beaches of Tarawa—2,000 to 3,000 marines—only a few hundred men were not casualties. Marine Colonel Merritt Edson, of Guadalcanal’s Battle of Bloody Ridge fame, stated, “Nothing in any previous war or in this one compares with it.” Admiral Chester Nimitz, visiting Tarawa on November 27, revealed that 1,026 marines were killed in the battle and 2,557 were wounded. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said at the end of November that American losses on Tarawa were heavy, but “enemy losses were even heavier.”

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