SEIZURE OF THE GILBERTS AND MARSHALLS. By Philip A. Crowl and Edmund G. Love. (1955, 1985, 1989; 414 pages, 4 tables, 3 charts, 27 maps, 92 illustrations, appendix, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 5-6.)

This volume tells the story of the initial thrust in the drive across the Central Pacific. The campaign opened in November 1943 under Admiral Nimitz's direction, when the drive in the South and Southwest Pacific, directed by General MacArthur, was approaching Rabaul and was already on its way up the coast of New Guinea. Henceforth, a two-pronged offensive, coordinated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becomes the subject of the history of the war in the Pacific.

The decision to launch a double offensive against Japan revived the time-honored concept of a drive from Hawaii into the western Pacific, which had been laid aside, together with the ORANGE plan's focus on a Philippine offensive proved to be one of the momentous decisions in the war against Japan. A full account of the circumstances that lay behind this decision-the increase in American resources, the discussions at the level of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff-appears in the volumes on Global Logistics and Strategy and Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare. Its significance in Pacific strategy is further developed in the theater volume, Strategy and Command: The First Two Years. Here enough strategy is introduced to explain the two campaigns of the initial thrust under Admiral Nimitz.

In this first move only two Army divisions were engaged, the 7th and 27th. Their operations on Makin, Eniwetok, and Kwajalein are described and analyzed in detail, but the story of the whole operation, in which Navy, Marines and Army Air Forces played the leading roles, is retold to the extent necessary to illuminate the decisions of Army commanders and present the action of the 7th and 27th Infantry Divisions in a historical context.

The operation was amphibious throughout because the islands seized were so small that naval forces provided essential gunfire and aerial support to the troops ashore until the end of the fighting. Once captured, these island groups (atolls) served as steppingstones in the form of advance air and naval bases from which future amphibious operations to the westward could be supported.

The present volume is particularly valuable as a study of the role of ground forces in amphibious operations. The errors made were instructive, and the lessons learned as well as the positions seized were an important contribution to the success of the subsequent advances, described in other Pacific subseries volumes. Specifically, the account contains instructive examples of the coordination of naval gunfire, artillery, and air strikes and the problems of successfully orchestrating a wide variety of ground, air, and sea components toward a unified purpose.

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