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Gilbert and Marshall Islands

AAF facilities on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. (U.S. Air Force photo)

AAF facilities on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A jeep leads a Douglas A-24 dive bomber to the dispersal area on Makin Island in December 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A jeep leads a Douglas A-24 dive bomber to the dispersal area on Makin Island in December 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo)

P-39 Airacobras on Makin Island in the Gilberts in December 1943, just weeks after U.S. Army forces had seized the island. (U.S. Air Force photo)

P-39 Airacobras on Makin Island in the Gilberts in December 1943, just weeks after U.S. Army forces had seized the island. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Seventh Air Force B-24s, refueling in the Ellice Islands, first bombed Tarawa and Nauru in the Gilberts in April 1943. In November, following preliminary aerial bombardment by B-24s and carrier-based Navy aircraft, Tarawa and Makin Islands were invaded by U.S. Army forces, respectively. AAF planes were moved into bases in the Gilberts in preparation to support amphibious assaults in the Marshalls. By the end of February 1944, the Allies had control of the Marshalls, including the islands of Kwajalein and Eniwetok, and the way was open for the invasion of the Marianas to gain bases needed for use by B-29 Superfortresses in sustained bombing attacks on the Japanese home islands.

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Consolidated B-24D Liberator
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
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