Gilbert and Marshall Islands 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. Click here to return to the Combat Pacific Overview. Find Out More Related Fact Sheets Consolidated B-24D Liberator Boeing B-29 Superfortress Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.