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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.

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Related Fact Sheets
Consolidated B-24D Liberator
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
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