Osprey's study of the conflict between Japan and the United States during World War II (1939-1945). The island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll was defended by the elite troops of the Special Naval Landing Force, whose commander, Admiral Shibasaki, boasted that "the Americans could not take Tarawa with a million men in a hundred years." In a pioneering amphibious invasion, the Marines of the 2nd Division set out to prove him wrong, overcoming serious planning errors to fight a 76-hour battle of unprecedented savagery. The cost would be more than 3000 Marine casualties at the hands of a garrison of some 3700. The lessons learned would dispel forever any illusions that Americans had about the fighting quality of the Japanese.
DERRICK WRIGHT was born in 1928 and spent his early years living in the Teeside area, where frequent air raids sparked off a lasting interest in World War II. He attended West Hartlepool School of Art, did two years National Service stationed in Portsmouth, and after demobilization took up a career in engineering, specialising in ultrasonics. Derrick's research over the years has brought him in touch with many Pacific War veterans who have provided invaluable information.