World Battlefronts: Softening, Strengthening

After a year's end lull, U.S. airmen in the Central Pacific resumed their daily bombardment of the Japs' Marshall Islands. The Army's Seventh Air Force sent heavy, medium and dive bombers over the runways and harbors of Mili. Jaluit, Wotje, Maloelap, Kwajalein (see cut). Navy Secretary Frank Knox all but forecast imminent invasion of the Marshalls: he said the bombings were "softening up" the islands, "putting the enemy on the defensive throughout that region."

One day the Seventh tangled with 60 Zeros—almost double the heaviest opposition previously encountered over the Marshalls. Clearly the Japs were getting stronger. Almost every night, and once...

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