World Battlefronts: Balance Sheet

Possession of the Gilberts gave the U.S. 166 square miles of coral and sand (half as large as New York City) scattered along 500 miles of blue water. The Japs had occupied the islands, a British Colony, in December 1941, about the time gallant Wake was being overrun. Some 6,000 strong, they met no recorded opposition from the 27,000 brown-skinned Gilbertese or the few Europeans who ran the copra trade on the 16 atolls. What they had won without cost they surrendered for a price which was high to the men involved, remarkably low...

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