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After the Guadalcanal landings, Admiral Nimitz wanted to distract Japanese attention by launching an amphibious raid elswhere. Foreshadowing Bloody Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and countless other landings in the face of intense Japanese resistance, the Makin Raid taught the Marines a great deal.
Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork and expert analysis, this gripping account of the fateful Makin Raid tells the whole story, from the plan's conception to its troubled execution and aftermath.
On August 17-18, 1942, 211 men of the US Marine Corps' 2nd Raider Battalion conducted a daring amphibious raid on the Japanese-occupied Makin Island in the South Pacific. This ambitious but flawed operation was intended to divert Japanese reinforcements bound for Guadalcanal, over 1,000 miles to the southwest, in the wake of the US landings there ten days earlier; the Raiders were to destroy the seaplane base and radio station, take prisoners, and collect intelligence. Although yielding limited results, it was to be an invaluable test of the innovative training and tactics employed by the Raiders, and a crucial boost to national morale at this difficult stage in the war.
Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson led the 2nd Raiders into battle; drawing inspiration from the exploits of the British Commandos, Carlson had developed his unorthodox theories on the use of regular troops for guerrilla operations in close collaboration with his Executive Officer, Major James Roosevelt, the President's oldest son. Carlson stressed infiltration tactics and an egalitarian approach to leadership and decision-making, and believed passionately in "ethical indoctrination" as a means of motivating his men. His controversial techniques would be tested to the utmost by the escalating situation on Makin Island.
The raid was hailed as a valorous exploit that greatly upset Japanese plans. There is little doubt that the troops gave their best under exceedingly difficult circumstances, but the battalion's leadership was found wanting. No Japanese reinforcements were diverted from Guadalcanal; the mission's goals were questionable, and the planners had not considered the likely long-term enemy response. In fact, the Japanese immediately implemented plans to reinforce remote bases that came under attack and massively increased the defenses of Makin and Tarawa Atolls, which had to be dealt with at great cost 15 months later. While the raid boosted morale at home, the raiders would attempt no further similar submarine-delivered raids.
About the Author
Gordon L. Rottman entered the US Army in 1967, volunteered for Special Forces and completed training as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1969–70 and subsequently in airborne infantry, long-range patrol and intelligence assignments until retiring after 26 years. He was a Special Operations Forces scenario writer at the Joint Readiness Training Center for 12 years and is now a freelance writer, living in Texas.
Johnny Shumate works as a freelance illustrator living in Nashville, Tennessee. He began his career in 1987 after graduating from Austin Peay State University. Most of his work is rendered in Adobe Photoshop using a Cintiq monitor. His greatest influences are Angus McBride, Don Troiani, and Édouard Detaille.
Mark Stacey was born in Manchester, UK, in 1964 and has been a freelance illustrator since 1987. He has a lifelong interest in all periods of history, particularly military history, and has specialized in this area throughout his career. He now lives and works in Cornwall.
“An excellent review of the raid and an great starting point for further study.” —IPMS/USA
“[The book] goes into great detail on the training of the unit and also in the operation at Makin itself. It also covers what happened to the troops that were left on the island and the lack of proper accountability by the raiders themselves who did not get a proper head count until back at Pearl Harbor. The book is superbly illustrated with period photos as well as artwork and charts to help us understand the flow of the operation. A fine read that I know you will enjoy reading and should raise an eyebrow now and then.” —Scott Van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com