Tarawa Betio Gilbert Islands USMC WWII 2nd Marine Division

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Author Topic: LVT upended on sea wall.  (Read 71 times)

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LVT upended on sea wall.
« on: May 23, 2020, 11:31:55 am »
I received some information on a PFC Charles Lilly who was at Tarawa with E-2-2 in the first wave. He wrote :

“We were attempting to climb over the wall with our tractor when hell broke loose. The driver was killed as machine gun bullets sprayed the front end and an explosion, probably a 40mm shell, blew off the right track. With our tractor disabled , a Jap machine gunner on the other side lobbed three hand grenades into the tractor before we could get out.”

The survivors scrambled out and took refuge on the ocean side of the seawall and remained there fighting for two days “until reinforcements flanked the Japs.”

Communicated info led me to believe this could be LVT-1 #44. Especially the two days and flanking maneuver which I think could be 1/8 moving west. One counterpoint to #44 being Lilly’s is the ‘right track” being blown off. I don’t see that in the pictures; at least that which is visible.

I thought I had found only one Amtrac upended on the wall on R2 in the aerials and that was LVT-1 #44 on the far right of Red2. As I looked more closely, I found one near the middle of R2. Maybe there are more but don't see it.

Anyone have any information on this Amtrac pointed out in the link? Best to all….


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Kim Harrison

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Re: LVT upended on sea wall.
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2020, 04:15:00 pm »
Mmmm Al would probably have a clue.
Yes, zooming in, i see the area around LVT?, is quite sandy, etc, only pics i have of LVTs that i dont know where on beach they are...

Pic 1 - Note sandy area ( my gut says R3, but hey maybe R2 in sandy area

Pic 2 - Again unsure where ?

Most pics with LVTs Al can help, maybe he can help solve all. No pressure Al, lol

Much Respect Everybody


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Re: LVT upended on sea wall.
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2020, 12:38:27 pm »
Your phots show #45 at the seawall on Red Three. The photographer is in the shadow of LVT-1 #25, Maj. Shoup's CP. LVT-1 #10 was operational at the end of the fighting and seen towing a 105mm Howitzer off of a Higgins boat at the reef on Red Two. The photo showing #10 on the wall is confusing. I know that the 105s never got into the fight and there is a pic showing two of them on Red Two waiting for orders it seems.


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Re: LVT upended on sea wall.
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 02:01:44 pm »
I've seen LVT-1 #10 towing the howitzer and excluded that one. Knew the others were R3. Picture looking the other direction with LVT-1 #45 in link below. Other than the salvage area and those at the western boundary of R2/R1 (44, 49), I'm not sure I've seen many pics on R2 of disabled LVTs.   

A great Memorial Day to all...



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Re: LVT upended on sea wall.
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2020, 08:08:22 pm »
Hello Fellas,
Sorry for the long delay.
First of all the photos Kim posted (please tell me how you managed to post them) YES #45 is on Red-3 but its not as near to the pier as you may think.
The second photo with LVT #10 on RED-2's seawall. This is confusing without knowing the date the photo was taken. Tom's aerial photo of Red-2 with an unknown LVT on the seawall, might be #10, stuck there after the 1st wave landing. But if this is the LVT that Lilly landed in, then the right tracks would have been blown off and repair parts were not available during this battle, the track would have remained unrepaired. The battle damage report on #10 only shows a few machine gun holes.
Looking at the seawall photo of #10, there is very little "battle debris" around #10 (no packs, ammo boxes, bodies) #10 is seen landing elements of 10th Marines with thier 105mm howitzer from a higgins boat from the LaSalle (AP 102) The 10th Mar/4 Bat (105mm howitzers) did not land until the morning of the 23rd of Nov (D+3).
How did #10 got on the seawall ..It is possible that #10 landed on the first wave on the seawall and was abandoned when the crew was killed, after the fighting moved inland, a substitute crew took over, removed it form the wall and put it back in service but... with the lack of battle debris around it, a bulldozer near it and the one marine under with a second standing guard (or making jokes) on the seawall make me think the driver accidentally got it stuck!



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