The Battle of Eniwetok was a World War II military engagement fought between the combined force of the US 22nd Marine Regiment and the 106th Infantry Regiment, under Col John T Walker, and a Japanese defense task force, composed of 2,800 soldiers, led by Yoshimi Nishida. It took place from February 18 to February 24, 1944, on the Eniwetok Atoll of the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The objective of the American invasion of the Eniwetok Atoll was to secure an airstrip and port which could serve as the springboard for the Mariana Islands campaign, which would take place soon.
Having defeated the Japanese and captured Kwajalein Atoll two weeks before, the US Navy Task Force 58 had proceeded to prepare and secure the Marines landing at Eniwetok by launching Operation Hailstone, which successfully mauled the Japanese naval and air base at Truk, destroying approximately 270 Japanese aircraft and several enemy warships.
Preceded by naval bombing to soften up the terrain, the Battle of Eniwetok began on the morning of February 18, 1944, when the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 22nd Marine Regiment landed on Engebi, one the small islands that made up the atoll. After more than 5 hours of fighting, the Japanese main positions on this island were successfully taken. Nevertheless, by February 19, American units ran into stubborn pockets of resistance. With the support of 106th Infantry Regiment, the US Marines managed to completely secure the Eniwetok Atoll by February 24.
United States: 262 killed in action, 77 missing, 750 wounded.
Japan: 2680 killed in action, 65 prisoners.
Map of Operations