The Battle of Tarawa was the bloodiest battle fought between American and Japanese soldiers on 20–23 November 1943. The US sent 18,000 Marines to capture tiny Betio. However, they faced massive resistance from Japanese forces, and low tides prevented U.S. landing crafts from clearing the coral reefs that ringed the island. U.S Marines finally took the island after 76-hour of fight in which both sides suffered heavy casualties. Nearly 6,400 soldiers died in the battle.
These color photographs capture life after the bloodbath in which American troops are relaxing and enjoying.