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Historical Relics Every Vacationer Need To See

World War II was the world´s most violent episode. Most consider it to be human kind´s darkest side and a very interesting moment to study. Among the many attractions Kiribati has, one more reason to visit is to see the remains of several World War II battles fought on its shores. Read on and find out about these historical relics that you need to see when visiting Kiribati.

The Battle Of Tarawa

The battle of Tarawa is remembered as one of World War II most violent battles. During only 76 hours of fight, casualties on the invading side rose up to over one thousand while Japanese lost all their 4,500 soldiers except for 17 survivors.

Strategic Importance

Japan took over the atoll that includes Kiribati and secured it two days before they bombarded Pearl Harbor in 1941. By 1943, the site was of strategic importance for both sides and the allies were so interested in taking over the tiny atoll that dedicated 18,000 marines to the operation as well as several high-tech vehicles, destroyers, ships, tanks and airplanes. The idea of the allies was to take the atolls of islands and then move on to take on Japan.

Fortification At The Island

The island was heavily fortified by the Japanese and secured by 4,500 soldiers besides machine guns, pillboxes dug in heavy concrete (100 of them), a long trench system, airstrip, seawalls, antiaircraft guns, light tanks, heavy machine guns, a natural coral reef, barbed wire and mines. According to Admiral Keiji Shibasaki, USA couldn´t take the atoll even with a million men in one hundred years.

The Battle

By November 19th, 1943, USA troops had arrived nearby the atoll. The plan was ready, and the ships carried 18,000 marines to take on the tiny island with only 4,500 Japanese soldiers. USA plan was to bombard the island heavily and then move on with special vehicles that could go on into the water and come out to the sand moving through tight reefs with no effort. These cutting-edge vehicles for the time were called amphtracks and carried 20 soldiers behind machine guns.

The morning of the 20th was the first battle day of the invasion. The tide was lower than expected and the result was disastrous for US troops because they were stuck with the water to the chest and had to leave their vehicles far from the beach advancing on foot under heavy enemy fire. The attack suffered a number of problems and finally, securing the island was one of the most complicated missions US troops had during the entire war.

The Remains Are Historical Relics

This was a crucial moment for human kind; if Japan would have expelled the invasion it might even had changed the future of humanity. As a living museum, the remnants of the bloody 76-hour fight can be seen, visited and appreciated by tourists from all around the world. The best way to do it is hiring a guide that can explain how events happened and what is what. With so many wrecks to look at it is important to differentiate which belong to which country and also what can be said about those now-obsolete pieces of equipment. Among the most important ones you can find the legendary amtracks, rusted tanks, ships and planes wreck. Also, some of the Japanese concrete-made defenses are still standing as a piece of history.

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When in Kiribati, you will be surrounded by uncanny natural beauty, but also, by the historical enchant of these remnants. Dig into this lesser-known but equally-beautiful side of this magical place.