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Ruth Susmarski
10th Marines at Tarawa
Fri Mar 10, 2017 13:18

Paul, my father, Frank J. Susmarski, was with E-2-10. Battery E (75mm Pack Howitzers) was in the water when an alert was sounded for incoming aircraft. Unable to disembark its remaining Batteries, the ship (USS J. FRANKLIN BELL), along with others, retreated to deeper waters with directions for Battery E to make way to Bairiki Island. The BELL returned later that day and disembarked the remainder of its troops. These troops, if I understand correctly, were attached to the 6th Marine Regiment. Following is an excerpt from an accounting of the battle which can be viewed at

"...Besides the air and naval gunfire support ordered for the morning of 22 November, the division prepared to augment the fires of its artillery ashore on Betio by placing two batteries over on Bairiki. As soon as the report from Murray, of the 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, was received that his landing on Bairiki had been made against no opposition, division instructed Colonel Holmes of the 6th Marines to send the 2d Battalion, 10th Marines, less Battery D, ashore on Bairiki the first thing next morning. Holmes then notified the 2d Battalion, 10th Marines, to boat up at 0330, 22 November and to land on Beach BLUE 2.

Artillery on Bairiki

At 0300, the 2d Battalion, 10th Marines, began to load its men and equipment in boats. An air alert interrupted the loading operations, the transports moving out ot sea in accordance with orders from Task Force 53. At the time, Battery E was completely loaded, and a part of the battalion's headquarters and service battery was boated. Leaving Battery F and the remainder of H & S to come ashore when the transports returned after the alert, Battery E and a part of H & S Battery went on over to Bairiki, arriving there at about 0630. Immediately after landing, Battery E went into positions and, with its fires controlled by the fire direction center of the 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, on Betio, registered in
on the tail of Betio, adding its firepower to that of the 1st Battalion, 10th Marines. The transports returned to their unloading area at 0700 and it was not until noon that Battery F and the rest of H & S Battery reached Bairiki. Battery D, originally ordered to land on GREEN Beach on Betio, found that the hydrographic conditions off that beach were not favorable to landing artillery and was then ordered to go to Bairiki instead, there to rejoin its parent organization."

ALSO, Page 444 of the book BLOODY TARAWA by Eric Hammel and John E. Lane has an additional descriptive accounting of this landing. It is searchable via Google.

Any chance your Dad was with Battery E?


(I'm not online from home, but check email at the library once or twice a week. My home phone is 847-956-1305.)

  • Jon Stevenspaul koenig, Thu Mar 9 08:47
    Thanks Jon, I believe you are right my dad was part of a 75mm Pack Howitzer Battalion with the 10th Marines. It is hard to follow with so many unit changes. Is there a record of where the 10th landed ... more
    • 10th Marines at Tarawa — Ruth Susmarski, Fri Mar 10 13:18
    • Jon StevensPaul Koenig, Fri Mar 10 07:06
      Thanks Jon I can't find what company he was in but I will follow the link you provided
      • TarawaPaul Koenig , Sat Mar 11 07:13
        A Battery and later on in 1944 was redesignated G
    • 10th MarinesJon Stevens, Thu Mar 9 09:25
      Paul, I have a little info here: Follow the links on the page too. Do you know what company he was with? Jon
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