Published on 12-06-2013 07:04 AM
That the Pacific Theatre of World War II was a harsh testing ground for both men and materiel is certainly an understatement. The United States and Imperial Japanese forces both fielded a variety of large weapons, but in many cases the outcome of a particular action would simply come down to the arms toted by the average foot soldier.
Though of short duration, Tarawa was the first battle in America’s Central Pacific campaign. Waged on the ground primarily by Japanese infantry and U.S. Marines, the battle rifles carried by the opposing forces couldn’t have been more different. On the U.S. side the main longarm was the semiautomatic M1 Garand, and on the Japanese, turnbolts whose basic technology was at least half a century old. Chronology aside, though, both were top-notch examples of their respective types.