Operation Galvanic – Apamama Campaign

Map of the Gilbert Islands showing the location of Apamama (Abemama)

Map of the Gilbert Islands showing the location of Apamama (Abemama)

map from “The Battle for Tarawa”, Historical Section, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps

Apamama was part of the conclusion of the  Tarawa campaign (Operation Galvanic).  Here is a link describing the events at Apamama – page 63:



3 comments on “Operation Galvanic – Apamama Campaign

  1. I’m so confused about what role did Navy Argus Unit 12 have in Operation Galvanic and Apamama. My Dad and his lifelong friend were in that unit. His friend’s son has said they were in combat and that my Dad saved his Dad’s life by throwing his body over him. I can’t find much information except that there were 25 Japanese on Apamama and that it was a short overtaking. I have all sorts of questions I would like to ask my Dad, but he can’t answer them. As with many other men in WW2, my friend’s Dad helped free the Jews from the concentration camps, they didn’t talk about the War. I would really appreciate any comments that would help me understand.

    • As part of Operation GALVANIC, Argus 12 was assigned to the APAMAMA Defense and Service Forces (T.U. 57.5.1) under the command of Capt. Wilson P. Cogswell, USN. This group also included the 8th Defense Battalion, USMC, ACORN 16 (95th C.B.) and various surface units.

      The War Diary of the United States Advanced Naval Base Navy Number 809 (Apamama) for the period 30 October to 31 December 1943 indicates that Capt. Cogswell and his staff came ashore on northern Apamama 26 November 1943 for advanced reconnaissance. No enemy personnel were encountered. An advanced scouting party of Marines had previously reported the death of 23 of a possible 25 Japanese in the central part of the island. The group returned to ships.

      On 28 November 1943, landing was made on Apamama by personnel of the 8th Defense Battalion, ACORN 16, CASU 18, ARGUS 12, the Apamama Boat Pool, and Captain Cogswell and his staff. Unloading of ships was begun at this time.

      The diary indcates that the NAVY SC270 radar went into operation on 5 December 1943. No other ARGUS 12 activity is noted.

      The War Diary of the United States Advanced Naval Base Navy Number 809 (Apamama) for the period 1 March to 31 March 1944 notes that Permanent Base Units on 1 March included ARGUS 12.

      The “Operational Report” attached to the Argus 12 page on the site is the most detailed reference to the unit’s activities found to date. Click on the link to view the report. It does not contain information on assignments and activities of individuals. Unfortunately, the only persons who can answer those questions are the individuals themselves.


      • I found the link and I read it, no it doesn’t contain the info I’m looking for. Now for sure I will put it to rest, I’ve found everything I can and no Betio Beach Head only briefly mentions Operation Galvanic. Thanks so much for your help.

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