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Leathernecks crawl up to a sand ridge on Tarawa Island as a Marine Corps squad leader points out the spot from which Japanese are firing on them, November 1943
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper

Creation Place: Oceania
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, Fernando Barnuevo and Gloria Ybarra
Accession Number: P2020.6.11

Purchased by the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College on August 12, 2020 from Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.

Leathernecks Come Up On the Crawl: Leathernecks crawl up to a sand ridge on Tarawa Island as a Marine Corps squad leader points out the spot from which Japanese are firing on them. Before the Marines were done firing on Tarawa, over 4000 were dead.

The Battle of Tarawa took place at the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. It was part of Operation Galvanic, the U.S. invasion of the Gilberts. Nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fighting, mostly on and around the small island of Betio, in the extreme southwest of Tarawa Atoll. The Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region. It was also the first time in the Pacific War that the United States had faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing. Previous landings met little or no initial resistance, but on Tarawa, the 4,500 Japanese defenders were well-supplied and well prepared. The Japanese fought almost to the last man, exacting a heavy toll on the United States Marine Corps. The losses on Tarawa were incurred within 76 hours.

Ferrotyped prints are processed in such a way that they are shiny. The print has a sensitive surface, usually thinner, because it was put through a press while still wet.

On recto: Label in bottom right corner, "DISPATCH / PHOTO NEWS / SERVICE / INC. / NEW YORK".

On verso: Typewritten label attached in center, "LEATHERNECKS COME UP ON THE CRAWL / As a squad leader of U.S. Marines points out the spot from which embattled Japs, on / Tarawa Island are firing on them, a squad of Leathernecks crawl up the ridge of / sand to get their weapons into action. Before the Marines were done firing, on Tarawa, / over 4,000 Japs were dead. Produced Exclusively by Dispatch Photo News Service, New York City U.S. Marine Corps Photo". Handwritten in graphite in top left corner, "DP-WW2-011".

Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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