During the battle for Tarawa island in 1943, the US Army attacked nearby Makin Island, which was considered a less costly operation. The army was supported by a platoon of M3A5 Lee medium tanks from the US Army's 193rd Tank Battalion, making this battle the only combat use of the M3 by America in the Pacific Theater.

During the morning of the first day American tanks could not make much headway against the combined obstacles of debris, shell holes, and marsh, but by afternoon they were able to render assistance to the infantry. 

The craters in particular stymied tank support of the Red Beach forces by the light tanks of the 193rd Tank Battalion when the lead M3 light tank became partially submerged in a shellhole and blocked passage of all the vehicles behind it on the narrow causeway north of Jill lake.


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