Five days before Thanksgiving 1943, American forces bombarded a tiny, Japanese-organized island also in the Tarawa Atoll. Eighteenager thousand Marines would certainly land on the shores of Betio, and over 1,000 would shed their resides there. On November 23rd, the United States claimed victory.

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Recording the Battle

Three men of the second Marine Division came down on Betio via a different mission than the rest. Cameramen Staff Sgt. Normale Hatch, Staff Sgt. John Ercole, and also Pfc. William “Kelly” Kelliher filmed the events of the Battle of Tarawa. The footage from those days was offered to create With the Marines at Tarawa, a film that played in theaters on the home front and won the 1945 Osvehicle for ideal documentary short.

In enhancement, hundreds of feet of raw footage was conserved as a historic document and is preserved at the National Archives. Today we’ll look at some of the 35mm video camera rolls to check out how the fight looked prior to it was edited into a slick manufacturing, and consider the duty of the cameraguy in producing a record of the battle.

" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-complete wp-image-20861 jetpack-lazy-image" src="" alt="127-g-470-1" width="685" height="516" data-recalc-dims="1" data-lazy-srcset=" 1435w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 685w, 1370w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 685px) 100vw, 685px" data-lazy-src=";ssl=1" srcset="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">By “cam roll,” I expect the roll of unexposed 35mm babsence and white negative stock that was loaded into the cam. In a 2008 interview via Naval History, Norguy Hatch explained that he and also John Ercole were carrying 35mm Eyemo cameras. The camages took 100 ft rolls, which amounts to about a minute of footage. It most likely took much longer to carefully rerelocate the exposed film and fill a fresh roll than the total run time accessible in a roll. As Hatch sassist in the intersee, “We had to be incredibly mindful around just how we shot.” Hatch and also Ercole were trained in “exactly how to tell a story with cameras” in a photographic institution for armed forces personnel at the newsreel producer March of Time.

In the Army-Navy Screen Magazine story “I Was There–Tarawa” (see the clip at the bottom of this post), Staff Sgt. Hatch explains exactly how he got the battle footage. When an additional cameraguy asks what tools they took with them, Hatch claims that he didn’t shoot all the film they had. In answer to the various other man’s surpincrease, Hatch states, “I pick my shots.” By looking at the video camera rolls, we deserve to get a much better sense of exactly how Hatch picked his shots.

The Camera Rolls

The following clips are distinct cam rolls. The cam rolls were compiled right into larger reels, so I used printed-in splices and other visual cues to recognize and pull out individual rolls as clips.

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Clips from 127-G-470

In these rolls, we check out the chaos of fight. At times it is difficult to make out what is happening as smoke from flame-throwers, exploding hand grenades, and also rounds fired obscure the activity.