The tide of the war had turned by late 1943. The Allies had begun their thrust back across the Pacific in November when they took Tarawa in the Gilberts after a bloody battle. Japan, which had once pushed east all the way to Hawaii, was now put on the defensive. Japanese Army units were stationed in each of the island groups with orders to dig in for the anticipated Allied attack. The Allies, on their final drive toward Japan, planned to take only the islands they needed for military purposes, leapfrogging and isolating the others. By early 1944, the campaign through Micronesia was ready to begin. The first target was Kwajalein.