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Peleliu

Peleliu (or Beliliou) is an island in the island nation of Palau. Peleliu forms, along with two small islands to its northeast, one of the sixteen states of Palau. It is located northeast of Angaur and southwest of Koror. Peleliu has a total area of 13 km² (5 mi²) As of 2004, its population was about 700, making it the third most populous state of Palau. Most of the island's population lives in the village of Kloulklubed, the state capital on the northern coast

World War II[]

Peleliu is mostly known for it's involvement in WWII. The island is now a memorial site for both US Marines and Japanese soldiers. Many Marines died on the beaches and in the caves of Peleliu. Many of the military installations of the era, such as the airstrip, are still intact, and shipwrecks from the battle remain visible underwater just off the coast.

A US Navy ship USS Peleliu (LHA-5) is named for the vicious battle fought on the island of Peleliu. Bob Hope once said that the most emotional show he played in WWII was for the First Marine Division at Pavuvu. He agreed to do the show because the Marines were about to invade Peleliu. He recalls that 60% of the Marines were "Knocked off in that invasion of Peleliu."

Battle[]

Many marines, such as Robert Leckie's unit and Eugene Sledge's unit, landed on the Peleliu beach and almost immediately suffered casualties, unlike in Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester, where the marines landed without resistance. The Marines pushed on until they came across the airfield, and they spent the night hiding from the Japanese's sight.

Airfield Assault[]

The next day, the marines assaulted the airfield, suffering heavy casualties, including one of Sledge's fellow marines, Robert Oswalt. Robert Leckie is wounded by this time, marking the end of his tour of the Pacific. Meanwhile, Sledge's unit, under the command of Capt. Andrew Haldane manage to clear a partially destroyed building where they later spend the night before heading towards the Peleliu Hills.

Bloody Nose Ridge[]

The 1st Marines return from the hills while the 5th Marines were recuperating, and the 5th marines then go to the Bloody Nose Ridge, where they suffer yet more casualties, including Lt. Edward Jones, and Haldane. This battle proved to be a breaking point for many of the marines, such as Jay De L'Eau, Bill Leyden, and Eugene Sledge.

Aftermath[]

The 1st Marine Division was severely decimated, and it remained out of action until the Battle of Okinawa. The Division suffered 6500 casualties in this battle alone, over a third of the entire division. The battle was left mostly ignored, for not being used for the reason it was captured.

Participants[]

1st Marine Division[]

Cpl. James Wilson Bennett

Cpl. David Lynch

7th Marine Regiment[]

LtCol. Lewis Puller (evacuated)

5th Marines[]

Pfc. Eugene Sledge

Cpl. R.V. Burgin

Pfc. Merriel Shelton

Pfc. Robert Oswalt (KIA)

Pfc. Bill Leyden (Evacuated)

Pfc. Jay De L'Eau

GySg. Elmo Haney

1st Lt. Edward Jones (KIA)

Capt. Andrew Haldane (KIA)

Pvt. Daniels (Evacuated)

1st Marine Regiment[]

Pfc. Robert Leckie (Evacuated)

Pfc. Wilbur Conley (Evacuated)

Pfc. Bill Smith (Evacuated)

Pfc. Lew Juergens (Evacuated)

2nd Lt. Stone

1st Lt. Hugh Corrigan

11th Marines (Artillery support)[]

Trivia[]

  • The Battle of Peleliu was featured in the most episodes out of all the battles in The Pacific.

See Also[]

Eugene Sledge

Andrew Haldane

Robert Leckie

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