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Bloodbath at Peleliu island

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by tommy tater, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. tommy tater

    tommy tater Member

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    Why was Peleliu Island such a bloodbath? why did American intelligence suggest that there would be little resistance? how the Japanese have camouflaged their positions so well?
     
  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I visited Peleliu in 1984, while on board USS Peleliu, LHA-5, no less. The terrain there is "hairy" to say the least. They thought they were attacking one ridge that turned out to be SEVEN ridges, under the jungle canopy. Gen. Short's one-eyed monkey on a balloon could have defended the place for a good while.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Didn't the Japanese also decide to not defend the beaches, but to hold the interior?
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    They were very well dug in. 1-2 people (mostly teens) die every year in the Palaus because they go exploring caves and end up powdered.
     
  6. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    I read an account several years ago of a couple of school kids, who entered a bunker complex in western Europe and found a cable that had been cut. When they spliced the cable back together, whatever battery that it was connected to had enough "juice" left in it to detonate the destruct charges that it was connected to, killing both of the kids.
     
  7. tommy tater

    tommy tater Member

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    Oh God
    why dont the people who govern Peleliu sort that out, I mean they should keep the bunkers & battle grounds as a memorial but get a proper tour section so people dont wander off & get killed?
     
  8. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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  9. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    I imagine it's like most places you aren't supposed to go into. People will always find a way.
     
  10. skywalker

    skywalker Member

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    Curiosity leads the way. Unfortuneatly it sometimes has bad results.
     
  11. tommy tater

    tommy tater Member

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  12. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    There are a lot of reasons. By that time, September 1944, the Japanese had begun adapting their defensive tactics to counter the Marine / Army amphibious assaults, while the Marines / Army had done very little "tweeking" to their Amphibious Assault Doctrine; "If it ain't broke don't fix it" approach.

    Most of the improvements to the Amphibious Doctrine, of the time, were related to Logistics and Orders of Battle.

    Basically the Japanese had begun getting their "sh*t in one sack" and the Americans had become complacent.


    The controversy surrounding Peleliu revolves around the high casualty rates and the decision to attack in stead of by pass and cut off the island. (Island Hopping.) It served no strategiac purpose in up comming battles.

    The Japanese also had almost 3 years to fortify, reinforce and camouflage the Island. Pacific Islands will naturally camouflage themselves in very short order.

    Many of the defensive techniques used on Peleliu would be used in the future battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
     
  13. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

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    Nope, it was kinda like D-Day in Normandy- the Higgins boats received fire almost immediately after leaving their LSTs, and at least one hundred Marines were killed trying to make a beachead. Peleliu isn't as known as Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, or Okinawa, but it was just as deadly all the same.
     
  14. Sterling Mace

    Sterling Mace WWII Veteran

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    I was in the first wave and we came in on Amtracs at Orange Beach 2. Most of your KIA was farther north where the 1st Marines hit the beach at "The Point."

    When we came in, I knew there was going to be trouble when a Hellcat was smacked out of the air coming in. There was a few water spouts here and there; but then we hit this beach and it was pure chaos. I didn't know where all the shooting was coming from, my mind was running a million miles an hour. Very confusing. I knew one thing though: get off the beach!! It was tunnel vision. I didn't stop for anybody. There were a few Marines that were bunching up on the beach. I don't know what happened to them.

    sm
     
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  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Sterling, please continue.

    Tell us your impressions of this wretched place. Its not often we get to hear from one the people who did the deeds that we end up talking about.
     
  16. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Darwin Award winners....
     
  17. mcalvert

    mcalvert recruit

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    From different accounts of the battle, here are my reasons for the massive casualty rate on Peleliu:

    1.) Terrain: as someone has already pointed out, the topography was much more rugged than was implied from the aerial photographs. The subsequent bombardment defoliated much of the island, exposed its true nature, and removed any cover that the American forces could have from the eyes of the Japanese. The odd coral formations also presented obstacles where the Japanese could hide and lay in wait.

    2.) Fortification: the Japanese had controlled Peleliu for almost 30 years and had constructed a complex system of fortifications within the natural caves and tunnels. They could withstand artillery and bombing and then position themselves to repel an infantry assault within the terrain as already noted.

    3.) Coral: it was basically impossible to dig in at Peleliu because the surface was primarily coral. The only cover from Japanese artillery was to find shell craters or natural coral depressions. When a shell exploded, not only did you get the shrapnel but also a good dose of flying coral.

    4.) Tactics: the Japanese had bled themselves out of previous battles with their ill-fated banzai charges and they were expected to do the same here, hence General Rupertus' "tough, but short" forecast. The Japanese didn't follow the script and instead used all the advantages that Peleliu offered to fight a protracted battle for which the U.S. forces hadn't planned.
     

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