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As the Marines ran into the shore of the coral reefed island of Peleliu in their landing craft the Japanese artillery that wreathed the landing beach of Peleliu gave them little confidence in the words of their commander General Rupertus that the operation would be hard but short with minimal casualties; what lay ahead would be what was known as “the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines”.
Contains 70 photos and 23 maps and charts.
“Many factors combined to make the assault on Peleliu one of the least understood operations of World War II. Yet it was one of the most vicious and stubbornly contested, and nowhere was the fighting efficiency of the U.S. Marine more convincingly demonstrated.
At Peleliu the enemy proved that he had profited from his bitter experiences of earlier operations. He applied intelligently the lessons we had taught him in the Solomons, Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas. At Peleliu the enemy made no suicidal banzai charges to hasten the decision; he carefully concealed his plans and dispositions. He nursed from his inferior strength the last ounce of resistance and delay, to extract the maximum cost from his conquerers. In these respects Peleliu differed significantly from previous campaigns and set the pattern for things to come: Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Because the operation protracted itself over a period of nearly two and a half months, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the strategic objective was accomplished within the first week: neutralization of the entire Palaus group, and with this, securing of the Philippines approaches.”-C. B. CATES, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS.