Battle of Peleliu Facts

Battle of Peleliu Facts
The Battle of Peleliu was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the American and Japanese forces that took place from September 15 to November 27, 1944. The battle took place on the small island of Peleliu and was part of the Americans' Mariana and Peleliu Campaign. The American objective was part of the "Island Hopping" strategy: to take strategically important Japanese islands, while bypassing others on their way to the Japanese mainland. The Americans picked the island for an assault due it being the final stop before either an invasion of the Philippines or Okinawa. The American forces number close to 50,000 men, while the Japanese had close to 11,000. The Americans underestimated the Japanese defenses and will to hold the island and suffered a 20% casualty rate, but the Japanese fared much worse - only nineteen Japanese soldiers were taken captive alive, the rest all died in battle or committed ritual suicide.
Interesting Battle of Peleliu Facts:
The Japanese 14th Infantry Division was tasked with protecting the island. There were also a number of Korean forced laborers with them.
The rough, rocky terrain of the island allowed the Japanese to build effective bunker defenses across the island.
The Marine 1st Division led the amphibious invasion for the Americans and did most of the fighting.
The American attack began with a massive, three day sea and air bombardment.
The entire area of the island is only five square miles.
The air and sea bombardment was largely ineffective because the Japanese forces were so heavily entrenched.
The heaviest concentration of Japanese and their best defenses were on the highest point of the island, Umurbrogal Mountain.
During the battle, the Americans used napalm for only the second time in the war. It proved to be effective at removing some of the vegetation used for cover.
The 81st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army was originally to only be a reserve unit, but it was called in once the Marines started suffering heavy casualties.
Colonel Kunio Nakagawa was the commander of the Imperial Japanese Army forces on Peleliu during the battle. As with many Japanese commanders during World War II, when it was obvious that they were going to lose the battle, Nakagawa took his own life in a seppuku ritual. He impaled himself with a katana sword on November 24, but fighting continued for three days.
Although the Battle of Peleliu has been described as one of battles U.S. forces faced in World War II due to the high casualty rate, it didn't immediately receive many headlines in America. The fact that the war in Europe was coming to a close dominated headlines at the time.
As an illustration of how deeply imbedded the Japanese were on the island and how difficult it was to extract them, it was later estimate that it took about 1,500 rounds of ammunition to kill just one Japanese soldier on average.

Related Links:
World War 2 Facts
Animals Facts