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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3144

The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 11/20/2017 10:11:45 PM
One of the costliest battles in the Pacific in WWII was the Bloody Battle for Peleliu an Island which was targeted as a necessary Island hopping step to defeat Japan!?

Here is a great documentary on it! I Highly recommend the video, & article, this is a very interesting battle!

[Read More]

For once the Marines accepted the help oh US Army units,
what a costly and difficult victory!?

What say you??
Regards,
MD

BTW MHO member Jeremy Gypton wrote a great article on it!

[Read More]

Well done Jeremy! (called operation stalemate II)
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 11/20/2017 10:48:30 PM
Dave,

I don't know if I'd say "accepted help" because the truth of the matter is that the majority of "invasions" weren't single island invasions but a group of island at a time and were done by a corps or army that was a joint Army-Marine unit. I believe a total of 3 landing were made in the Palus Island group but I'd have to check. Also the three infantry Regiments in the 1st Marine Division were decimated and had to be relieved. Hell if I'm not mistaken one of the Company's in the 1st Marine Regiment was down to 1 officer and 9 enlisted standing when relieved.

Also with all due respect to MacArthur it should have been canceled and bypassed. There were no working planes of any kind at the airfield and therefore was not a flank threat to the invasion of the Phillipines.

Edit Dave thinking about this the "for once accepted help" just doesn't fit at all. Think Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal when Chesty Puller feed in by two and three Army soldiers to help hold the line while other Army units extended the flank. There were as many or more cases of joint operations than there were of Marine only operations especially in the SW Pacific AO.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3144

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 11/21/2017 9:10:15 AM
John,

Your right, & no disrespect meant to the Marines or Army, sometimes I just choose the wrong words, I respect the hell out of them!

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 11/21/2017 12:17:14 PM
Dave,

I didn't think it was disrespect. I actually took it as more of a Marine attitude thing. You know like the Marines don't need help from anybody.

As for this battle I personally think it should be required reading for ever school kid to understand what the Marines did. The "Point", "Bloody Nose Ridge" and the entire "Umurbrogol" should be sear into the minds of every American so they know the cost of defending their freedom. The 1st Marine Regiment took 71% casualties in I believe 6 days of combat. If Tarawa was a bloodbath and it was what do you call this?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 641

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 11/21/2017 12:31:00 PM

Quote:
Dave,

I didn't think it was disrespect. I actually took it as more of a Marine attitude thing. You know like the Marines don't need help from anybody.

As for this battle I personally think it should be required reading for ever school kid to understand what the Marines did. The "Point", "Bloody Nose Ridge" and the entire "Umurbrogol" should be sear into the minds of every American so they know the cost of defending their freedom. The 1st Marine Regiment took 71% casualties in I believe 6 days of combat. If Tarawa was a bloodbath and it was what do you call this?
--John R. Price

"With the Old Breed at Tarawa and Peleliu". Required reading when I helped teach the WWII class at Purdue.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 11/21/2017 1:35:36 PM
OpanaPointer,

The "Old Breed" and the author of the book wasn't at Tarawa. The "Old Breed" was the 1st Marine Division and it was in four campaigns during WWII, Guadalcanal, New Guinea and new Britain, Pelelui and Okinawa. The authoer of the book Eugene Sledge was a member of the 5th Marine Regiment for the Pelelui and Okinawa Campaigns and the title is "With the Old Breed at Pelelui and Okinawa."

Plus the book is more a personal memory of a unit of the 5th Marines and while a great book falls very short as a history of the battle.

Edit I don't think WWII can be taught as a whole in just one semester at the college level. Just too much going on. Maybe if you divided it into ETO and PTO and made it a two semester deal, like take one in the fall and the other in spring.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 641

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 11/21/2017 2:40:10 PM
I knew somebody would have the correct title. Cheers.

Andy235
Annapolis, MD, USA
New User
E-2 Private
Posts: 13

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/10/2018 12:08:53 AM
From what I have read, by the time the Peleliu operation was launched, other events made this operation redundant and the island could have been bypassed with little risk. Considering the appalling slaughter there, comparable to some of the worst Pacific theater battles, it was a huge mistake to try to take this island.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3144

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/11/2018 8:49:23 AM
Hi Andy,

Welcome to MHO, I concur, In retrospect, Peleliu should have been by-passed!

Cheers,
Dave
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

dt509er
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 489

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/11/2018 7:10:28 PM
Marine Gen. Rupertus was not fond of the Army, his intention was to keep Peleliu a Marine event; his boast of taking Peleliu in four days speaks poorly on that. The 81st Division took on Anguar which is just south of Peleliu, eventually Rupertus had to call in the Army due to aforementioned casualties from other posts.
---------------
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..."

I take offense to your perception of being offended!

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/13/2018 10:25:48 AM
DT,

Rupertus didn't "call in the Army" the Corps Commander committed his Corps Reserve which was a Army unit and the Corps Commander was a Marine I just can't remember his name. It was the Corps commander who went ashore while Rupertus was still on the ship and relieved Puller and the 1st Marines before there was none of them left at all. Rupertus to me never lived up to the expectations. He got malaria or something on Guadalcanal and never got over it with it reoccurring so there were reasons.

EDIT Roy Geiger was Corps Commander. I also have to add that they did cancel half of the originally planed landings. Originally it was a 2 Corps operation with 2 two Division Corps involved, the XXIV of the 7th and 77th changed to the 96th Army Divisions and the IIIAC of the 1st Marine and 81st Army Divisions. The XXIV was the Eastern Force and the IIIAC the Western. The 27th Division was originally set to be in reserve. But there were delays in the Saipan and Guam timetables and changes and accelerated timetable in the Phillipines and the 27th never was available and the Eastern Force was handed over to MacArthur from its staging area.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/16/2018 6:23:05 AM
DT,

The Intel estimates on Japanese strength which ended up being pretty darn close were 11,000 on Pelelui and 3,000 on Anguar. The entire 81st Division wasn't allotted to the invasion as I'm pretty sure one of it's infantry regiments was the Corps reserve and it was that which was put into the line to replace the 1st Marine Regiment along with the 1st Marine Divisions reserve which was a Bat from the 7th Marines.

You have to understand that initially casualties were of very different levels in the three Marine Regiments with the 1st regiment objectives being basically the teeth of the Japanese defense. The "White" beeches especially "the Point" were the most heavily defended and then it was right up against the start of the "Umurbrogol." The 5th Marines had the airfield and then across to the opposite coast while the 7th Marine had the very lightly defended southern end of the island. By the end of the first day the 7th Marines were as far as 2 miles inland, the 5th Marines 1 mile but the 1st Marines were barely off the beach and the Pont wasn't captured until the next day nor secured for another day and a half. The company assigned the Point only had 18 men left standing when relieved on day 3.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


dt509er
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 489

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/17/2018 12:45:54 PM
Yes, the 81st was designated as the reserve unit. Gen. Rupertus did designate and use a Marine regiment on D-Day as his immediate reserve force (my term). Eventually Rupertus had no choice but to bring in the 81st as the Marines which we all know were getting chewed to pieces.

When I stated "call in the Army", in no way was I insinuating that the Marines/Gen. Rupertus were 'calling in the calvary', rather he was doing so based on their designation as a reserve unit so designated in pre-planning.

I have never conducted a detailed planning on the strategic nature of Peleliu but its keeps popping into my mind to do so. Several years back we discussed Peleliu and I believe it was Mike Johnson who laid out why Peleliu remained strategically important but I don't want to speak for him as his comments were excellently stated. That said, Peleliu had the airstrip, much neglected it was it still could be put into use and the Japanese still had planes that could have possibly staged from there and thus presented a threat from the flank.

I don't believe Peleliu posed a direct naval threat from shipping other than supplies and troops from there. I imagine if Peleliu had been bypassed and Japanese a/c were used from there, the US reaction would have been swift using carrier power and submarines to 'blockade' (bypassing) the island, which could have been done so from the beginning much like Truk.


---------------
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..."

I take offense to your perception of being offended!

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/17/2018 2:36:52 PM
DT,

It was one of the 81st's regiments that was Corps reserve and it was a Bat of the 7th Marines that was the 1st Marine Division's reserve.(I think 1st bat but would have to check)

Rupertus didn't order in the Army Corps reserve Gieger did as he was the Corps Commander. The fact is Rupertus really didn't know just how badly his units were cut up because he didn't go ashore until late in the fight if at all. Gieger was ashore on Day 2.

I believe I started that discussion several years back. If I remember the main argument for the invasion was the airfield and that Japanese submarines were operating from the island chain. My argument was that there were few if any operational aircraft and the subs were actually the chains main source of supply not a offensive force. I also think my views on Rupertus were questioned a bit in that discussion.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


dt509er
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 489

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/17/2018 5:31:53 PM

Quote:
DT,

It was one of the 81st's regiments that was Corps reserve and it was a Bat of the 7th Marines that was the 1st Marine Division's reserve.(I think 1st bat but would have to check)

Rupertus didn't order in the Army Corps reserve Gieger did as he was the Corps Commander. The fact is Rupertus really didn't know just how badly his units were cut up because he didn't go ashore until late in the fight if at all. Gieger was ashore on Day 2.

I believe I started that discussion several years back. If I remember the main argument for the invasion was the airfield and that Japanese submarines were operating from the island chain. My argument was that there were few if any operational aircraft and the subs were actually the chains main source of supply not a offensive force. I also think my views on Rupertus were questioned a bit in that discussion.
--John R. Price


Hi John,

During the Philippines fighting didn't the Japanese engage with a large force of a/c?
---------------
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..."

I take offense to your perception of being offended!

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/18/2018 12:43:22 AM
DT,

Yes but the Philippines weren't isolated and cut off from reinforcement and resupply nor could they be completely until there were operational air fields in the islands. The Philippines were within range of Japanese base areas such as Taiwan and there were over 100 air fields on the islands and more than enough construction and service troops to repair bomb damage quickly. Its a apples to oranges comparison Peleliu had one airfield suitable for combat aircraft and was at the end of a tenuous supply line that once the aircraft on that single field were overpowered and destroyed was unable to replace them.

EDIT Rupertus couldn't go ashore he broke his ankle during training on Guadalcanal and was shipbound for the duration. So either the regimental commanders and divisional staff weren't giving him a complete picture of casualties and conditions or his judgement wasn't the greatest.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


dt509er
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 489

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/18/2018 2:21:04 PM

Quote:
DT,

Yes but the Philippines weren't isolated and cut off from reinforcement and resupply nor could they be completely until there were operational air fields in the islands. The Philippines were within range of Japanese base areas such as Taiwan and there were over 100 air fields on the islands and more than enough construction and service troops to repair bomb damage quickly. Its a apples to oranges comparison Peleliu had one airfield suitable for combat aircraft and was at the end of a tenuous supply line that once the aircraft on that single field were overpowered and destroyed was unable to replace them.

EDIT Rupertus couldn't go ashore he broke his ankle during training on Guadalcanal and was shipbound for the duration. So either the regimental commanders and divisional staff weren't giving him a complete picture of casualties and conditions or his judgement wasn't the greatest.
--John R. Price


Thanks John.

Gen. Rupertus' behavior was if not egotistical, it was odd. I read he directed Gen. Oliver Smith, Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Division to make no changes whatsoever to the initial plans regardless of events, that strikes me as a lack of leadership on Rupertus' part. Add in that Smith was rarely, if ever brought into meetings with Rupertus and his staff after Rupertus landed.

IMO, I believe that Peleliu and the entire Palau island group should have been bypassed and could have been easily isolated with US naval forces and a/c from the Marshalls. In many ways, MacArthur and Nimitz are complicit in not accepting the Palaus uselessness as a threat.
---------------
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..."

I take offense to your perception of being offended!

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/19/2018 5:01:24 AM
DT,

Rupertus didn't land he had a broken ankle. OP Smith landed on Day 1 and set up the forward Division CP but communication were spotty at best which prompted Gieger to come ashore himself on the afternoon of Day 1. So I don't see how Smith could be in on the meeting Rupertus had afloat when he was ashore. A lot of the behavior stems from Saipan and the back and forth finger pointing between Marines and Army over the "hole in the line" that the Bonzi Charge "found" leading to anxious moments. Now with all that said I've seen speculation that Puller had too much influence over Rupertus and that tactically Puller and OP Smith weren't exactly on the same page. But I'm sorry the casualty figures were being reported and all he had to do was look at the numbers. He made a big deal of the division being beefed up and over strength but the fact is there were only 9,000 infantrymen although before it was relieved there were more than a couple artillerymen and specialist thrust into the role of infantryman. 1st Marines had a 71% casualty rate, 5th Marines 56% and 7th Marines 55%. (If you ever get a chance read the story of C Company 1/1 of Capt Everett Pope)

I agree but my understanding is that MacArthur insisted that this half of the operation go through to protect his flank from the airfield at Peleliu and reports of submarine activity from the islands.

EDIT Personally I think the pushing by Puller, other that aggressive was his first name boils down to two factors. First this is a completely different set of tactics the Japanese are using. It wasn't all about defense at the waters edge and then a Bonzi to throw them off the island. Once the landing was secure they saw some of the Japanese pulling back and in the past that signified they were beaten. Second Intel missed the Umurbrogol and the terrain itself fooled them into thinking take the initial heights and that's it. They took Bloody Nose Rifge but there were two more that had to be taken and then when they took them there still was another.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


dt509er
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 489

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/19/2018 3:29:02 PM

Quote:
DT,

Rupertus didn't land he had a broken ankle. OP Smith landed on Day 1 and set up the forward Division CP but communication were spotty at best which prompted Gieger to come ashore himself on the afternoon of Day 1. So I don't see how Smith could be in on the meeting Rupertus had afloat when he was ashore.
--John R. Price


I'm talking about after Rupertus came on shore. Gen. Smith did meet with Rupertus after he came ashore from time-to-time, but Smith was not brought in on planning meetings at any point thereafter. I find that odd behavior from a Division commander with his ADC.

Puller in his memoir stated during a ship board meeting with the regimental leaders, Gen. Smith and Rupertus' Chief of Staff Selden; ""You have your orders. I will not be ashore on D-day, and may not be there on D plus One. It depends on the course of the action. But I want you to understand now that there will be no change in the orders, regardless. Even if General Smith attempts to change my plan or orders, you regimental commanders will refuse to obey."

At that point Rupertus then sought acknowledgment from each person in this meeting including Smith himself.
---------------
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..."

I take offense to your perception of being offended!

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 570

Re: The costly battle for Peleliu Island held by Japan in WWII.
Posted on: 2/19/2018 5:39:23 PM
DT,

The Puller statement is from a meeting before the invasion started and that leads back to Saipan because the Asst Div Commander changed/altered the plan of one of the regiments on the spot because of the terrain which left a "hole" in the line. I'm not sure Rupertus came ashore when the division was still in contact and maybe not at all. He did the large majority and maybe all his commanding by radio and all the commanders and staffs didn't meet anywhere once the invasion started. I also have to add that the entire communications section of Puller's hdq was wiped out as it came ashore when the landing craft took a direct hit.

---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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