Thursday, October 4, 2012


This is coolbert:

"I knew it was bad but not that bad" - - A. Lebed.

I was vaguely aware of Peleliu during the Second World War [WW2], but only that vaguely so and not aware of the significance thereof. A footnote to history now [?], but should not be.

That operation to capture Peleliu codenamed STALEMATE! If only the planners KNEW!

The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, from September–November 1944 on the island of "Peleliu, present-day Palau."

Two aspects of the combat unexpected and most troubling:

1. Very high casualty rate.

"Japan's well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance . . .  the battle lasted over two months . . . and [produced a] . . . high casualty rate, which was the highest for U.S. military personnel of any battle in the Pacific War"

Worse than Tarawa, worse than Saipan, worse than Iwo Jima, worse than Okinawa. WORSE!

2. Newly developed Japanese defensive strategies and  techniques for opposing American island landing amphibious operations.

"the Imperial Army [Japanese] assembled a research team to develop a new island defense strategy. They chose to abandon the old tactic of stopping the enemy at the beach. The new strategy would only disrupt the landings at the waters edge and depend on an indepth defense farther inland . . . The old tactic of the banzai charge was also discontinued as wasteful of men and ineffective. These two strategies would force the Americans into a war of attrition requiring more and more resources.

As with the German the Japanese also NOT ABLE to stop and American amphibious landing at the beach or the water's edge. Superior American naval gunfire in a supporting role meant swift and sure obliteration for the defender!!

An operation originally envisioned as taking ONLY four days necessitating TWO MONTHS of the most intense combat imaginable.

 "the most difficult fight that the U.S. military encountered in the entire Second World War [in any theatre?]."

This too being a feature of combat in the Pacific theatre. Japanese remnant units refusing to surrender even when faced with the most difficult of circumstances, continuing the fight EVEN YEARS AFTER FINAL MILITARY ACTION HAD ENDED!! NOT so terribly common but NOT so terribly unique either.

"A Japanese lieutenant with his 26 2nd Infantry soldiers and eight 45th Guard Force sailors held out in the caves in Peleliu until April 22, 1947 and surrendered after a Japanese admiral convinced them the war was over."

A similar strategy and tactics were used by the Japanese defenders of Okinawa and Iwo Jima ultimately to no avail but nonetheless very costly and disheartening to the American attacker. Among American military planners a considerable amount of recriminations must have existed in the aftermath of the battle but it was more the Japanese being good as compared to the American forces being bad?


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