|A marine on Peleliu after several days of endless fighting.|
|Chow time on Peleliu, 1944|
|The first wave of LVT transports moved toward Peleliu invasion beaches, Palau Islands, 15 Sep 1944; note the bombardment lines consisted of LCIs, cruisers, and battleships; photo taken by a USS Honolulu aircraft pilot.|
|Marines advance at Peleliu over the limestone cliffs|
|A marine at Peleliu. The Battle of Peleliu was codenamed Operation Stalemate II.|
If they did somehow survive the battle, one way or the other, they would become pariahs at home and be shunned by everyone. Even if you simply lost a battle through sheer chance and events outside your control, such as Admiral Nagumo at Midway, you would become toxic and ultimately be sent to some rock to "command" and wait for the Marines and the battleships to show up and signal your doom. Since surrender was inimical to the Japanese martial spirit, this didn't leave a lot of choices. Fighting desperate men with no fall-back position is one of the most difficult battles possible, and this is what the 1st Marine Division was facing. Again.
|Aiding an injured comrade.|
|September 15, 1944 – Battle of Peleliu begins as the United States Marine Corps' 1st Marine Division and the United States Army's 81st Infantry Division hit White and Orange beaches under heavy fire from Japanese infantry and artillery|
|Marines assaulting Peleliu, the smoke is from destroyed landing craft.|
|We Remember Donald Mellins, KIA on Peleliu, 1944, one of many who perished.|
|The only thing worth having on Peleliu was the airstrip. [Source: "Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan"]|
A number of landing craft were hit, and many marines had to get ashore in full battle gear through sharp coral in deep water with the Japanese firing at them. It wasn't fun at all, but the landing was a success and a 2-mile beachhead was taken.
|Marine Corsairs on Peleliu.|
|Sherman tanks on the prowl at Peleliu.|
|Typical hidden Japanese defensive artillery on Peleliu.|
|1st Marines boarding ships to go to Peleliu|
|Wreckage, decades later|
|General Lewis "Chesty" Puller at his command post during The Battle of Peleliu, September 1944|
|Marines of the 1st Marine Division in the Peleliu airfield standing next to smashed Japanese tanks Type 97 Ha-Go, Sept 1944.|
|First wave of the Marines.|
|Japanese headquarters at Peleliu today.|
One last thought: the graves of the roughly 10,200 Japanese soldiers and support personnel on Peleliu are unmarked and their locations unknown. Many of the Japanese were simply sealed in caves and bypassed, left to die. There supposedly is a mass grave of Japanese somewhere on the island, and all that is known about its location stems from a random 11 January 1945 map that was found at a small U.S. Navy Construction Battalion ("Seabee") museum in Port Hueneme, Calif with the notation "Jap Cemetery." The map is crude and has that notation in the middle of the island, without other identifying information.
|Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko place a wreath at a memorial for U.S. troops on Peleliu on April 9, 2015. (Pool Photo)|