From our YouTube Channel: This 1946 Navy documentary considers the critical importance of sea power in Allied victory in the Pacific during World War II.
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The USS Portland on which I served (then a 2nd Lt USMC) left Iron Bottom Bay about a week before the landings at Peleliu which were scheduled for September 15, 1944 at 0800 hrs. No ention of this objective was made known by anyone in authority on the Portland until we were at sea on the way to Peleliu. Maps, amunition allotments were then discussed . Peleliu was a small island with an airfield which looked to me to be no more than a fighter strip. However, before we were underway for Peleliu, I met one of my Quantico classmates when I happened to get ashore a Guadalcanal. He told me that the next operation was Peleliu and would last about 3-4 days. He said that he was on Gen Holland Smith’s staff. While we were at sea, the ship was able to pick up Tokyo Rose who had a better collection of records than the Portland had. So Tokyo Rose was a daily diet. One morning about two or three days before we arived at Peleliu Tokyo Rose made a statement that the First Marine Division was scheduled to land on Peleliu on September 15 at the hour of 8:30 AM and would be greeted with sufficient force to be shoved back into the sea. On arrival, one could see that the airfield was at the southern tip of the island and that to the north of the airfield was a dominating ridge. Naval main battery gunfire from the Portland exposed Japanese positions within the ridge which later became known as “Bloody Nose Ridge”. The Portland and several other ships each poured 360 rounds of high capacity 5″ shells into the landing beach area immediately before the landing craft discharged their men. Black smoke rose more than 100 feet in the air over the beach. There were no Japanese on the beach, they were all in hiding in Bloody Nose Ridge. However once the members of the First Marine Division hit the beach they were taken under heavy mortar fire and casualties appeared to be great. At least one amphibious tractor came along side the Portland (we were no more than 1000 yards off the beach) with several wounded Marines, all covered with visible blood. The hospital ship Hope was nearby. One of the Portland’s doctors was transferred to the amphibious tractor. He accompanied the wounded Marines to the Hope, but my recollection is that at least one of the Marines died before hand. Peleliu was brutal. Temperatures were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit daily and not much cooler at night. It took more than a month to secure the island and at great cost. The Portland left Peleliu at the end of September for the Admiralties, from which we proceeded to Leyte Gulf. Once the landings at Leyte were completed, Peleliu became a forgotten campaign.
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