Sep 15

Landings on Peleliu, 15 September 1944

Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:01 AM


Operation Stalemate II—the landing of the 1st Marine Division on Peleliu—began on 15 September 1944. Aircraft of Task Group 38.4 and four escort carriers of Carrier Unit One, Rear Admiral William D. Sample commanding, supported the Marines with bombing and strafing runs. The Japanese had prepared the main line of resistance inland from the beaches to escape naval bombardment, however, and three preceding days of carrier air attacks and intense naval gunfire had failed to suppress the well dug-in and tenacious defenders, who fiercely contested the island.

The fleet carriers supported the landing until 18 September, and a total of 10 escort carriers operating in Task Group 32.7, Rear Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie commanding, continued the battle until the end of the month. Soldiers of the Army’s 81st Division reinforced the Marines, and the final Japanese survivors surrendered on 1 February 1945.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Eugene Sledge’s “With The Old Breed” gives a most vivid description of the inhuman fighting on the island, rendering an entire Marine Division combat ineffective, in a campaign that remains one of the most controversial of the entire Pacific War.

  • Woody Sanford

    Yeah, Andy:

    Sledge’s account was included in “The Pacific” Series on HBO a while back.Marines had to cross a wide open space in daylight, facing Japanese machine guns. Then later, they had to climb a mountain range with the same opposition and artillery. Woody

  • Shelley Heard

    My late father was a Navy Lt. who landed with the assault echelon of Argus Unit #20, on Sept. 20, 1944. Argus units established the land based Fighter Command and Control operations once islands were secured – allowing shipboard FCC units redeploy elsewhere. Dad’s unit came ashore only after the Marines informed his CO that the airstrip was “secure”. In his account of the landing, he wrote, “There is a marked difference of opinion between the Marines and myself as to what is and what isn’t secure.” The last Japanese assault by water on Peleliu was Jan. 17, 1945, directly in front of my father’s tent on White Beach. No Japanese soldier reached the shore. He stayed on the island until late March, 1945. He was 38 years old. He never spoke to me about WWII and I can understand why. I am so grateful to have his letters so that I can pass his story down to future generations of his family.

  • Nan Avants

    My late father was with Argus #14 as a radarman.I just recently started researching his military career. I would love to hear from anyone else who has knowledge of Argus #14

  • George Cotanich

    Shelly Heard Please contact me .I was in Argus Unit 20