This review looks at the Battle of Peleliu, 1944 Three Days That Turned into Three Months, a book as part of Pen and Sword's Images of War series that graphically brings to life the Pacific War against the Japanese as the Americans island hopped their war to Japan and victory.


The following introduction is as provided by Pen and Sword.

After the Allies had defeated the Japanese in the Solomons and the Dutch East Indies, the capture of the Philippines became General MacArthur’s next objective. For this offensive to succeed, MacArthur felt compelled to secure his eastern flank by seizing control of the Palau Islands, one of which was Peleliu. The task of capturing this island, and the enemy airfield on it, was initially handed to Admiral Nimitz.

The Palau Islands, however, formed part of Japan’s second defensive line, and Peleliu’s garrison amounted to more than 10,000 men. Consequently, when the US preliminary bombardment began on 12 September 1944, it was devastating. For two days the island was pounded relentlessly. Such was the scale of the destruction that the commander of the 1st Marine Division, Major General William H. Rupertus, told his men: ‘We’re going to have some casualties, but let me assure you this is going to be a fast one, rough but fast. We’ll be through in three days – it may only take two.’

At 08.32 hours on 15 September 1944, the Marines went ashore. Despite bitter fighting, and a ferocious Japanese defence, by the end of the day the Marines had a firm hold on Peleliu. But rather than Japanese resistance crumbling during the following days as had been expected, it stiffened, as they withdrew to their prepared defensive positions. The woods, swamps, caves and mountains inland had been turned into a veritable fortress – it was there where the real battle for possession of Peleliu was fought.

Day after day the Americans battled forward, gradually wresting control of Peleliu from the Japanese. Despite Major General Rupertus’ prediction, it was not until 27 November, after two months, one week and five days of appalling fighting, and a final, futile last sacrificial charge by the remaining enemy troops, that the Battle of Peleliu came to an end.


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Images of War series is authored by Jim Moran, Jim has written four books on the U.S. Marine Corps with this being his fourth. The book is a soft backed offering with a reasonably robust card cover protecting 256 pages of a good quality semi gloss paper. The book itself is broken down into 8 chapters which are as follows:

Opposing Plans, American and Japanese

Opposing Forces and Commanders

Peleliu D-Day, September 15th 1944

D+1 to D+7 – The Nightmare Begins

81st Infantry take Anguar and Ulithi

The Nightmare Continues, D+8 – D+14

The Nightmare Ends – The Pocket D+15 – D+32


Everybody I suspects has some knowledge of D-Day and the nightmare death toll the start of the freedom of Europe cost in lives, But how many know about the number of seaborne assaults performed by the US Marine Corps during WW2 and the nightmare enemy they faced in the form of the Japanese. The warrior code of the Japanese made fighting them hell as at the point most soldiers would withdraw or surrender, the Japanese would launch suicidal charges against their enemy that took a huge toll in psychological damage to the young Americans facing off against them. This book provides a background to one of these battles for the islands dotted across the Pacific.

This book is by its very nature mostly photographic in nature and so a great book for the modeller. The book looks at the leaders commanding these operations and the forces brought into play during the operation. The text is minimal but provides the reader with a good cover letter so to speak in order that they have some knowledge of whom, what and why. The font used meant that even my old eyes were able to track a read the text without issue; something that does matter as you get older.

It is of course the period photographs that make this title so valuable to the modeller as the period images are for the most part good quality, but that is not the whole story. Each of these images is accompanied by a well written caption and it is these captions that add so much value to the images. A picture can provide a lot of details that text cannot really portray, but the captions give the images context and as a package make them invaluable reference.

At the end of this title are some of the artworks created by Tom Lea that portray the stress men on the island were under. Finally there were 8 Medal of Honor Recipients in the 1st Marine Corps, the faces of these men are provided along with their citations.


As a Brit I get rattled on occasion when I hear how the Americans won the War, but I do humbly acknowledge their input. Looking at the war in the Pacific other nations had troops there fighting, but the US Marine Corps and Infantry Units who fought there are owed a great debt as they did most of the heavy lifting when it came to winning the Pacific War. The Americans paid a heavy price in young men’s lives during the island hoping and it is good to see their sacrifices covered in books such as this that put faces to Wars.



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