In late 1944, as a precursor to the invasion of the Philippines, U.S. military analysts decided to seize the small island of Peleliu to ensure that the Japanese airfield there could not threaten the invading forces. This important new book explores the dramatic story of the resulting campaign and its strategic failings. Joseph Wheelan expertly details how U.S. intelligence officers failed to detect the complex network of caves, tunnels, and pillboxes hidden inside the island’s coral ridges. More importantly, they did not discern – nor could they before it happened – that the defense of Peleliu would represent a tectonic shift in Japanese strategy.
For the battle-hardened 1st Marine Division, Peleliu was a hornets’ nest like no other. Yet thanks to pre-invasion over-confidence on the part of commanders, 30 of the 36 news correspondents accredited for the campaign had left prior to D-Day.
In this brilliant, compelling volume on the overlooked battle of Peleliu, Joseph Wheelan dissects the failings of American intelligence and strategy, analyzes the shift in Japanese tactics, and brings to life the Marines’ horrific experiences of the worst of the Pacific battlegrounds.