On September 15th, 1944, the American invasion of Peleliu (Palau) began. The campaign to take the island from the Japanese was part of a wider amphibious offensive in the Pacific Theatre called 'Operation Forager', in which the Mariana islands were also targeted. Some commentators have pegged this battle as comparable in intensity to the Okinawa and Iwo Jima operations, indeed most historians agree that this battle saw the highest casualty rate of the war for the US. This fact has aggravated the controversy surrounding the campaign, with some opining that the island was actually of little strategic value.
This photograph shows the very first wave of LVTs approaching the shore to unload troops. Meanwhile, collosal clouds of smoke from the US naval artillery barrage obscure almost all of the coastline. The original image can be viewed here
If you'd like to know more about this bloody WWII battle, try Campaign 110; Peleliu 1944 by Gordon Rottman.
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