Any discussion of the invasion of Peleliu still evokes strong emotions, even 60 years after the battle. Of this scene, the late combat artist Tom Lea wrote: "Those Marines flattened in the sand on that beach were dark and huddled like wet rats in death as I threw my body down among them." This is the story of how it came to be "bloody Peleliu."
Peleliu was a ten-week bloodbath waged on ungodly terrain against one of Japan's proudest regiments. The 1944 campaign remains one of the costliest amphibious battles the United States ever fought-a bitter, controversial, Pyrrhic victory.
"My surprise and chagrin when concealed batteries opened up on the [assault craft] can be imagined," admitted Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf, commanding the fire-support group at Peleliu, on discovering his three-day preliminary bombardment had failed to protect the D-Day landing.1