Bloody Beaches

Bloody Beaches : The Marines at Peleliu: War in the Pacific (Illustrated)

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Description

By Brigadier General Gordon D. Gayle, USMC (Ret) On D-Day 15 September 1944, five infantry battalions of the 1st Marine Division's 1st, 5th, and 7th Marines, in amphibian tractors (LVTs) lumbered across 600-800 yards of coral reef fringing smoking, reportedly smashed Peleliu in the Palau Island group and toward five selected landing beaches. That westward anchor of the 1,000-mile-long Caroline archipelago was viewed by some U.S. planners as obstacles, or threats, to continued advances against Japan's Pacific empire. The Marines in the LVTs had been told that their commanding general, Major General William H. Rupertus, believed that the operation would be tough, but quick, in large part because of the devastating quantity and quality of naval gunfire and dive bombing scheduled to precede their assault landing. On some minds were the grim images of their sister 2d Marine Division's bloody assault across the reefs at Tarawa, many months earlier. But 1st Division Marines, peering over the gunwales of their landing craft saw an awesome scene of blasting and churning earth along the shore. Smoke, dust, and the geysers caused by exploding bombs and large-caliber naval shells gave optimists some hope that the defenders would become casualties from such preparatory fires; at worst, they would be too stunned to respond quickly and effectively to the hundreds of on-rushing Marines about to land in their midst. Just ahead of the first wave of troops carrying LVTs was a wave of armored amphibian tractors (LVTAs) mounting 75mm howitzers. They were tasked to take under fire any surviving strongpoints or weapons which appeared at the beach as the following troops landed. And just ahead of the armored tractors, as the naval gunfire lifted toward deeper targets, flew a line of U.S. Navy fighter aircraft, strafing north and south along the length of the beach defenses, parallel to the assault waves, trying to keep all beach defenders subdued and intimidated as the Marines closed the defenses. Meanwhile, to blind enemy observation and limit Japanese fire upon the landing waves, naval gunfire was shifted to the hill massif northeast of the landing beaches.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 110 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 6.35mm | 340.19g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • Illustrated
  • Illustrated
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1514144905
  • 9781514144909

About Gordon D Gayle

Brigadier General Gordon D. Gayle, USMC (Ret), graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1939 and was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant. After completing Basic School in Philadelphia in 1940, he was assigned to the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division with which he served in three Pacific campaigns: Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu. For his extraordinary heroism while commanding the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, on Peleliu, he was awarded the Navy Cross. He returned to 1st Marine Division in the Korean war to serve first as the executive officer of the 7th Marines, then as G-3 on the division staff. He is a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff College. In 1963-65, he chaired the Long Range Study Panel at Quantico, developing concepts for the Corps' operational, organizational, logistical and R&D needs for the 1985 period. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1964. Retiring in 1968, he joined Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies.show more