By James Burbeck
Of all the battles of the Pacific War that raged across half the world between 1941 and 1945, one of the least publicized in relation to its violence and impact was arguably the amphibious invasion of the island of Peleliu in the Palau island group. This 1944 invasion took place barely ten months after the carnage of Tarawa, and ended up costing nearly double the casualties for the attacker and defender. In the process, the Japanese 14th Infantry Division was totally destroyed and the U.S. 1st Marine Division was dreadfully crippled, losing over half its strength due to severe casualties. The U.S. 81st Army Division which assumed responsibility for the later half of the battle, suffered an additional round of losses before completing the destruction begun as such cost by the USMC.