If any two people have been catalysts in the revival of interest in WWII, surely Tom Hanks and Stephen Speilberg take the prize. Saving Private Ryan lifted the bar and Band of Brothers showed what a sustained effort could deliver.

They begin filming this month on a 10 part film on the war in the Pacific. It’s a war that was dramatically different from the war in Europe. It had a ferocity not experienced by the allies in Europe – it was more like the Eastern Front where no quarter was given or expected and deep racial and cultural undercurrents ran through the experience.

We are a year or so away from the production – but I have found a lot of material that I am sure that the producers are examining as they prepare. Some material is first hand that WOSU and KETC are receiving from their members and others are excellent documentaries that you can find on YouTube .

Peleliu was the baptism of fire for the Marine Corps. This was their first experience of what was to become “Normal”. The Island is tiny. The planner expected the fight to last for 4 days. It lasted 2 months. The Ist marine Division had to be taken down after the battles. 8 Medals of Honor were awarded.

So what was it like? Here is a letter from a member of WOSU Columbus, George Peto, on his experience at one of the bloodiest of many blood baths that was the Island campaign.

September 15th was the beginning of the worst days of my life. Nothing before or since has equaled the experience of my visit to Peleliu. We were high spirited, well trained and, in our minds, we were the best troops on the face of the earth. After fifty-three years to reflect on it, I am sure we were the best.

Peleliu was a natural fortress. Nowhere in my 32 months of island hopping through the south west pacific did I see anything that could equal it in natural defenses and by the time the enemy put their extra touches to it, it was a formidable obstacle. To this you add 13,000 well-trained and highly motivated Japanese warriors and all hell breaks loose, as the 9,600 marine riflemen found out

Here is a wonderful site put up by Mike Kier, the son of a survivor, that has an excellent overview plus many pictures of the Island today.

Thanks again to GD Houston for putting up the series – Lost Evidence – Peleliu – This is part 1 of 6

Tripolibaby62 has a large selection of original video footage that makes me wonder about the camermen!!! There is no sound and you cannot embed the material – it is breathtaking.

The work horse of the Marine Corps was a vehicle called the LVT.

Here is a Living St Louis film showing a group of St Louisans who had restored an LVT that was then used in Clint Eastwood’s films of Iwo Jima: Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima

Here is a link to Amazon for books on Peleliu.

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