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Welcome to the island | by Sifter
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Welcome to the island

Peleliu is a small island that forms part of the nation of Palau in the Pacific. It's about five hours flying time south of Japan, three hours east of the Phillipines. It's now, like the rest of Palau, beautiful, peaceful and home to more shades of blue in the sea and sky than you or your camera lens ever thought possible.

 

Between September and November 1944, it was the site of an incredibly fierce battle between US and Japanese armed forces. Peleliu island measures about 14 square miles; during the three months of fighting, casualties from both sides worked out at just under 1,000 men per square mile of island. Close to 2,000 American servicemen died; of the 11,000 Japanese soldiers, only 202 were captured alive.

 

The battle was fought over the fact Peleliu had an airfield, and was within range of the Phillipines, from where the US planned to launch strikes against the Japanese mainland. Even before the battle on Peleliu, the not all of the US high command thought Peleiiu was that strategically important; after the battle, the US found the airfield was barely operational, and posed almost no threat to US forces elsewhere in the Pacific.

 

I'm from the UK, but saw the island with a Japanese tour group. When you arrive, it doesn't take long to start spotting the remains of the war.

 

The full story on my blog.

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Taken on October 22, 2008