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Published: March 10th 2011
The place of some of the fieriest battles of WWII pacific theatre – from Sept.-Nov.1944. The 10.000 Japanese defenders dug into the ridges and applied heavy casualties to the Americans. Episode 5-7 of the Pacific (Stephen Spielberg) is about the landing on Orange Beach, the fight for the airstrip and the long struggle to dig out the Japanese from the Bloody Nose Ridge.
We had not really booked anything from Koror, thinking that since Peleliu was just across the channel, it would be easy to arrange from Carp. Writing with Amy, the organizer in Koror before coming, had said so. So I talked to Diana the night before, and she arranged a boatman to make the transfer, and she would do the land tour. The price was 2x30$ for the boat and 2x40$ for the tour. It was high tide, so we could take the short way across the channel and to the north of Peleliu. Diana was waiting for us and after buying lunch at a nondescript store, we first went to the Japanese army headquarters. Later in the museum, we saw pictures of the area around the airport – totally leveled and this was the only standing building. Overgrown,
Bombed roof - secured room
with bomb-holes in the roof. One area was with big vault doors, where people would hide during air-raids. Next we crossed the overgrown airfield (I guess the reason for the attack). I could see from pictures that it used to be like an A with the point at Orange beach, and Bloody Nose Ridge at the end of the runway. Next we saw a Japanese tank, some American tanks and moved up in the ridge. There was a canon in a cave pointing out towards the ocean at the west end. We could walk around and there were caves everywhere. Three war memorials are close to the highest point – U.S. Marine Corps monument next to the horse shoe valley that was the hardest to conquer since the Japanese had the high grounds all around. Further op the place of the last stand where Col. Nakagawa did seppuku on November 24 and after some stairs on the highest point a U.S. Army memorial and views of the whole island. Many caves were visible and I looked into one of them to see the remains of a canon and several sake bottles. Amazing it could be so difficult, for such a
- in Bloody Nose Ridge
small place. The ridge was not very high and the island very small. The pictures of a barren island, everything burned down was also quite different from the green island now. Next was Orange beach where the assault had taken place. It looked like a superb beach, strange to think of all the blood spilt here. Next to the memorial, there used to be a huge field with all the graves. Diana said they had all been moved to the Philippines - ? Her mother owned the land here, and they thought about making some cottages here. Lunch at the nearby dock, where the dive boats also came in for lunch. Some of the best diving sports are here nearby like the ‘washing machine’ where the Philippines sea and the Pacific meets. Swimming in the harbor with the children, a 10 minute rain shower and then to the museum. Diana had tried 3 times during the day to have a caretaker driver over there to open up. Actually quite interesting with many artifacts and pictures from the war. Several veterans that had died after the war had donated their pictures and albums. Around 15:00, it was time to return to
Carp Island, and since it was low tide, we had to sail quite a bit to the west to get to a canal that was deep enough. The sky was blue and gray and the water a turquoise green – beautiful.
Read my full story from Palau and Peleliu
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