The 1st Mar. Div. had fought on Guadalcanal, America’s first amphibious landing in World War II, from August to December 1942. The “Old Breed” then secured a lodgment on Cape Gloucester, New Britain, fighting there from December 1943 to February 1944. These men were in less than ideal condition having endured one of the wettest campaigns of the war. Most were suffering from weight loss and fungus infections, but would recover by the time of the Peleliu attack.
The Marines on Peleliu were seasoned veternas of the Pacific Campaign who had grown to perfect their craft of rooting out the Japanese from island after stoney island. In September of 1944, the Marines are outfitted with their full compliment of M1 Garands, M1 Carbines and the latest iteration of the M1A1 Thompson SMG.
The Battle of Peleliu or Operation Stalemate II was fought between September 15th to November 27th 1944. U.S. Marines of the First Marine Division, and later soldiers of the U.S. Army's 81st Infantry Division, fought to capture an airstrip on the small coral island part of a larger offensive campaign known as Operation Forager. The Commander of 1st Marine Division predicted the island would be secured within 4 days, however, Japan had developed new island defense tactics, well-crafted fortifications and caves that allowed stiff resistance, extending the battle through more than two months.