Blank europe map ww2: Solitude in the Shadow of Death: Battle of Peleliu

I’ll be the first to admit that when I was planning my first trip to Peleliu, my limited knowledge of the battle that raged there during the autumn of 1944, came from recalling grainy re-runs of the eponymous ‘ Victory at Sea ’ documentary. To this student of the European theatre and the Eastern Front, the Pacific island campaign regrettably took a backseat to most of my previous reading endeavors and online research. It’s no wonder, however, that Peleliu is considered as a forgotten battle, because even as the landing ramps were lowered and the beaches were being stormed, the eyes of the world were about to turn to the skies of Europe, and the airborne invasion of Holland half a world away. Not only that, but even the local press avoided the invasion after being told that it would be over in only a few days. Today, fortunately, Peleliu is a little less forgotten thanks to recent movies, documentaries, and even video games. Thankfully, I was to discover that there is no shortage of well researched and available books on the battle. Especially Eugene Sledge’s first-hand account masterpiece that is so well regarded and written, that it can still be found in bookstores 38+ years after publication, ‘ With the Old Breed ’. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would eventually use the book as a guide, as I attempted to pay tribute to Sledge and his fellow Marines that I got to know through the book, and in one case, meet in person, by walking in his footsteps on the island. And even though I wear a size 12 shoe, it’s not even close to filling the footprints of the thousands of Marines who came before me and braved some of the harshest conditions ever endured by American fighting forces while against a deadly and unforgiving foe.

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