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Action At Angaur, Palau 1945 World War II

Documents the invasion and capture of Angaur Island (Palau group) by the 81st ("Wildcat") Infantry Division in its first battle. In July 1944 the troops relax at Honolulu.

Shows activities aboard a troop transport, including a ceremony at the Equator, en route to Guadalcanal for a practice landing in August.

On Sept. 17 Angaur is invaded after a bombardment by ships and carrier planes. Contains many scenes of U.S. troops burning and blasting Japanese soldiers from their cave emplacements. Explains the tactics for securing "Suicide Hill." Shows Gen. Robert Richardson. A Treasury Department trailer urges the purchase of war bonds.

The Battle of Angaur was a battle of the Pacific campaign in World War II, fought on the island of Angaur in the Palau Islands from 17 September—22 October 1944. This battle was part of a larger offensive campaign known as Operation Forager which ran from June 1944 to November 1944 in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Angaur PalauBombardment of Angaur by the battleship USS Tennessee, cruisers, and SBD-5 Dauntless dive bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Wasp began on 11 September 1944. Six days later on 17 September, the U.S. 81st Infantry Division—commanded by Major General Paul J. Mueller—landed on the northeast and southeast coasts.

Mines and congestion on the beach initially gave more trouble than Japanese counter-attacks. But resistance stiffened as the Americans advanced on "the Bowl", a hill near Lake Salome in the northwest of the island where the Japanese planned to make their last stand after the rest of Angaur and Saipan town, were taken.

There was another small position where the Japanese had about 400 soldiers in a defense at the South East corner of the island that was neutralized on September 20 after 2 days of harsh fighting and about 300 U.S. casualties. From 20 September, the 322nd Infantry Regiment repeatedly attacked the Bowl, but the 750 defenders repulsed them with artillery, mortars, grenades and machine guns. Gradually, hunger, thirst, and American shellfire and bombing took their toll on the Japanese, and by 25 September the Americans had penetrated the Bowl. Rather than fight for possession of the caves, they used bulldozers to seal the entrances.

By 30 September, the island was said to be secure although the Japanese still had about 300 more soldiers in the Bowl and surrounding areas that held out for almost 4 more weeks. Towards the end of the first week of October, 1944, the protracted conflict had degenerated into minor patrol action with sniping, ambushing, and extensive booby-trapping employed by both sides.

The island's defense commander, Major Goto was killed on October 18 fighting to keep possession of a cave and the last day of fighting was October 22 with a total of 36 days of fighting and blasting the Japanese resistance from their caves with explosives, tanks, artillery and flamethrowers. The 81 Infantry Division had finally taken the whole of Angaur with relatively light casualties but met the same stiff resistance that was found on Peleliu.

The battle of Angaur was a rare occasion where the American casualties outnumbered the Japanese casualties with 2,560 U.S. to 1,397 Japanese. These figures were a direct result of a saturation of mines and booby traps and the fact that the Americans outnumbered the Japanese by a factor of almost 10:1. Americans 10,000 - Japanese 1,400.

USS Perry

 

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