The Pacific Battle of Peleliu 1944
U.S Marines Conduct an Amphibious Landing on Peleliu island
Marines on Orange Beach
The , and the 5th and 7th Marines to the center and south on "Orange Beach". As the other landing craft approached the beaches, they were caught in a crossfire when the Japanese opened the steel doors guarding their positions and fired artillery.
The positions on the coral promontories guarding each flank attacked the Marines with 47 mm guns and 20 mm autocannon. By 09:30, the Japanese had destroyed 60 LVTs and DUKWs.
The 7th Marines to the south faced similar problems with gun emplacements on their flank. Many of their LVT's were knocked out in their approach, leaving their occupants to wade ashore through the coral reef in chest-high or deeper water while being raked by Japanese machine guns; casualties were severe and many who reached the beach alive had lost their rifles and other gear.
The 5th Marines made the most progress on the first day, due to their distance from the heavy gun emplacements guarding the left and right flanks. They pushed toward the airfield, but were met with Nakagawa's first counterattack.
His armored tank company raced across the airfield to push the Marines back, but was soon engaged by tanks, howitzers, naval guns and dive bombers. Nakagawa's tanks and escorting infantrymen were quickly destroyed.
At the end of the first day, the Americans held their 2 mi (3.2 km) stretch of landing beaches, but little else. Their biggest push in the south moved 1 mi (1.6 km) inland, but the 1st Marines to the north made very little progress because of the relentless attacks from The Point.
The Marines had suffered 200 dead and 900 wounded. Rupertus, still unaware of his enemy's change of tactics, believed the Japanese would quickly crumble since their perimeter had been broken.
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