1st Marine Division: The Old Breed by Ian Westwell

By Ian Westwell

The USMC's 1st department - 'The previous Breed' - is the oldest, greatest, such a lot embellished division-sized unit within the corps. Divisional regiments had first noticeable carrier as early as March eight, 1911, whilst the first Marines used to be shaped at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it can pass directly to practice in 15 significant engagements in the course of international warfare I.
In global battle II the first department used to be blooded at Guadalcanal, then went directly to struggle during the Pacific crusade, all the amphibious landings and the bloody battles to take the islands, being smaller types of D-Day. The Pacific struggle observed probably the most uncompromising battle in WWII, and the USMC used to be on the center of it: the first department may earn 3 international battle II Presidential Unit Citations - Guadalcanal, Peleliu, and Okinawa - every one used to be good deserved.

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Amphibious Corps (formerly I Amphibious Corps), consisting of the reinforced 1st Marine. Division and the US Army's 81st Infantry Division, were earmarked for the landings - at Peleliu and Angaur respectively. The Japanese saw the 72km (45-mile) long Palau archipelago as a minor component in their distant defensive chain around the Philippines, but that did not mean they would surrender the islands without a fight. The Palaus were entrusted to Lieutenant-General Sadai Inoue's 14th Infantry Division and he opted to make Peleliu the cornerstone of his 37 The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the FIRST MARINE DIVISION (REINFORCED) for service as set forth in the following CITATION: For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces at Peleliu and Ngesebus from September 15 to 29, 1944.

Within a few weeks it was to undertake one of the most bloody but comparatively little known assaults of the whole Pacific campaign at Peleliu. THE BATTLE FOR PELELIU Operation Stalemate II, the plan for the 1st Marine Division to occupy Peleliu, one of the Palau Islands in the South-west Pacific, was controversial. Many senior US planning staff believed that the Palaus, lying about 1,280km (800 miles) south-east of the Philippines, could be safely bypassed and that their capture was not a vital prerequisite for the forthcoming landings in the Philippines by MacArthur.

The division left New Britain in late April and sailed for Pavuvu in the Russell Islands some 105km (65 miles) off the north-west coast of Guadalcanal, which had been overrun against minimal opposition during Operation Cleanslate in February 1943. The island was far from the tropical ideal; it was swamp infested, frequently deluged by heavy rain, and facilities were basic - food, medical facilities and recreational opportunities were meagre. Equally, the island and its immediate neighbours were unsuited for the conduct of amphibious training to bring the division and its new drafts of replacements back up to full effectiveness.

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