Segment 6

Annotation

The Japanese had steel, concrete, and coral bunkers all over the island [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: Peleliu, September 1944]. They were knocking the American men off left and right. Japanese soldiers were well camouflaged. A lot of the time the Japanese were looking down on them. Bloody Nose Ridge was in the middle of the island and it was about eight to ten stories high and fortified. Instead of digging a foxhole the men had to build stones and rocks around them. Ray Davis [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: Major Raymond Gilbert "Ray" Davis] was the 3rd Battalion commander. Davis testified after his long illustrious career which included the Korean War, that Peleliu was the roughest fight he faced. Chesty Puller [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: Major Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller] was their regimental commander. When Puller was notified the 1st Division was surrounded the first day on the beachhead he proclaimed, "Good, it means you can shoot in any direction."They were surrounded the first day on the beach. Deen recalls being lost in combat. A few men from his outfit went to the point in the middle of the night. Most of his outfit was wiped out. On the first day they needed water because of the heat but could not get any clean water because the water drums still had oil in them. The only thing that saved the second platoon was the Sherman tank. Hugh Wigginton, from DeenÂ’s squad, went over to a Sherman tank and talked to the tank driver through the telephone. At about five o'clock on the first day they got tanks up to the front line. On the first day the squads were all mixed up. One of their first priorities was evacuating the wounded. He was able to take stock of the situation and noticed a lot of his friends were torn up. The tank was used to evacuate the wounded at first. A few guys who were wounded in the upper body were able to walk away under their own power. Deen remembers numerous guys who were shot. A lot of the machine gun and flamethrower guys were shot. Everything at first was disoriented.

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