Fury in the Pacific – The 1st Marine Division takes Peleliu (1944 B&W 20:00) Nine combat cameramen fell filming dramatic, intense fighting shown here. The islands of Peleliu and Angaur in the Palaus (6 miles apart) were considered stepping stones toward retaking the Philippines. The prize was the Japanese airbase on Peleliu. First Marine Division (1st, 5th & 7th Regiments, 9th Artillery) carried out the initial assault on 15 September, 1944, and bore the brunt of the fighting, to be joined later by elements of 81st Infantry ferried over from Angaur. Some highlights: Far East Air Force bombers and an intense naval bombardment from point blank range soften the Japanese defenses, followed by an amphibious assault in Amtracs, supported by Amtanks; toe-to-toe jungle fighting is shown in detail as the Marines moved off the beach and took the airfield, allowing close air support attacks by ferried in VMF-114 F4U Corsairs. But the most intense action was yet to come; most of the defenders were entrenched inland. The bloodiest action involved securing “The Point” and the Umurbrogol Pocket, aka “Bloody Nose Ridge,” which overlooked the airfield, a fortress of ridges, caves, pill boxes & hidden artillery. By the end of the fighting the 1st Marine Division suffered over 6,500 casualties, over one third of their strength. The 81st Infantry Division suffered nearly 3,300 casualties. Out of 11,000 Japanese 14th Division defenders, 300 were taken prisoner.