When the 1st Marine Division began its invasion of Peleliu in September 1944, the operation in the South Pacific was to take but four days. In fact, capturing this small coral island in the Palaus with its strategic airstrip took two months and involved some of the bloodiest fighting of the Second World War in the Pacific. Rather than the easy conquest they were led to expect, the Marines who landed on Peleliu faced a war of attrition from the island's Japanese defenders, who had dug tunnels and fortified the island's rugged terrain. When the Marines' advance stalled after a week of heavy casualties, the "Wildcats" of the 81st Infantry Division were called in, at first as support. Eventually, the 1st Marines Division was evacuated and the 81st Infantry secured the island. Now Bobby C. Blair and John Peter DeCioccio tell the story of this campaign through the eyes of the 81st Infantry to offer a revised assessment. Previous accounts of the battle have focused on the 1st Marines, all but ignoring the 81st Infantry Division's contributions. Victory at Peleliu demonstrates that without the army's help, the marines could not have succeeded on Peleliu. Blair and DeCioccio have mined the 81st Division's unit records and interviewed scores of veteran participants. The new data they offer challenges the orthodox view that the 81st Infantry merely mopped up an already broken enemy. Allowing their interviewees to tell much of the story, the authors also give a human face to a brutal battle. The book is published by University of Oklahoma Press. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Grant D. Showalter. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/096343/bk_acx0_096343_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In memory of Lieut.-Colonel Alexander Seton, Ensign Alex. C. Russell, and forty-eight N.C.O.s and men of the 74th Highlanders who were drowned at the wreck of HMS Birkenhead on the 26th February 1852, off Point Danger, Cape of Good Hope, after all the women and children on board had been safely landed in the ship's boats. (The inscription on a memorial in St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland) "To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about, Is nothing so bad when you've cover to 'and, an' leave an' likin' to shout; But to stand an' be still to the Birken'ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew, An' they done it, the Jollies - 'Er Majesty's Jollies - soldier an' sailor too! Their work was done when it 'adn't begun; they was younger nor me an' you; Their choice it was plain between drownin' in 'eaps an' bein' mopped by the screw, So they stood an' was still to the Birken'ead drill, soldier an' sailor too" (Rudyard Kipling, "Soldier an' Sailor Too") In an emergency it is a common practice to attempt to evacuate women and children first, not simply because they're the most vulnerable but because it's an established code of honor that has been passed down through generations. This is especially the case in situations where there aren't enough resources to rescue everyone, and this concept has been made famous by disasters such as the sinking of the Titanic, which didn't have enough lifeboats onboard for everyone. Although the "women and children first" rule might seem like a common practice that has been observed for centuries, it was actually popularized by the 1852 shipwreck of the Royal Navy troopship HMS Birkenhead. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Phillip J. Mather. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/033732/bk_acx0_033732_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.