Peleliu Island travel guide
The occupying Japanese forces dug this cave complex during WWII. It was part of their new island-defense strategy, which also included fortified bunkers and underground positions. Instead of stopping the Allies at the beach, the Japanese would only disrupt the landings at the water's edge and depend on an in-depth defense farther inland. The caves and tunnels have afterwards been cleared for unexploded ordnance, so today it’s open and anyone can venture into the pitch dark tunnels. Remember a flashlight (and to bend down).
Bloody Nose Ridge was the location for some of the most fierce fighting in the Battle of Peleliu. Here soldiers had to fight man to man, since they ran out of ammo, with huge casualties as a result.
One of the trails, which all start at the Japanese shinto shrine, leads up to the summit. There is a viewing platform with 360 degrees panoramic views of Peleliu Island. The summit is marked with a "World Peace" menhirs.
A small bunker with the doors open, so you can take a peek inside.
The two story Japanese headquarter is tucked away in the vegetation not far from the landing strip. It has been heavily damaged, but most pillars stand and there are still some concrete slaps left of the first floor. So be careful, when venture in. Trees are growing from the balcony and vines are hanging down from the holes in the ceiling. There are also two small hangars and a bunker, all open for a peek.
The road leads up to a Japanese shinto shrine, where there also is a memorial for the U.S. marine corps. There are nice views over the jungle from the memorial. The trails for the Bloody Nose Ridge also start here. Don't venture outside the white markers, as the outside areas haven't been cleared for unexploded ordnances.
The southwest part of Peleliu Island is covered in remnants from WWII. For contrary to what the U.S. thought, Peleliu Island was strongly defended by about 11,000 Japanese soldiers. The Japanese had spent an extensive time to dig out caves and prepare for the U.S. invasion. 15. September 1944 was the day it happen. The U.S. intelligence was misinformed about both the topography of the island and the strategy of the Japanese forces. What should have been a quick invasion, turn into more than two months bloody operation. The Japanese commander committed the ritual harakiri, when it became clear that they will be overran. 34 Japanese soldiers held out in the caves until 1947, and did not surrender until a Japanese admiral convinced them the war was over.
A well hidden U.S. Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) from WWII. They were used by the U.S. to transport men and cargo over the shallow lagoon, when the U.S. invaded Peleliu in 1944.
The landing sites for the U.S. invasion of Peleliu were both White Beach to the north and Orange Beach to the south. Today, there is a memorial at Orange Beach. Else the beach is a very tranquil with no buildings or any other development in sight.
At the south tip of Peleliu Island is this park. There are picnic tables and a memorial construction. The plate reads "In memory of all those who sacrificed their lives in the islands and seas of the West Pacific during World War II and in dedication to world peace". There are some blowholes in the cliff in front, which spray water up under the right condition.
The first you see is the tank, but then you notice the stairs and the dug in gun at the end. You can get behind the gun by following the trail through the opening in the cliff. The small trail continues into the woods, but seems to lead to nowhere.