Fury in the Pacific is a
1945 documentary short film about a pair of World War II battles in
the Pacific: the Battle of Peleliu and the Battle of Angaur.
It was co-produced by the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and the U.S.
Marines, and directed by a series of combat cameraman... of whom nine
became casualties of the battles they were filming.
The film is especially noteworthy for its praise of the fighting
abilities of Japanese soldiers (a rarity for American propaganda
during World War II), and its fast-paced editing.
The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate, was fought
between the United States and Japan in the Pacific Theater of World
War II, taking place between September 15 and November 25, 1944. The
U.S. Forces, consisting of the 1st Marine Division and the Army's
81st Infantry Division, fought to capture an airstrip on the small
coral island. U.S. Commander William Rupertus predicted that the
island would be secured within three days, but due to Japan's
well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted
for over two months. The battle remains one of the war's most
controversial, due to its questionable strategic value and high
death toll. When considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had
the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War.
Bombardment of Angaur by USS Tennessee, cruisers, and Dauntless dive
bombers from USS Wasp began on 11 September 1944. Six days later on
17 September, the U.S. 81st Infantry Division commanded by Major
General Paul J. Mueller landed on the northeast and southeast
coasts. Mines and congestion on the beach initially gave more
trouble than Japanese counter-attacks. But resistance stiffened as
the Americans advanced on "the Bowl", a hill near Lake Salome in the
northwest of the island where the Japanese planned to make their
last stand. From 20 September the 322nd battalion repeatedly
attacked the Bowl, but the 750 defenders repulsed them with
artillery, mortars and machine guns.
Gradually hunger, thirst, and
American shellfire and bombing took their toll on the Japanese, and
by 25 September the Americans had penetrated the Bowl. Rather than
fight for possession of the caves, they used bulldozers to seal the
entrances. By 30 September, the island was secure.