Peleliu World War 2 Memorial Museum
The Peleliu World War 2 Memorial Museum is located in the southwestish part of the island and is an interesting museum. What I found interesting about it was a lot of it's artifacts. It looks like they just went around a dug all the WW2 stuff up. There are rusted out guns, bombs and grenades which I thought was interesting to have in the museum because the grenades are still live. The have other things like helmets with bullet holes in them and old clothing. It does have a fair amount of "filler" material which you can quickly breeze over.
Outside the building there is a peace monument which has a granite slab with a carving of a women longing for eternal peace. What is so special about this slab was that it was exposed to the nuclear blast over Hiroshima, Japan at 8:15 a.m. on August 6,1945.
The museum opens basically when there are people wanting to have a look inside. If I remember correctly, the building was originally used as a Japanese storage facility.
- Museum Visits
Since Peleliu was such a battle site, there is bound to be some wreckage left over. In fact there is quite few vehicles staying lying around. Most of the stuff that I saw, the interiors were gutted and it was basically a shell of a vehicle left. There is stuff from both sides from American AMTRACs to Japanese Zeros. The two vehicles in the pictures are a LVT-4 (Landing Vehicle Tracked) and a LVAT-1 (Landing Vehicle Armoured Tracked). And they are located close to a main road by the runway area.
- Historical Travel
1000 Man Cave
The 1000 Man Cave is the largest of the caves the Japanese used and was the last one to be taken by the Americans. It is a huge cave with many entrances to wander around. The Japanese used it for just about everything. There was a hospital inside in which there are still many bottles laying around, storing all sorts of things needed for a war, sleeping, eating and whatever else. You do have to be careful wandering around the tunnels filled with bats as for there are still explosives laying around. I saw some improvised explosive devices, some broken with only a shell remaining some fully intact (they are pictured in the pictures for this tip) and a mortar with fuzes. It is located between the far northern dock and Klouklubed and alongside the main road.
World War 2 Japanese Cannon
This is probaly one of the more scenic sites to visit in Peleliu. It is a WW2 Japanese cannon slightly inside a cave. You climb a couple flights of stairs and then this is right there. You can walk off to the left which leads to a cave entrance and brings you to the rear of the cannon. When I was there, there was a fair amount of crabs in the cave. This cannon never fired a shot because it is pointed to the east and the Americans did not invade the island from that direction. I believe it is in Hill 205 and it is west of the airstrip.
There have been many stories of Japanese soldiers who held out and some kept the war going because they did not believe that World War 2 had ended. Peleliu was one of the places where this had happened. Second Lieutenant Ei Yamaguchi and 33 of his fellow men continued on a year and a half after WW2 ended and around two and half years after the Battle of Peleliu was over. American patrols and a Japanese admiral were sent to convince them that the war was over and on the 21st of April, 1947, they surrendered. They consisted of 22 army men, 8 navy men and 4 civilian employees. The cave is located in a marsh that is west of the main road that goes south from Klouklubed village. There is a metal sign that says were it is along the road. It is a bit hard to see if you are not looking for it as it is in the jungle a little bit and there are no other buildings around.
Bloody Nose Ridge Monuments
Bloody Nose Ridge was a huge battle site on Peleliu that many American and Japanese lost their lives here. There are two monuments here on the Umurbrogal Mountains, one for the Americans which was the first one here and one for the Japanese which came afterwards. I find it kind of interesting that the Japanese one came afterwards and is so much bigger than the American monument. The American monument is for the First Marine Division and the Japanese monument is for all the Japanese soldiers who lost their lives here. The American one also has the names of the 8 soldiers who won the Medal Of Honor on this island. It is a nice kept area that provides good views of part of the island.
Orane Beach and White Beach
Both Located on the west side of Peleliu they got their names from the Americans who designated them as places to land and invade Peleliu from. Orange Beach is the more important one and the one that was hardest fought for as many men lost there lives here. Orange Beach sits right next to the former American cementary and between the two was an old anti-tank ditch which I was told became a mass grave for Japanese soldiers. So that is something you can think about when you walk between the two. Both beaches I found to be quite relaxing and peaceful.
Japanese Headquarters Communication Center
In between the airstrip and Bloody Nose Ridge is the Japanese Headquarters Communication Center. This was the main building for the Japanese while on Peleliu. Today it is just a shell of what it used to be. The jungle has taken over much of the building especially the roof which I think looks quite nice.
Former President's Grave
The first president of Palau was Haruo Remeliik who was assainated while in office in June of 1985. He was originally from Peleliu and his grave is the one on the left of the picture. The other grave belongs to Mamoru Nakamura who was the first Cheif Justice of Palau and he died 25 April 1992. The graves are located at the north end of Klouklubed and across the street from the state office.
This is the main village on the island (there are only 4 villages if you can call them that) and is where most of the people live and most of the shops are. Klouklubed is a quite a clean place with nice wide streets and friendly people. There are a couple of sights to see here but that will only take you half an hour (including the time it takes to walk in between). There is a nice resort located here that has decent food and rents out bikes. Klouklubed is located in the northern portion of the island.
Former American Cementary
There used to be an American servicemen cementary on Peleliu but the bodies were repatriated back to the USA a few years after World War 2. Today it is a monument. There are 2 large monuments dedicated to the Wildcat Division and a white cross in between the 2. Just to the north are the remains of the church that used to be there. It's a quiet area with well kept grounds. It's location is on the west side of the island just east of Orange Beach.
Site of the First Bombing of Peleliu
This was the sight of the very first bombing of Peleliu during World War 2 that would be the start of one of the bloodiest battles. It was a cave that the Japanese made into a bunker where they stored and I believe made ammunitions. It is a fair size of around 15 metres by 40 metres and 10 metres high or so. The bunker is now pretty much a mess with old metal wreckage from the cave all over and things hanging from the ceiling. There is no lights in here so make sure you bring a flashlight (a torch for you Brits). And another thing is that it is filled wit bugs all over the walls. This place is located to the east of Bloody Nose Ridge.
Besides a place to catch boats, the South Dock is a nice place to kill some time. The most notable feature about this place is that it is lined with old rusting American pontoons. It was the Americans who developed this area during World War 2. There is a nice field with picnic tables and the water here is so very clear that you want to jump into it from the dock. Next to the area is a rocky beach where you can watch eels swimming around, crabs doing their sideways shuffle and clams um, being clams and squirting water if you touch them. Being the South Dock it is located on the southern portion of the island.
Wildcat Division Monument
At the south end of the village of Klouklubed is a monument to the RCT 321 81st Infantry Wildcat Division of the American military. The Wildcat Div. fought battles across Micronesia and especially the Palau Islands. Their slogan was "Wildcats never quit." The monument is just east off the main road and is set in a nice lush area around some people's houses.