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September 15, 1944 – News of The World – NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
September 15, 1944 – a busy news day on just about all the battle fronts. News that Marines had landed on Peleliu island, part of the Palau Island chain in the South Pacific begins one of the longest battles in the war so far. Peleliu Island was occupied by about 11,000 Japanese of the 14th Infantry Division with Korean and Okinawan labourers. Colonel Kunio Nakagawa, commander of the division’s 2nd Regiment, led the preparations for the island’s defense.
After their losses in the Solomons, Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas, the Imperial Army assembled a research team to develop new island-defense tactics. They chose to abandon the old strategy of stopping the enemy at the beach, where they were exposed to naval gunfire. The new tactics would only disrupt the landings at the water’s edge and depend on an in-depth defense farther inland. Colonel Nakagawa used the rough terrain to his advantage, by constructing a system of heavily fortified bunkers, caves, and underground positions all interlocked into a “honeycomb” system. The traditional “banzai charge” attack was also discontinued as being both wasteful of men and ineffective. These changes would force the Americans into a war of attrition, requiring increasingly more resources.
Meanwhile, on the European fronts – Allied First Army forces had pierced the Siegfried Line some 8 miles into Germany, and were building up their assault on the city of Aachen and were surrounding it from three sides. Russian troops were shelling Warsaw, while the American 5th Army had advanced in Italy and were within sight of the Arno River.
And back home – the Hurricane which struck the Eastern Seaboard was now heading back out to sea, leaving a trail of destruction from North Carolina to Massachusetts. Twelve deaths were reported from the storm which had developed winds between 80-100 mph.
And that’s just a little of what happened, this September 15, 1944 as reported by NBC’s Morning News.