From June to August 1943, outnumbered Japanese engaged some 4,000 US infantrymen untried in jungle warfare in the Solomon Islands. A military historian depicts this nearly forgotten battle to take the Munda airfield, one of the first sustained offensive actions to turn the tide in the Pacific. Originally published by Orion Books in 1989.
The New Georgia campaign, part of the WW II struggle for the Solomons chain in the Pacific, was concerned chiefly with the capture of the Japanese airfield at Munda. On the American side, most of the fighting was done by the inexperienced troops of the Army's 43rd Division, commanded in turn by Major-Generals John Hester and John Hodge. After a two-month campaign in the summer of 1943, the heavily outnumbered and outgunned Japanese were forced to retreat. Hammel, author of many military histories, writes here of a relatively uninterest ing campaign, one with unimaginative tactics on both sides and with piecemeal commitment of U.S. forces. About the only feature that distinguished the campaign was widespread "combat fatigue," a condition which, according to Hammel, was first defined and diagnosed at New Georgia. And unlike other historians, he fails to note that the level of leadership and soldiering alike was so poor during the early part of the campaign that demoralization was inevitable. Photos.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Pacifica Military History
May 18, 1999
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