Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I don't know how many of you are watching the miniseries "The Pacific" on HBO. If you aren't I can recommend it based on the first two episodes.
To prepare for this, I re-read one of my favorite all-time military books, "Touched with Fire" subtitled "The Land War in the South Pacific" by Eric Bergerud. Dan and I have been sending books back and forth and he sent this to me; I can't seem to find my original copy, so it worked out well.
The book covers the South Pacific battles between the US, Australia and Japan in the late 1942 through early 1944 time period, with most of the focus on Guadalcanal (Marines and US Army) and New Guinea (Australian Army & Australian Militia). Topics include the individual battles, as well as the effects of disease on the forces and the early, pitched battles when Japanese forces were at their apex in terms of capabilities.
My knowledge of the Australian Army in the Pacific was sadly incomplete; I always knew about their work in the desert but this book really helped cement their story. The author views the Australian forces as the finest military force in the Pacific, which is quite a statement when compared against the US Marines and Army, as well as the very competent Japanese opponent (at their height).
Another great book by Bergerud is "Fire In the Sky" which covered the air war in the South Pacific over that time frame; I loaned my copy to someone else and am cursing myself. Will likely end up buying it used in softcover after watching the series. To complete recommendations, on the front of "Touched with Fire" is a blurb for "Six Armies in Normandy" by Keegan which also is a great book because it covers armed forces other than the US, Britain and Germany such as Canada and the Free French which made significant contributions to the war effort.