WWII: The South West Pacific Area
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I’m always fascinated at how little interest there appears in this theatre of WWII where two Australian armies, and American army group (Sixth & Eighth Armies), New Zealand troops and Allied air and naval units contended against the Japanese in some of the most disease ridden, godforsaken terrain in the world, and where some of the nastiest fighting of the war occurred.
Many authors, some readers, have followed the story in the “Green Books” -the US Army in WWII series, Associated titles are: Victory in Papua, Cartwheel: The Reduction of Rabaul,The Approach to the Philippines, Leyte: The Return to the Philippines and Triumph in the Philippines.
More recent surveys on the New Guinea campaign include: MacArthur's New Guinea Campaign and MacArthur's Jungle War: The 1944 New Guinea Campaign. For an excellent examination of combat see Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific-really good reading! The early Kokoda, Buna & Gona battles are the subject of Bloody Buna, The Ghost Mountain Boys, and A Bastard of a Place: The Australians in Papua. (What fighting was worse than the Kokoda trail?)
Douglas MacArthur is, to say the least, a figure of controversy. Sycophants and detractors have all had their say. I like Geofffrey Perret’sOld Soldiers Never Die, others prefer Manchester’s American Caesar. A good, current, starting point is Frank’s MacArthur (Great Generals). MacArthur’s lieutenants are not a focus of much attention unfortunately. They did produce two rather dry accounts: Our Jungle Road to Tokyo, and From Down Under to Nippon. Neither volume will keep you awake at nights. A short study is We Shall Return!: MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1942-1945, General Walter Krueger: Unsung Hero of the Pacific War, Forged by Fire: Robert L. Eichelberger and the Pacific War and In Caesar's Shadow: The Life of General Robert Eichelberger. See too Eichelberger’s letters to his wife for the inner thoughts of one of MacArthur’s senior lieutenants: Dear Miss Em.
MacArthur's Amphibious Navy: Seventh Amphibious Force Operations covers the numerous assault landings in SWPA, MacArthur's Airman : General George C. Kenney and the War in the Southwest Pacific covers the air campaign, while Macarthur's Ultra: Codebreaking and the War Against Japan is a masterpiece on SIGINT’s contribution to Allied victory in SWPA.
Some short but interesting books are: Green Armor, Jungle Fighters, Hurricane at Biak, and Defending the Driniumor.
The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur by Mark Perry;
certainly looks good.
I have read a book entitled The Thousand Mile War, which is about the campaign in the Aleutians. (It was required reading for personnel stationed in the Aleutians.) Is there another book by this same title about the Southwest Pacific?
It is the same book, the connection I think of with the South Pacific is that Attu and Kiska is where the island hopping strategy was born.