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First 24 Hours of War in the Pacific

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  • First 24 Hours of War in the Pacific

    I just finished reading First 24 Hours of War in the Pacific by Donald J Young.

    It was a pleasant read but it does not offer any fresh perspectives on the events related to the start of the Pacific war.

    What I enjoyed most was its presentation. It concentrates on the first 24 hours ONLY. Typically, the campaigns are described separately, the Malayan Campaign, Pearl Harbour etc.Of course, with some mental calculations, one can easily have an appreciation of how these events are related to each other in terms of time and space. But the author saved us this trouble, in one book you gain an immediate appreciation of the semultaneous (or nearly so) actions of the Japanese. The audacity of their opening moves is emphatically reinforced. I think the planning must have also been excellent but a great degree of these early successes was due to Allied ineptness. A fair amount material had already been written on the latter topic and the author did not dwell on that. He concentrated on mainly the tactical actions that took place between units.

    There are several other interesting points as well.

    Wake, Guam, Midway & Northern China attacks were described in fair detail. In most accounts of the Pacific war, these were only very briefly mentioned. Although a side-show compared to Malaya, Pearl Harbour and Phillippines, the sacrifices of the men at these posts were no less real and it was good education to gain an understanding on what happened in these locations.

    After the two waves of attacks on Pearl Harbour, there were a few tragic blue on blue incidents. THe fate of a F4F squadron coming to land after searching for the enemy was really sad. The American response to try to seek out the Japanese carriers were also described.

    Overall, a pleasant but average read. To me the positives were the 'side-shows' and the concentration on just the first 24 hours.

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