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Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943

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  • Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943

    Just finished Fire and Fortitude by John McManus. Overall I found it interesting on a topic mostly ignored in isolating the US Army's earlier war trials and tribulations in 535 pages. Some of the information has been covered in other books but this still was a good introduction of the theater and personalities begging for additional follow up into books. Spanning the period with chapters on the Philippines, China, New Guinea, Borneo, the Aleutians and finishing with Makin. Conditions of the large number of POWs is also covered. Towards the final chapters it seemed to cover less in detail than it should maybe due to writer's fatigue or publisher's limits. Throughout the book one learns of the appalling conditions American troops endured and the varying levels of leadership which often made the conditions and fighting worse due to ambition, jealousy and incompetence. One gets a particularly negative view of MacArthur and one still wonders how he was not relieved or reassigned. I like McManus as a writer having read about every book he has written and this one was an interesting addition to my library. Based upon the range of 41-43 expect a second volume.

    If anyone else has read this it would be interesting to hear other impressions.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Major Mike View Post
    Just finished Fire and Fortitude by John McManus. Overall I found it interesting on a topic mostly ignored in isolating the US Army's earlier war trials and tribulations in 535 pages. Some of the information has been covered in other books but this still was a good introduction of the theater and personalities begging for additional follow up into books. Spanning the period with chapters on the Philippines, China, New Guinea, Borneo, the Aleutians and finishing with Makin. Conditions of the large number of POWs is also covered. Towards the final chapters it seemed to cover less in detail than it should maybe due to writer's fatigue or publisher's limits. Throughout the book one learns of the appalling conditions American troops endured and the varying levels of leadership which often made the conditions and fighting worse due to ambition, jealousy and incompetence. One gets a particularly negative view of MacArthur and one still wonders how he was not relieved or reassigned. I like McManus as a writer having read about every book he has written and this one was an interesting addition to my library. Based upon the range of 41-43 expect a second volume.

    If anyone else has read this it would be interesting to hear other impressions.
    mACaRTHUR GETS a bad rap. In hindsight, he did lose in the Philippines,- but the money to garrison the island of Luzon was never forthcoming until the eleventh hour- much the rest of the archipelago. For example, there was no rial link from Manilla to 'Bataan. the decision not to purchase the Douglas DB-7 in 1938 meant that he was saddled with obsolete aircraft.

    A dammed if I do, dammed if I don't scenario.
    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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    • #3
      A lot of troops and equipment was at sea or heading to the West Coast when the war started. Some equipment like the 3 inch AA guns was supposed to be replaced by 90mm guns, but all they had was 3 inch guns when the New Mexico Guard went to Manila. The American Army in the Philippines was in peacetime mode as well. The M-3 Stuart tanks arrived in October or so and were put in storage. Nobody had removed the weatherproofing or cleaned the cannon barrels. This was the job of the Ordinance Corps and no one made them do their jobs. When they did reach the field, some old General would assign them to guarding an airfield.

      If FDR had not been afraid of MacArthur's Republican connections, we might have got a better response on Luzon.

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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      • #4
        The political influence with Republicans for MacArthur seemed weak at this point. He was part of one faction in the Army opposed to Pershing and his followers. Postwar WW I it appeared that there was a battle going on for top assignments and influence as I can't figure out how MacArthur ever became Supt. of West Point and then Chief of Staff unless he had some back room supporters in Hoover's administration.

        MacArthur failed to follow the war plans which he was obligated to do and put his troops into a battle they were not able to fight. His arrogance and poor generalship caused much misery. He failed to go and see the Philippine forces he was so proud of prewar staying in his airconditioned hotel suite. I see a trend in books about him being far more critical the later they are written, Much of history needs to be aged a bit to get a better perspective on the actual outcome and the decisions made.

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