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  • Utmost Savagery

    I finished this book on the plane ride to Germany (by retired Col. Joe Alexander if I recall correctly). It was such a good book that I decided to keep reading rather than getting some sleep.

    If you're interested in getting some good background materials while you're playing your campaign game, then this is a good book for you. It has some good background materials on the strategy behind the Tarawa decision and then gets into a good level of detail about the actual battle. There are the usual maps, but what I found most intriguing was a copy of the actual intelligence map produced for the Marine's invasion.

    There are some good stories about individual heroism and the tremendous sacrifices made. There is some material and stories from the few Japanese survivors of the attack, but of course the stories of most of the Japanese defenders died with them.

    Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend that you put it on your short list especially if you have an interest in the Pacific theater; perhaps if you've shied away from PTO, then this book might draw your interest.
    -Marc

  • #2
    Ditto on the book, read it twice.

    But Tarawa isn't really PTO, it's just Jarheads go to the desert and find Japs, lots of Japs... :twisted:
    For the nonce,
    ron mosher
    acerbic curmudgeon and lowly priest in the High Holy Church of ASL

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Utmost Savagery

      Originally posted by mgenberg
      Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend that you put it on your short list especially if you have an interest in the Pacific theater; perhaps if you've shied away from PTO, then this book might draw your interest.
      Seconded. This and ``Storm Landings'', also by Alexander, which provides a good look at the evolution of American amphibious landings and Japanese counter-amphibious defenses from Tarawa through Okinawa, are must-reads to get a feel for the USMC's island-hopping campaign in the Pacific.

      Comment


      • #4
        da priest tells it like he see it.....err right

        Originally posted by da priest View Post
        Ditto on the book, read it twice.

        But Tarawa isn't really PTO, it's just Jarheads go to the desert and find Japs, lots of Japs... :twisted:
        Errr....interesting point of view.

        Regards lodestar

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by da priest View Post
          Ditto on the book, read it twice.

          But Tarawa isn't really PTO, it's just Jarheads go to the desert and find Japs, lots of Japs... :twisted:
          PTO, Please turn over?? (Don't break out into a sweat,I know what it means. ) lcm1
          'By Horse by Tram'.


          I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
          " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mgenberg View Post
            There is some material and stories from the few Japanese survivors of the attack, but of course the stories of most of the Japanese defenders died with them.
            Fourteen Japanese survived, one a warrant officer & another a SNLF petty officer, the remainder privates or junior NCO. All were wounded or apparently suffering from shock or brain concussion. 103 Korean construction laborers survived as well, again mostly wounded, dehydrated, concussed... Altogether less than 5% of the original defenders. As in most other Pacific battles the Japanese simply would not give up. They fought until killed or incapacitated. That led to so many of these battles dragging on long after any other battle with another army would have ended.

            John Wukowitz who has written several other histories of the US Marines authored one on the Battle for Tarawa. It is a nice companion volume to Alexanders book, adding in a few more details.
            Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 29 Nov 13, 20:12.

            Comment


            • #7
              lodestar mouthing off about heroes...someone punch him

              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
              Fourteen Japanese survived, one a warrant officer & another a SNLF petty officer, the remainder privates or junior NCO. All were wounded or apparently suffering from shock or brain concussion. 103 Korean construction laborers survived as well, again mostly wounded, dehydrated, concussed... Altogether less than 5% of the original defenders. As in most other Pacific battles the Japanese simply would not give up. They fought until killed or incapacitated. That led to so many of these battles dragging on long after any other battle with another army would have ended.
              Please refer this post in relation to my current thread on 'How do you define WWII COMBAT veteran'?.
              I want to discuss the distinction between western allied 'heroism' (ie Wake Island Bataan, Arnhem - where the defenders surrendered), and Japanese 'fanaticism' (virtually any battle, anywhere, anytime they fought the western allies) where the defenders fought literally (not just figuratively) to the death.

              The Soviets are sort of in the middle...but that's another tale.

              As I said previously I'm developing (well, re-hashing ones I ran in the early to mid '70's) potential tutorials and need the topics to be as thought-provoking and as uncomfortable as possible.

              Got quite a few in the pipeline.
              Anyone got a favourite topic they think I should run or would like me and my old uni cronies to de-construct?

              Regards lodestar

              Comment


              • #8
                lodestar mouthing off about heroes...someone punch him
                Don't mind if I do;

                Comment


                • #9
                  Betio

                  Originally posted by mgenberg View Post
                  I finished this book on the plane ride to Germany (by retired Col. Joe Alexander if I recall correctly). It was such a good book that I decided to keep reading rather than getting some sleep.

                  If you're interested in getting some good background materials while you're playing your campaign game, then this is a good book for you. It has some good background materials on the strategy behind the Tarawa decision and then gets into a good level of detail about the actual battle. There are the usual maps, but what I found most intriguing was a copy of the actual intelligence map produced for the Marine's invasion.

                  There are some good stories about individual heroism and the tremendous sacrifices made. There is some material and stories from the few Japanese survivors of the attack, but of course the stories of most of the Japanese defenders died with them.

                  Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend that you put it on your short list especially if you have an interest in the Pacific theater; perhaps if you've shied away from PTO, then this book might draw your interest.
                  Check out ONE SQUARE MILE OF HELL, another look at this nightmare.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How younger posters might view heroism?

                    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                    Don't mind if I do;

                    Good stuff.
                    Used to try and get that kind reaction outta freshers and undergrads back in the day. Nothing like tellin' those little plebs...'Well you might not like it Edwin (or Cuthbert or Desmond et al...) but it's the truth" (didn't matter if it was or wasn't, just needed to get out of their comfort zone.

                    However, these days as I've said before:
                    "...my original question remains:
                    If the defenders of Wake, Arnhem and Dien Bien Phu were heroes all, what were the defenders of Tarawa, Saipan and Iwo?

                    I'm guessing my gut instinct that this question is just a tad too uncomfortable for modern folks may be right!
                    As you may have guessed it's really a simple exercise in making students push the envelope. Used to be standard operating procedure back in the day.
                    But C21st kids? I don't know ....little darlin's might be a tad too sensitive?
                    too limited? too jingoistic?
                    What if they go runnin' to mummy and daddy....

                    "Daddy, mummy Mr lodestar made my head hurt!!! He said it's not just Aussies that can be heroes. Make him stop"

                    "It's alright, precious, we'll complain to the Chancellor and contact the media"

                    See my dilemma?"

                    Or am I just being a bit too hard on the younger generation?

                    Regards lodestar

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The line between ‘heroism’ and ‘fanaticism’

                      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                      Fourteen Japanese survived, one a warrant officer & another a SNLF petty officer, the remainder privates or junior NCO. All were wounded or apparently suffering from shock or brain concussion. 103 Korean construction laborers survived as well, again mostly wounded, dehydrated, concussed... Altogether less than 5% of the original defenders. As in most other Pacific battles the Japanese simply would not give up. They fought until killed or incapacitated. That led to so many of these battles dragging on long after any other battle with another army would have ended.
                      As I outlined in my thread on defining WWII Combat veterans:

                      I want get a feel for how comfortable younger students and indeed posters on this forum are with discussing (just discussing people - not necessarily coming to conclusions), the line between ‘heroism’ and ‘fanaticism’.

                      Why for example (and these are only a few examples) do we always refer to the Japanese defence of Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima etc as ‘fanatical’ but the defence of Wake island , the Arnhem perimeter by 1st Airborne Div and the French Paras and Legionnaires at Dien Bien Phu as ‘heroic’??.
                      After all as I pointed out the Japanese garrisons died almost to a man. The allied troops in the aforementioned battles, on the other hand eventually surrendered (albeit after a valiant but hopeless defence).

                      . Is it a simple prejudice? Yes we all have them. Racially based perhaps - ‘they’ are just different, ‘we’ are ……errr…ummm… well you know ‘normal’ (be honest)?

                      . Is it cultural conditioning? Are ‘we’ are conditioned to have limits to heroism but were ‘they’ conditioned to believe that there was great honour and veneration to be gained by a soldier dying in action and that the greatest dishonour and shame was to surrender?

                      In other words was it virtually impossible for the Japanese garrisons to surrender despite their hopeless situation?
                      As Slim put it, everybody talked about fighting to the last man but the Japanese were the only ones who actually did it.
                      Of course he was right, as cases of western troops fighting to they were completely wiped out, when surrender was an option, are very rare.

                      . Is the whole issue, as I suspect, now-days just too plain uncomfortable for modern students and best avoided?In short are ‘we’ now just not encouraged to push the envelope, lest some precious darlin’ has his or her comfort-zone infringed upon?
                      Serious question.

                      And yep, I do think some on this forum may well have a real problem with comfort-zone infringement.

                      Interested as always in your input."

                      Regards lodestar

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To put it in the terms of educators, it is not a question of PC, it's a question of perspective.
                        At the HS level or my night classes at the local Univ., we discuss this question.
                        In Western culture, we assign the positive concepts to the protagonist. Courage is a highly estimable value to us. To allow this as an ingredient in the protagonist is a high level critical thinking ideal.
                        The Cowboy villain who stands in the street against the "honest man" never has his heroism mentioned. 2 men, same situation, only the "good guy" is considered Brave.

                        The same applies to the "Drug dealer-LE" etc.

                        The Japanese were not only our enemies, they were "different". To imbue them with positive connotations was not allowable in the Post-war era.
                        My Avatar: Ivan W. Henderson Gunner/navigator B-25-26. 117 combat missions. Both Theaters. 11 confirmed kills. DSC.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                          Interested as always in your input."

                          Regards lodestar

                          At the risk of encouraging the guy who seems to enjoy the sight of his own posts more than anyone else here...

                          (yeah, I'm being sarcastic. But not, you know, a lot)


                          Japanese tenacity was not a matter of being trapped on one small island, as is sometimes said. They had lots of room to maneuver in places like Burma and P.I., and they fought the same way there.

                          Downed pilots would pull their pistols on US boats that tried to rescue them, so there was an element of fanaticism there as well.

                          But towards the end you had a 10% surrender rate on Okinawa, "volunteer" Kamikaze pilots strafing their own control towers as they left on their final missions, and finally mass-surrenders in Manchuria.
                          This does not make their bravery a hollow thing, it means that they were just as human as the next guy... no matter how hard their propaganda tried to sell the idea that they were not.
                          And nowhere were they trying harder to sell that notion than to their own people.

                          What they did do was succeed in creating a cultural mythology, one equivalent to the old Spartan code; "Come back victorious with this shield, or dead on it."
                          Loosing a battle was one thing, at least you tried.
                          But, if you happened to be taken alive by the enemy, you simply didn't exist for the folks back home anymore. Almost as if you had never been in the first place, people would avoid talking about you and your little shrine would be well hidden if it existed at all.

                          And as far as I know, it didn't matter if you were knocked unconscious by your own artillery and woke up in a hospital on the US side of the lines, or simply walked over and gave up. You became a non-person back home. This lead to captive Japanese becoming excellent sources of information- with nowhere to go back to, the only choice was to ingratiate yourself with your captors if you wanted to have any kind of a life.

                          Naturally, this was all pretty extreme, even by Japan's standards, and they chucked all that nonsense when the people promoting it lead Japan to what was not only its worst defeat, but the first war they had lost in hundreds of years.
                          Last edited by The Exorcist; 07 Dec 13, 21:52.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            lodestar announcing plagerism before it happens!!!

                            Originally posted by holly6 View Post
                            To put it in the terms of educators, it is not a question of PC, it's a question of perspective.
                            At the HS level or my night classes at the local Univ., we discuss this question.
                            In Western culture, we assign the positive concepts to the protagonist. Courage is a highly estimable value to us. To allow this as an ingredient in the protagonist is a high level critical thinking ideal.
                            The Cowboy villain who stands in the street against the "honest man" never has his heroism mentioned. 2 men, same situation, only the "good guy" is considered Brave.

                            The same applies to the "Drug dealer-LE" etc.

                            The Japanese were not only our enemies, they were "different". To imbue them with positive connotations was not allowable in the Post-war era.
                            An erudite, articulate and perceptive answer.
                            I shall shamelessly and blatantly pilfer this answer and offer it as my very own in forthcoming tutes (still years away at present).

                            When students express their astonishment at my acumen, intellectual courage as well as my astounding sense of fairness and perspective I shall gain much glory!

                            I shall then remind them, through one of my favourite taglines, just why they are there:

                            "One must cross the threshold of greatness. Then and only then can one comprehend the true nature of the one called lodestar - for many the quest to cross that threshold becomes their life’s work.”


                            Regards lodestar

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                              An erudite, articulate and perceptive answer.
                              I shall shamelessly and blatantly pilfer this answer and offer it as my very own in forthcoming tutes (still years away at present).

                              When students express their astonishment at my acumen, intellectual courage as well as my astounding sense of fairness and perspective I shall gain much glory!

                              I shall then remind them, through one of my favourite taglines, just why they are there:

                              "One must cross the threshold of greatness. Then and only then can one comprehend the true nature of the one called lodestar - for many the quest to cross that threshold becomes their life’s work.”


                              Regards lodestar
                              Damn. I always wanted a rep from Lodestar. I shall instead, print this, frame it and display the acknowledgement on my class room wall.

                              All hail Lodestar!
                              My Avatar: Ivan W. Henderson Gunner/navigator B-25-26. 117 combat missions. Both Theaters. 11 confirmed kills. DSC.

                              Comment

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