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Hell in the Central Pacific 1944 (Paperback)

The Palau Islands

WWII Photographic Books Japan & the Pacific Front WWII Photographic Books Military

By Jon Diamond
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 250 b/w illustrations
ISBN: 9781526762160
Published: 28th July 2020

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In September 1944, to prevent Japanese air interdiction against General MacArthur’s planned invasion of the Southern Philippines, the Americans attacked Peleliu and Angaur in the Palau group of the Western Caroline Islands. Admiral Halsey, commanding the US Third Fleet, feared the heavily defended Palaus would be costly for his III Amphibious Corps comprising the 1st Marine Division and the 81st Infantry Division.

While Angaur fell in four days, on Peleliu the Japanese resisted tenaciously using their underground fortifications on the Umurbrogel Ridge overlooking the airfield. It was only after over two months’ bitter fighting that the Americans finally controlled the Island. Despite the heavy cost, the benefits of this hard fought and costly victory were doubtful. In the event, Mindanao and other Southern Philippine Islands were bypassed by MacArthur in favour of a direct assault on Leyte on 20 October. But, as the graphic images and well researched text bear witness, there is no denying the courage and determination shown by the attacking US forces.

Another interesting account of a major action within the overall story of the American Island-Hopping Campaign across the Pacific during WW2. Lots of detail in the pictures which many modellers will enjoy, along with informative text on the progress of the campaign.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

Overall, it’s an excellent historical reference and serves as a salutary reminder of the reality of combat in the late war South Pacific – five mushroom heads.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

The book from pen and sword it's so well written with more pictures than words throughout most of the book, However, there are some chapters like the first couple that are not just interesting but very informative I found myself from time to time pausing to take in the scenes in some of the pictures. It certainly is I book that shows not just the triumph but also of the tragedy and the harrowing images that these young Marines to this day are still carrying with them.
For modellers especially diorama modellers I believe that this book would be extremely helpful in you trying to recreate any of the battles of the central Pacific islands. For enthusiasts in military history then again, this book would be of value to you with its informative professionally written chapters and the huge number of pictures some of which have probably never been seen before I truly recommend this book.

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Armorama

Years ago now, acting on a reference from the late scholar, soldier and author, Paul Fussell, I contacted an American bookseller and bought Eugen B Sledge's 'With the Old Breed'. Sledge had served as a Marine infantryman in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese at Okinawa and Peleliu, and somehow managing to survive. It's a harrowing account and still one of my most treasured books.

'Hell in the Central Pacific' puts into pictures what Sledge put in words, and the next time I re-read Sledge's account I shall have Hell in the Central Pacific next to me. The British Army faced its fearless and ruthless enemy in the jungles of Burma, Malaya and North-east India; for the American infantry though, it was the islands of the Pacific, each one heavily defended and every inch of land hotly contested.

Great photographs, detailed maps and economic text make this a very useful reference work and snapshot of the bitter fighting in this part of the world in 1944.

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Paul Nixon
 Jon Diamond

About Jon Diamond

Jon Diamond MD is a kidney specialist in the USA with a deep interest in the Second World War. He is a keen collector of photographs. His Stilwell and the Chindits, War in the South Pacific, Invasion of Sicily, Invasion of the Italian Mainland: Salerno to Gustav Line, 1943-1944, Onto Rome 1944; Anzio and Victory at Cassino, Beyond Rome to the Alps; Across the Arno and Gothic Line, 1944-1945, Op Plunder - The Rhine River Crossing and MacArthur’s Papua New Guinea Campaign are all published by Pen and Sword in the Images of War series.

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