Pen & Sword- Images of War- Hell in the Pacific- The Palau Islands 1944
Author: Jon Diamond
Paperback, 235 pages with 250 black and white photographs and illustrations
The Images of War series from Pen & Sword are always vast volumes of rare or never before seen photos set in a specific time and place of focus. This volume in the series gives us a look at operations in the Palau Islands during 1944. These operations began as part of a plan to prevent Japanese air interdiction against General MacArthur's planned invasion of the Philippines to fulfill his promise to return and take back from the Japanese. The book is broken down into chapters that look in-depth at the various stages of the campaign and each chapter features specific maps to help highlight the actions.
- Strategic Prelude to the Palau Islands Campaign- with maps featuring Strategic Overview of the Pacific War 1941-42, The Solomon Islands and Bismark Archipelago in the South and Southwestern Pacific Areas of Operation 1942-43, Allied Counteroffensive Axes in the Central, South, and Southwest Pacific Areas of Operation 1943-44, Convergence of Allied Pacific Counteroffensives 1944, and The Palau Islands 1944
- Terrain, Fortifications, and Weapons- Proposed Landing Zones and Major Locales on Peleliu Island map
- Commanders and Combatants
- American IIIAC Landings on Peleliu, Angaur, and Ulithi- Landings from 15-20 September (D-Day to D+5) map
- Hellacious Combat on Peleliu- Umurbrogol Mountain and Angaur Island (17-20 September) maps
As per usual from other books in the series, each chapter begins with a thorough overview of what has led up to the campaign and the actions of both sides in the conflict. The early maps in the first chapter gives the reader an idea on where these more obscure islands are located in the grand scheme of the war. The maps get more detailed later in the book- specific to the phases of the campaign for each chapter. From there, the best part ends each chapter- a great selection of photos featuring armor and vehicles, aircraft, and the men on both sides. I've purchased a lot of Pacific War books and can honestly say I don't recall seeing too many of these photos at all so was enthralled. I wasn't able to get the best scans of the page due to the size of the book, but I've tried selecting an assortment of images to give a taste of what's on offer.
IJA tankettes during the Sino-Japanese War
Japanese forces on the move
75mm pack Howitzer and a wrecked Type 97
A 37mm- gunned Type 95 Ha-Go in hull-down position
I am not always the absolute best at finding glaring errors in books but anyone who knows me knows that I have an affection for one of the prominent offensive USN weapons throughout most of the Pacific War-- the SBD Dauntless. I realize this is AMPS, but this was a glaring error in the book to me when the caption describing the next photo labeled this as the TBF Avenger. I didn't pick up on any other noticeable issues in the book, so this was just a one-time flub, but it stood out to me. That being said, one can't take away the fact that the photos in the book are inspiring for the modeler and historian alike.
One of the more detailed maps
81st Infantry Division troops hunkered down behind an LVT
Another LVT that didn't fare so well against Japanese land mines
Pen & Sword has another great volume in their Images of War series here. The photos alone are worth the price of the book. One haunting image that stays with me after reading the book that I didn't include here was of a Japanese soldier the moment he had thrown a "Bangalore torpedo" at an approaching USMC M4 Sherman. It is just one of many photos that struck me as I read through the book and I have a few ideas for the M4 USMC Sherman I had recently built for a review here. I was planning on just having it on a simple base, but instead I have some thoughts on a piece I'd like to have done for next year's Nationals in Virginia Beach. That alone makes it a great addition to the pile next to the already full bookshelf.
Highly Recommended for builders and historians interested in the island hopping campaigns in the Pacific- particularly centered around the Palau Islands.
Thanks goes out to Pen & Sword and Casemate Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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