hawkeye (hawkeye7) wrote,

  • Mood:

Book Review: The Odd Couple

In an earlier entry or two I bitched about the poor quality of popular WWII books but I didn't offer any examples. So I thought I'd pick on this trash which I found in a remainder bin. The author uses fairly well-known books, particularly Clayton James (Years of MacArthur) and Horner (Blamey) as sources but not primary documents although he does include some information from an unpublished memoir and some interviews of doubtful accuracy. You could still write a good book from this if you understood what you are talking about but not this guy. Apart from a legion of errors, it takes a snarky, mean-spirited and truly offensive tone towards our American allies. There is no real attempt to comprehend the strategy and tactics of Generals MacArthur and Blamey.I'm told the University of Queensland Press stands behind the book. I find thisimpossible to believe.
31It was the British government, not the Australian which initiated the transfer of the AIF to the Far East
32Blackforce was not retained in Java over the opposition of Prime Minister Curtin. Stangely, this sad story, with many twists and turns, is correctly covered in the author's alleged source, Wigmore's official history, which sort of makes you wonder if the author really read it.
55Blamey was involved in the raising of the 2nd Division under Major General J. G. Legge, but it was in 1915, during the Gallipoli Campaign. He wasn't its Chief of Staff but AA&QMG
59Blamey took command of the 3rd Division on the death of Major General H. E. Elliott in 1931, not "throughout his his years as Police Commissioner" (which began in 1925).
122After the way the Americans had been defeated in the Philippines and the Australians in Malaya, one could forgive MacArthur for taking the Japanese threat on the Kokoda Trail seriously.
124"Australia will never enjoy the luxury of dependence on a full-time Army and in a time of major conflict the army will always contain a majority of part time soldiers". Australia currently depends on a full-time army an in the event of another major war will probably have to rely on  newly raised conscript army, as the nation did in WWII.
124"Rowell enjoyed air superiority and secure lines of supply". Unfortunately for General Rowell, he enjoyed no such thing.
125"Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelburger, the newly arrived commander of I Corps". Eichelburger was only a major general at this time.
131"The US 3rd Fleet landed the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal on 7 August". The 3rd Fleet was not so named until 15 March 1943.
133MacArthur's brief visit to Port Moresby on 2 October 1942 was to confer with General Blamey about logistical difficulties, not for publicity. He chose to visit his subordinate rather than summon General Blamey back to Brisbane.
143Brigadier General Willoughby was MacArthur's G-2, not G-3
152The practicality of starving out the Buna garrison has been discussed by various authors and the consensus is that it wasn't practical if the Japanese were still being resupplied and reinforced.
154Halsey's six divisions were hardly fresh, as three of them had fought on Guadalcanal.
155The 2nd Engineer Special Brigade never operated the large LCT (Landing Craft, Tank).
155LCM stands for Landing Craft, Mechanized not "Material"
155Admiral Barbey commanded the 7th Amphibious Force, not "fleet"
155An APD could do much better than 18 knots; 28 was normal; over 30 was not unusual.
163The attack on Finschhafen involved 10 LCMs not 8.
163 Strangely, the author is unaware that the fighting at Finschhafen continued for another two months after 2 October. Another 283 Australians were killed and 1,014 wounded, although he cites Dexter's Official History. The campaigns of 1944 and 1945 in Western New Guinea and the Phillipines are hardly covered at all
181There's a quote from Admiral Barbey relating to the overhaul of his LSTs and LCIs which the author doesn't understand.
Tags: books

  • Riding to work

    Bike path is busier than Burke Street these days.

  • Freezing

    Coldest winter in 14 years. Subzero temperatures every morning.

  • Cycling to work

    Normally winter means less cyclists on the paths, but for some reason there are more than ever this year. Passed two dozen on the way in to work (not…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic
    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.