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American Guerilla: The Forgotten Heroics of Russell W. Volckmann, by Mike Guardia

Discussion in 'The Pacific and CBI' started by ColHessler, Jun 30, 2022.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Length: 226 pages, including appendices

    This is the story of the U.S. Army officer who had the largest guerilla force on Luzon during the Japanese occupation. We start a forward where the author tells us of why he wrote this biography, and how he felt Volckmann doesn't get the credit he deserved for helping create the Special Forces.

    We go to Volckmann's early life and his stationing in the Philippines. He gets command of a regiment , even though he was only a captain, during the Japanese invasion. With its end, he goes north through Japanese lines to link up with other Americans in northern Luzon. He gets two neighboring tribes who don't like each other to work together against the common enemy.

    As time passes, he gets strength together to carry the fight to the enemy. He finally gets a radio to call Australia and , in 1945, helps with the American landing at Lingayen Gulf. MacArthur tells the U.S. Sixth Army to use Volckmann's men not only to spearhead attacks, but to use American artillery and air support, with forward air controllers, to take the port of Aparri, and the copper mines of Lepanto.

    With the end of the war, Volckmann writes Field Manual FM 31-20, Operations Against Guerilla Forces, in 1950. He helps the U.S. effort in Korea, both in combatting North Korean guerillas, but also in helping the UN forces create their own guerillas. Guardia also tells us that Colonel Aaron Bank, the "Father of Special Forces", credits Volckmann with developing the position, planning and policy papers that helped sell the establishment of the Special Forces.

    We finish with the rest of Volckmann's career, culminating in his being assistant division commander of the 82nd Airborne.
    There is also a copy of the citation for the Distinguished Service Cross he was awarded at the end of the war.

    There's a good deal of detail from Volckmann's own journal and papers of his command, plus his second-in-command, Donald Blackburn.

    We also hear from detractors of his, such as Robert Lapham. He criticized Volckmann for trying to take over Lapham's unit, and for not keeping his men in line when it came to getting rid of enemy spies, and so forth. Guardia chalks this up to petty jealousy, and having read Lapham's book myself, I concur.

    This is a work I'm happy to recommend, and I give it 4 stars out of 5.
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Jun 5, 2008
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    Saw a movie in the PI, local boy becomes genius at military strategy and tactics. I think there are echoes of this story in that movie, made more saleable by making the hero a Filipino.
    ColHessler likes this.

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