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WWII and the south pacific, today..


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#1 sniper1946

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 08:22 AM

some of the islands relics today..

Journal: WWII-Battle of Tarawa

#2 Volga Boatman

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 09:10 AM

excellent site and great photos. I have a friend who went to Kiribati to teach local children there. She came back with photos and shell casings, marvelling at the small size of Betio, and the concentration of dead people that must have been present.

The attoll is about 1 degree from the equator, and the Marines that landed there were testing out new uniforms made of NON-POROUS MATERIAL. The effect has been described as being "Wrapped in plastic", and it only makes me shudder to think of the condition of those Marines at the end of the 72 hours it took to secure this hellhole.

I live in the tropics myself, with real monsoonal 'build-ups' every 'wet' season. This only reinforces my admiration for these fellows of both sides.

"Time" magazine compared this battle to "Balleau Wood" and "Bunker Hill". Both were slaughter pens for one side or another.

Tarawa was certainly no different.
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#3 USMCPrice

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 09:53 AM

Volga Boatman wrote:

the Marines that landed there were testing out new uniforms made of NON-POROUS MATERIAL. The effect has been described as being "Wrapped in plastic",


You might want to check your source on this. The Marines that landed at Tarawa were wearing either the M-41 utility uniform or the P-42 reversable camo variant, or a combination of the two. The M-41 was, IIRC adopted on the Marine Corps birthday, 10 Nov 1941. The M-41 was made of a sage green, cotton herringbone twill fabric and had been used in all offensive Pacific campaigns prior to Tarawa. The P-42 was of the same material as the M-41 but printed with a reversable camo pattern. This uniform had seen service prior to the Tarawa operation also, though not as extensively.
"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f**k with me, I'll kill you all."Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."Gen. Alfred Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps

#4 Volga Boatman

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 10:16 PM

Source here is William Manchester, from his autobiography of the Pac War, "Goodbye Darkness"...
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#5 1986CamaroZ28

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 10:24 PM

A fake autobiography.
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#6 Volga Boatman

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 02:57 AM

Have you ever read the bloody thing?

Doesn't sound like it....

Manchester was at Sugar Loaf Hill....Where were you?
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#7 USMCPrice

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 03:02 AM

Source here is William Manchester, from his autobiography of the Pac War, "Goodbye Darkness"...

I read the book 30 years ago, when it came out, and remember enjoying it. If Manchester did in fact make this statement, (don't get me wrong, I don't doubt you, I belive he wrote what you said but, I just don't have the book in front of me), he is incorrect.
"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f**k with me, I'll kill you all."Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."Gen. Alfred Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps

#8 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 03:04 AM

Manchester was a sergant in the Marine Corps and served on Okinawa towards the end of the war where he was wounded. His military experiance and historical knowledge are limited. Post war he went into journalism.

I would not credit him as a highly reliable source on Tarawa.

#9 Volga Boatman

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 06:05 AM

I will get the particular quote when I can rustle up a copy of "Goodbye Darkness".

I would tend to believe him on this particular issue, as he wore the darned uniform, unlike ourselves.
The auto-bio is certainly not an historical tome, but certain experiences he can attest to, so I'm inclined to go with his views.

None of us here have ever worn this particular make of uniform, (yes, I realise that some have served IN uniform, but have we worn this particular garment that Manchester talks about?)...So, until I'm given "the word" from someone who wore it, I'm inclined to believe him.

As for military experience, his time on Okinawa was not the only landing he made. At least he's been there and done that, something precious few people can claim.
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#10 USMCPrice

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 09:41 AM

I will get the particular quote when I can rustle up a copy of "Goodbye Darkness".

I would tend to believe him on this particular issue, as he wore the darned uniform, unlike ourselves.
The auto-bio is certainly not an historical tome, but certain experiences he can attest to, so I'm inclined to go with his views.

None of us here have ever worn this particular make of uniform, (yes, I realise that some have served IN uniform, but have we worn this particular garment that Manchester talks about?)...So, until I'm given "the word" from someone who wore it, I'm inclined to believe him.

As for military experience, his time on Okinawa was not the only landing he made. At least he's been there and done that, something precious few people can claim.


Manchester didn't make the Tarawa Landing, so he doesn't have first hand knowledge of that particular battle. I'm not, in anyway minimizing Manchester's combat experience because Okinawa was a very tough battle, but it was the only landing he made. There was a new uniform introduced to some unit's for the Saipan Landing. Designed by Tarawa hero David Shoup. It didn't perform too well and was disliked by the troops, and didn't see extensive use. Some of it's features were seen in the later P44 version of the utility uniform. As for the uniforms worn at Tarawa, they were the M41 and P42 utilities. The M41, P42 and the later P44, utilities saw service with the Marine Corps into the 1960's alongside other uniforms, until the DoD made them discontinue their use so the military could go with a standardized uniform. The uniform was always well liked by the troops.
"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f**k with me, I'll kill you all."Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."Gen. Alfred Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps

#11 Volga Boatman

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 09:45 AM

Not Tarawa...no...(Good grief)....but he made other landings....long before Okinawa..

In fact, the gutsy fellow got a million dollar wound, and checked himself out of hospital to make a further landing around the flanks at Okinawa, (where he WAS seriously wounded and evac-ed out)....More than most of us would ever do....He was on the Orote peninsula....describes the death of a nintey day wonder during a BEACH LANDING, behind a sea wall they sheltered. (calls him "Tubby", an aquaintance from his washed out days at OC school), who lept over the seawall and charged like he's seen in the movies, while "The Raggedy Assed Marines" watched, as he was warned would happen, ("Look Tubby, you can't just pump your fist and expect these people to follow you...I've been out here a long time...I know!!!")...Manchester had to catch the pieces of him...

BOY!!!...You just haven't read the book, have you?

So thats three for a start...landings that is!!!!

Edited by Volga Boatman, 12 May 2010 - 09:58 AM.

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#12 USMCPrice

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:02 AM

Sorry, Volga but Okinawa was his only battle. I have read the book. I told you I read it many years ago and really liked it. I probably still have it packed away in the basement. Part of the problem is that he interweaves his story with the stories of the rest of the Pacific campaign so it isn't clear to the reader that he wasn't at most of the places he describes. This failing is mentioned in a number of reviews of an otherwise excellent book.
Read the entire review but pay particular attention to the "shortcomings" section.
William Manchester's <i>Goodbye Darkness</i>: An historian remembers War in the Pacific - William Manchester - Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War Books - Epinions.com
"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f**k with me, I'll kill you all."Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."Gen. Alfred Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps

#13 Volga Boatman

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:08 AM

The seawall he describes was part of a landing, and he made at least two of them for Okinawa....so that has to be three....

I read this book many times, it was such a good read. I actually remeber cringing when he described the death of his friends...laughed until I held my sides at his descriptive prose....it was such a great book...

Read it again....you'll see that I'm speaking the truth....

Sorry old boy
Best regards

Christopher Jensen
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#14 Volga Boatman

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:17 AM

That review doesn't change my opinion one bit....read the darned book, rather than a review, and then come at me!

In fact, I'm going to make it my business to reaquire this compelling read just so I can come back here, to THIS very thread and qoute at length...you will see THREE landings (at least) from the pen of WM....TWO for Okinawa, (one of those unopposed) and one for Oruku, which I think, without consulting a map, is Saipan?...I know it's a peninsula...he discovers a storage box of liquor there, and draws the straw for the bottle of officers 100 proof sake...(Quote..."It was, without a doubt, the worst hangover of my life, possibly the worst in military history...")

BTW...the beginning of the review describes him as an HISTORIAN....not just a journo...

Boy!. you guys!...is EVERYTHING on this site from "Googling"?
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#15 1986CamaroZ28

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:03 PM

I read the book, and thought "wow he was at guadalcanal, gloucester, tarawa, saipan" and all these other places because he was talking about him being there in the first person doing things with his hands and talking to people there. And then when he's talking about Okinawa, there's a sentence that says something like "This was only place I was actaully at and did fighting" making every personal expierence he just talked about in the pacific a lie. Sure, he could describe what it could have been like, but he literally doesn't tell you he wasn't there until the end of the book, making him sound like a phony.
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#16 USMCPrice

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 06:43 PM

Christopher,
We are in agreement that it is a very good book. I am not trying to take anything away from it. I have stated I liked it at least three times in this thread.

I read the book 30 years ago, when it came out, and remember enjoying it.....I have read the book. I told you I read it many years ago and really liked it....This failing is mentioned in a number of reviews of an otherwise excellent book.


I am in no way denigrating Manchesters service. Okinawa was a bad place and my hat's off to anybody that fought there for two months. I have stated I'm not trying to belittle Manchesters service.

I'm not, in anyway minimizing Manchester's combat experience because Okinawa was a very tough battle,


It is however, a fact that Okinawa was the only campaign he participated in. He was not in any of the other battles he describes. He does have a valuable perspective because of his Okinawa combat experience, and that's one of the reasons his descriptions of the other engagements are so good.

Manchester states so himself:
"Goodbye Darkness", page 398
"Thus, although I spent seven months on Guadalcanal, I arrived after the Japanese hegira and saw no fighting there....My own combat experience occurred on Okinawa, where I fought for over two months, during which I was wounded twice, was ordered off the line once, and was ultimately carried off the island and evacuated to Saipan."

Volga Boatman wrote:

you will see THREE landings (at least) from the pen of WM....TWO for Okinawa, (one of those unopposed) and one for Oruku, which I think, without consulting a map, is Saipan?

The Oruku peninsula is on Okinawa not Saipan.

Best Regards,
Bob
"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f**k with me, I'll kill you all."Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
"Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary."Gen. Alfred Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps




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