During the early days of World War II in the Pacific, about a month after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the Australian military determined that it would have to sacrifice its small garrison at Rabaul on the island of New Britain. Soon thereafter, the forces of Imperial Japan occupied Rabaul, either capturing or killing (and often both) the Australian soldiers stationed there, and then turned Rabaul into the most fortified base in the Pacific Theater. For the duration of the war, Rabaul would be targeted by intense Allied bombing runs but would remain in Japanese hands because it was just too formidable a target to invade.
Remarkably, Rabaul has largely been overlooked by historians and there has been little written on the subject. Indeed, a quick search yielded only two recent books, and both were written by Bruce Gamble. This week, I opened Gamble’s Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942-April 1943 and found in it everything that I want to find in a history book.
Read the full review at BiblioBuffet.