Adie Roberts takes his first look at one of the images of war books to see what actual pictures can be transformed into a diorama, and see just how good these rare photographs are.
This images of war book cover the dramatic events that befell both the Gilbert and Ellice Pacific islands. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, the Gilbert Islands were occupied by the Japanese.
The book is a softback book with a glued spine covering pagination of 170
Published by Pen & Sword
Author Jim Moran
Jim Moran is a Yorkshireman who pursued a career as a civil engineering surveyor working on major projects, both in the UK and overseas. Jim is an expert on the history of the United States Marine Corps and a member of many US Marine associations. He has assisted Hollywood productions on uniforms and equipment details including Flags of our Fathers, The Pacific (HBO mini-series) and Windtalkers. His contribution to the Corps was acknowledged in June 2018 when he was made an honorary US Marine.
Introduction and Acknowledgements
The Gilbert and Ellice Islands: Pre Second World War
The Japanese Occupy the Gilbert Islands
US Marine Raiders Assault Butaritari (Makin)
Japanese Build-Up in the Gilbert Islands
The United States Occupies the Ellice Islands
The United States Assault on Tarawa, Makin and Apamama
The United States Occupies Makin and Tarawa
The book is about the American assaults on the Gilbert islands by US forces in (Operation Galvanic) they were given the 'green light' in particular, the taking of Tarawa (Betio), by the US Army and Marine troops. D-Day was set for 20th November 1943. The taking of these islands was very costly in human lives. The book is one of them, much more pictures than words type, which ultimately makes a great research book for modellers that like building realistic dioramas like myself.
Although this is a picture heavy book I was very pleasantly surprised by just how much information and historical content there is, I particularly liked the first chapter and learnt a lot historically about the islands that were under the protectorate of the British since 1892. The British naval captains learnt an incredible amount of knowledge on seafaring around the Pacific islands this included the ability to navigate by the stars at night.
On the 9th and 10th of December 1941 just three days after the surprise attack at Pearl Harbour, they built a Seaplane base at Butaritari.
In August 1942 Two submarines surfaced just offshore of the island of Butaritari, Makin island, the submarines in question was the USS Nautilus (SS-168) and the USS Argonaut (SS-166). Onboard were 222 men of the US Marine 2nd Raider Battalion (Carlson's Raiders).
At 0300 hours 17th of August, the two submarines surfaced and hatches opened the Marines were greeted by the most atrocious weather conditions Major General Oscar Peatross, then a first officer described the scene.
The Nautilus surfaced on schedule, hatches opened and we were met by weather conditions for which the adjective which was atrocious. The rain was coming down in torrents, a strong wind was whipping whitecaps. Seas were running high and the submarine was rolling and pitching heavily. As Marines prepared to go ashore, two rubber boats containing machine guns, ammunition and medical supplies were swept away.
The book continues in this fashion providing historical events that took place in the Pacific with plenty of pictures showing the story of the battles being played out in the Pacific, being told by the author Jim Moran as he continues with the action and pictures. All of the pictures in the book are covered with captions and information about the pictures being shown, some of these pictures do show the horrific nature that this bloody battle played out. I must admit that being a modeller who enjoys making dioramas that some of the pictures are extremely valuable for the factual making of buildings, landscapes, trees, and just how the fighting was with gun emplacements and soldiers dug in. Some of the pictures I did find fascinating like the burnt-out zero that had me thinking of a diorama.
Images of war books are something I shall be taking more of an interest in especially if they are all as good a read as this one, and carry as many pictures. I am surprised at myself for not taking more notice of these titles in the past, something I will address now, this book was so easy to pick up and read and left me skipping some of the pictures to carry on reading about the Marine Raiders attacking in 1942. As for the pictures, for me, it is the equivalent of being a young boy going to a model shop with your birthday money not sure what model you want to buy first as there are so many fantastic ones to choose from. The way the book has been written and laid out I have to say a heartedly well done to Pen & Sword and of course the author Jim Moran
Highs: So many, the book itself is so well written and laid out so you have plenty to read and the pictures some showing the truly horrific nature of war. Lows: Not much really other than the book ending. Verdict: Out of all theatres of war during World War II, the Pacific is the one, this book has given me more than an insight into this particular theatre, this is one book I highly recommend.
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