A fighter pilot who flew 75 combat missions in World War I, George C. Kenney was a charismatic leader who established himself as an innovative advocate of air power. As General MacArthur's air commander in the Southwest Pacific during World War II, Kenney played a pivotal role in the conduct of the war, but until now his performance has remained largely unexplored. Thomas Griffith offers a critical assessment of Kenney's numerous contributions to MacArthur's war efforts. He depicts Kenney as a staunch proponent of airpower's ability to shape the outcome of military engagements and a commander who shared MacArthur's strategic vision. He tells how Kenney played a key role in campaigns from New Guinea to the Philippines; adapted aircraft, pilots, doctrine, and technology to the demands of aerial warfare in the southwest Pacific; and pursued daring strategies that likely would have failed in the European theater. Kenney is shown to have been an operational and organizational innovator who was willing to scrap doctrine when the situation called for ingenuity, such as shifting to low-level attacks for more effective bombing raids. Griffith tells how Kenney established air superiority in every engagement, provided close air support for troops by bombing enemy supply lines, attacked and destroyed Japanese supply ships, and carried out rapid deployment by airlifting troops and supplies. Griffith draws on Kenney's diary and correspondence, the personal papers of other officers, and previously untapped sources to present a comprehensive portrayal of both the officer and the man. He illuminates Kenney's relationship with MacArthur, General "Hap" Arnold, and other field commanders, and closely examines factors in air warfare often neglected in other accounts, such as intelligence, training, and logistical support. MacArthur's Airman is a rich and insightful study that shows how air, ground, and marine efforts were integrated to achieve major strategic objectives. It firmly establishes the importance of MacArthur's campaign in New Guinea and reveals Kenney's instrumental role in turning the tide against the Japanese.
From 1942–1945 the Allies’ war in the Southwest Pacific was effectively a bilateral coalition between the United States and Australia under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. By charting the evolution of the military effectiveness of the US-Australian alliance, MacArthur’s Coalition puts the relationship between the United States and Australia at the center of the war against Japan. Drawing on new primary source material, Peter J. Dean has written the first substantial book-length treatment of the coalition as a combined military force. This expansive and ambitious book provides a fresh perspective on the Pacific War by providing a close-up, in-depth account of operations in the Southwest Pacific from the Kokoda Trail campaign to the reconquest of the Philippines and Borneo. Dean’s work takes the reader deep into the key military headquarters in the Southwest Pacific and reveals the discussions, debates, and arguments between key commanders and staff officers during the course of planning and waging a monumental conflict. Drawing upon archival records across three continents, Dean brings the qualities of these senior officers to life by exploring the critical importance of personalities and leadership in overcoming cultural, doctrinal, and organizational divides in the largely unequal alliance. Set against the practicalities of fighting a fanatical enemy in some of the most inhospitable terrain in the war, his book shows how, despite these divides and MacArthur’s difficult personality, the US-Australian coalition was able to forge a highly effective and ultimately triumphant fighting machine. With its unprecedented view of the joint nature of operations in the Southwest Pacific and its focus on frontline commanders and units in forging a successful fighting force, MacArthur’s Coalition illuminates a critical aspect of the Allied victory in World War II.
On May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day-shortened to "V.E. Day"-brought with it the demise of Nazi Germany. But for the Allies, the war was only half-won. Exhausted but exuberant American soldiers, ready to return home, were sent to join the fighting in the Pacific, which by the spring and summer of 1945 had turned into a gruelling campaign of bloody attrition against an enemy determined to fight to the last man. Germany had surrendered unconditionally. The Japanese would clearly make the conditions of victory extraordinarily high. In the United States, Americans clamored for their troops to come home and for a return to a peacetime economy. Politics intruded upon military policy while a new and untested president struggled to strategize among a military command that was often mired in rivalry. The task of defeating the Japanese seemed nearly unsurmountable, even while plans to invade the home islands were being drawn. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall warned of the toll that "the agony of enduring battle" would likely take. General Douglas MacArthur clashed with Marshall and Admiral Nimitz over the most effective way to defeat the increasingly resilient Japanese combatants. In the midst of this division, the Army began a program of partial demobilization of troops in Europe, which depleted units at a time when they most needed experienced soldiers. In this context of military emergency, the fearsome projections of the human cost of invading the Japanese homeland, and weakening social and political will, victory was salvaged by means of a horrific new weapon. As one Army staff officer admitted, "The capitulation of Hirohito saved our necks." In Implacable Foes, award-winning historians Waldo Heinrichs (a veteran of both theatres of war in World War II) and Marc Gallicchio bring to life the final year of World War Two in the Pacific right up to the dropping of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, evoking not only Japanese policies of desperate defense, but the sometimes rancorous debates on the home front. They deliver a gripping and provocative narrative that challenges the decision-making of U.S. leaders and delineates the consequences of prioritizing the European front. The result is a masterly work of military history that evaluates the nearly insurmountable trials associated with waging global war and the sacrifices necessary to succeed.
Formally titled "General of the Army," the five-star general is the highest possible rank awarded in the U.S. Army in modern times and has been awarded to only five men in the nation's history: George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry H. Arnold, and Omar N. Bradley. In addition to their rank, these distinguished soldiers all shared the experience of serving or studying at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where they gained the knowledge that would prepare them for command during World War II and the Korean War. In Generals of the Army, James H. Willbanks assembles top military historians to examine the connection between the institution and the success of these exceptional men. Historically known as the "intellectual center of the Army," Fort Leavenworth is the oldest active Army post west of Washington, D.C., and one of the most important military installations in the United States. Though there are many biographies of the five-star generals, this innovative study offers a fresh perspective by illuminating the ways in which these legendary figures influenced and were influenced by Leavenworth. Coinciding with the U.S. Mint's release of a series of special commemorative coins honoring these soldiers and the fort where they were based, this concise volume offers an intriguing look at the lives of these remarkable men and the contributions they made to the defense of the nation.
“Award-winning author Alan Rems brilliantly tells of the campaigns in the South Pacific, a region long overlooked, offering both the big picture and the foxhole view” — Military Officer “A fitting tribute to the men who fought and died in an often overlooked theater of World War II. As such, it is a welcome addition to our knowledge of World War II in the Pacific Theater.” — On Point: The Journal of Army History While the Pacific War has been widely studied by military historians and venerated in popular culture through movies and other media, the fighting in the South Pacific Theater has, with few exceptions, been remarkably neglected. Authoritative yet written in a highly readable narrative style, South Pacific Cauldron is the first complete history embracing all land, sea, and air operations in this critically important sector of the oceanic conflict.
This book gives a counterpoint history – wry, keen-eyed, sometimes disgruntled – of the hard-fought, brilliant campaign that won World War II in the Southwest Pacific. It draws on the diary of an officer who knew its airfields and scarred beachheads, and its narrative is wrapped around a scandal and two battles. During 1944, Douglas MacArthur’s army fought its way from New Guinea to the Philippines. In New Guinea, discarding pre-war doctrine, Allied air commander George Kenney planned and ran an “air blitz” offensive. Kenney’s Fifth Air Force drove forward like a tank army, crash-landing in open country, seizing terrain, bulldozing new airfields, winning air control, and moving forward. At airfields on the front line, First Lieutenant Roscoe A. Boyer – Rocky Boyer – kept the radios working for the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, a fighter-bomber unit. This book draws on his diary. Diaries were forbidden, but Rocky kept one – full of casualties, accidents, off-duty shenanigans, and rear-area snafus. He had friends killed when they shot it out with Japanese anti-aircraft gunners, or when their bombers vanished in bad weather. He wrote about wartime camp life – at Nadzab, New Guinea, the largest air base in the world, part Scout camp and part frontier boomtown. He knew characters worthy of Catch-22: combat flyers who played contract bridge, officers who played office politics, black quartermasters, and chaplains who stood up to colonels, when a promotion party ended with drunken gunplay and dynamite. His group stepped in against Japanese counterstrikes, sharp, sudden fights against enemy warships. • Off the island of Biak, in June 1944, the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, flying B-25’s, attacked Japanese destroyers carrying enemy reinforcements. In 90 seconds, the squadron won 60 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 19 of them posthumous. • On the beachhead at Mindoro, south of Manila in December 1944, Rocky fought in what Kenney called “the wildest scramble of the war”: a grim evening when the airfield was hit by Japanese bombers and shelled by a Japanese war fleet. This is a narrative of the war as airmen lived it, not a day-by-day, blow-by-blow verbatim transcript of a wartime diary. Rocky’s experience of life on the front line gives from-the-bottom-up detail to the framework of Kenney’s air blitz.
General Douglas MacArthur has been hailed as the greatest soldier in American history. While not everyone would agree with that assessment, there is no question that MacArthur played a prominent role in the emergence of the United States as a world power in the twentieth century. A distinguished combat soldier during World War I and an innovative educator at West Point in the 1920s, MacArthur became the army's chief of staff during the Great Depression. He went abroad in the 1930s to prepare the Philippines for war. His stand against the Japanese following Pearl Harbor made him a national hero, and his subsequent campaign against Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific only added to his reputation. The Korean War gave MacArthur a final opportunity to display his military skills. MacArthur and the American Century assembles for the first time a nuanced and full scrutiny of MacArthur's entire career. Essays by such experts as Stanley L. Falk and D. Clayton James accompany materials by Dwight D. Eisenhower and MacArthur himself, providing analysis and evaluation of the immense impact this dramatic figure had on war, peace, and the American imagination.
The definitive account of General Douglas MacArthur's rise during World War II, from the author of the bestseller The Admirals. World War II changed the course of history. Douglas MacArthur changed the course of World War II. Macarthur at War will go deeper into this transformative period of his life than previous biographies, drilling into the military strategy that Walter R. Borneman is so skilled at conveying, and exploring how personality and ego translate into military successes and failures. Architect of stunning triumphs and inexplicable defeats, General MacArthur is the most intriguing military leader of the twentieth century. There was never any middle ground with MacArthur. This in-depth study of the most critical period of his career shows how his influence spread far beyond the war-torn Pacific. A Finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History at the New York Historical Society
They went in as confident young warriors. They came out as battle-scarred veterans, POW camp survivors . . . or worse. The Army Air Corps’ 27th Bombardment Group arrived in the Philippines in November 1941 with 1,209 men; one year later, only 20 returned to the United States. The Japanese attacked the Philippines on the same morning as Pearl Harbor and invaded soon after. Allied air routes back to the Philippines were soon cut, forcing pilots to fight their air war from bases in Java, Australia, and New Guinea. The men on Bataan were eventually taken prisoner and forced into the infamous Death March. The 27th and other such units were pivotal in delaying the Japanese timetable for conquest. If not for these units, some have suggested, the Allied offensive in the Pacific might have started in Hawaii or even California instead of New Guinea and the surrounding islands. Based largely on primary materials, including a fifty-nine-page report written by the surviving unit members in September 1942, Operation PLUM (from the code name for the U.S. Army in the Philippines) gives an account of the 27th Bombardment Group and, through it, the opening months of the Pacific theater. Military historians and readers interested in World War II will appreciate the rich perspective presented in Operation PLUM