Hell in the Central Pacific

...the Palau Islands 1944, from Pen & Sword

Title: Hell In The Central Pacific, The Palau Islands 1944
Author: Jon Diamond
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-52676-216-0

A recent addition to the Images of War series of books from Pen & Sword, and another by author Jon Diamond. A soft-cover book of 235 pages looking at the battle for the Palau Islands, one element of the island hopping campaign of the US military in the Pacific as they advanced towards the Japanese home islands.
Even if you are unfamiliar with the details of the fighting for Palau and its' place in the Pacific Campaign, the opening chapter does a marvellous job of setting out the context, with text, maps, and of course a collection of equally well captioned archive images. The move to invade the Pallau Islands was in the Centre of the Pacific campaign, with MacArthur on the left (Southern) flank from New Guinea towards the Philippines and Nimitz/Spruance in charge of the right (Northern) flank, moving from the Marshalls, through Saipan and on to Iwo Jima. Leaving Halsey in charge of the fleet moving through the centre. All this takes up the first 83-pages of the book. Then, moving on to the fighting for Pelieu itself goes through 5 more chapters. These cover the Terrain, Fortification & Weapons: Commanders & Combatants: American IIIAC Landings on Peleliu, Angaur & Ulithi: and then Hellacious Combat on Pelieu. Landings began on September 15 1944 and the island was not fully taken until 27 November. Well repared defences created by the Japanese defenders proved a costly challenge to overcome and cost a lot of casualties to the USMC 1st Marine and US Army 81st Divisions suffered badly, while the Japanese defenders large fought to the death. The photos illustrate all the aspects of the Island campaigns with Amtracs on the beaches as well as both American and Japanese tanks, jungle warfare, the use of flamethrowers to clear bunkers along with naval and air units there is so much to see. One or two images show the quite brutal results of the fighting and while Japanese garrisons on other islands were bypassed, this attack did go ahead.
Another interesting account of a major action within the overall story of the American Island-Hopping Campaign across the Pacific during WW2. Lots of detail in the pictures which many modellers will enjoy, along with informative text on the progress of the campaign.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our copy.

Robin