Book Review....Kokoda, Peter Fitzsimon

Discussion in 'Resource Library' started by EeeBees, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. EeeBees

    EeeBees Well-Known Member

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    Kokoda Written by Peter Fitzsimons, 2008 edition, hardback, 479 pages, published by Hachette.

    There are extensive photographs throughout, and a very full bibliography.

    There are many historical accounts of this passage in Australia’s WWII but Peter Fitzsimon’s version, written by an Aussie bloke, about Aussie blokes certainly does it for me. He has done an enormous amount of homework. There is criticism by some readers for the use of Australian colloquial expressions throughout the text...why there should be criticism of this is beyond me...still if you have to pick holes on this account then why not the use of Aussie lingo; because quite frankly, the rest of the narrative is mostly so impossibly unreal, so hard in its utter dreadfulness and so excruciatingly moving. The fact that most of the hard work but been accomplished by the 39th Battalion, a group made up of militiamen not conscripts...these were the guys who would not pass an Army medical...

    The struggle for the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea in 1942-43 was truly a defying moment, not only for Australia’s WWII but also as a nation. Japan had already bombed Darwin and sunk ships in Sydney Harbour when the possession of the Kokoda Track became tantamount to the security of the Lucky Country. It also had ‘local money’ printed ready to use in Australia and New Zealand.

    As part of the Commonwealth, Australia, like New Zealand, sent troops to help out in North Africa and the Middle East. But when it become horrifyingly clear that the possiblility of the Japanese invading Australia was very real, Prime Minister Mr John Curtin, petitioned Winston Churchil that he wanted his men home and home now...the colony was putting its foot down but he won in the end...England could not help Australia, nor could the US at the time so home the guys came... Meanwhile, up in the Phillipines, the Americans were getting properly dealt to.

    I won’t go on, but one thing that comes across so clear was the utter and complete incompetencies of some of the brass...the commanding officer for the land forces got to address the blokes...he berated them for the tactical retreat used so efficienctly against the Japanese and ended with “Always remember, it is the rabbit who runs who gets shot’...the next day he visited the wounded...not one man replied to any of his questions, but they all simply stared at him whilst eating lettuce leaves...
     
  2. sako75

    sako75 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome book. Well worth the read. The Aussies did it hard but they did it well. From been under-resourced (including uniform not designed for jungle warefare) to their fate been decided by US General McArthur who wined and dined in high society back in Australia. They lost a lot of good many and many more were made.
    Can't believe I said something good about the Australians
     
  3. R93

    R93 Well-Known Member

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    Cheers for the write up EeeBees. I love military history especially when it involves ANZACS. I will give it a read during a few days of guaranteed rain that will confine me to camp next roar. Its the only time I seem to do some decent reading.
     
  4. Scribe

    Scribe sturg4

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    A good review...Kokoda was an interesting series of battles over terrain that not many Armies had fought over before.

    The allied brass may have been pretty incompetant but the Jap brass were worse. Their general attempted to ride a white horse over the trail intending to ride it in the victory parade in Port Moresby. The horse threw him in the river and he and the horse drowned.

    But before the campaine had been going long the Japanese resupply system had broken down and more and more the Japs resorted to cannabilism just to stay alive.
     
  5. EeeBees

    EeeBees Well-Known Member

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    The head shergrang believed it would take them ten days from Gona to Port Moresby...so they were not initially too worried about the food situation...
     
  6. EeeBees

    EeeBees Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't help myself...reading another book on the Kokoda which I bought at the antique gun show...Blood and Iron by Lex McAulay )published by Arrow)...more indepth than that of Fitzsimon's edition...alot more tactical stuff and so on...

    An excerpt...

    Instruction on the Bren gun with AA Platoon, and HQ Company receiving a very basic introduction to the weapon on a rest day at Kagi...one aspect that was not explained was the gas valve, which could halt firing as carbon built up. Subsequently, when the gun stopped after a certain amount of firing, no one knew how to fix them and some guns were thrown away...
     

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