From New Guinea to the Phillipines, American paratroopers fulfilled a vital role in the Pacific theater of World War II. The previous US Army Paratrooper 1941-45 only covers one aspect of the US Army experience of World War II as it is only limited to the Euoprean and Mediterranean theatres of war. Airborne units also proved important in the Pacific Theatre, where they encountered a very different environment. The two major Army units that operated in the Pacific - the 11th Airborne Division and the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT) launched small-scale operations on extremely difficult, if not, outright dangerous, terrain, while also conducting amphibious assaults, fighting on jungled hills, swamps and mud.
The two units were very different, with the 503rd PRCT being reserved for special purpose missions and the 11th Airborne Division occupying a more traditional role. The 503rd launched the first successful US combat drop Nadzab on New Guinea in September 1943, and went on to conduct a number of other airborne operations on and around New Guinea, taking part in the amphibious assault on Mindoro in the Philippines, before capturing the island of Corregidor in February 1945.
The 11th Airborne Division played a prominent role in the amphibious assault on Leyte in late 1944, and later the island of Luzon - which combined and airborne and amphibious assault. It also conducted the daring Los Banos raid to liberate civilian internees.
This title will deal with the background to these two units, their training both stateside and in Australia, before detailing the specific equipment used in the theatre and, finally and most importantly, the combat experience at a personal level of the US Army Paratrooper in the Pacific.
About the Author
Gordon L Rottman entered the US Army in 1967, volunteered for Special Forces and completed training as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1969-70 and subsequently in airborne infantry, long-range patrol and intelligence assignments until retiring after 26 years. He was a Special Operations Forces scenario writer at the Joint Readiness Training Center for 12 years and is now a freelance writer, living in Texas.
"To show how [paratroopers] performed in combat, two major operations are covered in greater detail. One is the jump onto Corregidor to retake this island from the Japanese. These men had to be dropped in two 'shifts' due to lack of transport. They were also up against many times more Japanese than they had anticipated. Drop zones were small and caused considerable difficulty. The other was a relatively long term campaign in the jungles of Leyte during late 1944. In this one, it was as much the conditions as it was the Japanese that had to be overcome as the fighting was in very hilly jungle terrain. Both events are superbly reported, making this a book that both entertains and informs. A book that puts the spotlight on men and units that are rarely covered by other books."
--Scott Van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com (January 2013)
"Provides fine surveys of the US Army's paratroopers and their pacific operations during World War II, examining the two major Army units and their background, training and operations. From color battle scenes to maps and other illustrations including vintage photos, this is a "must" for any serious World War II history collection."
- The Midwest Book Review (February 2013)