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3.0 out of 5 starsOne of the things that irritates me in reading historical ...
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2017
One of the things that irritates me in reading historical fiction is when the author displays an ignorance of details about the era they want to write about. This is one such novel. He seems confused about what war he's portraying. Japanese Nambu pistols were not chambered in 9mm, Navel guns of the era were not designated in metric and the soldiers did not wear "jungle boots," among other inaccuracies. The story line is somewhat unbelievable as well, with an Australian coast-watcher professing loyalty to Japan because he grew up as a diplomat's son there--highly unlikely in a 1940s world. The whole problem is the author simply does not seem to have a clue about the time of which he writes.
3.0 out of 5 starsOkay, but could have been better
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2017
I liked the book for the most part, but really hated the entire story line about the traitorous coast watcher. In places the author really drew me into the feeling of being part of the U.S. army unit as it entered combat on Guadalcanal against a tenacious enemy. But the parts about the traitor coast watcher were simply unbelievable to me and took away my enjoyment of overall story. I think there were better and more authentic ways of introducing tension and and conflict into the story, especially in a book about war. The Japanese officers and men all seemed to be one dimensional bad guys with little humanity. In contrast Clint Eastwood did a tremendous job of making his Japanese soldiers real people with fears and loves and feelings in his classic movie "Letters From Iwo Jima". Author Chris Glatte did a good job portraying his American characters in this book, but not so his Japanese characters. Three stars from me, maybe inching toward four stars because parts of the book are really well done, but could have been much better. I'm still debating on whether to give his second book in the series a try.
This writing is very stiff, doesn't flow, characters are crudely drawn. And the author doesn't know beans about flying or about weapons. You take off and land in the same direction; WITH the wind. And the "ping" you hear when an M1 rifle is out of ammo IS the clip ejecting; you don't have to manually eject it. This kind of sloppiness ruins the story for people who know.
2.0 out of 5 starsGood war novel for the fantasy inclined.
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2019
There is plenty of action and more gore than necessary. Unfortunately there are also many factual mistakes (such as Wildcats being able to outclimb Zeros, Corsairs over the Guadalcanal in late ‘42, early’43, and so on). Worse is the way in this first real infantry action against the Japanese Army, the wonderful Americans can do it all so much better than the Japs, the Brits, etc. Better jungle fighters, better trackers, and so on until you just want to...well, stop reading at least. Recommended for young American adults who want to read something they can brag about without getting off the couch.
5.0 out of 5 starsAs close to ground war for Guadalcanal as you can get in a work of fiction
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2017
This book was so graphic in the beginning I almost didn't read it. I am glad I stuck it out. My great uncle served in the Army in the Pacific and died in a Japanese pow camp. So I have always been into the Pacific war. It amazes me Japan has yet to admit or apologize for their war crimes. Anyway save a few things like referring to the "rudders" plural on an f4u which only has one rudder should say rudder pedals yes I am a pilot drove me nuts! Also at times characters used some modern slang like "he's gone native" it was well written. Great character development and depth with characters. Hope Chris writes more about the Pacific war.
I really wanted to like it, but there are serious issues with the historical accuracy of this novel that left me not wanting to continue reading the series.
Update Sept 2018: I strongly recommend the author read "Shots Fired in Anger", available at Amazon. It was written immediately after the war by an army officer who served on the 'Canal beginning Dec 8, 1942 to about April of '43. It's one of the best first-person accounts and has many, many small details about the flora, fauna, weapons, living conditions, etc. found during the same time period as identified in "The Long Patrol".
For me this detracts from fully enjoying the novel.
There are many online sources of information which the author could / should have used to fact check the many details offered in the book, so it's a little disappointing to find the number of errors I encountered.
It appears that the author lacks experience with or accurate knowledge of many items, terms, procedures used in WWII. There are some obvious continuity issues within the story.
However, it's not a bad story. The combat scenes are more realistic than many others and overall the story is well written.
Below are the issues or inaccuracies that I found.
Author refers to "F4 Wildcat", F4F is correct WWII naval designation for the Grumman Wildcat.
The term "squid" is a post-war term for navy, not WWII. "Swabbie" would be a more correct WWII term for naval personnel.
An "armory" was an established, fixed location in a rear echelon area or post for weapons storage and not for ammunition. It would not have been used or referred to at the time of the story on Guadalcanal. "Resupply point" would have been the term used.
The term "auto pilot" would not have been a common term to the average GI. "Auto pilot" for aircraft was new to aviation and not as sophisticated as implied or as we understand it today.
Weapons terminology; you pull the bolt, not the breech, back to check the M1 for live rounds. If you pull the bolt all the way back on an M1 rifle you'll eject a round.
"ammo satchel" isn't a WWII US Army term. I suspect the author meant that O'Connor picked up an "ammo bandoleer" when leaving the aid tent.
Cpl. Hooper says "... thought you could use some backup". That phrase is a post WWII police term.
Ch 6, "Willie's" jeep. Willys was one of the makers of the jeep, which was spelled "Willys".
"Cluster ****" is a post WWII term.
Ch 6, "LT" is a post-WWII term.
Ch 13, "is he for real" was not a WWII era phrase.
Ch 14, refers to Lee-Enfield rifles used by Solomon Islanders as "old" when in fact that rifle was still standard issue to commonwealth troops in WWII.
"O'Connor spoke, “Hey Sarge, what do you know about the op?”." op", short for operation, is a post WWII term. "Hey Sarge, what's the dope?" would be a more correct WWII phrase.
Ch 16, "bugged out" is post WWII term.
Ch 19, weapons terminology, "clips" used instead of magazine for the M1 carbine. Troops were taught correct army nomenclature for all things and ammunition magazines were never called "clips". Reference to M1 carbine round as "small caliber" when it is the same diameter, or caliber, as that used by the M1 rifle. The difference lay in the cartridge case length/amount of powder used.
"happy dance", "we're golden", "wet work" are all post-WWII terms, phrases, slang, etc,
Ch 30, reference to "Murphys law". This is not a common phrase pre-1950 and is very unlikely to be used in October of 1942.
"floppy jungle hat" appears to be a reference to the fatigue hat, part of the HBT uniform. More commonly, called a "Daisy Mae, after a popular comic strip character of the time. That hat was the precursor to the Vietnam jungle hat, but it was not referred to as such in WWII.
The WWII phonetic alphabet, adopted in 1941, was different than that used by NATO forces after 1955 so the correct WWII word would be "Able" Company not alpha, "Baker" not bravo, and "Fox" not foxtrot.
K-bar knives were a Marine item, not army. Army infantryman were issued bayonets only, but a soldier could privately purchase a knife. The M3 knife was issued to army troops not armed with the M1 rifle, but not prior to March of 1943.
K rations weren't issued to troops on Guadalcanal in 1942. They were in development and testing in the summer of 1942 for personnel such as paratroopers. C rations were the issued ration in 1942. Neither C nor K rations of WWII offered spaghetti or peaches as part of the meal. Vietnam War Era C rations did offer both.
Ch 6, Medical officer in aid station wears captain's bars on shoulders. Army troops wore herring bone twill (HBT) fatigues on Guadalcanal and rank was worn on the right collar, branch of service on left --- if it was worn at all. There were no epaulets on the shoulders where insignia might be pinned.
Sheets? In an aid station or in a bivouac? On Guadalcanal in 1942? Unlikely and unrealistic.
Ch 9, parachute cord? Unrealistic that a line soldier would know of, let alone have, parachute cord at this point in WWII. Parachute cord was produced for parachutes and was available only to parachute riggers in airborne units. It was not for general purpose use as it is today.
Ch 11 at the mine, the kerosene lantern is called "old fashioned" but this was a common item used in many rural and small town homes and would not be thought of as "old fashioned" in 1942.
Ch 11, O'Connor slips out of his backpack. The 1910/1928 haversack was connected to the cartridge belt. It was not designed to be worn separately. If you slip out of the straps you must disconnect the cartridge belt, too, in order to be divested of the pack. The two cannot be disconnected quickly or quietly.
Ch 11 and 12, The text implies that O'Conner and his squad are equipped with the army's jungle pack which was not available to combat units in 1942. The M1910 / 1928 haversack was not a "bag-type" pack as we understand it today. It was not something you could slip off or "reach into" for an item. It was essentially a set of flaps that were intended to enclose around specific, issued items and was attached to the rifle cartridge belt.
Ch 15, Corsair did not arrive on Guadalcanal until Feb of 1943, nor were rockets yet available for aircraft in the Guadalcanal campaign.
WWII army boots were smooth soled without tread, so Sgt carver would not have anything stuck in his boot tread.
Ch 16, O'Conner throws a C ration box into his foxhole when the natives return to the ridge after the Corsair attack. WWII C rations were packaged in a wooden crate, 24 cans per crate. There was no cardboard box. Vietnam era C rations were packaged in in pasteboard boxes inside a 12 count heavy cardboard carton.
Ch 21, Nambu pistol was 8mm not 9mm.
Ch 21, Japanese Colonel pulls out a pen from inner pocket to mark a map. Ball point pens were uncommon in WWII. They had a number quality issues that prevent them from becoming commercially successful until 1943 and even then their use was not widespread until after the war. Fountain pens were the most common type of pen, but were messy in the field. Pencils were the most common writing tool in the field in WWII.
M1 carbines were not equipped with a bayonet lug and a bayonet until late 1944.
In one scene a solider is described as "saving the clip" from his M1 rifle. The en bloc clip was considered a disposable item and troops were not trained to keep them after they were ejected during firing. The M1 rifle automatically ejected the en bloc clip, it was not extracted manually.
Ch 16, has an inaccurate depiction of how to use a radio. The soldiers would not have tactical call signs only to use rank and name. They would not transmit killed-in-action (KIA) info. Would not give their location in the clear. Army used grids with coordinate designations on acetate overlays that were meaningless unless both parties had the same map and overlay. Grid coordinates would have been used not plain language to ID locations.
Description of Wildcat vs Zero dogfight is completely inaccurate. Zeros could out turn and out climb a Wildcat. By October of 1942 Marine pilots were skilled at dealing with the limitations of their aircraft and had developed effective tactics, of which dog fighting was not one.
US Army P 39s and P 400s, plus Marine SBD dive bombers, would have provided close air support to ground troops and had been on Guadalcanal since late August. Wildcats were needed to attack bombers flying above the effective ceiling of the Army planes.
Air-to-ground radio communications in October of 1942 were limited to non-existent. The Marine fighters, which would have been Wildcats and not Corsairs, used transceivers and frequencies different from the US Army. O'Connor's unit would have had a BC 1000 "Walkie-Talkie" backpack FM transceiver. Neither radio could communicate to the other because they lacked the technological capability to "dial in" any frequency desired.
While smoke grenades were available in WWII, it is highly unlikely that O'Conner's unit would have had them on Guadalcanal, where even basic items were in very short supply. The terminology and air support procedure used in Ch 24 is post-WWII, such capabilities had not yet been developed in October of 1942.
As recent arrivals to Guadalcanal, O'Connor unit would have been issued a basic load of rifle ammo and grenades prior to landing. He would not have needed a resupply prior to the patrol. At this point in the story, O'Conner has yet to fire his weapon so why would he need to resupply with ammunition?
Each solder brought three carbines plus ammo? The M1 carbine weight is 5.2 lbs x 3 = 15.6 lbs,. M1 carbine 110 gr. ammuniton weights .447 oz per round. Assuming they brought enough ammo for the Solomon Islanders to conduct operations for some time they soldiers might have carried 250 rounds (about 7 pounds) or 500 rounds (about 14 lbs). That's a lot of weight, excluding the basic load for each soldier, haversack, 2 canteens, etc. and K rations for three weeks.
Ch 15, The squad carried K rations for "a few weeks"? A few is usually considered 3, so 3 meals a day x 21 days = each K ration crate holds 12 rations, 3 meals a day, so 12 days of rations per crate. Each solder would need 63 individual boxes or 5.25 crates each. A K ration crate (wooden) weights 43 lbs, 5 crates = more than 215 pounds. Leave out the wooden crate, it's still about 190 lbs in rations alone. How did the soldiers, without pack animals or native carriers, carry this and three M1 carbines, plus ammunition?
Ch 16, On the ridge after the Corsair attack the troops are eating C rations and D rations. Neither ration has been mentioned in the story so far.
Ch 22, Japanese leave ridge for new radio. Radios for company or regiment operate with attached antennas. They don't use strung wire for antennas and you don't physically connect two with a wire. Field telephones were commonly used in WWII and had to be connected with wire, not radios.
The Tokyo express was not a nightly occurrence, but it was frequent. It used destroyers and barges, not cruisers to run troops down from Rabaul. Cruisers and battleships shelled the Americans on the island and attacked Allied ships in at least two night battles.
Japanese bombing raids using more than one bomber almost always occurred during daylight hours, not at night. Night formation flying, navigation, and target location in the Pacific in 1942 was difficult and dangerous. Almost nightly were the nuisance raids of "Washing Machine Charlie" a single, twin engined Japanese bomber that flew slowly over Henderson Field dropping flares and small bombs to deprive US troops of sleep. It's engines were deliberately un-synchronized to further disturb US forces.
4.0 out of 5 stars...he does have a talent for 'gritty action.'
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2018
An enjoyable book but a lot of historical errors jump out at me as well as the silliness of the remaining 2 squad members going forward to take on a Japanese company to destroy the guns - I mean - ridiculous. As it turns out they received help but... And, I never really could buy into the Aussie siding with the Japanese because he spent a lot a time in Japan as a diplomat's son, it just didn't ring true. Nevertheless, it was entertaining and I hope the author continues to write and improve because he does have a talent for 'gritty action.'
5.0 out of 5 starsA very memorable read. Everything - and I mean ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2016
A very memorable read. Everything - and I mean EVERYTHING that you want from this genre. This is a repeat reader book. Definitely going in the holiday suitcase. The action keeps going from the first to the last page. Treat yourself and buy it.
Holiday read/audio for me and very much enjoyed. Absolute page turner throughout. F4U Corsairs in the battle were news to me as was the ranging mechanism on the Japanese knee mortar but hey, it was a good read so why be picky.