Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: Bataan and Beyond by John S. Coleman Jr.

One of the under-reported areas of WW2 is the defense of the Philippines in 1940. Records were lost, and those that survived combat had to survive imprisonment. While this is an older book, I just ran across it and thought it worth a mention.

The Author was an Infantry Officer sent to the Philippines just before the war. What's really unusual is that he was not assigned to an Infantry unit, but to the Air Corps' 27th Materiel Squadron. That's right, an Air Corps supply unit. There he was made adjutant, but his real job was to train the men of the unit how to fight as grounds troops. This says something about the Armies thinking about how long the US Air Corps would last once Japan entered the picture.

Japan invades, Cole and his men make their way to the Bataan area, and defend with what few weapons and ammo they have, and what little food they have left. Which is pretty much nothing. You can't help but wonder how long they might heave held out had there only been stores of food and ammo in place. That's roughly the first half of the book. Of course he makes the Death March, is a prisoner there for a while then volunteers to go to Japan under the thinking that they might be better treated on the Japanese homeland. Funny thing- they are. Not great, but still better.

Still the 27th was an interesting unit, and it's too bad they are basically forgotten. And you can find it here under WW2 PTO Books

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