View Full Version : OT, Just read an incredible book,

01-20-2008, 11:28 PM
I just finished reading "Kokoda", by Peter Fitzsimons.
It is the complete story of the Kokoda campaign, where for the first time in WWII, the Japanese war machine was halted, retreated and were ultimately defeated.
Before anyone steps in to say the USA helped - think again, they sent out one division, very late into the fray, after the Japanese started their retreat. Very sadly, this US division became lost in the dense jungle with only very few of them surviving and those survivors were crippled with malaria, or Dhengi fever or dysentry or all three. They can thank the incompetent Macarthur for that.
Anyhow, if anybody has the time to read a book that is all but impossible to put down, then I can highly recommend this.
Kokoda is a Must-Read, for anyone interested in great WWII campaigns.

01-21-2008, 01:36 AM
I've heard a little about the kokoda track , i would have never thought the Japanese were cannibals , im going to have to look for this book now.

01-21-2008, 02:37 AM
They were hungry, as the Aussie forces were hungry at the start. The problem was getting supplies through such bad terrain, so the Aussie forces fought a rear-guard action - attack, then retreat further, thus stretching the Japanese logistics to their limit. The Japanese were sure the Aussies would crumble after 10 days, so only had 10 days rations. The Aussies held out for more than 2 months, fighting then retreating even further. It got harder for the Japanese to care for their wounded, and impossible to feed their troops.
Autopsies showed later that not only had they eaten humans through sheer starvation, but were also forced to eat poisonous roots and berries. This, on top of the Aussies leaving behind spoiled food, on top of the tropical diseases, took it's toll.
The Aussies only knew these difficulties due to their own efforts to try and hold positions far from their own supply lines, and learnt the hard way, but never reverted to cannibalism.

01-21-2008, 04:05 PM
The Japanese sure seem to have endured their fair share of misery and suffering [not saying that I feel particularly sorry for them as they were the aggressors, but human misery is a terrible thing to behold.] I read one account of how hundreds of them, perhaps up to 2,000, were killed and eaten by alligators [or crocs? I don't know the difference] on Guadalcanal or one of those islands. They were driven into a swampy area and didn't come out. American soldiers at first thought the Japanese were using some new trick, as they saw green "lights" in vee shapes, which of course were the eyes of those gators/crocs reflecting light. Add to that being attacked by flamethrowers, bunker busting planes dropping Napalm and pissed off GI's/Marines; it's a wonder they still had fighting spirit left in them by '45.

Marines are well known for their jungle fighting capabilities, but I know the Aussies were also renowned jungle fighters. I read an account of their New Guinea campaign and I admire their toughness and endurance.