American Armor in the Pacific
Overview as Found on the Website
This latest in the Casemate Illustrated series explores American armor during the Pacific Campaign of WWII, from 1942-45. During this period there were over twenty major tank battles and operations where tanks provided heavy support to infantry units. These operations include the battle of Tarawa and the Bougainville Campaign. Relying heavily on first-person accounts, the strategies and tactics of the opposing forces are discussed.
This book also looks at the Pacific theater, and how American armor was employed with great success in that theater of war. Detailed information on American and Japanese armored forces, including development, equipment, capabilities, organization, and order of battle, is given.
About the Author
Mike Guardia is an internationally recognized author and military historian. A veteran of the United States Army, he served six years on active duty (2008-2014) as an Armor Officer. He is the author of the widely acclaimed Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always, the first-ever biography chronicling the life of LTG Harold G. Moore, whose battlefield leadership was popularized by the film “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson. Guardia has twice been nominated for the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Book Award and is an active member in the Military Writers Society of America.
Table of Contents
- Timeline of Events - The timeline on pages 6 and 7 includes the major points in the development and use of armor in the Pacific Theater from Feb 1941 to Sept 2, 1945.
- Introduction - The introduction lays out the political and military situation in the Pacific area. A point brought forward in this part of the book is that the tactics involving the use of armor in the Pacific was, by the nature of the geography of the battle zones would be different than in North Africa or Europe.
- Opposing Forces - The author lists and describes the Japanese armor in use such as the Type 94 Tankette, Type 97 T-Ke Tankette, Type 89 Chi-Ro Medium Tank, Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank, Type 97 Chi-He Medium Tank, and Type 98 Ke-Ni Light Tank. On the American side the author includes the M2 Light Tank, M3/M5 Stuart Light Tank, M4 Sherman, LVT Alligator, and the M3 Half-track Gun Motor Carriage
- Defeat in the Philippines
- The Southwest Pacific Campaign
- Central Pacific Campaign
- Marshall Islands
- Mariana Islands
- Western Pacific Campaign
- Afterword - The author states that the tactics used by American Armor in the Pacific were successful, listing the Sherman as the most successful American AFV followed by the Stuart. The author describes the Japanese armor as “under-armored, under-powered, and mechanically troublesome.”
- Further Reading - The author provides a list of 13 publications for further reading on this subject.
The images contained in the book are stunning in quality and add a high level of “connection” between the reader and the text. In fact, this book had a high impact on me as I studied the text and inspected the photographs. As a youngster I lived on Guam (1954-1956) and I have memories of a Japanese tank on the side of one of the roads near where my family lived. I remember crawling into the open hatch and finding the interior to be witness to the violence of battle. Of course, I didn’t know what all of the levers and other devices (or what was left of them) were for, but at the bottom of the tank, amid piles of metal debris, was a boot with a bit of bone fragment within. Guardia’s book refreshed that memory daily, as I read through the book in a few sittings. I find books that have the level of emotional impact upon the reader, such as this book possesses, are of significant value.
This book is highly recommended for its extensive coverage of the use of armor by the opposing forces in the Pacific, the descriptions of battles in which the armor played a significant role, the excellent maps which provide a clear “aerial view” of the islands and locations of fighting, and the excellent photographs which support the text. Thanks to Casemate for making this book available to IPMS for review.