The Solomons, 1943-44: The Struggle for New Georgia and Bougainville

Published on
October 20, 2018
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Mark Stille. Illustrated by Peter Dennis
Other Publication Information
Softbound, 96 pages
Product / Stock #
CAM 326
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Product Picture

Osprey Publishing continues to add titles to its long running Campaigns series, this time tackling the struggle to liberate the remaining islands in the Solomon’s Island chain in the months after the successful conclusion of the Guadalcanal campaign. Using their tried and true format, the volume looks at the opposing commanders, forces, and plans before diving into the narrative on the campaign. Using contemporary photographs, superb maps, and full color illustrations, this volume does an excellent job in summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. Since these volumes are meant as an overview, they do not go into great detail into the campaigns, but provide enough information to give the reader a grounding in the campaign.

After the successful seizure of Guadalcanal, the Americans set the sights further up the Solomon Chain. The ultimate goal was to capture various islands and points on some of the larger islands to at first capture, then isolate the Japanese base at Rabaul, on the island of New Britain. The book puts a bit more focus on the naval engagements that occurred in the campaign. He makes particular notice that as American experience in night fighting with radar grew, it nullified the Japanese advantage in torpedoes. Slightly less space is devoted the battles on New Georgia and Bougainville. Both islands had Japanese garrisons as well as locations for airfields. Given the size of the garrison on Bougainville in particular, because of the growing abilities of the Americans to use strategic sea fleet to move men and equipment around, as the campaign dragged on, the decision to isolate Rabaul as the Americans moved toward the Philippines seemed a prudent decision. This provides just an overview of the campaign. The bibliography included in the back provides suggestion for further reading for those who wish to follow up.

The literature on the Second World War is dominated by accounts of the events that occurred in Europe. Given that both the Axis and Allies dominated that geographic area, it is certainly understandable. The experiences gained fighting the Japanese on Guadalcanal were honed and sharpened as the Americans attempted to isolate the Japanese base at Rabaul. You cannot run until you learn how to walk, so this campaign cannot be underestimated in its importance. This volume provides a succinct summary of the battles on the air, land, and sea and should be a welcome addition to anyone who has an interest in the war in the Pacific.

My thanks to IPMS and Osprey Publications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.


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