The Fall of the Philippines 1941-42
ISBN: 978 1 84908 609 7
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 29 May 2012
The Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor might had been the attack that finally drew the United States into war, but the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands was the first actual campaign that the Americans fought through. The battle-hardened Japanese fought with tenacity, but nevertheless did not achieve the lightning victory they had wanted. Meanwhile, though Americans made mistake after mistake, the campaign produced a hero for the Americans to rally behind and created a war cry that gave the Filipinos hope through the subsequent years in occupation.
Clayton Chun's new title The Fall of the Philippines 1941-42, roughly 100 pages in size, detailed this military campaign. The author began with six or so pages on the geography and background information about either side and a bird's eye view general chronology of the Dec 1941-Jun 1942 campaign before diving fully into an analysis of the commanders, the units fielded, the war plans, and how the campaign unfolded. I felt that the author did a wonderful job in the first half of the book, detailing the opening moves with their successes and failures. The photographs, paintings, and maps, as in other Osprey Publishing titles, were helpful in the visualization of the narratives. As the book went on, however, it seemed that Chun had no choice but to start skipping over details in order to remain a book size constraint; to illustrate, his descriptions of the air battles and the Lingayen Bay landing were at times down to the hours and minutes on the clock, but by the time the Japanese had broken the Abucay-Mauban defensive line in Jan 1942 Chun was describing the battle in summary, jumping days at a time. This was slightly disappointing, though only slightly.
Opening up The Fall of the Philippines 1941-42 was definitely a worthwhile venture on my part, and I would recommend to WW2DB visitors. Though the six-month campaign could by no means be explained in detail in a small book, Chun did a great job breaking quite a bit under the surface.
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