Pacific Blitzkrieg: World War II in the Central Pacific.

AuthorMongeon, Al
PositionBook review

Pacific Blitzkrieg, World War II in the Central Pacific. By Sharon Tosi Lacey. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2013. Maps. Illustrations Notes Bibliography. Index. Pg. xvii, 213. $29.95 ISBN 978-1-57441-525-4

Lacey, a West Point graduate and serving U.S. Army officer, examines integration of two culturally distinct land forces (Marines and Army) into a joint force. She uses as her canvas five major battles: Guadalcanal, Gilberts, Marshalls, Saipan, and Okinawa. For each, she considers the strategic setting, operational planning, pre-combat training, operations, and a battle summary. While combined arms require integrating the air, land, and sea facets of a battle, she emphasizes development of the land components. A sub-text throughout is the importance of command personalities to the success of the operations themselves and the ultimate success of a joint force.

This is not a book about the totality of World War II in the Pacific. It is an examination of "the mechanics behind the creation of the joint army-marine [sic] force" and is a development of an earlier article, Smith vs. Smith, first published in World War II Magazine, and her dissertation.

Operations in the Pacific--whether in Gen. MacArthur's or Admiral Nimitz's areas--required large-scale combined arms operations emphasizing amphibious operations that used both Marines and Army forces. Interestingly, in the Central Pacific, this meant combined operations under the ultimate command of, and heavy dependence on, the Navy.

Lacey emphasizes the importance of personalities and the command chain to the ultimate success of joint operations. She pays particular attention to the roles of Lt. Gen. Holland Smith, USMC, and Maj. Gen. Ralph C. Smith, USA, on Saipan. She is also quick to emphasize the ability of lower ranks to create a functioning joint operation in spite of the acrimony and seeming dysfunction at the top. Lacey presents the facts in a very balanced manner, giving each their due where appropriate and calling them out when actions were questionable.

The title of the book, unfortunately, seems...

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