Remembering a Garfield classic, ‘Thousand-Mile War’

The Thousand-Mile Warfare: World Struggle II in Alaska and the Aleutians

By Brian Garfield; College of Alaska Press; 1995; 456 pages; $24.ninety five paperback

This area is generally reserved for critiques of newly launched books, however an exception is being made right here to take a recent take a look at a basic. Brian Garfield’s “The Thousand-Mile Warfare” was initially revealed in 1969 in response to the twenty fifth anniversary of World Conflict II’s Aleutian marketing campaign and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in historical past. It was republished in 1995 within the College of Alaska Press’ Basic Reprint Collection, to commemorate the marketing campaign’s fiftieth anniversary. This yr marks the seventy fifth anniversary — a time of remembrance and retrospection because the veterans of that struggle depart us and our nationwide reminiscence fades.

A shocking variety of People at the moment are unaware that a part of World Warfare II was fought within the Aleutian Islands, involving upward of half one million males and costing maybe 10,000 lives. In early June of 1942, Dutch Harbor was bombed, after which, on the finish of the Aleutian chain, the Japanese invaded and took management of the islands of Attu and Kiska. On Attu, the forty two Native Attuans have been captured and shipped to Japan as prisoners of warfare, together with the white schoolteacher. (Her husband, a radio operator, was killed.) On Kiska, 10 members of a climate workforce, the one inhabitants, have been equally taken prisoner.

For the subsequent yr Japan held the 2 islands, whereas the U.S. constructed up air and naval bases on different Aleutian islands and bombed Kiska at each alternative. (The U.S. additionally evacuated the Aleut individuals from the remaining islands in an sick-deliberate relocation that left them in horrible dwelling circumstances for the rest of the warfare.) The Aleutians’ notoriously dangerous climate and troublesome terrain turned a standard enemy for each side.

Then, in Might of 1943, the People counterattacked Attu. The Battle of Attu, thought by its planners to take not more than a few days, ended up raging for 19 days earlier than routing the Japanese from their dug-in positions within the mountains. In the long run, the American pressure suffered three,829 casualties — together with 549 lifeless and a pair thousand with extreme-chilly accidents and foot injury on account of insufficient clothes and provides. The Japanese lifeless numbered 2,351. This was the second-most expensive American battle within the Pacific — second solely to Iwo Jima.

A Japanese ship rusts within the waters off Kiska Island. (Nancy Lord)

In August, American troops made an identical…

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