Seven Stars: The Okinawa Battle Diaries of Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. and Joseph Stilwell (Google eBook)
Nicholas Evan Sarantakes
Texas A&M University Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 189 pages
Battle diaries are essential for understanding what generals are thinking as they work their way through the fog of battle. Nicholas Evan Sarantakes juxtaposes the diaries of two very different generals who both fought at Okinawa: Lieutenant General Buckner, a by-the-numbers man who favored the use of artillery and tanks to reduce entrenched positions, and General Stilwell, a prickly outsider who preferred maneuver to set--piece battles, Sarantakes identifies individuals, includes explanations of important events alluded to by the generals, and provides glossaries of main characters and military terms. The result is a record of how Buckner and Stilwell came to grips with the problems of command on a war-torn island at the end of a long logistical tether. With the background information provided by Sarantakes, the diaries of these men become accessible to the reader. Buckner is the more restrained, a Southern gentleman whose career was average and whose diary entries are interspersed with letters to his wife. He shuttles between forward command posts and shipboard conferences, noting how much rain has fallen, how many enemy have been killed, and how many aircraft shot down. Stilwell is a self-styled outsider, a brilliant warrior with the social graces of a porcupine. He dislikes Buckner and has little patience for his irreverent humor. Stilwell's entries are peppered with frank and often acrid observations about everything and everybody. He dismisses the British as "hoggish, inconsiderate" Limeys and atomic scientists as "temperamental bugs." The battle for Okinawa was a pivotal event in World War 11 and has the distinction of being the single bloodiest conflict in the history of theUnited States Navy. This book is an in-depth exploration of the art of leading troops in such a battle.
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Page 30 - I doubt if the Army's slow, methodical method of fighting really saves any lives in the long run. It merely spreads the casualties over a longer period. The longer period greatly increases the naval casualties when Jap air attacks on ships is a continuing factor" (Buell, The Quiet Warrior, 387).
Page 30 - I doubt if the Army slow, methodical method of fighting really saves any lives in the long run. It merely spreads the casualties over a longer period. The longer period greatly increases the naval casualties when Jap air attacks on ships is a continuing factor. However, I do not think the Army is at all allergic to losses of naval ships and personnel. "There are times when I get impatient for some of Holland Smith's drive, but there is nothing we can do about it.