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INTO THE SHADOWS FURIOUS: THE BRUTAL BATTLE FOR NEW GEORGIA. The U.S. 43rd Inf. Div. & a regiment of Marines attack up the slot from Guadalcanal to the Japanese air base at Munda, New Georgia--and are stopped cold.

Click to EnlargeINTO THE SHADOWS FURIOUS: The Brutal Battle for New Georgia. by Brian Altobello. By the spring of 1943, now that Guadalcanal had finally been secured, it was time to move farther up the Solomons in the drive against Rabaul, the major Japanese headquarters and air base situated at the northeastern end of New Britain. The next obstacle up 'the slot' from Guadalcanal was the Japanese air base at Munda on the island of New Georgia.

The plan was simple: the Army's the 43rd Infantry Division, a green, novice National Guard unit, lands on suitable beaches situated east of the Munda airbase and attacks west to secure the airbase while a brigade-size force of Marines lands to the north of Munda and drives south to capture Bairoko Harbor, thereby preventing evacuation of the Japanese defenders by sea.

American planners were unaware, however, that the Japanese commander, Maj. Gen. Sasaki, had prepared a series of strong defensive positions and roadblocks on the trails east from Munda, the same trails that the Americans were counting on to speed their attack. These defenses, combined with incredibly difficult terrain, slowed the 43rd Infantry Division to a crawl. New Georgia was not secured until August 25, three weeks behind schedule. And, General Sasaki had managed to evacuate to safety the bulk of his forces.

With evocative, almost surrealistic prose, author Altobello places the reader on the trails to Munda with the American soldiers from this now almost forgotten campaign: "The jungle hissed as the men readied themselves for their first encounter with fear. Everything around them shimmered with movement from the jungle?s huge population of small creatures. The earth itself seemed to crawl." 3 maps, 24 photographs, 400 pages

REVIEW: "Altobello's eloquent account gives voice to those who endured the horrors of combat against a resolute enemy force. ... and sheds new light on what became one of the bloodiest debacles in the war in the Pacific."__Dale E. Wilson, Major, US Army (Ret.), Professor, American Military University.

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