Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tsundoku Tuesday - "Big Guns Brave Men"

We, as Americans, tend to enjoy firepower. Be it hunting or in the military. In fact, firepower is one reason the American military is so successful. We blow the shit out of anything that looks funny, cost to the taxpayer be damned.

Going back to Fat Henry Knox, the U.S. artillery has always been world class. Hell, we even decided that despite being fine Southern gentlemen, we'd hitch some light pieces up behind a team of horses and dash all about the battlefield.

Warriors fight for the nobility of battle of some such. The American Soldier fights to fucking win so as to go home, marry a stripper, buy a Mustang at Eleventy One Percent APR, and probably get an Article 15. Well, at least mine did. But that is neither here nor there.

But the fact remains, that the American fighting man has generally enjoyed on call, accurate, and continuous fire support for the most part since Cowpens.

And we've always been able to provide that arty on time and on target due some braves guys whom venture forward with the weird guys wearing crossed rifles.

The Artillery FO, or FISTer in modern parlance is a true American hero. He puts the hurting on the bad guys for you.

And the FISTer comes from a long lineage of American badassery.

Big Guns, Brave Men: Mobile Artillery Observers and the Battle For Okinawa is a superb history, both oral and historiographic, of the FOs of the 96th Inf Div during the fight for Okinawa. Written buy R. E. Walton, himself, an Army officer, whom is the son of a FO, the books brings to light a little known junk of the American Army in WWII.

Few people if any think of the Pacific as an Army war, other than the intrepid defense of Bataan. But we were there. From General Krueger Sixth's Army, to the National Guard at the Canal, to the 96th at Okinawa, the U.S. Army executed it's part of war plan orange with skill and valor.

This book is a fun read, well researched, and an all to important collection of oral history from the guys who were there.

It's available from the United States Naval Institute Press at a clear the decks prices; which, generally means it is about to cease publication. Grab it while you can.

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