Coast Watching in the Solomon Islands: The Bougainville Reports, December 1941-July 1943

Coast Watching in the Solomon Islands: The Bougainville Reports, December 1941-July 1943


By (author) A. B. Feuer, Foreword by Walter Lord


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  • Publisher: Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 236mm x 20mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 30 May 1992
  • Publication City/Country: Westport
  • ISBN 10: 0275942031
  • ISBN 13: 9780275942038
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

The Bougainville Reports--by Jack Read, Paul Mason, and other coast watchers--are vivid accounts of the coast watching activities on Buka and Bougainville Islands in the Solomon Islands chain during World War II and describe in detail one of the most successful intelligence operations of the war. By the time war came to the South Pacific on December 8, 1941, an excellent intra-district communication network had already been established on Bougainville. A daily system of radio reporting was put into effect by Lieutenant Commander Eric Feldt, who later wrote: Few realized that when the first waves of United States Marines landed on the bitterly contested beaches of Guadalcanal, coast watchers on Bougainville, New Georgia, and other islands were sending warning signals of impending Japanese air raids almost two hours before enemy aircraft formations appeared over the island. Japanese shipping and aircraft activity was monitored and news of spottings was telegraphed to Guadalcanal Headquarters. Information on shipping was directly responsible for the American victory in November 1942, when 12 Japanese transports, loaded with reinforcements, were intercepted and destroyed. Jack Read summarized his activities as follows: Reviewing the course of our operations, we can see that coast watching on that most northerly peg of the Solomons had fulfilled its mission long before we were driven out--and to a far greater effect than even we realized. During the early and uncertain days of the American struggle to wrest Guadalcanal from the Japanese, the reports and timely warnings from Bougainville were directly responsible for the enemy's defeat. Admiral William Halsey praised the work of the coast watchers and said that the intelligence information from Bougainville saved Guadalcanal and that Guadalcanal saved the South Pacific. These edited reports tell the remarkable story of Read, Mason, and other coast watchers and depict their struggles for survival in the Japanese-patrolled jungles of Bougainville. They provide a fascinating account that will intrigue historians, World War II and espionage buffs, and students.

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Author information

A. B. FEUER is a military historian and freelance newspaper and magazine journalist. The author of "Bilibid Diary: The Secret Notebooks of Commander Thomas Hayes" (1987) and "Combat Diary: Episodes from the History of the Twenty-Second Regiment, 1866-1905" (Praeger, 1991), he has also published articles in numerous journals, including "Military History Magazine," "Sea Classics," "Civil War Quarterly," and "World War II" and is a book reviewer for "Military Review."

Review quote

?Coast Watching in the Solomon Islands overall is a good, entertaining and informative read, perfectly suited for use by historians, students of World War II and anybody fascinated with the ways and means of intelligence. The book is blessed with plenty of maps, an absolute necessity in good military history, and Feuer has produced a very readable text, highlighted by excellent selections.?-World War II Magazine

Table of contents

The South Pacific Coast Watching Network; The Retreat from Buka Island and the Abandonment of Kieta, December 12, 1941-August 7, 1942, Jack Read; Organizing the Coast Watching Operation in Northern Bougainville, February 20-April 5, 1942, Jack Read; Setting up the Southern Bougainville Coast Watching Station, March 6-August 7, 1942, Paul Mason; Air Battles at Guadalcanal, August 8, 1942-January 1, 1943, Jack Read; Porapora Days and the USS "Nautilus" Rescue, November 4, 1942-January 1, 1943, Jack Read; Missionary Work on Buka and Bougainville and the USS "Nautilus" Rescue, September-January 4, 1942, Sister Mary Irene Alton; The Japanese Search for the Southern Bougainville Radio Station, August 8, 1942-January 1, 1943, Paul Mason; The Reorganization of the Coast Watching Operation and the USS "Gato" Rescue, January 2-April 30, 1943, Jack Read; Heading North, January 2-April 30, 1943, Paul Mason; The Japanese Attack on the Porapora and Other Coast Watcher Locations, May 1-July 19, 1943, Jack Read; The End of Attempts to Return to Southern Bougainville, May 1-July 19, 1943, Paul Mason; The Death of Admiral Yamamoto and the Ambush of Mason's Party, March 29-June 26, 1943, Ken H. Thorpe and Walter Radimey; Escape from Bougainville - the USS "Guardfish" Rescues, July 20-July 30, 1943, Jack Keenan and Jack Read; Afterword, Noelle Mason; Military and Police Personnel on Buka and Bougainville.