Coast Watching in the Solomon Islands

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

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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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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 154.9 x 236.2 x 20.3mm | 498.96g
  • Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Westport, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0275942031
  • 9780275942038

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?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

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About A. B. Feuer

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.

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