Killing Ground on Okinawa: The Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill

James H. Hallas, Author Praeger Publishers $59.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-275-94726-2
Sugar Loaf Hill, 50 feet high and 900 feet long, was a key to the Japanese position on Okinawa during WWII. On the hill, the Japanese manned 25 sophisticated defenses with grim tenacity, supported by the heaviest firepower since Pearl Harbor. On the American side, the 6th Marine Division, which attacked the hill in the spring of 1945, may have been the best division in the Corps at the time. Even so, as Hallas (The Devil's Anvil, 1994) details in this intellectually and emotionally compelling account, it took all the raw courage and tactical skill of the division's junior officers and enlisted men to crack a Japanese position that might better have been flanked by an amphibious end run. Hallas uses firsthand accounts by Marine participants to depict the sustained close-quarter fighting that tested the Americans to their physical and moral limits as they engaged in a battle that saw 2000 Marine casualties in seven days. At Sugar Loaf, as on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue; Hallas's chronicle of the former battle's many instances of grace under fire will enhance all collections devoted to war's human dimensions. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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