The Cabanatuan Prison Raid, The Philippines 1945, Gordon L. Rottman

The Cabanatuan Prison Raid, The Philippines 1945, Gordon L. Rottman

This third entry in Osprey's new Raid series is the first to deal with an unfamiliar topic - the rescue of over 500 POWs from a Japanese camp at Cabanatuan on the Philippines in January 1945

As in the first two entries in the series the tightly focused topic of this book allows Rottman to set the raid firmly in context. We start with a look at how the POWs reached Cabanatuan, before moving onto a brief summary of the American return to the Philippines and the atrocities that convinced them that they needed to rescue the remaining prisoners in the camp before they were massacred.

We then meet the main players in the rescue - the guerrilla bands that had kept up the fight during the period of Japanese occupation, the Alamo scouts - a long range reconnaissance unit, and the 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion who provided the muscle for the attack.

Only after providing all of this background does Rottman move onto the raid itself, looking at the plan, the march to the camp, the attack itself and the evacuation of the rescued prisoners. This section makes up most of the book.

The balance of Rottman's text makes clear how important the planning and preparation was to the success of the raid - the attack itself only begins on page 49 out of 64, and that doesn't feel at all late. This book also makes it clear just how much the success of the raid depended on the local guerrillas, who guided the Rangers to the camp, protected them on the march, prevented a Japanese infantry battalion from interfering and played a major part in the evacuation (without in any way playing down the achievements of the Scouts or the Rangers).

The result is an engaging account of one of the most successful raids of the Second World War.

Initial Strategy
The Plan
The Raid

Author: Gordon L. Rottman
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2009

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