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Shadow Warriors

23 August 2013

Shadow Warriors

Shadow Warriors: the untold stories of American Special Operations during WWII, Dick Camp, 2013, ISBN 9780760344293, 246 pp.

Shadow Warriors: the untold stories of American Special Operations during WWII by Dick Camp with Simon Larkin as cover designer

Shadow Warriors: the untold stories of American Special Operations during WWII by Dick Camp with Simon Larkin as cover designer — image courtesy of Zenith Press

This book is written by an author with the uncommon combination of having expertise in the subject matter as well as being a professional historian. The material is exciting and the attention to detail, with many references provided, superb. This book is not a rehash of oft told stories — instead Camp brings to life extraordinary accomplishments (emphasizing U.S. Marine Corps personnel) with verve and the understanding of a man who is familiar with what the work was like these otherwise forgotten heroes accomplished in the successful prosecution in many theaters of World War II.

Important accomplishments, indeed, which unfortunately did not capture the attention of the press. This was possibly due to place such as the former Yugoslavia (simply not Western Europe, and so not as glamorous as France or the Netherlands) or time (after the war ended in Europe but continued in regard to Japan). Fortunately, Camp has brought to light many historical operations which were vital missions accomplished in remote areas or far from reinforcement or rescue. There is much to learn from Shadow Warriors, such as:

  • Col. William Eddy (USMC) and his development pf an intelligence network which was vital to the success of Operation Torch — the unappreciated training ground for the Invasion of Normandy
  • Operation Group Union II, led by Major Ortiz (USMC) and Sgt. Risler (USMC), which witnessed what may have been WW II’s largest aerial supply drop. This occurred in the largest area of the French Resistance on the Glières Plateau in Southeastern France where a brief but intense battle during July 1944 was waged by the French against the Wehrmacht. The air drop was incredible — known as Operation Buick — when nearly 200 B-17 Flying Fortresses parachuted 864 containers. These containers delivered no less than 1096 Sten guns, 298 Bren automatic rifles, 1350 Lee-Enfield rifles,  3000+ grenades, 51 antitank guns and an incredible 2½ million rounds of ammunition — not to mention supplies, sundries and explosives.
  • The formation of the first U.S. Marine paratrooper unit (2nd Parachute Battalion) and their use in the South Pacific area of operations — especially when working in concert with the Coastwatchers stationed on Choiseul Island in the Solomons.
  • Capt. Ferrell (USMC) who parachuted into Canton China with a team when it was enemy held to work out the details of the Japanese surrender. Later his work interviewing thousands of people and a greater number of foreign language documents brought a German spy ring in China to justice in the Japanese War Crimes Trials.

Read this book for its information and telling of major events which significantly helped to win World War II but lie largely forgotten, overtaken by press coverage of other events, but events accomplished by brave as well as intelligent personnel thrust into unknown circumstances — each working ahead of the front, the Shadow Warriors.


As is the publishing business custom, Zenith Press has provided a copy of this book to read for the writing of an objective review — no compensation has been offered, expected or requested.

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