Devil Dogs

Devil Dogs

King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines: From Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan

Saul David


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Award-winning historian Saul David reveals the searing experience of the Devil Dogs of World War II and does for the U.S. Marines what Band of Brothers did for the 101st Airborne.

The “Devil Dogs” of King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines—part of the legendary 1st Marine Division—were among the first American soldiers to take the offensive in World World II—and also the last.

They landed on the beaches of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in August 1942—the first US ground offensive of the war—and were present when Okinawa, Japan’s most southerly prefecture, finally fell to American troops after a bitter struggle in June 1945. In between they fought in the “Green Hell” of Cape Gloucester on the island of New Britain, and across the coral wasteland of Peleliu in the Palau Islands, a campaign described by one King Company veteran as “thirty days of the meanest, around-the-clock slaughter that desperate men can inflict on each other.”

Ordinary men from very different backgrounds, and drawn from cities, towns, and settlements across America, the Devil Dogs were asked to do something extraordinary: take on the victorious Imperial Japanese Army, composed of some of the most effective, “utterly ruthless and treacherous” soldiers in world history—and defeat it. This is the story of how they did just that and, in the process, forged bonds of brotherhood that still survive today.

Remarkably, the company contained an unusually high number of talented writers, whose first-hand accounts and memoirs provide the color, emotion, and context for this extraordinary story. In Devil Dogs, award-winning historian Saul David sets the searing experience of the Devil Dogs into the broader context of the brutal war in the Pacific and does for the U.S. Marines what Band of Brothers did for the 101st Airborne.


Saul David:
Saul David is a critically renowned military historian and broadcaster. He is the author, most recently, of Operation Thunderbolt; Crucible of Hell; and The Force. He lives outside of Bath, England, where he is a professor of military history at the University of Buckingham.