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THE MACARTHUR DIVERSION 

macarthur 

In 1942 the Japanese war machine was getting ever closer to Australia and a plan was hatched by the High Command to assassinate General MacArthur who had set up his H.Q. in Melbourne.

 

As the assassin makes his way from contact to contact his path is crossed by an Australian corporal and his American girlfriend. The authorities don’t believe them so they have to go after him alone.

 

As their love story turns into a mission they are running out of time to save the General. 

   

In Store Price: $AU29.95 
Online Price:   $AU28.95

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ISBN: 978-1-922229-43-4    
Format: Paperback
Number of pages:296
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Author: Roger Wood
Publisher:
Zeus Publications

Date Published: 2014
Language: English

 

Roger Wood’s background is in television and theatre. He worked for BBC Television for 23 years in the design department before returning to Australia in 1987 and now he lives on the Sunshine Coast.

  

Also by Roger Wood ...  

George Overton (Retired) (Zeus, 2009)

Detective George Overton (Zeus, 2010)

George Overton’s Casebook (Zeus, 2011)

George Overton Investigates (Zeus, 2012)

Send for George Overton (Zeus, 2013)


Prologue

 Part sample

March, 1942.  Japan.

 

 A succession of loud explosions that sounded like rolling thunder reverberated around Hiroshima Bay as the Japanese navy battleship Mutsu put its crew through yet another session of gunnery practice. A fisherman on the rocky shore jumped at the sound and then cursed as he knew there would be scant fishing for him while the fleet was at anchor in the bay. In the air, warplanes buzzed above the low clouds like a swarm of angry bees as they circled the bay from their base at Itosaki.

If it wasn’t the guns and the Zeros, it was the small boats disturbing the fish with their comings and goings. Most of the citizens of Hiroshima were not as touchy as the fisherman; they embraced the show of strength and considered it an honour to have the pride of the Imperial fleet moored in their bay. Kobe, for instance or Nagoya could have been chosen but the emperor had honoured them with this powerful presence.

The fisherman dropped his nets and as he wiped the perspiration from his brow with his sleeve he watched the myriad of small craft as they plied between ships and shore. He thought they made the bay look like a large grey pond with insects skipping across the surface of the water.

A larger and more important looking craft threaded its way through the maze of steel-sided floating fortresses, lines of men on the other vessels stood to attention in their blue and white uniforms as it passed on its way to the Yamato, the largest of the seven warships.

The launch pulled alongside and sailors rushed with long poles to stop the small boat crashing into the unmoving steel wall. On the battleship there was a flurry of activity and men in different coloured uniforms appeared with umbrellas at the entry port; from a distance they looked like black beetles shuffling for position.

A man dressed like a Victorian undertaker, in top hat and black-tailed coat stepped aboard, the uniforms bowed deeply and escorted the visitor and his aides away from the drizzly sunshine and into the gloomy interior of the ship. As they passed through the heart of the battleship, sailors bowed reverently for word had gone round that this was the emperor’s representative, he had gazed upon the face of the emperor and a man who had been in divine presence was a man to be held in awe.

The briefing room was plain to the extreme, the only furniture being a large polished oval table surrounded by antique chairs. A chart was attached to one wall showing all of the Japanese occupied territories in the Pacific region, from Alaska in the north to the coast of Australia in the south.

Seven men stood and bowed as the emperor’s representative entered, he passed his top hat to one of his aides and returned the bow. He took his seat at the head of the table as a sailor closed the door with a clang that seemed overly loud in the silence of the room and then he gazed around the faces of the military leaders until he settled on the imposing figure of Admiral Yamamoto.

Isokuru Yamamoto was short, even for a Japanese, but he had that aura that most great men seemed to possess. He wore a plain uniform with no adornment; whilst others preferred braids and ribbons he was quite austere. This man was a sailor and was here for one purpose only and that was to fight the enemies of his country. He inspired confidence, for he was the man who had planned the attack on Pearl Harbour and challenged the might of America.

Yamamoto knew the Americans well, for as a younger man he had attended Harvard University and had made a study of their methods of warfare. He understood their pride in their country, but he thought they were not ruthless enough for real warfare and had no conception of personal honour. They honoured their country but that was not enough to drive men to be masters of the world; to do that you have to despise your enemies. The Japanese sense of honour and blind devotion to the emperor had ensured success in Russia, China and the Pacific.

Whilst in America his time had not been wasted, he had studied their ideas on military strategy and felt confident he could beat them.

He also mastered the western card games of bridge and poker and now that he was in command he insisted that his aides learn both games as part of their training in bluff and surprise.

Yamamoto knew that others in the high command were opposed to his plan to draw the American fleet into battle at Midway Island where it was known to be possible for the Americans to launch long-range attacks upon the Japanese homeland itself. The General’s staff argued that Midway was of no importance to Japan, and Midway was not the only place the Americans could use as a base. They were for a greater deployment in the Indian Ocean with the possibility of joining forces with their soon-to-be allies, the Germans, in East Africa.

Yamamoto however, distrusted the Germans; their idea of a master race may not include Orientals in the final analysis. He believed Midway Island would be the stepping stone to Hawaii and Australia and when it was captured it would guard their rear. If Britain could keep Germany at bay by dominating the English Channel why shouldn’t they protect Japan by dominating the South Pacific?

One of those against his plan was seated on his right. Vice Admiral Ito Seiichi, deputy chief of Naval General staff. Seiichi however, would say nothing against the plan; he was too much the politician to be seen to oppose the hero of the people.

On Yamamoto’s left sat Major Adachi of army intelligence and next to him Combined Fleet Head of Operations, Rear Admiral Fukudome Shigeru.

Continuing on around the table the next officer was Captain Hankyu Sasaki, a submarine group commander who had helped Yamamoto plan the attack on Pearl Harbour.

At the head of the table was the black-suited representative of the emperor, his name was Yoshimi Hara and he was the President of the Japanese Privy Council. He was known as The Voice of the Emperor and Yamamoto knew that this was the man he had to convince.

Seated next to him was Commander Watanabe Yasuji, one of the admiral’s chief planning officers and a strong force behind his success.

Last of all was Rear Admiral Ishizaki who commanded a small mixed strike force of ships and men that were prepared to go anywhere and do whatever ordered without question. Yamamoto planned to use this group to appease those on the General Staff who were for aiding German interests off the African coast. Secretly he saw it as a suicide mission and was loathe to lose such an important fighting unit so far from home. But he was aware of the politics involved and kept his misgivings to himself.

Yamamoto, a man of few words, rose to address them. ‘Gentlemen, so far we have met no resistance to our sweep southward. We must however, capitalise on our victories and drive the Americans from the Pacific region.’ He moved briskly to the chart on the wall. ‘It is essential that we keep up our momentum and move quickly.’ He looked around at the eager faces and picked up a wand-like pointer. ‘I will explain my plan or should I say, preparation, for the attack on Midway Island.’

The emperor’s representative raised a hand in protest. ‘Admiral, the emperor has not agreed to commit such a large force so far from Japan.’ He had a quiet, almost gentle voice that had no need to exert authority. His authority was absolute, it was in the person he represented and they all knew it.

Commander Yasuji interjected bravely. ‘Pearl Harbour was as far, sir.’

‘The attack on the Hawaiian Islands was just a long-range bombing raid, the fleet was still capable of protecting the homeland, commander,’ said the gentle voice.

Yamamoto, obviously annoyed at the interruption, used a deep bow to take a breath and compose himself before continuing. ‘I said preparation, sir. Merely preparations, which must be done in advance while we await the emperor’s decision.’

The man in the black suit waved an almost regal hand to signal the admiral was to continue. Now that he had asserted his authority he was pleased to sit back and listen to the admiral’s plan.

Yamamoto pointed to the chart. ‘As I was saying, gentlemen, this is a preparation and these diversions will deplete and disperse the American fleet to such an extent that victory at Midway and Hawaii will be guaranteed.’

 

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