Lt Shaw. USMC. Books 6 and 7.

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  • Author:
    Andy Farman.
    Lt. Shaw USMC book 6 is an updated re-issue of an earlier book with the same title, and is much more comprehensive. Those of us who have read the excellent 'Armageddon's Song' by the author will be familiar with the character of General Shaw, this book and the subsequent one puts flesh on the bones of the character.

    The first book in the new series ( book 6) contains much more detail of our hero's father and his war service. The book begins in Vietnam, at a firebase that is under siege and attack, a south-east Asian version of the Alamo. This is set in 1963, when Shaw was a 2nd Lt, working with a Montangnard team and assisted by the visiting team known as 'The Empire Quartet', which included Lt Peter Dawnorsh of the Royal Marines - who was to go on to be Prime Minister of Great Britain in the later books - and Terry Jones, a CIA operator, ostensibly working with Air America. We also meet Megan Grainger-McVanie, a beautiful CIA spy who specialises in pillow talk.

    This is quite a complicated story, yet eminently readable. I shan't talk about the plot because that would spoil the reader's pleasure at unravelling the sometime labyrinthine strands that weave together so well, but I will say that I was enthralled and absorbed throughout.

    The second of these books is 'Lt. Shaw, USMC; Soldiers, Spies and Lies, and it is just what it says on the tin! This episode gives much more detail of Shaw's father and the action he saw. From WW2 to Korea with excellent historical detail and superbly atmospheric settings one can see hoe the spirit of Young Shaw was forged from the steel of his father. The story continues with the Vietnam war and further adventures of Shaw and his companions. It also brings our hero into conflict with very senior and influential members of the Vietnamese army and government when Shaw cannot stand by and watch injustice and prejudice run rampant.

    If you have read any of Andy's work before, then you will be aware of the very high standard of research and attention to detail that goes into his writing. The fact that he can ally this with the ability to tell a rattling good yarn is commendable in the extreme. It puts the stuff that often heads the best sellers charts to shame and if there was any fairness in the publishing world then his work would be constantly heading the sales charts.

    I can heartily recommend these books as a damned good read and well worth buying.
    5 out of 5.
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  1. Andy Farman

    He is very busy these days but I managed to speak to Sanju and apparently he did watch a couple of 'Tour of Duty' on Youtube back in 2014 to get the feel, hence getting the army helmet and cover in the first 'rough' instead of the USMC style, so you were absolutely correct about the likeness to 'Lt Myron Goldman'.

    Henry Shaw, by Sanju
      old_fat_and_hairy likes this.
    1. old_fat_and_hairy
      Bugger, it feels good to be right about something. Not something that happens very often to me nowadays.
      old_fat_and_hairy, Jul 26, 2017
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  2. Andy Farman

    Re- Lt Peter Dawnosh, is an anagram of Ashdown.
    I always thought he would make a good PM, but as Churchill was the last British PM to have killed in action he would have that held against him in our allegedly more enlightened society of precious individuals.
    1. old_fat_and_hairy
      I had wondered about the name, an odd one but now it looks so obvious. And I believe you are so right about the opinions that would have been vented on Paddy by the ........I can't use the word but shall say pettifogging and terrified officials and scabrous press.
      old_fat_and_hairy, Jul 26, 2017
  3. old_fat_and_hairy
    Thanks for putting that up Andy. I didn't include anything because of possible copyright and not wanting to give too much away, but your post should ramp up the anticipation and awareness.
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    1. Andy Farman
      I went into the writing with determination not to step on toes or steal thunder from the men who fought the battle, hence the invention of 4/31st.
      The bad senior leadership was impossible to ignore though.
      Yes, the US Army had been asset stripped in order to fund nuclear weapon and missile technology, but so had the USMC, but the marines will to fight, their training and the esprit de corps was excellent.
      Andy Farman, Jul 25, 2017
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    2. Andy Farman
      As a historian put it, in five short years the US Army had gone from the army that had stopped the Axis powers to a mere speed bump for a 3rd world army (N Korea).

      Ah well, at the day it is intended to be an entertaining story, not a post mortem.
      Andy Farman, Jul 25, 2017
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  4. Andy Farman
    This is a novel, a war story I start by using a fictitious battalion, a 4th Battalion that US 31st Infantry Regiment did not possess at that time.
    I like the research into any book I write and I like to get the details right, but I should point out that finding an accurate, definitive account of what exactly occurred between midnight and dawn on 28th November 1950, at Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir, proved impossible.
    The fog of war, the surprise attack in the middle of the night which overran so many units and sub units, added to which the later ass covering by the army, muddied the waters.
    Barr (Cmdr 7 Inf Div) , Almond (Cmdr X Corps), and General MacArthur are long dead, as are the lower ranking officers who were blamed for the debacle when they were already cold, stiff and frosted with snow, unable to ever defend themselves again.

    The USMC provided the most concise version, but it was written several years later and is naturally more precise on 1st Marine Divisions actions rather than the army's. I used Brig Gen Edwin H Simmons, USMC, 'Frozen Chosin' and Colonel George A. Rasula, US Army, Changjin Journal accounts to guesstimate who was where, and when, as even those details are uncertain.

    What is clear is that the commander, General MacArthur, ran the war from a headquarters in Japan and copped a gallantry award every time he visited the country where the war was actually being fought.
    General Almond, commander of X Corps, was a failed divisional commander in WW2, (92nd Inf Div), one who blamed his divisions failures on the colour of his men's skin.
    IMHO, the best thing Almond did, once the Chinese were in the surrounding hills, was to hand command of the battle to Major General Oliver P. Smith, USMC, and hop on a flight out.
  5. Andy Farman
    Excerpt: 'Shaw' book 7: 0005hrs, 28th November 1950, P’ungnyuri River inlet , Chosin Reservoir, N Korea.

    At first, it had been easy enough to find targets, anyone moving above ground qualified as the enemy. Now though, not ten minutes later, it was a different story.
    Men were running, some blindly and some with a goal, falling back to the only area where the enemy were not already looting the US dead for winter clothing and food.

    Dwight’s company had taken losses in the first wave and the enemy had penetrated right up to his own foxhole in the centre before being killed with bullet, bayonet and entrenching tool.
    Whoever the enemy commander was, he knew that one company of his enemy was still intact and he mustered his men, dragging them from their pillaging.
    There was nothing left between the inlet and the airstrip, the regimental aid station tents at the battalion’s rear were already aflame, the screams of the patients, doctors and orderlies carried clearly in the cold air. Four miles away to the south, the artillery headquarters was in tattered ruins and chaos reigned at 31st Tank Company, its crews caught sleeping outside the vehicles by the same shell and mortar barrage that had fallen on the headquarters.
    Americans from other companies fell back towards Zebra, seeing it as a safe haven or a place to stand and fight, but the enemy was not killing these men, it was mingling with them and even with the aid of flares it was impossible to tell friend from foe.

    His men’s gunfire faltered, not wishing to hit comrades.

    “Zebra Company!” Dwight shouted. “Enemy to your front, rapid fire!”
    None did, so Dwight did what had to be done, pushing aside the gunner on the Browning 1917 machine gun mount.
    “Zebra Company…. Rapid fire!” and Dwight fired the first burst, absolving them of guilt.

    His men obeyed, and beyond the perimeter, men began to fall.
  6. Andy Farman
    Excerpt: 'Shaw' book 6: The Old Ford fight
  7. Andy Farman
    Excerpt: 'Shaw' book 6:

    Major Washington extended a hand to help him up the bank.
    The sergeant major untied the vine rope, reaching up, dripping wet and smiling gratefully, when he staggered, a surprised look in his eyes and his lips and teeth suddenly bloody as he coughed up a crimson spray.
    Bark flew off a tree trunk next to Joshua’s head and high velocity rounds cracked past, shredding leaves and amputating small branches.
    Joshua dropped, still reaching for Sergeant Major Radcliffe but Rob was falling backwards into the water, his equipment taking him under and the current carrying him downstream.

    Joshua saw the shape of a pith helmet, the headgear of the NVA, emerging from the shadow of a bush but before he could aim and fire the bank he was laying on began to fountain dirt and rotting foliage. Realising he was in view he rolled to the right and began crawling backwards.
    Return fire escalated, allowing him to scuttle away far more quickly than he could crawl, moving into a firing position and joining the fight.
    Henry, Rob’s three advisors and a dozen Montagnards were firing at targets they could see, and into cover from which muzzle flashes or gun smoke were being emitted. The roar of gunfire was deafening and with hardly a breath of breeze in the air the blue haze of cordite hung like an ever thickening blanket between the opposing forces.

    This was not a contest they could win, their ammunition was limited to what they carried and they had to keep moving. The gunfire had pinpointed their position for all the enemy in the area and to stand and fight meant being pinned down and surrounded.
  8. Auld-Yin
    @Andy Farman I tried to find Book 7 on Amazon UK but it did not appear - only found on Amazon US. You may wish to take this up with your publisher/Amazon
      Andy Farman likes this.
    1. Andy Farman
      Thank you, I have emailed Authors services and await a reply.
      Andy Farman, Jul 23, 2017