Chris Glatte’s THE LONG PATROL tells the story of a squad fighting during the Battle of Guadalcanal during WW2. When intelligence produces an opportunity to go behind enemy lines and make contact with native guerillas, the squad ends up on a dangerous and bloody mission that may change the course of the battle and the war.
The Battle of Guadalcanal was fought to prevent the Japanese from securing capability to launch aircraft against Australia and the USA’s lifeline to that country. It followed up on the Battle of Midway with the USA taking the initiative by penetrating the Japanese Empire’s outer defensive ring. For months, American and Japanese planes fought over the island while ships skirmished and fought at sea. On the island itself, Americans fought tooth and nail to hold Henderson Airfield against ongoing Japanese assaults. The entire time, the outcome of the war hung in the balance.
Glatte’s story is a solid war novel, gritty and bloody. The plot and pacing never flag, punctuated by violence and the occasional ridiculous twist that occurs in war, such as a devastating friendly fire incident. The soldiers are heroic but realistically so. Glatte does a good job making them stand out as strong characters we care about. He also seems to avoid the usual pro- or anti-war message by simply describing a patrol and its influence on the outcome of the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Recommended if you like WW2 novels.