Our Kind of War – Illustrated Saga of the U.S. Marine Raiders of World War II

Our Kind of War – Illustrated Saga of the U.S. Marine Raiders of World War II – “They carried machine guns like pistols… And a knife that was tempered in Hell.”

Probably a “holy grail” when it comes to books on Marine Raiders of WW2. Unfortunately the book is out of print, hard to get and pricy. Mint copies sold for 300+$… but keep looking some cheaper ones appear from time to time. “Our Kind of War” was written by R.G. Rosenquist (who served with the 3rd raider Battalion and the 4th Marine Regiment), Colonel Martin J. “Stormy” Sexton, usmc (Ret.) (also served with the 3rd raider Battalion and the 4th Marine Regiment) and Rober A. Buerlein.

The book has chapters on major campaigns and battles of the U.S. Marine Raiders, a detailed and interesting one on the evolution of Raider insignia, special weapons and equipment, war dogs with the Raiders, memorials and more. Also many really good period photos and excellent veteran accounts.

“Much like lethal tropical serpents, the US Marine Raiders of World War II swept down on the enemy with speed & stealth & struck with deadly effect. They were so impressive that the Japanese told their own troops the Americans had to have killed members of their families before they could qualify for this elite fighting force… Like the British Commandos, the Raiders were designed to hit & run, keeping the enemy off balance until regular units of the Marines & Army could finish the job. To accomplish their purpose, the Raiders occasionally used submarines, rubber boats, or PT boats to make their lightning strikes on Japanese-held islands.
Most of the illustrations are from the U.S. Marine Raider Museum at the Headquarters of the American Historical Foundation in Richmond, Virginia.
Much of the feel of combat is provided by stories submitted by the Raiders themselves. From their foxholes & their rubber boats, they offer a unique look at what it was like to wage war against the Japanese on the far-flung islands of the Pacific.”

An example of some very cool info you can find in the book, I guess most of you know the following photo:

It shows Sgt. Walter Carroll and Pfc. Dean Winters of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion on the submarine USS Nautilus before the Makin Raid. Carroll was the gunner for the Boys .55 Anti-tank rifle. Did you ever wonder why he has several .45 ammo pouches on his belt? According to the book he used those to carry extra ammo for the AT rifle. Cool 😈

The veteran accounts are full of interesting info too. One Raider for example tells what type and number of ammo he carried for his Thomspon for the Makin Raid. Ten 20 round mags! Four of those together with three D rations in his gas mask bag. This kind of stuff is especially interesting and useful for reenactors who want to get their impression as detailed as possible.

As i wrote earlier this book is not easy to get but it’s well worth hunting for, go get it!

~ by m1pencil on January 19, 2012.

5 Responses to “Our Kind of War – Illustrated Saga of the U.S. Marine Raiders of World War II”

  1. I finally managed to get a copy of the revised version and had much fun reading it so far. One thing that surprised me though was that the whole disbanding of the raider battalions was treated in a very “politically correct” manner as not to anoy the Marine Corps as a whole. Instead of the drama you read in other accounts of big brass being unhappy about this “elite whitin an elite” unit and colorful characters as Carlson which you can find about anywhere else, you get a mere explanation that the Corps needed more line regiments for frontal assaults, full stop. This I found as doing a diservice to the Marine Raider history as a whole and a shortcomming in this otherwise very extense and detailed account.

    • Hmm interesting! It has been a while since I last read the book, can’t remember any details about the “disbanding” part. Time for a reread 🙂

  2. I think that being, as this work is, a close cooperation with the USMC, its associations, museums and such, and not really an wholy independent work. That the authors decided it was better to leave certain touchy subjects aside. The whole fact that the “commando” battalions concept being a baby of Carlson and Jimmy Roosevelt with all its attached mystique and suspicious “red” gung-ho philosophy has weighted in to gloss over certain aspects of its history and later rather unglorious disbanding. While you read about Carlson and Roosevelt, their particular angle, which you would not find anyhow on other than the second battalion, is passed over. Even people like Lt. Col. Sharpley, who toke apart most of Carlson’s work days after taking over his outfit, does not get mentioned in doing so. Or for that matter the relative obscurity into which Carlson was cast by those who disliked him afterwards. I would have expected such an account being written shortly after the war but not in the 90’s. As said, my explanation to all this has to lay in the author’s then close cooperation when doing this book with USMC associations and official Corps institutions.

  3. Today with the OK from the Commandant (August 2014 I believe) the “Raiders” have been re-instituted. I had the honor recently (Sept. 2014) to go on a 2 day walking tour lead by (Cpl.) Ed Bearss formerly of the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion. Wounded on New Britain Island (shot 4 times). Ed is 91 years young, and (about) 3 months prior to our 2 day walking tour of the Antietam Battlefield had a pace maker operation. Ed is one of the most knowledgeable historians in the country and it was a real experience to walk (over rough terrain) about 6 to 7 miles a day. He had just returned about a week earlier from the Beaches of Normandy,… what kind of steel were these “Raiders” made of ? * I kept up with him, but it was not easy. Look him up on Google.

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