Told for the first time, this is the epic story of the Milne Bay campaign of 1942 - which saw Japanese land forces suffer their first defeat of the war - and has properly been called the RAAF's forgotten finest hour.
The Battle for Milne Bay - Japan's first defeat on land in the Second World War - was a defining moment in the evolution of the indomitable Australian fighting spirit. For the men of the AIF, the militia and the RAAF, it was the turning point in the Pacific, and their finest - though now largely forgotten - hour. Forgotten, until now.
In August 1942, Japan's forces were unstoppable. Having conquered vast swathes of south-east Asia - Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies - and now invading New Guinea, many feared the Empire of the Rising Sun stood poised to knock down Australia's northern door.
But first they needed Port Moresby. In the still of an August night, Japanese marines sailed quietly into Milne Bay, a long, malaria-ridden dead end at the far eastern tip of Papua, to unleash an audacious pincer movement. Unbeknown to them, however, a secret airstrip had been carved out of a coconut plantation by US Engineers, and a garrison of Australian troops had been established, supported by two locally based squadrons of RAAF Kittyhawks, including the men of the famed 75 Squadron. The scene was set for one of the most decisive and vicious battles of the war.
For ten days and nights Australia's soldiers and airmen fought the elite of Japan's forces along a sodden jungle track, and forced them back step by muddy, bloody step.
In Turning Point, bestselling author Michael Veitch brings to life the incredible exploits and tragic sacrifices of these Australian heroes.
Veitch has done a wonderful job . . . a fast-paced and thrilling tale - Daily Telegraph on Michael Veitch's Barney Greatrex
should be part of Australian military folklore - Adelaide Advertiser on Michael Veitch's 44 Days
fascinating . . . Veitch brings the story vividly to life - Sydney Morning Herald on Michael Veitch's Barney Greatrex
In many ways a significant event in the history of Australia's participation in World War II, this book brings to life the people and the formidable situations they endured - making it a commendable resource for students of the history of the war in the Pacific, as well as an engrossing read for the general reader. - ReadPlus
The author exhibits a special ability to write in such a way as to be - in equal parts - both enlightening and entertaining. To achieve that again here with this difficult topic, where so many of our WWII veterans had remembered Milne Bay as being an especially nasty place in which to find themselves fighting to protect their country, is really quite remarkable.
Michael Veitch is well known as an author, actor, comedian and former ABC television and radio presenter. His books include the critically acclaimed accounts of Australian airmen in World War II, 44 Days, Heroes of the Skies, Fly, Flak and Barney Greatrex. He lives in the Yarra Valley, outside Melbourne.