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Iwo, 26 Charlie    by P. T. Deutermann order for
Iwo, 26 Charlie
by P. T. Deutermann
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2023 (2023)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

P. T. Deutermann's engrossing Iwo, 26 Charlie opens in 1948 Georgia, where Lee Bishop is sharing with his bride what happened years before. He tells us 'I shuddered at bringing so many much-missed ghosts back to life, even for her.'

We join Lieutenant Lee Bishop in 1944, when he's in the Philippines, acting as fire-control officer on the older battleship Nevada, three decks down from the main deck in an 'armored box'. We learn what the position entails in fair detail - as always the author incorporates a depth of technical understanding in his writing.

In February 1945, they end up at the tiny island of Iwo Jima (with an active volcano, Mount Suribachi, at one end), bombed and shelled for more than four months. The Marines are about to go in. Lee is to communicate with spotters on planes, and later Marine spotters on shore, to direct shelling.

Soon, too many spotters on shore are lost to Japanese teams hunting them down. One of them (a close friend) is brought to the Nevada sick bay and calls for Lee as he lies dying. Lee comes up with a better solution to the targeting problem, but it needs the skills he has developed. So he volunteers to leave relative safety and go ashore to what turns out to be a hell on earth.

Lee's given bodyguards, 'specialists in small team reconnaissance, behind-the-enemy-lines sabotage', sniping and pathfinding. They keep him alive, barely, as they move through enemy territory for a final confrontation on the volcano slopes. There's blood, mud and constant action - and it's horribly real. Hard as it is to read, don't miss Iwo, 26 Charlie.

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