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The Thin Red Line--The Facts Behind the Story

This is a film adaptation of James Jones' famous novel of U.S. Army combat in the Pacific during World War II. While much of the nation's attention was focused on the U.S. Marines at war in the Pacific, major combat elements of the United States Army were committed in that theater and were involved in some of the heaviest fighting.

In some cases, Army units were employed as follow-on forces once Marines had forced a beachhead and at other times Army commands operated independently in the drive from the southern Solomons to the Japanese home islands. The priority for commitment of resources was always the European Theater first as agreed upon by the Big Three allies in World War II, but Army ground and aviation forces fought a tough battle in the Pacific beside the more high-profile units of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

It should be recalled by students of the period that the Commander-in-Chief of all forces in the Pacific was Army General Douglas MacArthur. The major Army combat command in the Pacific was the 6th U.S. Army commanded by Lieutenant General Walter Krueger who directed the invasion of the Philippines and the re-capture of that island nation toward the end of the war.

One of the first Army units committed to combat in the Pacific was the 25th Infantry Division which was sent from Hawaii to take part in the Solomon Islands campaign and relieve the Marines on Guadalcanal at the end of 1942. One of the first regiments of that Division sent after the Japanese hiding in the jungle was the 27th Infantry (Wolfhounds), the unit to which author Jones was attached as a rifleman when he landed on Guadalcanal.