Far East and Pacific Theaters

Special Warfare Units

Alexander, Larry. Shadows in the Jungle: The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines in World War II. New York: New American Library, 2009.

Burgess, Library Journal (via, says that the author "has a story-telling style that makes this account, based largely on memoirs and interviews with the now elderly surviving Scouts, an easy read."

Hogan, David W., Jr. U.S. Army Special Operations in World War II. CMH Publication 70-42. Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 1992.

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McRaven, William H. [ADM/USN] Special Operations -- Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995.

Nabbie, Eustace E. "The Alamo Scouts." Studies in Intelligence 3, no. 4 (Fall 1959): 87-92.

The Alamo Scouts "performed for the U.S. Sixth Army services similar to those rendered by OSS detachments in other overseas commands.... The Scouts' principal mission was ... reconnaissance behind enemy lines.... They were volunteers."

Rottman, Gordon L. US Special Warfare Units in the Pacific Theater 1941-45: Scouts, Raiders, Rangers and Reconnaissance Units. London: Osprey, 2005. [pb]

From back cover: "The bitter fighting in the Pacific Theater required new forms of warfare, and the gathering of detailed intelligence information on the remote and varied islands and their determined defenders. As a result, new scout, raider and reconnaissance units were formed -- the pioneers of today's special forces. Some units were small, while others comprised thousands of men. All contributed significantly to the war effort. This book examines a wide range of PTO special-warfare units, including the Alaskan and Alamo scouts, 5217th/1st Recon Battalion, Marine Amphibious Recon and Raider units, Amphibious Scouts, and 6th Ranger Battalion."

Zedric, Lance Q. Silent Warriors of World War II: The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines. Ventura, CA: Pathfinder Publishing, 1994.

Dilley, MI 21.2 (similar in CIRA Newsletter 20.3.), notes that the Alamo Scouts were activated in November 1943 as the Sixth Army Special Reconnaissance Unit. In this book, the author "breaks new ground.... Finally, the Alamo Scouts receive the recognition they deserve for their two years of service behind the lines.... Alamo Scout missions ... [ran] the special operations gamut, from intelligence/reconnaissance patrols to raids on POW camps and training and leading local guerrilla units."

According to Fischer, Special Warfare 11.3, the Alamo Scouts carried out 106 missions before they were disbanded in September 1945. "Most of the missions focused on intelligence-gathering, although some of the later missions ... were in the nature of liaison work with Philippine guerrillas." Zedric's work "contains some shortcomings that detract from its contribution to one's understanding the Pacific War." For instance, there is an "excessive dependence on secondary sources" and oral histories. And he "uncritically accepts the[] accuracy" of the diary accounts he uses. Also missing "is any mention of how the Japanese saw the Alamo Scouts." For these reasons, the book "should not ... be seen as the final word on the topic."

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