The Bush Soldiers

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The Bush Soldiers
AuthorJohn Hooker
CountryAustralia Australia
LanguageEnglish
Genrealternative-history
PublisherViking
Publication date
1984
Media typeSoftcover/ Hardcover
ISBNISBN 0-670-19751-3
 
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The Bush Soldiers
AuthorJohn Hooker
CountryAustralia Australia
LanguageEnglish
Genrealternative-history
PublisherViking
Publication date
1984
Media typeSoftcover/ Hardcover
ISBNISBN 0-670-19751-3

The Bush Soldiers is a 1984 alternate history novel by New Zealand-born author John Hooker, set in Australia in 1943. During the Second World War, the Japanese have successfully conquered and occupied most of the coastal fringe of the country. Five Allied soldiers attempt to make a last decisive act of rebellion against the occupying forces and then escape into the harsh Australian interior.

Plot[edit]

The point of divergence within the story is the loss of the Battle of the Coral Sea by the Allies. Unlike real history, the Imperial Japanese Navy manage to inflict heavy casualties upon the American naval forces. After a three-day engagement, with the loss of four capital ships and dozens of smaller craft, the Allies are forced to retreat.

The invasion of Australia begins on 12 June 1942, with the Japanese landing at Darwin, Cooktown and Cairns. A major assault is conducted on the New South Wales town of Newcastle, leading to the Battle of Newcastle, where two of the story's characters (Sawtell and Counihan) had previously seen action. The Japanese also make landings at Tweed Heads, Coffs Harbour and the Hawkesbury River. Sydney is subjected to naval bombardment and is dive-bombed by aircraft from the carrier Zuikaku. Sydney is evacuated in a rather chaotic and disorganised manner. In early July 1942, General Douglas MacArthur and the remnants of the US 41st Division sail from Melbourne and retreat to New Zealand. The Australian Federal government (presumably John Curtin and his cabinet) withdraw from Canberra and set up in Perth. It is noted that by the end of that year, members of the Volunteer Defence Corps are doing their best to implement the scorched earth policy to refuse the enemy access to any resources.

Reception[edit]

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