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The Twilight Riders: The Last Charge of the 26th Cavalry

Overview

I have endeavored in the following pages to present the full drama and scope of the 26th Cavalry's heroic but doomed mounted campaign against the seasoned troops, planes, and tanks of the Japanese Army, from the first few hours after the invaders poured from their landing craft onto the shores of Luzon Island in late December 1941, to the final desperate months in Bataan and on "The Rock," the Corregidor fortress. Every step of the way, the scouts bought time for MacArthur's army to fight back. It is also not ...

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The Twilight Riders: The Last Charge of the 26th Cavalry

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Overview

I have endeavored in the following pages to present the full drama and scope of the 26th Cavalry's heroic but doomed mounted campaign against the seasoned troops, planes, and tanks of the Japanese Army, from the first few hours after the invaders poured from their landing craft onto the shores of Luzon Island in late December 1941, to the final desperate months in Bataan and on "The Rock," the Corregidor fortress. Every step of the way, the scouts bought time for MacArthur's army to fight back. It is also not hyperbolic to contend that without the 26th's delaying actions on Luzon—a textbook and innovative campaign studied in modern war colleges—MacArthur might never have had the time to escape the Philippines when ordered to do so in March 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The cavalrymen of the 26th fought the last full-fledged "horseback campaign" in history, paying a terrible toll but exacting an even higher one upon the Japanese Army. The regiment's story reveals not only the valor of the horsemen, their horses, and the 26th's motorized squadron, but also the way in which the unit's American and Filipino troopers forged ties that transcended race and were forever cemented in blood, suffering, and pride.—from the Prologue, "A Vision from Another Century"

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Editorial Reviews

AMERICA IN WWII
Few American officers stationed in the Philippines just prior to the outbreak of World War II believed that in the event of a Japanese invasion the cavalry – in the old-fashioned sense of the word - would arrive to save the day. The 26th Cavalry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts was an outfit with American officers but with the ranks filled by Filipinos. The unit was considered elite, with high standards of training and discipline that served it well during combat. The title of the book refers to the January 1942 mounted charge of Troop E-F of the 26th against Japanese forces in the strategically important village of Morong on the island of Luzon. Their charge broke the Japanese attack and forced the invaders from the village. While dramatic beyond Hollywood’s wildest war movie dreams, this was only one small action undertaken by the scouts while fighting the Japanese. The Twilight Riders is an edge-of-your-seat read that flows well, moving from action to action without losing the reader. The writing charges along, describing the 26th’s valiant but doomed efforts to stem the Japanese tide.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762764853
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,028,311
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

The news and features editor of The Boston Irish Reporter, Peter F. Stevens is the award-winning author of The Voyage of the Catalpa - A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom (Carroll & Graf, hardcover 2002, paperback 2003; Orion Books, UK, 2003). Catalpa has been optioned by Octagon Films’ James Flynn and Morgan O’Sullivan for a feature movie; their many credits include Braveheart, the Elizabeth movies starring Cate Blanchett, and the hit Showtime series The Tudors. For the Irish Reporter, he has covered both "The Troubles" and the Good Friday Peace Process, traveling on assignment frequently to Northern Ireland, London, and the Republic of Ireland. Among his interviewees are the IRA's and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, Martin Ferris, and Martin McGuinness; former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland John Reid and present Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Paul Murphy; former Irish President Mary Robinson; Nobel Peace Prize-winners John Hume (Social Democratic Labor Party) and David Trimble (Ulster Unionist Party); and late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, and Congressman Peter King (NY).A veteran journalist, freelance writer, and historian, Stevens is a regular contributor to a wide array of magazines, his specialties featuring overlooked history. A short sampling comprises such publications as American Heritage, American History, Early American Life, Yankee, America's Civil War, Military History, British Heritage, The World of Hibernia, Irish America, True West, Honolulu, Texas Highways, The Iowan, Pittsburgh, Hudson Valley, Maryland, Down East, Vermont Life, Virginia, Cavalcade, Charleston, Jacksonville, and Golf. Additionally, The New York Times has syndicated Stevens's articles to newspapers nationwide, and he regularly contributes to dozens of major newspapers both national and international. He is a two-time winner of the International Regional Magazine Association's Gold Medal for Feature Writing and has just been nominated for Best Historical Columnist by NEPA (New England Press Association). Stevens is currently working with noted producer Mark Day on the documentary Catalpa. Author Thomas Keneally - The Great Shame and Schindler's List - is the project's narrator.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: A Vision from Another Century ix

Part I The End of a Very Glamorous Time 1

Chapter 1 Like a Ton of Bricks 2

Chapter 2 Your Ass Belongs to the Japanese 11

Chapter 3 Saddle Up! 33

Chapter 4 The Bloody Road to Damortis 42

Part II A True Cavalry Action-Fit to Make a Man's Heart Sing 57

Chapter 5 To Be Held at All Costs 58

Chapter 6 This Is What We Were Trained For 68

Chapter 7 As Though They Were Silhouette Targets on the Rifle Range 73

Chapter 8 At Any Time from Then On 89

Chapter 9 There Still Seemed to Be a Chance 93

Part III Wind Up Our Little Ball of String 107

Chapter 10 Take Out Those Damn Tanks! 108

Chapter 11 Here Was a True Cavalry Action 117

Chapter 12 You Know What to Do 127

Part IV Riding into the Twilight 139

Chapter 13 A Helluva Christmas 140

Chapter 14 A Beautiful Exhibition 155

Chapter 15 It Would Have to Do 165

Chapter 16 Like the End of the World 173

Chapter 17 We Will Stand Now and Take 'Em On 182

Chapter 18 I Began to Think That He Was Protecting Me 192

Chapter 19 The Final Charge 204

Chapter 20 The Quartermaster Has Confiscated Them 221

Epilogue: Bataan and Beyond 228

26th Cavalry Regiment Roster 235

Acknowledgments 248

Sources 250

Endnotes 262

Index 281

About the Author 290

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