I enjoyed immensly Rowan Tracey’s essay in the June issue (United Service 61 (2) 24-29,2010).  Tracey strongly supports what I and Brigadier Casrey have been saying for years.  What is more, he presents his material so logically and progressively that it leaves little room to disagree with his conclusions.  Three facts are significant here:

. The Kokoda Trail campaign has never been properly analysed from the viewpoint of  ground and tactics.

. There was never any ill-feeling by Allen towards Blamey.  Blamey’s ADC told me  that Blamey visited Allen in Darwin as soon as he could and they spent until dawn yarning in a convivial way.

.  Rowell was the first of the war’s senior officers to come out to present himself in the best possible light.  Blamey declined to write his memoirs for the noble reason that the war was over and he had no wish to damage any of those who fought.

There are three types of military historians: journalist historians, who show little respect for the facts in order to tell a good story; academic historians, who have the time and facilities to unearth new and valuable information, but mainly at the political and strategic levels; and soldier historians, who are the only ones one can trust at the tactical level, for they have been taught to understand the key factor – ground.  Peter Pedersen of the Australian War Memorial is one I have always admired for the latter quality, and now we have Rowan Tracey, who I hope goes on to write further.

Major-General G. L. Maitland AO OBE FRD ED (Retd)
North Turramurra
2 July 2010

Rowan Tracey’s article can be read at:  http://blog.kokodatreks.com/2010/07/21/conflict-in-command-during-the-kokoda-campaign-of-1942-did-general-blamey-deserve-the-blame-2/