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April 19, 2008

第275話 レイテ戦記

 ふ~、やっと読み終わったレイテ戦記。全部読みきるのに数ヶ月も要してしまった。全3巻のボリウムもそうだが、大岡昇平氏のライクワークとも言われる力作。読む方もしんどい。何しろ史実や調査に非常に忠実かつ詳細に記述しているため、非常に数字や固有名詞、それに古い用語が多く、相当気合を入れて読まないと何が書かれているのだかサッパリ掴めない。だから寝床で読む本としては重すぎ、読むときはよ~し読むぞ、と覚悟を決めて読んだ。

 それはさておき、先般の戦争とは一体何だったのか、と考えさせられるキッカケとなる作品だ。南方からの物資補給路にあたるフィリピン確保と死守を時の参謀が重視したのは事の善悪は別として理解に及ぶとしても、刻々と不利な状況へと変化する情勢を客観視できずにズルズルと精神論だけで無用に多数の兵士を死に追いやったとしか思えない。

 数字は捏造されない限り真実を語る。昭和19年以降フィリピンに投入された兵力59万人に対して46万人以上の戦死者。レイテ島に限っては投入84千人に対して生還者はたった2千5百人とほぼ全滅に近い。一方で米軍のレイテにおける戦死者は3千5百人。飛び道具の相手に刀で切り込む決死隊ではどう見ても結果は目に見えている。装備の違いも勿論歴然としているが、それ以上に組織なかんずくも軍隊の幹部の偏向思想とは恐ろしい。

 レバタラで論じるのは虚しいが、せめて1年早く降伏していたら、と思わずには居られない。

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