A Pictorial Record
By late March 1945, the pathway to invasion of the southernmost major island of the Japanese archipelago, Kyushu, had been secured but for one necessary stepping stone American forces required to support their tactical air effort leading up to and overhead the projected invasion of Japan, set to begin in the autumn of 1945. The seizure of Okinawa and its airfields was vital to the land-based strategic bombing campaign that would precede and support the invasion of Japan and for close-in basing of the scores of Marine and U. S. Army Air Forces tactical air units that were slated to guard the approach of the Kyushu invasion fleet and operate over the beachheads and inland battlefields in the face of anticipated fanatical Japanese air defenses.
Marines of the veteran 1st and 6th Marine divisions and tens of thousands of battle-tested soldiers of the U.S. Army’s XXIV Corps assigned to seize Okinawa beginning on April 1, 1945, saw nothing but weeks or even months of heavy fighting ahead as they sailed to confront the largest Japanese defense force deployed on any island Americans invaded in the Pacific.
Telling the tale of the brutal Okinawa campaign in crisp, to-the-point prose illuminated by 467 gripping photographs taken by U.S. Marine Corps combat photographers, veteran military historian Eric Hammel provides an engrossing pictorial account of the final Marine Corps island conquest of World War II.
The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942
By Eric Hammel
The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, a strategic naval action in the bitter Guadalcanal Campaign, was history’s fourth carrier-versus-carrier naval battle. Though technically a Japanese victory, the battle proved to be the Empire of Japan’s last serious attempt to win the Pacific War by means of an all-out carrier confrontation. Only one other carrier battle occurred in the Pacific War, in June 1944, in the Philippine Sea. By then, however, the U.S. Navy’s Fast Carrier Task Force was operational, and Japan’s dwindling fleet of carriers was outnumbered and completely outclassed. Though hundreds of Japanese naval aviators perished in the great Marianas Turkey Shoot of June 19–20, 1944, it was during the first four carrier battles—in the six-month period from early May through late October 1942—that the fate of Japan’s small, elite naval air arm was sealed. It was at Coral Sea, in May, that Japan’s juggernaut across the Pacific was blunted. It was at Midway, in June, that Japan’s great carrier fleet was cut down to manageable size. And it was at Eastern Solomons, in August, and Santa Cruz, in October, that Japan’s last best carrier air groups were ground to dust. After their technical victory at Santa Cruz, the Japanese withdrew their carriers from the South Pacific—and were never able to use them again as a strategically decisive weapon. Of the four Japanese aircraft carriers that participated in the Santa Cruz battle, only one survived the war.
Following Santa Cruz and the subsequent series of air and surface engagements known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the Imperial Navy’s Combined Fleet never again attempted a meaningful strategic showdown with the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Though several subsequent surface actions in the Solomons were clearly Japanese victories, their results were short-lived. After November 1942, Japan could not again muster the staying power—or the willpower—to wage a strategic war with her navy. Once the veteran carrier air groups had been shredded at Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz, Japanese carriers ceased to be a strategic weapon.
The Santa Cruz clash was deemed a Japanese victory because U.S. naval forces withdrew from the battlefield. That is how victory and defeat are strictly determined. But on the broader, strategic, level, the U.S. Navy won at Santa Cruz—because it was able to achieve its strategic goal of holding the line and buying time. Japan was unable to achieve her strategic goal of defeating the U.S. Pacific Fleet in a final, decisive, all-or-nothing battle. The technical victory cost Japan any serious hope she had of winning the Pacific naval war.
The “victory” at Santa Cruz cost Japan her last best hope to win the war in the Pacific.Once again, author-historian Eric Hammel brings to the reading public an exciting narrative filled with the latest information and written in the edge-of-the-seat style that his readers have enjoyed for nearly two decades, in nearly thirty acclaimed military history books. As was the case with its companion volume, Carrier Clash, this new book is based upon American and Japanese battle reports and the recollections of many airmen and seamen who took part.
"This is the best account that has been written of the heroic American and British bomber crews . . . the best of its kind."
"Rivaling the best of Stephen Ambrose's work, Tail-End Charlies gives a breathtakingly intimate look at the lives, loves, and deaths of the brave airmen of the greatest generation. This fascinating book is as valuable for its stories of joyous life on the ground as it is for its sobering tales of death in the air. You see the whole picture of the war here from the eyes of the strong young men who fought it."
---Walter J. Boyne, bestselling author of Beyond the Wild Blue
"Adds new dimensions to the saga of the air war in Europe. The eyewitness accounts, reported within the context of the battle against Nazi Germany, provide a sense of the ordeals, the terror, the gore, and the heroism of ordinary men thrust into the savagery of aerial combat."
---Gerald Astor, author of The Mighty Eighth
Marines In the Marshalls
A Pictorial Record
By early 1944 the Americans’ westward drive across the Pacific required airfields in the Marshall Islands at Kwajalein and Eniwetok atolls. In late January, the 4th Marine Division and U.S. Army troops wrenched control of Kwajalein Atoll in three days of heavy fighting. Then, beginning February 18, the reinforced 22d Marine Regiment landed on three islands in Eniwetok Atoll. The three newly rebuilt former Japanese airfields at Kwajalein and Eniwetok would support operations in the Mariana Islands as the Marine Corps continued its island-hopping campaign to victory in the Pacific.
Military historian Eric Hammel has delved deeply into government photo archives and discovered a treasure-trove of rare, many never-before-published combat photos taken during the Pacific War. Covering the brief but violent battles on five tiny islands in the Marshalls has yielded this record of more than one hundred seventy photos and captions alongside Hammel’s concise narrative. As such, Marines In the Marshalls serves both as the campaign’s best visual record and an enduring tribute to the Marines who fought their way ashore at Kwajalein and Eniwetok atolls.
Drawing on meticulous research and unique personal access to the remaining survivors, Will Iredale follows a group of young men from the moment they signed up through their initial training to the terrifying reality of fighting against pilots who, in the cruel last summer of the war, chose death rather than risk their country's dishonourable defeat—and deliberately flew their planes into Allied aircraft carriers.
Presenting previously unpublished photographs, interviews with veterans, newly commissioned maps and new translations of Japanese sources, this book freshly examines the key events in the fight for the Pacific.
Detailing the background to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor it shows how the decision-makers in Washington, following consultation with the leaders of Britain, Australia and New Zealand, moved to stop Japan from its drive toward Australia by initiating a counterthrust in the Solomon Islands.
It also shows how qualities and character of leadership are crucial to winning wars, detailing how Admiral Ernest J. King managed to commit the Marine Corps to ground action in the South Pacific six months earlier than originally planned, by ignoring the Roosevelt’s commitment to defeat Germany prior to fighting Japan, and by outmaneuvering Gen. Douglas MacArthur for leadership. It also explains how Marines under Maj. Gen. A.A. Vandegrift, despite inadequate logistical support, managed to prevail in the Americans’ first ground campaign of World War II, making Japan’s ultimate defeat inevitable.
In addition to recounting these key events, it traces how censorship and patriotism influenced the reporting of the conflict in America, how Hollywood films further shaped public opinion by portraying the significant events in particular ways, and how certain crucial decisions such as the early bombing raid of Tokyo, and giving Douglas MacArthur command of the war effort in Australia, were "political" rather than "strategic," and were made to foster morale rather than to gain any military advantage.
This book will be of great interest to all students and scholars of Military History, and to all readers with a general interest in World War II, particularly in the conflicts of the Pacific, Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal.
On April 18, 1942, sixteen U.S. Army bombers under the command of daredevil pilot Jimmy Doolittle lifted off from the deck of the USS Hornet on a one-way mission to pummel Japan’s factories, refineries, and dockyards in retaliation for their attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid buoyed America’s morale, and prompted an ill-fated Japanese attempt to seize Midway that turned the tide of the war. But it came at a horrific cost: an estimated 250,000 Chinese died in retaliation by the Japanese. Deeply researched and brilliantly written, Target Tokyo has been hailed as the definitive account of one of America’s most daring military operations.