AIR WAR PACIFIC: Chronology
America’s Air War Against Japan in East Asia and the Pacific
1941 – 1945
THE GREAT AMERICAN AERIAL CRUSADE OF WORLD WAR II: There was never a military campaign like it, and there never will be another. Here is an opportunity to follow the great crusade as it unfolded in the air over the Japan’s ill-gotten empire in East Asia and the Pacific. This exhaustive chronology sheds a fascinating light on the course of America’s air war against Japan in all the active theaters.
* The Air War Pacific Chronology is a day-by-day accounting of all the major combat aviation missions undertaken by United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and American Volunteer Group units and commands in China, Burma, India, and throughout the Pacific during World War II.
* All Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine, and Flying Tiger theater fighter aces are covered including unit affiliation, date and time ace status was attained, and date and time of highest victory tally (over ten).
* Information pertaining to the arrival, activation, transfer, departure, and decommissioning of air commands, combat units, and special units. Comings and goings of the commanders of major aviation units are also covered.
* Provides a rich contextual framework pertaining to related ground campaigns; international and high-command conferences and decisions influencing air strategies and campaigns; and breakthroughs in the development of special techniques and equipment.
* Includes a bibliography, guide to abbreviations, maps, and two indexes.
The Japanese defeats at Midway and Guadalcanal decided the outcome of the Pacific War. Guadalcanal was the classic three-dimensional campaign. On land, at sea, and in the air, fierce battles were fought with both sides stretching their supplies and equipment to the breaking point. The campaign lasted six months, involved nearly one million men, and stopped Japanese expansion in the Pacific.
When the campaign began on August 7, 1942, no one on either side quite knew how to conduct it, as Eric Hammel shows in this masterly account. Guadalcanal: Starvation hand corrects numerous errors and omissions in the official records that have been perpetuated in all the books previously published about the campaign. Hammel also draws on the recollections of more than 100 participants on both sides, especially the enlisted men at the sharp end. Their words bring us into the heart of the battle and portray the fighting accurately, realistically, andvery powerfully.Guadalcanal: Starvation Island follows the men and the commanders of this decisive World War II campaign in an integrated, brilliantly told narrative of the desperate struggle at sea, on land, and in the air.
Praise for Guadalcanal: Starvation Island and Eric Hammel
“A comprehensive history of the Guadalcanal Campaign . . . [and] a well‑balanced account. Well written and fast moving.” —Marine Corps Gazette
“Hammel has written the most comprehensive popular account to date . . . and exposes controversial aspects often passed over,” —Publishers Weekly
“Hammel takes the reader behind the scenes and details how decisions were made . . . and how they impacted on the troops carrying them out. He tells the story in a very human way.” —Leatherneck Magazine
“A splendid record of this decisive campaign. Hammel offers a wealth of fresh material drawn from archival records and the recollections of 100‑odd surviving participants. . . . A praiseworthy contribution to Guadalcanal lore.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hammel’s ability to reveal both the immediacy and the humanity of war without judgment or bias makes all his books both readable and scholarly. —San Francisco Chronicle“Hammel does not write dry history. His battle sequences are masterfully portrayed. —Library Journal
ACES AGAINST JAPAN
The American Aces Speak
In this superb, originally conceived offering, noted military historian, Eric Hammel brings us first-person accounts from thirty-nine of the American fighter aces who blasted their way across the skies of the Pacific and East Asia from December 7, 1941, until the final air battles over Japan itself in August 1945.
Coupled with a clear view of America's far-flung air war against Japan, Hammel's detailed interviews bring out the most thrilling in-the-cockpit experiences of the air combat that the Pacific War’s best Army, Navy, and Marine pilots have chosen to tell.
Meet Frank Holmes, who defied death in an outmoded P-36 while still clad in a seersucker suit he had worn to mass earlier that morning. Fly with Scott McCuskey as, single-handed at Midway, he takes out two waves of Japanese dive-bombers that are attacking his precious aircraft carrier. Sweat out the last precious drops of fuel in a defective Marine Wildcat fighter as Medal of Honor recipient Jeff DeBlanc bores ahead to his target to keep the faith with the bomber crews he has been assigned to protect. Experience the ecstasy of total victory as Ralph Hanks becomes the Navy's first Hellcat ace-in-a-day when he destroys five Japanese fighters over the Gilbert Islands in a single mission.
A superb interviewer, Hammel has collected some of the very best air-combat tales from America's war with Japan. Combined with the four other volumes in The American Aces Speak series, this work will stand as an enduring testament to the brave men who fought the first and last air war in which high-performance, piston-engine fighters held sway. These are stories of bravery and survival, of men and machines pitted against one another in heart-stopping, unforgiving high-speed aerial combat. The American Aces Speak is a highly-charged emotional rendering of what men felt in the now-dim days of personal combat at the very edge of our living national history. There was never a war like it, and there never will be again. These are America's eagles, and the stories are their own, in their very own words.Critical Acclaim for The American Aces Speak Series
The Marine Corps Aviation Association Yellow Sheet says: “The recounting of each story is done in the pilot’s own words. This is a powerful technique that draws readers into the action and introduces them to the world of the fighter pilot”
The American Fighter Aces Bulletin says: “Some of [the] episodes are well-known; others have never been written before. But each account delivers something intensely personal about the Pacific Air War.”
The Library Journal says: “No PR hype or dry-as-dust prose here. Hammel allows his flyers to tell their stories in their own way . . . Exciting stuff aviation and World War II buffs will love.”
Book Page says: “For those who have an interest in World War II, or those who simply like to read of drama in the skies, Eric Hammel’s [Aces Against Japan] is recommended reading. It is a must for any historian’s bookshelf.”
WWII Aviation Booklist says: “Hammel provides a veritable feast of aviation combat narrative. As always in this series, the entries [in Aces at War] have been carefully selected to provide the most entertaining ride possible for his readers. Easily the best series available on air combat! Get them all!”
Eric Foner's "masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history" (New Republic) redefined how the post-Civil War period was viewed.
Reconstruction chronicles the way in which Americans—black and white—responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. It addresses the ways in which the emancipated slaves' quest for economic autonomy and equal citizenship shaped the political agenda of Reconstruction; the remodeling of Southern society and the place of planters, merchants, and small farmers within it; the evolution of racial attitudes and patterns of race relations; and the emergence of a national state possessing vastly expanded authority and committed, for a time, to the principle of equal rights for all Americans.
This "smart book of enormous strengths" (Boston Globe) remains the standard work on the wrenching post-Civil War period—an era whose legacy still reverberates in the United States today.
THE ROAD TO BIG WEEK
The Struggle for Daylight Air Supremacy Over Western Europe, July 1942 – February 1944
The Road to Big Week begins with a thorough examination of American development of a strategic bombing doctrine from its earliest conception in the years after World War I. Balancing the demands of the ground army’s desire and need for air support and the visionary outlook of such early Air Corps leaders as General Billy Mitchell with the cash-strapped circumstances of the Great Depression and the limitations imposed by the Congressional peace lobbies, the Air Corps was able to deliver a fully formed doctrine that could not at first be supported by adequate aircraft nor even a public acknowledgenent that the drive to perfect strategic bombing was even on. Before the doctrine or a fully functional heavy strategic bomber were quite perfected, the United States was drawn into World War II. Facing numerous obstacles unperceived during peacetime, not the least being simple bad weather, the early American efforts to mount a strategic bombing campaign in northern Europe nearly failed in the face of unsustainable casualties and ineffective strategic direction. Only the belated modernization of escort-fighter policy saved the strategic bombing force from failure and, indeed, formed the foundation upon which the strategic bombing campaign ultimately reached maturity and achieved success.
In this exciting and complete accounting of the transition from idea to near failure to ultimate success, distinguished military historian Eric Hammel sets out all the dots, then connects them in a conversational style approachable by all readers.What the Experts Are Saying About THE ROAD TO BIG WEEK . . .
Eric Hammel convincingly demonstrates that the road to "Big Week" in February 1944 occupied more than twenty years. With a passion for objectivity and an eye for telling detail, he describes the U.S. Army Air Forces' evolution of the self-defending bomber as well as Nazi Germany's efforts to preserve and patch "the roof" over the Third Reich. Though the European war lasted another fifteen months, Hammel shows that by the end of Big Week there was no reversing the traffic on that sanguinary path. ——Barrett Tillman, author of Clash of the Carriers
Eric Hammel has done it again, with a lucid portrayal of the growth of American bomber theory from the 1918 Armistice to the crucial days over Germany when the Eighth Air Force broke the Luftwaffe’s back. Some books have told what happened during Big Week—Hammel tells you why, driving home points that are as vital today as they were in 1944. ——Col. Walter J. Boyne, National Aviation Hall of Fame Honoree
In The Road to Big Week, Eric Hammel cleverly connects a widely disparate collection of dots that are the development of America as the world's preeminent air power. These connections describe how the U.S. Army Air Forces—just barely in time—evolved in size and capability such that America's airmen prevailed in the iconic air battle that ultimately ensured the defeat of Nazi Germany. Hammel's meticulous research and eminently readable style make this definitive work a compelling read. ——Lt.Col. Jay A. Stout, author of Fortress Ploesti
Eric Hammel has a special gift for combining musty war records and intimate personal accounts into a gripping history . . . If you think there's nothing new to learn about World War II, if you think there was never a possibility the Allies might lose, if you think one side was smarter than the other, The Road to Big Week will unnerve you and change forever your perception of what happened in those high, embattled skies. ——Robert F. Dorr, co-author of Hell Hawks!
At 8:10 a.m. on December 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Donald Stratton was consumed by an inferno. A million pounds of explosives had detonated beneath his battle station aboard the USS Arizona, barely fifteen minutes into Japan’s surprise attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor. Near death and burned across two thirds of his body, Don, a nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who had been steeled by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, summoned the will to haul himself hand over hand across a rope tethered to a neighboring vessel. Forty-five feet below, the harbor’s flaming, oil-slick water boiled with enemy bullets; all around him the world tore itself apart.
In this extraordinary, never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack—the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona—ninety-four-year-old veteran Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.
Don and four other sailors made it safely across the same line that morning, a small miracle on a day that claimed the lives of 1,177 of their Arizona shipmates—approximately half the American fatalaties at Pearl Harbor. Sent to military hospitals for a year, Don refused doctors’ advice to amputate his limbs and battled to relearn how to walk. The U.S. Navy gave him a medical discharge, believing he would never again be fit for service, but Don had unfinished business. In June 1944, he sailed back into the teeth of the Pacific War on a destroyer, destined for combat in the crucial battles of Leyte Gulf, Luzon, and Okinawa, thus earning the distinction of having been present for the opening shots and the final major battle of America’s Second World War.
As the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack approaches, Don, a great-grandfather of five and one of six living survivors of the Arizona, offers an unprecedentedly intimate reflection on the tragedy that drew America into the greatest armed conflict in history. All the Gallant Men is a book for the ages, one of the most remarkable—and remarkably inspiring—memoirs of any kind to appear in recent years.
A Novel of U.S. Marines On Guadalcanal
Just out of high school, Al Rosen, a seventeen-year-old Philadelphian, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in order to sidestep the pitfalls of recent orphanhood. By August 1942, after four years in uniform, Corporal Rosen was leading a light machine gun squad when fate chose him to become the first American servicemen to fire shots in the Guadalcanal Campaign, America’s first offensive in World War II. Then, for six terrible months of alternating hot combat action and stretches of restive inactivity, Rosen and his fellow Marines in Company B confronted—and learned how to overcome—fear and terror and sorrow and a host of life’s other harshest tests and their many lessons. They learned to stand tall, to serve proudly, to resist fiercely, and to attack mercilessly. Some, like Rosen, by dint of aptitude and courage, advanced in rank and status. Others fell by the wayside to strange and terrible tropical diseases, to the mind-numbing heat and humidity, to bone weariness, to malnourishment, to chance, to their own human failings.
Til the Last Bugle Call is a fictional yet deadly accurate portrait of American fighting men, of U.S. Marines, from the earliest days of their Pacific War confrontation with Japan’s victorious legions, in a battle and a war none of them really knew how to fight. Eric Hammel, author of fifty non-fiction military history books, five of them covering all facets of the Guadalcanal Campaign, precisely captures the innocence of these young men at the cutting edge of the early Pacific War, then follows them as they overcome immense obstacles on their way to becoming confident combat veterans ready to take on new challenges farther along the bloody road to victory.
MARINES ON IWO JIMA
A Pictorial Record
Volume 1: 310 Photos
Volume 2: 357 Photos
Even in as bloody and bluntly violent a war as Americans encountered in the Pacific, Iwo Jima, the ultimate expression of death and mayhem, stands out. It was in a class by itself, a meatgrinder smashed by a blunt instrument at exceedingly high cost. Relying upon a purely attritional strategy of “defend and die,” Iwo's Japanese commander oversaw the construction of thousands of concrete bunkers, pillboxes, blockhouses, and other fighting positions as well as multistory underground command centers and barracks, some as deep as seventy-five feet.
By D-day, February 19, 1945, most of these formidable defenses had been interconnected by eleven miles of underground passageways. Manning these positions were twenty-three thousand Japanese army and navy troops, many of them elite veterans of combat in the Pacific and China. Hundreds of mortars, artillery pieces, and rocket tubes had been painstakingly preregistered, allowing them to hit virtually any spot on the island with their first shot.
The defenders had bonded into a brotherhood born of the hardship they endured building bunkers and underground passageways in the extreme heat laced with sulfurous fumes of the volcanic island. In the words of one Japanese soldier, Iwo “was an island of sulfur, no water, no sparrow, no swallow.” Beyond that, each defender took an oath to fight to the death, to give no ground for any reason.
Following a seventy-four-day air and naval bombardment that the American high command believed had put the bulk of the Japanese defenders at least temporarily out of action, two veteran regiments of the 4th Marine Division alongside two regiments of the newly formed 5th Marine Division—eight battalion landing teams in all—led the way toward the island. Aircraft, battleships, cruisers, and destroyers pummeled ground targets near and far from the landing beaches. As the first wave of Marine-laden amphibian tractors climbed ashore, nearby gunboats fired hundreds of rockets to suppress enemy fire.
Nothing happened. There was no return fire. No Japanese fired at the ships offshore, nor at the oncoming waves of amphibian tractors, nor at the Marines, who were surprised to learn as their feet touched down that all of southern Iwo Jima was covered in a thick mantle of black volcanic ash that offered no purchase for their feet or their shovels.
Shortly, when the nearly eight thousand newly landed Marines had stopped along the shoreline to regroup, every Japanese gun and mortar within range opened fire on the exposed invaders. The gunfire did not die for thirty-four of the bloodiest days of the Pacific War.
Marines On Iwo Jima: A Photographic Record is an enhanced and expanded ebook edition of the hardcover and trade paperback book entitled Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle. The much larger book requires that it be presented in two volumes, each with more than three hundred photos.
A Marine Night-Fighter Pilot In World War II
Colonel R. Bruce Porter with Eric Hammel
Ace! is the story of Bruce Porter's life as a Marine combat fighter pilot -- from his days as a naval aviation cadet prior to World War II, through his adventures guarding the United States' forward-most line of defense in the South Pacific. Follow Porter through his exacting night-fighter training and fly with him on his rare double-kill night mission over Okinawa.
Includes an introduction by "Pappy" Boyington, the man portrayed by Robert Conrad in the hit television series Baa Baa Blacksheep.
Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War
Told from the point of view of the men in the foxholes and tanks, outposts, and command posts, Eric Hammel’s Chosin is the definitive account of the epic retreat under fire of the 1st Marine Division from the Chosin Reservoir in December 1950.
The author first sketches in the errors and miscalculations on the part of the American high command that caused the Marines to be strung out at the end of a narrow road scores of miles from the sea. He then plunges right into the action: the massing of Chinese forces in about ten-to-one strength; the Marines' command problems due to the -35-degree climate, mountainous terrain, and high-level overconfidence; and the onset of the overwhelming Chinese assault.
With a wealth of tactical detail and small-unit action Chosin: Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War is the most complete, most compelling book written on this iconic battle. Author Eric Hammel's masterful account offers invaluable perspective on war at the gut level.