This book examines this terrifying new way of waging war, revealing how the US Navy was forced to adapt its tactics and deploy new weapons to counter the threat posed by kamikaze attacks, as well as assessing whether the damage caused to American naval strength by the loss of so many pilots and aircraft actually had a material impact.
“Morale went to nothing just about then,” said an officer on one of the escorting cruisers. “We were sick and shocked. We couldn’t believe that this had happened to us.” Through the night, the crew of the Enterprise, under the command of Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, took on fuel, provisions, and ammunition. Before dawn it was back at sea.
The Enterprise was just one of the carriers that won the war in the Pacific. Here is the extraordinary story of the men and ships that turned the tide of the war.
As Allied ships prepared for the invasion of the Philippine island of Leyte, every available warship, submarine and airplane was placed on alert while Japanese admiral Kurita Takeo stalked Admiral William F. Halsey’s unwitting American armada. It was the beginning of the epic Battle of Leyte Gulf—the greatest naval battle in history.
In Storm Over Leyte, acclaimed historian John Prados gives readers an unprecedented look at both sides of this titanic naval clash, demonstrating that, despite the Americans’ overwhelming superiority in firepower and supplies, the Japanese achieved their goal, inflicting grave damage on U.S. forces. And for the first time, readers will have access to the naval intelligence reports that influenced key strategic decisions on both sides.
Drawing upon a wealth of untapped sources—U.S. and Japanese military records, diaries, declassified intelligence reports and postwar interrogation transcripts—Prados offers up a masterful narrative of naval conflict on an epic scale.
The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15
Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
The record of Carrier Air Group 15 in World War II speaks for itself: Fighting Squadron 15 scored 312 enemy aircraft destroyed, 33 probably destroyed, and 65 damaged in aerial combat, plus 348 destroyed, 161 probably destroyed, and 129 damaged in ground attacks. Twenty-six Fighting 15 pilots became aces, including their leader, Commander David McCampbell, who became the U.S. Navy’s Ace of Aces. Twenty-one squadron pilots were killed in action and one in an operational accident aboard their carrier. Bombing Squadron 15 and Torpedo Squadron 15 scored 174,300 tons of enemy shipping, including 37 cargo vessels sunk, 10 probably sunk, and 39 damaged. As well, Musashi, the world’s largest battleship, was sunk, along with one light aircraft carrier; one destroyer; one destroyer escort; two minesweepers; five escort ships; two motor torpedo boats; and Zuikaku, the last surviving carrier that participated in the Pearl Harbor attack. Incredibly, every pilot of Torpedo 15 was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest award for bravery after the Medal of Honor, during this tour of combat for valor in the face of the enemy by torpedoing an enemy ship under fire.
All of this took place between May 19 and November 14, 1944. No other American combat unit in any service came close to a similar score in such a short time period.
Air Group 15 participated in the two greatest naval battles in history, the First and Second battles of the Philippine Sea—also known also as the Marianas Turkey Shoot and the Battles of Leyte Gulf, which saw the end of Japanese naval power, as well as Admiral William “Bull” Halsey’s rampage across the Central Pacific that fall, which marked the high tide of the carrier war. On June 19, 1944, forever after known as the Marianas Turkey Shoot in the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, Fighting 15 shot down 68.5 attacking Japanese aircraft, a one-day record unmatched by any other American fighter squadron.
In documenting the saga of Air Group 15’s momentous six months at war, Thomas McKelvey Cleaver’s Fabled Fifteen provides an intimate and insightful view of the group’s fabled lone combat tour, including details of daily life and human interactions aboard the fleet carrier USS Essex during the busiest phase of the Pacific War.
In War Stories II: Heroism in the Pacific, North reveals:
Eyewitness testimony from Pearl Harbor veterans that Japanese Zeros did not fire the first shots: our defending forces did—with startling results
The living hell of the Bataan Death March and the daring rescue of the Ghosts of Bataan
The big battles: the Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, the Marianas, Leyte
How Americans cracked the secret Japanese JN-25 code and changed the course of the war
War Stories II: Heroism in the Pacific is the essential book for every veteran of the war, every student of military history, and every American who is inspired by the courage and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation in one of its greatest moments.