This work concentrates exclusively on the fighting between the American and Japanese aircraft carriers, examining how strategies were planned and carried out on both sides. Presented are the stories of the USS Hornet, which launched the B-25s of James Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo in 1942; the USS Yorktown, which suffered fierce attacks during the Battle of Midway; the USS Lexington, which refueled and rearmed Hellcats during the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot; the USS Enterprise, the leader of a motley assortment of cruisers and destroyers left to hold a very precarious line in the campaign for Guadalcanal; and the Japanese battleship Yamato, sacrificed for a suicide mission against 900 aircraft bombers.
Surigao Strait in the Philippine Islands was the scene of a major battleship duel during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Because the battle was fought at night and had few survivors on the Japanese side, the events of that naval engagement have been passed down in garbled accounts. Anthony P. Tully pulls together all of the existing documentary material, including newly discovered accounts and a careful analysis of U.S. Navy action reports, to create a new and more detailed description of the action. In several respects, Tully's narrative differs radically from the received versions and represents an important historical corrective. Also included in the book are a number of previously unpublished photographs and charts that bring a fresh perspective to the battle.
Koburger argues that the many battles that constituted the campaign for the Solomons were the key to victory in the Pacific for the U.S. Navy--not the battle of the Coral Sea or the Battle of Midway. Segments of the campaign--Guadalcanal, New Georgia, and Bougainville--have been written about extensively. But never before has the entire campaign been put together so lucidly and interpreted so well. The descriptions of the naval battles make for compelling reading. Even in World War II, Koburger argues, the important naval struggles took place in the narrow seas.
This is the story of the fighter mission that changed World War II.
It is the true story of the man behind Pearl Harbor---Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto---and the courageous young American fliers who flew the million-to-one suicide mission that shot him down.
Yamamoto was a cigar-smoking, poker-playing, English-speaking, Harvard-educated expert on America, and that intimate knowledge served him well as architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the next sixteen months, this military genius, beloved by the Japanese people, lived up to his prediction that he would run wild in the Pacific Ocean. He was unable, however, to deal the fatal blow needed to knock America out of the war, and the shaken United States began its march to victory on the bloody island of Guadalcanal.
Donald A. Davis meticulously tracks Yamamoto's eventual rendezvous with death. After American code-breakers learned that the admiral would be vulnerable for a few hours, a desperate attempt was launched to bring him down. What was essentially a suicide mission fell to a handful of colorful and expendable U.S. Army pilots from Guadalcanal's battered "Cactus Air Force":
- Mississippian John Mitchell, after flunking the West Point entrance exam, entered the army as a buck private. Though not a "natural" as an aviator, he eventually became the highest-scoring army ace on Guadalcanal and the leader of the Yamamoto attack.
- Rex Barber grew up in the Oregon countryside and was the oldest surviving son in a tightly knit churchgoing family. A few weeks shy of his college graduation in 1940, the quiet Barber enlisted in the U.S. Army.
- "I'm going to be President of the United States," Tom Lanphier once told a friend. Lanphier was the son of a legendary fighter squadron commander and a dazzling storyteller. He viewed his chance at hero status as the start of a promising political career.
- December 7, 1941, found Besby Holmes on a Pearl Harbor airstrip, firing his .45 handgun at Japanese fighters. He couldn't get airborne in time to make a serious difference, but his chance would come.
- Tall and darkly handsome, Ray Hine used the call sign "Heathcliffe" because he resembled the brooding hero of Wuthering Heights. He was transferred to Guadalcanal just in time to participate in the Yamamoto mission---a mission from which he would never return.
They flew the longest over-water fighter mission ever and ambushed and killed Yamamoto. After his death, the Japanese never won another major naval battle. But the victorious American pilots seemed cursed by the samurai spirit of the admiral and were tormented for the rest of their lives by what happened that day.
Davis paints unforgettable personal portraits of men in combat and unravels a military mystery that has been covered up at the highest levels of government since the end of the war.
From Robert Leckie, the World War II veteran and New York Times bestselling author of Helmet for My Pillow, whose experiences were featured in the HBO miniseries The Pacific, comes this vivid narrative of the astonishing six-month campaign for Guadalcanal.
From the Japanese soldiers’ carefully calculated—and ultimately foiled—attempt to build a series of impregnable island forts on the ground to the tireless efforts of the Americans who struggled against a tenacious adversary and the temperature and terrain of the island itself, Robert Leckie captures the loneliness, the agony, and the heat of twenty-four-hour-a-day fighting on Guadalcanal. Combatants from both sides are brought to life: General Archer Vandegrift, who first assembled an amphibious strike force; Isoroku Yamamoto, the naval general whose innovative strategy was tested; the island-born Allied scout Jacob Vouza, who survived hideous torture to uncover the enemy’s plans; and Saburo Sakai, the ace flier who shot down American planes with astonishing ease.
Propelling the Allies to eventual victory, Guadalcanal was truly the turning point of the war. Challenge for the Pacific is an unparalleled, authoritative account of this great fight that forever changed our world.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This edited collection covers three main topics: the Japanese navy before World War II, prewar diplomacy and politics, and Japanese naval operations and policy during the war. The documents include diary extracts and candid, short monographs written by high-ranking Japanese officers immediately after the war. They shed new light on the vast naval buildup before the war, the development of the navy's operational concepts for war with the United States, the organization and tactics of aircraft carrier forces, and the failure of Japanese submarine operations. No World War II library will be complete without this important volume.
Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1660--1783) was one of the most influential books on military strategy in the first half of the 20th century. A core text in the naval war colleges of the United States, Britain, and Japan, Mahan's book shaped doctrine for the conduct of war at sea. Adams uses Mahan's ideas to discuss the great Pacific sea battles of World War II and to consider how well they withstood the test of actual combat. Reexamining the conduct of war in the Pacific from a single analytic viewpoint leads to some surprising conclusions about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the recapture of the Philippines, and the submarine war. Naval historians and armchair strategists alike will find much food for thought in these engrossing pages.
Few naval aviators in World War II realized that when they earned their wings of gold they were about to become test pilots for a whole new kind of combat. In their own words, these courageous fliers describe the life-and-death air battles that defined the revolution in naval strategy that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor, when fighter pilots watched in horror as Japanese carrier-launched aircraft bombed their planes and airfields into smoking rubble.
While following the pilots’ firsthand reports of air strikes and blazing dogfights across the islands and atolls of the Pacific, Astor explores the ways the U.S. Navy began its momentous transformation before the war. Later, the critical role of aircraft carriers in the stunning U.S. victory at Midway sounded the death knell for conventional naval warfare, yet the public, the press, the Army, and even the president’s advisors refused to recognize the new reality. In fact, only a few in the Navy understood that a new era had begun that would change the face of war forever.
The young Americans who fought the deadly duels against Imperial Japanese forces high over the Pacific gave everything they had to the war effort, and many made the supreme sacrifice. Wings of Gold pays tribute to their courage, daring, and selfless dedication. Vividly told, thoroughly researched, and filled with stirring accounts of the Pacific War’s greatest air battles, Wings of Gold is an important addition to the annals of World War II aerial combat.
From the Hardcover edition.