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.
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.
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.
"The Battle of Leyte Gulf was an extremely unusual battle. It was unusual on five separate counts that are so obvious that they are usually missed. It was unusual in that it was a series of actions, not a single battle. It was unusual as a naval battle in that it was fought over five days; historically, naval battles have seldom spread themselves over more than one or two days. It was unusual in terms of its name. This battle involved a series of related actions subsequently grouped together under the name of just one of these engagements, but in fact none of the actions were fought inside Leyte Gulf.... More importantly, it was unusual in that it was a full-scale fleet action fought after the issue of victory and defeat at sea had been decided, and it was unusual in that it resulted in clear, overwhelming victory and defeat." -- from Chapter One
The Battle of Leyte Gulf -- October 22-28, 1944 -- was the greatest naval engagement in history. In fact the battle was four separate actions, none of which were fought in the Gulf itself, and the result was the destruction of Japanese naval power in the Pacific. This book is a detailed and comprehensive account of the fighting from both sides. It provides the context of the battle, most obviously in terms of Japanese calculations and the search for "a fitting place to die" and "the chance to bloom as flowers of death." Using Japanese material never previously noted in western accounts, H.P. Willmott provides new perspectives on the unfolding of the battle and very deliberately seeks to give readers a proper understanding of the importance of this battle for American naval operations in the following month. This careful interrogation of the accounts of "the last fleet action" is a significant contribution to military history.
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.
Taking this surprising fact as the start of his inquiry, he began to investigate how and when the Pacific tide turned in the Allies’ favor. Using archives of WWII intelligence reports from both sides, Prados offers up a compelling reassessment of the true turning in the Pacific: not Midway, but the fight for the Solomon Islands.
Combat in the Solomons saw a series of surface naval battles, including one of the key battleship-versus-battleship actions of the war; two major carrier actions; daily air duels, including the aerial ambush in which perished the famous Japanese naval commander Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku; and many other hair-raising exploits. Commencing with the Allied invasion of Guadalcanal, Prados shows how and why the Allies beat Japan on the sea, in the air, and in the jungles.
O'Hara refutes the widely held notion that the attack on Pearl Harbor rendered surface warfare obsolete. He offers readers details of U.S. naval actions barely mentioned in other histories to demonstrate how U.S. battleships, cruisers, and destroyers played a decisive role at critical junctures in the war and made significant contributions to the Allied victory. He also documents the performance of weapon systems, shows how doctrine developed, and examines the role played by new technologies. Numerous maps, tables, and charts enhance the text.
A cautionary tale relevant to today s Navy, this book illustrates how swift adaptability and intellectual honesty were fundamental to the Navy s success against Japan. Its underlying premise is that in a conflict against conventional or asymmetric enemies, the United States cannot assume to hold title to the same virtues demonstrated by its Navy three generations past. Instead, those lessons must be constantly studied and validated in the face of postwar mythologies, lest they be forgotten.