As the Pacific War approached a crescendo, the clashes between swarming US Navy carrier aircraft, and the gigantic Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Yamato-class battleships became symbolic of the fortunes of the two nations. They also served as a metaphor for the profound changes in naval technology and doctrine that the war had brought about. The two opposing forces were the most powerful of their kind – the Japanese Yamato and Musashi were the biggest most heavily armored and armed battleships ever built, while US carrier aviation had evolved into a well-oiled, war-winning machine. With detailed analysis of the technical features of the opposing war machines and a gripping account of the fighting itself, this vividly illustrated work presents views from the cockpits of US Navy Divebombers, and down the sights of IJN anti-aircraft guns, during two of the most dramatic naval engagements ever fought. After proving at Pearl Harbor that even the mightiest battleships were vulnerable to air attack, the Japanese would be forced to re-learn the lesson as the American Helldiver and Avenger bomber crews battered and eventually sunk the last remaining jewels of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Never again would a surface fleet be the dominant power at sea.
The Imperial Japanese Navy was a pioneer in naval aviation, having commissioned the world's first carrier, which was used against the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. The Americans followed suit, initiating huge aircraft carrier development programs. As the Pacific war escalated into the largest naval conflict in history, the role of the carrier became the linchpin of American and Japanese naval strategy as these rival vessels found themselves locked in a struggle for dominance of this critical theater of war.
This book provides an analysis of the variety of weaponry available to the rival carriers, including the powerful shipborne guns and embarked aircraft. Study the design and development of these revolutionary ships, discover the pioneering tactics that were used to ensure victory and "live" the experiences of the rival airmen and gun crews as they battled for victory in a duel of skill, tenacity and guts.
Santa Cruz is the forgotten carrier battle of 1942. Despite myth, the Japanese carrier force was not destroyed at Midway but survived to still prove a threat in the Pacific theater. Nowhere was this clearer than in the battle of Santa Cruz of October 1942. The stalemate on the ground in the Guadalcanal campaign led to the major naval forces of both belligerents becoming inexorably more and more involved in the fighting, each seeking to win the major victory that would open the way for a breakthrough on land as well.
The US Task Force 61 under the command of Rear Admiral Kinkaid and consisting of the carriers Hornet and Enterprise, as well the battleship South Dakota and a number of cruisers and destroyers, intercepted the Japanese fleet, which boasted four carriers – Shokaku, Zuikaku, Junyo and Zuiho – as well as four battleships and numerous other ships, on 26 October. Though US aircraft managed to damage the Japanese carriers seriously, in turn Hornet was so badly damaged that shed had to be sunk, while Enterprise was hit and needed extensive repairs. Both sides withdrew at the end of the action.
Continue reading “Santa Cruz 1942: Carrier duel in the South Pacific (Campaign)”
Osprey's study of the Battle of the Coral Sea of World War II (1939-1945), which is unique in the annals of naval history. It is the first battle in which enemy fleets never came within sight of one another. Instead, aircraft launched from carrier decks were sent out to attack the enemy with bombs and torpedoes.
In May of 1942, the Japanese fleet moved on Port Moresby, the last Allied base between Australia and Japan. Forced to respond, the Americans sent two aircraft carriers to protect the base. In the ensuing battle, one American carrier was destroyed and the other severely damaged. However, the Japanese also lost a carrier and decided to withdraw. Although bloody, it proved to be an important strategic victory for the Allies as the Japanese were forced to attempt future attacks on Port Moresby over land. Using the latest research and numerous period photographs, retired USN Commander Mark O. Stille tells the story of this important and unique battle in the Pacific War.