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Flattop Fighting in World War II: The Battles Between American and Japanese Aircraft Carriers [Paperback]

Patrick Degan

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Book Description

31 May 2003
World War II's naval battles between the United States and Japan have been the subject of many books, popular movies, and documentaries, but the very important story of the fighting between United States and Japanese aircraft carriers is often lost in broader discussions of the Pacific naval war. 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-52s 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 Yamoto, sacrificed for a suicide mission against 900 aircraft bombers.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed 8 Dec 2004
By Walrus Rex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I expected a truly informed book of WWII aircraft carrier combat. That is, I wanted to know how the two sides used the assets they had available and why they chose to use them in that way. I wanted to know how a carrier group goes about trying to protect itself while trying to inflict harm on its enemies. I wanted to know what tactics the torpedo bombers adopted to successfully approach enemy shipping and what tactics the defending aircraft used to destroy the torpedo planes before they could launch while avoiding their own flak. None of these things are presented. For example, Imperial Japanese Naval air operations officers Genda and Fuchida are referred to as geniuses but I have no idea why. What was it about the way they chose to do plan air operations that qualified them as geniuses?

What we have here is a fairly standard treatment of the most famous WWII Pacific aircraft carrier engagments. I wanted to feel the anti-aircraft gunfire riddle my wings and smell the blood on a burning flight deck. I wanted to know what formations the various aircraft used on various missions and why. I wanted to know how it was possible that a pilot could maintain such good navigational skills while engaged in life or death combat that he could rendevous with a ship that was no longer where it was when he flew off the deck. Instead we get that a certain squadron launched from a certain carrier attacking a certain other carrier and either did or did not achieve a number of hits.

Admittedly, I am spoiled having just read Shelby Foote's excellent Civil War. Oh, what might have been! If the author had drawn character portraits as concisely and described battles as vividly as Foote, that would have been a book!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book but... 27 Aug 2004
By Ohka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have spent a lot of money on this book which contains lots of information about bloody fighting in WW II only to realize that the author used MOSTLY american literature. It is a shame that he did not consider some japanese books also.
0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome 5 July 2004
By roger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The greatest wwII book ever written. Degan is a masterful writer. A must for any wwII history buff.
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