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Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway Paperback – 30 Nov 2007
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-At last, the Japanese side of the Battle of Midway has been limned in English with accuracy, lucidity, authority, and objectivity. The authors' specialized knowledge of the tactics and technologies of Japanese naval air power, their careful reading of surviving Japanese air unit records, and their appreciation of the larger meaning of the battle combine to give us a combat narrative and analysis that superbly balance expert detail and grand historical import. I suspect it of being a classic.---Mark R. Peattie, author of Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 and Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941 --Mark R. Peattie
-A lot has been written about Midway since 1945. Yet everyone who thinks that they know the last word about this momentous event must examine Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully's book on the subject. Shattered Sword, packed with new information, will certainly become the definitive volume on the most important naval battle of World War II.---Eric Bergerud, professor of military and American history at Lincoln University and author of Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific --Eric Bergerud
Making use of Japanese primary sources, this title presents an analysis of what happened at Midway.See all Product description
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They give a very exciting account from the Japanese point of view. I liked the way they have the confidence to address the reader, anticipating what the reader might have been expecting. You get a vivid feeling of what it must have been like to be on a Japanese carrier, and the reasons for the errors which they made. I particularly enjoyed the individual details of the Japanese personnel In fact, it would be possible to have a lot of sympathy for the Japanese were it not for the gratuitous cruelty in the way they treated prisoners. Rescued pilots were, after interrogation, tied to oil drums and thrown into the sea. You can find this out in the notes at the end.
One of their biggest mistakes seems to have been to underestimate the enemy. Yamamoto emerges as a dictatorial planner who would not listen to opposition or criticism. I enjoyed the account of the war game played on the Yamato where one of the players attacked in the same ways the Americans were to attack, and was overruled by the umpire. The internal politics between the services seems to have been more important than defeating the enemy – for a moment General Tojo, the prime minister, was ‘waspishly satisfied’ when he heard of the naval defeat. Their doctrine seems to have been hopeless, and while the Americans were inexperienced and could not coordinate their attacks, their doctrine was far more flexible than that of the Japanese.
What is equally striking was the Japanese habit of imagining that the enemy would do what they wanted them to do. These assumptions coloured their interpretation of infrequent and often inadequate reconnaissance reports, and the book makes this very clear. The final two chapters about why the Japanese lost, and how the myths about the battle arose, are particularly effective.
The maps and diagrams in the book are excellent and make it easy to follow complicated movements and attacks.
It examins, the carriers of the US and Japan, their performance, and of
course the differing fighting techniques used by both fleets.
Reading this, shows just how vital was the ten centimetre Radar on the
US ships. The Japanese discovered the early magnetron, the yagi antennae
the British improved on them, and passed them to the US.
An excellent book on Carriers and their aircraft, together with operating proceedure
The best book I have bought in a long time
On second thought having finished the book, I would say it is in my top 3 books of all time
I suspect that this will remain the definitive text on Midway for a not inconsiderable period as its research is based on both nation's archives, texts and sources. Exceptional - and worth twice the cover price.
The authors combine a terrific level of detail with a genuinely readable and occasionally funny style that puts across the real feel for the battle. In particularly, the reasons behind why the various crucial decisions are analysed in great depth and with a careful eye on the context and timing. For example, the often cited 'error' by Nagumo in not sending out additional search planes when close to Midway actually made perfect sense given the IJN doctrine and recent history applying at that moment.
Superb! Buy it!