Popularly known as the Douglas Dauntless, the U.S. Navy's SBD dive bomber was well named. Though considered obsolete at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Dauntless turned the tide of war in the Pacific with the destruction of four Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway, making its mark in aviation history for sinking more enemy carriers than any other aircraft. Still in service at war's end, the Dauntless was the only U.S. carrier aircraft in operation from Pearl Harbor to V-J Day. The Dauntless was the only American Navy aircraft to fly in al five of the naval engagements fought exclusively by aircraft carriers and was credited with sinking the first Japanese fleet submarine and dropping the first bombs on Japanese-occupied soil during the war. The SBD was also active in the Atlantic, sinking Vichy French shipping at Casablanca and German vessels in Scandinavian waters. In between his authoritative accounts of these missions, Barrett Tillman tells the rousing story of the men who took the "slow but deadly" Dauntless into combat, loving her for her ruggedness and dependability while wishing for more speed and firepower. Among the people he describes is the pilot who nearly single-handedly knocked out a Japanese carrier and died in the process, and SBD squadron that flew unexpectedly into the Pearl Harbor attack. Filled with fascinating photographs, this book was widely acclaimed in 1976 when first published and is now available for the first time in paperback.
One of the great untold stories of World War II finally comes to light in this thrilling account of Torpedo Squadron Eight and their heroic efforts in helping an outmatched U.S. fleet win critical victories at Midway and Guadalcanal. These 35 American men--many flying outmoded aircraft--changed the course of history, going on to become the war's most decorated naval air squadron, while suffering the heaviest losses in U.S. naval aviation history.
Mrazek paints moving portraits of the men in the squadron, and exposes a shocking cover-up that cost many lives. Filled with thrilling scenes of battle, betrayal, and sacrifice, A DAWN LIKE THUNDER is destined to become a classic in the literature of World War II.
First published in 1998, the A3D Part One covers, as the title says, the development of the extensive Skywarrior series. Known as the "Whale" due to its large size, the twin jet aircraft was designed as the Navy's nuclear heavy bomber from its onset. Weighing in at 70-84,000 pounds the Navy found many other uses for the A3D including electronics warfare, photo, trainer, VIP transport, iron bomb bomber in Vietnam and tanker. All 15-version are presented in text, illustrations and photos as is their usage in the Navy test and development squadrons (NATC, NATF, FEWSG, NASWF, NWEF, NARF, NOTS, NWC, NADC, US Army, Westinghouse, NMC, PMTC, Hughes and Thunderbird Aviation. 315 + b&w photos and 86 illustrations.
The arduous development of a dedicated naval air arm for Germany's resurgent military was fraught with the kind of fierce interservice rivalry that was rife throughout the turbulent history of the Third Reich. However, almost despite the odds, a small dedicated maritime strike force was assembled, germinating during the Spanish Civil War before being committed to action from the first days of the invasion of Poland. Concurrently, the operational Luftwaffe developed its own maritime units that would eventually subsume all of the Kriegsmarine-controlled formations as the war years progressed. Eagles Over the Sea offers an in-depth study of all the Luftwaffe maritime operations.The story of Luftwaffe maritime operations has frequently been written about in fragmentary terms, delineating between the planned naval air arm operating under Kriegsmarine direction and the operational Luftwaffe. Each branch of service -- and even aircraft type -- has usually been studied in isolation. This book, however, broadens the lens to study the development of German naval aircraft as a whole. Heavily illustrated throughout, this detailed and exciting operational history will be of huge appeal to both naval and aviation historians and enthusiasts.
In almost 200 archive photographs Leo Marriott traces the development of British and American jet fighters during the first pioneering decade of their production. In many ways the period from 1944 to 1954 was one of the most exciting and innovative in the history of military aviation. Rare images show the first jet fighters flown by the RAF toward the end of World War II and takes the story forward to the most advanced designs that played a key role in the Korean War. The range of experimental and operational aircraft that were conceived and built during this short time was remarkable.
Early Jet Fighters: British and American 1944-1954 is a graphic and informative introduction to an extraordinary stage in the evolution of the modern warplane.
The sensational true story of Eddie Rickenbacker, America's greatest flying aceAt the turn of the twentieth century two new technologies--the car and airplane--took the nation's imagination by storm as they burst, like comets, into American life. The brave souls that leaped into these dangerous contraptions and pushed them to unexplored extremes became new American heroes: the race car driver and the flying ace. No individual did more to create and intensify these raw new roles than the tall, gangly Eddie Rickenbacker, who defied death over and over with such courage and pluck that a generation of Americans came to know his face better than the president's. The son of poor, German-speaking Swiss immigrants in Columbus, Ohio, Rickenbacker overcame the specter of his father's violent death, a debilitating handicap, and, later, accusations of being a German spy, to become the American military ace of aces in World War I and a Medal of Honor recipient. He and his high-spirited, all-too-short-lived pilot comrades, created a new kind of aviation warfare, as they pushed their machines to the edge of destruction--and often over it--without parachutes, radios, or radar. Enduring Courage is the electrifying story of the beginning of America's love affair with speed--and how one man above all the rest showed a nation the way forward. No simple daredevil, he was an innovator on the racetrack, a skilled aerial dualist and squadron commander, and founder of Eastern Air Lines. Decades after his heroics against the Red Baron's Flying Circus, he again showed a war-weary nation what it took to survive against nearly insurmountable odds when he and seven others endured a harrowing three-week ordeal adrift without food or water in the Pacific during World War II. For the first time, Enduring Courage peels back the layers of hero to reveal the man himself. With impeccable research and a gripping narrative, John F. Ross tells the unforgettable story of a man who pushed the limits of speed, endurance and courage and emerged as an American legend.
After Pearl Harbor, the US Navy's VF-9 carrier fighter group formed, seeing action in North Africa, The Marshalls, Kwajelein, Truk, the Marianas Turkey Shoot and on to Tokyo and Okinawa.
VF-9 was activated in March 1942 as part of Carrier Air Group (CAG) 9, one of the many air groups the US Navy was hurriedly forming in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Equipped with Grumman F4F Wildcats, VF-9 first saw combat during the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, where the squadron engaged Vichy French fighters over Morocco. Returning to the United States, VF-9 became one of the first squadrons to receive the Grumman F6F Hellcat and to deploy on the USS Essex, the first of its class of fleet carriers that would form the backbone of the US Navy's Fast Carrier Task Force. VF-9, the Hellcat, and the Essex all entered combat in the fall of 1943. In the hands of the squadron's pilots, and with other Navy fighter squadrons, the Hellcat proved superior to the Imperial Japanese Navy's A6M Zero, which had heretofore been the world's premier carrier fighter plane. During its second combat tour, beginning in August 1943, VF-9 participated in the initial stages of the US Navy's successful island-hopping campaign across the Pacific. Flying strikes against Marcus Island, Wake Island, Rabaul, the invasions of Tarawa and Kwajalein, and the attack on Truk, VF-9 helped prove the Hellcat as a fighter and supported CAG-9 in its relentless attacks on Japanese forces, helping to validate the concept of the multi-carrier task force and the new carrier doctrine that led to the US Navy's complete defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy. During its second combat tour VF-9 claimed 120 Japanese aircraft and produced the first Hellcat ace in Lt(jg) Hamilton McWhorter and nine additional aces. VF-9 began its third combat tour in February 1945 aboard the USS Lexington, shifting to the USS Yorktown a month later. The squadron participated in the February strikes against Tokyo and played a significant role in the Okinawa Campaign from March to June 1945. Now equipped with the F6F-5 Hellcat, the squadron claimed 130 Japanese aircraft shot down. Ten VF-9 pilots became aces during the campaign, most notably Lt Eugene Valencia, who ended the war as the second highest scoring Hellcat ace and tied with Lt Cecil Harris as the US Navy's second highest scoring ace overall with 23 victories. Valencia's division became famous as the most successful fighter team in the US Navy during World War 2, claiming a combined total of 43 Japanese aircraft. In addition VF-9 had one of the US Navy's few nightfighter aces in Lt(jg) John Orth, who flew an F6F-5N Hellcat.
Fighter pilot Butch O'Hare became one of America's heroes in 1942 when he saved the carrier Lexington in what has been called the most daring single action in the history of combat aviation. In fascinating detail the authors describe how O'Hare shot down five attacking Japanese bombers and severely damaged a sixth and other awe-inspiring feats of aerial combat that won him awards, including the Medal of Honor. They also explain his key role in developing tactics and night-fighting techniques that helped defeat the Japanese.
In addition, the authors investigate events leading up to O'Hare's disappearance in 1943 while intercepting torpedo bombers headed for the Enterprise. First published in 1997, this biography utilizes O'Hare family papers and U.S. and Japanese war records as well as eyewitness interviews. It is essential reading for a true understanding of the development of the combat naval aviation and the talents of the universally admired and well-liked Butch O'Hare.
The Few tells the dramatic and unforgettable story of eight young Americans who joined Britain's Royal Air Force, defying their country's neutrality laws and risking their U.S. citizenship to fight side-by-side with England's finest pilots in the summer of 1940-over a year before America entered the war. Flying the lethal and elegant Spitfire, they became "knights of the air" and with minimal training but plenty of guts, they dueled the skilled and fearsome pilots of Germany's Luftwaffe. By October 1940, they had helped England win the greatest air battle in the history of aviation. Winston Churchill once said of all those who fought in the Battle of Britain, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." These daring Americans were the few among the "few." Now, with the narrative drive and human drama that made The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter national bestsellers, Alex Kershaw tells their story for the first time.