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Viewing Topic "Mark Stille’s Book “Pacific Carrier War”"
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Posted by: KenA
Posted on: 17/10/2021 23:00:51

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Posted by: KenA
Total Posts: 143
Joined Date: Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Osprey title “Pacific Carrier War: Carrier Combat from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa” by Mark Stille was released earlier this month.  The title of this book is somewhat misleading as to its contents.  Hence the reason for this post.

Essentially this book is a study of the five big US/Japanese fleet carrier battles in the Pacific during World War II (Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz, and Philippine Sea).  There are plenty of B&W photos throughout the text, full page colour maps of the battles and tables of the Orders of Battle.

Obviously, I haven’t had time to read this book yet, but it seems to give good coverage of these battles and analysis of them.

Notwithstanding the subtitle of the book, the only reference to the Okinawa campaign that I could find in the book was in the Conclusion and Analysis section where there was a two page B&W photo of the USS Bunker Hill taken after the infamous kamikaze attacks.  I’m not sure why it was there given there was nothing in the text about Okinawa.

Naturally, there was a lot more to the Pacific carrier war than just the five big fleet carrier to carrier battles.  If you are looking for coverage of the operations in the Pacific of the light carriers, the escort carriers or the carriers of the British Pacific Fleet or of carriers during the Okinawa campaign then you’ll need to look elsewhere than this book.

Posted on: 17/10/2021 23:00:52
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 407
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Thank you for this timely warning, KenA.

 

Can you tell us wheter the coverage of these 5 battles is noticably different from Mr Stilles' previous (very good) "Campaign" books on these battles? Or is this another of Ospreys cut'n'paste collections?

Posted on: 18/10/2021 06:36:16
Posted by: KenA
Total Posts: 143
Joined Date: Tuesday, 15 October 2013

My first impression, Painty, was that this book is a complete rewrite of the coverage of those battles and placing them in context rather than a cut n’ paste from Mark Stille’s previous Campaign titles.  I’ll do a check over the next few days when I find time and report back.  Please remember, I haven't read it yet.

Posted on: 18/10/2021 07:18:06
Posted by: KenA
Total Posts: 143
Joined Date: Tuesday, 15 October 2013

It seems to me that what Mark Stille is trying to do in his book “Pacific Carrier War” is to tell the story of, and analyse, the naval war between the US and Japan in WWII from the perspective of strike groups of carriers - Japan with its Kido Butai (Mobile Force or Striking Force) and the US with its various fleet carrier forces, Task Forces and Task Groups.  Hence the focus on the five carrier to carrier battles.

To do this the story has to flow from beginning to end of the book.  It couldn’t do so if it was a cut n’ paste from the Campaign titles.  From my skim reading of the book it seems to flow reasonably well and does not look like a cut n’ paste.  I did check one of the Campaign titles (Santa Cruz - CAM 247), which covered both the battles of Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz, and it was quite clear the texts of the two books were different though they were both describing the same events.  As a result I didn’t think it worthwhile checking the other carrier battle CAM titles.

Below are the chapter headings and length in pages.  Hopefully they will help provide some idea of the book:

Introduction (5 pages)
Ships, Aircraft and Men (brief description of ships, aircraft and commanders involved) (24 pages)
The First Six Months (includes Pearl Harbor, and touches on Rabaul, NEI, Darwin, Ceylon, etc) (38 pages)
Clash of the Carriers in the Coral Sea (34 pages)
Ambush at Midway (46 pages)
Battle of the Eastern Solomons (22 pages)
Showdown at Santa Cruz (36 pages)
Preparing for the Ultimate Carrier Battle (24 pages)
The Battle of the Philippine Sea (aka the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”) (34 pages)
Conclusion and Analysis (23 pages)
Bibliography (3 pages)
Index (8 pages)

The many photos included are all of a decent size (some full page), not the small ones that are contained in CAM titles.  A good many of the photos I’ve seen before.  The colour maps are clear and easy to follow.

On reflection one thought did occur to me.  The second chapter of the book (The First Six Months) is not balanced by a chapter near the end covering the last few months of the war (i.e. the Okinawa campaign).  It is almost as though the Osprey editors told the author that the book couldn’t exceed about 300 pages so something had to go.  So, was a chapter covering the Okinawa campaign excluded from the book due to page limitation requirements?  If this was the case it would explain the sub-title to the book “Carrier Combat from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa”, assuming the editors forgot to change the sub-title to delete reference to Okinawa.  There are many times I wonder about Osprey’s editors.

Posted on: 25/10/2021 11:22:39
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 407
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Thank you for this very detailed and thorough review, KenA. I am much more likely to buy a copy of this book now that I have read it.

Posted on: 25/10/2021 14:27:55
Posted by: PAUL W
Total Posts: 415
Joined Date: Sunday, 4 January 2015

KenA thanks for the review, I to am now going to buy it. In fact its on my Christmas list. Cheers.

Posted on: 06/11/2021 18:07:27

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