Under the Southern Cross

Under the Southern Cross

The South Pacific Air Campaign Against Rabaul

General Military
  • Author: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 13 May 2021
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From August 7, 1942 until February 24, 1944, the US Navy fought the most difficult campaign in its history. Between the landing of the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal and the final withdrawal of the Imperial Japanese Navy from its main South Pacific base at Rabaul, the US Navy suffered such high personnel losses that for years it refused to publicly release total casualty figures.

The Solomons campaign saw the US Navy at its lowest point, forced to make use of those ships that had survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other units of the pre-war navy that had been hastily transferred to the Pacific. 140 days after the American victory at Midway, USS Enterprise was the only pre-war carrier left in the South Pacific and the US Navy would have been overwhelmed in the face of Japanese naval power had there been a third major fleet action. At the same time, another under-resourced campaign had broken out on the island of New Guinea. The Japanese attempt to reinforce their position there had led to the Battle of the Coral Sea in May and through to the end of the year, American and Australian armed forces were only just able to prevent a Japanese conquest of New Guinea.

The end of 1942 saw the Japanese stopped in both the Solomons and New Guinea, but it would take another 18 hard-fought months before Japan was forced to retreat from the South Pacific. Under the Southern Cross draws on extensive first-hand accounts and new analysis to examine the Solomons and New Guinea campaigns which laid the groundwork for Allied victory in the Pacific War.

Biographical Note

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver has been a published writer for the past 40 years. He was a regular contributor to Flight Journal magazine. He has had a lifelong interest in the Korean War and this work is the product of 25 years of research. He is the author of Aces of the 78th Fighter Group and F4F and F6F Aces of VF-2, as well as Fabled Fifteen: The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15 and The Bridgebusters: The True Story of the Catch-22 Bomb Group. During his 30 years as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he wrote the cult classic The Terror Within and worked as a supervising producer on a number of TV and cable series. He served in the US Navy in Vietnam.

Contents

List of Maps
List of Illustrations
Foreword by CDR Curtis R. Dosé , USNR (Ret)
Introduction
1: Operation Watchtower
2: Battle of the Eastern Solomons
3: The Cactus Air Force
4: Green Hell
5: Marine Aviation's Finest Hour
6: All In
7: The End of the Beginning
8: Whistling Death
9: Pappy Gunn and the Sunsetters
10: Pearl Harbor Avenged
11: Jay Zeamer's Eager Beavers
12: Reinforcement
13: The Surprise was Absolute
14: Bloody Tuesday
15: The Jolly Rogers
16: Sixty-One Days
17: Finale in the South Pacific
Bibliography
Index


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