Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ship Strike Pacific

By John R Bruning Jr
144 pages; $24.95
ISBN 0760320950

During World War II, one of the most vital, dangerous and deadly operations in the war with Japan was the US aerial campaign on Japanese ships. Courageous US Navy, Army Air Corps and Marine crews struck at Japanese ships in an attempt to deplete supplies and sink firepower. All too often the men who risked their lives lost them on these missions in unfriendly skies. This breakthrough book contains many stunning photos that have never before been published. There are numerous superb, high-resolution photos of aircraft vs. ship combat and the aftermath of these battles. This is an important aspect of the war that has been largely ignored, but this book covers it in dramatic fashion that is sure to fascinate aviation and military history readers.
This book begins with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and continues through to the end of hostilities. 
What I really enjoyed about this book is the inclusion of all ship strike attacks by aircraft, not just naval as most works contain. The work of the US Army Air Corps in actions such as the Battle of the Bismarck Sea are covered. A "strafer's eye view of the Japanese destroyer Arashio shortly before its destruction..." is my favorite picture in this book.
The book really excels in the number of photographs. There are several in full color, a rare event in the 1940s. New to this reviewer are some excellent photos of Japanese warships that resorted to desperate measures to contend with the relentless US bombing in 1945. 
For the amateur and professional historian both, this book is highly recommended. (DS)

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