In 1941, as the Battle of the Atlantic raged and ship losses mounted, the British Admiralty desperately tried to find ways to defeat the U-Boat threat to Britain's maritime lifeline. Facing a shortage of traditional aircraft carriers and shore-based aircraft, the Royal Navy, as a stopgap measure, converted merchant ships into small ‘escort carriers'. These were later joined by a growing number of American-built escort carriers, sent as part of the Lend-Lease agreement.
The typical Escort Carrier was small, slow and vulnerable, but it could carry about 18 aircraft, which gave the convoys a real chance to detect and sink dangerous U-Boats. Collectively, their contribution to an Allied victory was immense, particularly in the long and gruelling campaigns fought in the Atlantic and Arctic. Illustrated throughout with detailed full-colour artwork and contemporary photographs, this fascinating study explores in detail how these adaptable ships had such an enormous impact on the outcome of World War II's European Theatre.
General Douglas MacArthur is one of the towering figures of World War II, and indeed of the twentieth century, but his leadership of the second largest air force in the USAAF is often overlooked. When World War II ended, the three numbered air forces (the Fifth, Thirteenth and Seventh) under his command possessed 4,004 combat aircraft, 433 reconnaissance aircraft and 922 transports. After being humbled by the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942, MacArthur and his air chief General George Kenney rebuilt the US aerial presence in the Pacific, helping Allied naval and ground forces to push back the Japanese Air Force, re-take the Philippines, and carry the war north towards the Home Islands. Following the end of World War II MacArthur was the highest military and political authority in Japan, and at the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 he was named as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command. In the ten months of his command his Far East Air Forces increased dramatically and saw the first aerial combat between jet fighters.
Written by award-winning aviation historian Bill Yenne, this engrossing book traces the journey of American air forces in the Pacific under General MacArthur's command, from their lowly beginnings to their eventual triumph over Imperial Japan, followed by their entry into the jet age in the skies over Korea.
Prologue: MacArthur and Airpower
Chapter 1: Starting Out in the Crosshairs of Calamity
Chapter 2: Shoestring Air Force
Chapter 3: Who's in Charge of What?
Chapter 4: Making Do with Nothing
Chapter 5: Clinging to New Guinea
Chapter 6: The Battles of Buna
Chapter 7: Airpower Over Naval Power
Chapter 8: The Battle of the Bismarck Sea
Chapter 9: Japanese Air Superiority Challenged
Chapter 10: Japanese Air Superiority Met Head-On
Chapter 11: Allied Air Superiority Achieved
Chapter 12: Cartwheel Over Rabaul
Chapter 13: Expanding the Perimeter
Chapter 14: The Ploesti of the Pacific
Chapter 15: MacArthur's Return to the Philippines
Chapter 16: MacArthur's Expanding Air Force
Chapter 17: Victory in Leyte and Mindoro
Chapter 18: The Bloody Road to Manila
Chapter 19: The Superfortress
Chapter 20: From Borneo to Formosa
Chapter 21: First Strikes on Japan
Chapter 23: After the War
Chapter 24: MacArthur's Air Force in Korea
Epilogue: By the Numbers
Throughout late-1943 into early-1944, an epic struggle raged over the skies of Germany between RAF Bomber Command and the Luftwaffe. This campaign had been undertaken by the Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, and was baptized ‘The Battle of Berlin'.
The Berlin campaign was a hard, desperate slog. Struggling against dreadful and bitter winter weather, Bomber Command ‘went' to Berlin a total of sixteen times, suffering increasingly severe losses throughout the winter of 1943/44 in the face of a revitalized German air-defence. The campaign remains controversial and the jury, even today, is ultimately undecided as to what it realistically achieved. Illustrated throughout with full-colour artwork depicting the enormous scale of the campaign, this is the story of the RAF's much debated attempt to win the war through bombing alone.
Order of Battle