Throughout the first year of the war in the Pacific during World War II the USAAF was relatively ineffective against ships. Indeed, warships in particular proved to be too elusive for conventional medium-level bombing. High-level attacks wasted bombs, and torpedo attacks required extensive training. But as 1942 closed, the Fifth Air Force developed new weapons and new tactics that were not just effective, they were deadly. A maintenance officer assigned to a B-25 unit found a way to fill the bombardier's position with four 0.50-cal machine guns and strap an additional four 0.50s to the sides of the bomber, firing forward. Additionally, skip-bombing was developed. This called for mast-top height approaches flying the length of the target ship. If the bombs missed the target, they exploded in the water close enough to crush the sides. The technique worked perfectly when paired with "strafe" B-25s.
Over the first two months of 1943, squadrons perfected these tactics. Then, in early March, Japan tried to reinforce their garrison in Lae, New Guinea, with a 16-ship convoy - eight transports guarded by eight destroyers. The Fifth Air Force pounced on the convoy in the Bismarck Sea. By March 5 all eight transports and four destroyers had been sunk
This volume examines the mechanics of skip-bombing combined with a strafing B-25, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the combatants (B-25 versus destroyer), and revealing the results of the attacks and the reasons why these USAAF tactics were so successful.
This title explores and illustrates the armies of France, and six countries allied against Louis XIV, in a wide-ranging Continental conflict that ushered in more than a century of European warfare.
Formed in 1689, the 'Grand Alliance' or League of Augsburg was a military coalition of the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch Republic, Britain, Spain and the Duchy of Savoy, to resist Louis XIV's rich, powerful and expansionist France. The first stage of the nine year conflict that followed also coincided with the so-called 'Glorious Revolution' in Britain (1688-91), when the throne passed to the Dutch Protestant leader, William of Orange, the head of a multi-national Dutch, Danish and English army, which finally expelled James II's Jacobite and French forces from Ireland.
The long war on the continent was notable for the first widespread use of regimental uniforms and flintlock muskets with bayonets, plus the sophisticated use of siege warfare under the great French engineer, Vauban. The final Treaties of Ryswyck (1697) brought the war to an end and marked Louis XIV's political zenith, and also the ascendancy of both the Dutch and British as first-rate global powers.
This fully illustrated title explores the armies which fought the War of the Grand Alliance, examining their strength, organization, uniforms and weapons, and explaining their campaigns and major battles.
This detailed study of the naval Spanish Civil War describes how the Spanish Navy, torn in two and comprising a Republican and Nationalist part, fought a civil war at sea involving both Hitler's and Mussolini's navies.
In July 1936, a pro-fascist coup orchestrated by General Franco tore Spain apart and plunged the country into a bitter civil war. Like Spain itself, the Spanish Navy was torn in two: crews and most ships remained loyal to the Republican government but many of the Navy's officers joined Franco's rebels, and warships under repair or 'mothballed' in southern ports soon fell to the rebel advance. These formed the basis of Franco's 'Nationalist fleet,' and with both Italian and German help, the rebels were able to contest the Republic's control of Spanish waters. Overall the Republican Navy held its own, despite mounting losses, until the collapse of the Republican Army led to the fleet seeking internment in French North Africa.
Packed with contemporary photographs and full colour illustrations, this study examines the composition and organization of the two rival fleets, the capabilities of their ships and submarines, and the performance of their crews. It also covers the warships of the Basque Auxiliary Navy - an offshoot of the Republican Fleet - and other navies who played a part in the conflict, most notably the Italian Regia Marina.
n 1935 the USAAC wanted to build a potential intercontinental bomber, a 'Guardian of the Hemisphere,' and granted Donald Douglas a contract to build the world's largest bomber. The groundwork for the intercontinental bomber had been laid in the previous two decades by the courageous military and civilian pilots who risked their lives to set new distance and endurance records. After World War I the future Axis and Allied nations built larger aircraft and finally during World War II Germany and Japan became intent on developing intercontinental bomber to retaliate against America. While the XB-19 never flew as an intercontinental bomber or even as a combat bomber; its contributions as a 'Flying Laboratory' significantly influenced the development of the Consolidated B-36 Peacemaker, the world's first true intercontinental bomber.
Since the XB-19 project was top secret and there was only one example built there is little information remaining for researchers. Over the years Bill Wolf has collected the largest quantity of XB-19 material and a number of photographs, including a copy of the original Army Air Force acceptance of the aircraft, first-hand narratives of its first flight, and other USAAC and Douglas Company documents. This book provides a superbly illustrated history of the XB-19 intercontinental bomber and the text is supported by previously unpublished photographs.
This illustrated study explores, in detail, the RAF's first concentrated air campaign of World War II against one of the hardest and most important targets in Germany - the industrial heartland of the Ruhr that kept Hitler's war machine running.
Between March and July 1943, RAF Bomber Command undertook its first concentrated bombing campaign, the Battle of the Ruhr, whose aim was nothing less than the complete destruction of the industry that powered the German war machine. Often overshadowed by the famous 'Dambusters' single-raid attack on the Ruhr dams, the Battle of the Ruhr proved much larger and much more complex. The mighty, industrial Ruhr region contained not only some of the most famous and important arms makers, such as the gunmakers Krupp of Essen, but also many other industries that the German war economy relied on, from steelmakers to synthetic oil plants. Being such a valuable target, the Ruhr was one of the most heavily defended regions in Europe.
This book examines how the brutal Ruhr campaign was conceived and fought, and how Bomber Command's relentless pursuit of its objective drew it into raids on targets well beyond the Ruhr, from the nearby city of Cologne to the Skoda works in Czechoslovakia. Drawing on a wide-range of primary and secondary sources, this is the story of the first titanic struggle in the skies over Germany between RAF Bomber Command and the Luftwaffe.