The Carrier War

Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1982. First Printing [Stated]. Leatherette. 175, [1] pages. Color endpapers. Maps. Illustrations (some with color). Bibliography. Index. Decorative front cover. This is one of The Epic of Flight series, edited by Jim Hicks. Clark G. Reynolds was the curator of the museum aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots Point, South Carolina and had taught at the U.S. Naval Academy. Dr. Clark Gilbert Reynolds, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (December 11, 1939 – December 10, 2005) was an historian of naval warfare, with an interest in the development of U.S. naval aviation. He made contributions to the fields of world history, strategic history, and the history of maritime civilizations. Reynolds went on the Duke University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1964. Reynolds began his career at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964–1968. He then went to the University of Maine. From 1976 to 1978, he was Professor at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point New York. For most of the decade between 1978 and 1988, he was an independent scholar, working as the curator and historian at the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1988, he was appointed professor of history and served as chairman of the History Department. In 1999, he was appointed Distinguished Professor and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2002. E. T. Wooldridge, Jr, the Curator for Aeronautics at the National Air and Space Museum was a consultant on this volume. He was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was a fighter pilot aboard several aircraft carriers, including the U.S.S. Independence and the U. S. S. Enterprise. The editors of Time-Life Books have produced another exciting series: The Epic of Flight. The Carrier War is brought to you in extraordinary detail through vivid photography and engaging, informative text. The U.S. Navy has dominated aircraft carrier warfare since the 1920s. Conceived to provide scouting “eyes” for the fleet, the carrier evolved an attack capability that rivaled that of the battleships during the interwar period. Offensive tactics were developed during annual “fleet problems” by innovative admirals, notably Joseph Mason Reeves, and a small cadre of younger naval aviators led by John H. Towers. In World War II, the carrier became the major arbiter of American seapower. U.S. carrier forces have engaged in five principal roles and missions of varying priority according to operational objectives: (1) fleet support, using scouting planes for reconnaissance and fighter planes as defensive interceptors; (2) destruction of the enemy fleet, especially opposing carriers, with attack planes (bombers); (3) protection of merchant shipping as defensive convoy escorts or offensively in hunter killer groups, against submarines; (4) destruction of enemy merchant shipping at sea or at anchor; and (5) projecting aerial firepower inland. The function of the latter objective has been twofold: supporting amphibious assaults with close air support of infantry over the beach, protective fighter cover against enemy planes, and interdiction of enemy transportation systems (bridges, roads, rail lines) in order to isolate the beachhead; and striking strategic targets—airfields, army installations, port facilities, and industrial plants. The sine qua non of carrier warfare is fleet support. The symbiotic interrelationship between carriers and gun ships exists in their mutual defense against enemy air, submarine, and surface ship attacks. Tactically, the vulnerability of World War II carrier forces exposed to air attack caused them to disperse in order to split enemy attacks—during 1942–43 against Japan in the Pacific when U.S. carrier strength was weak. Nevertheless, several carriers were temporarily concentrated during the 1942 naval battles at the Coral Sea, Midway, and around Guadalcanal. In overwhelming strength, carriers were concentrated permanently for the Central Pacific War campaign of 1943–45. At the Battle of Midway, three U.S. carriers, superbly coordinated by Adm. Raymond A. Spruance, sank all four Japanese carriers to the loss of one American “flattop.” Otherwise, carrier strength on both sides was whittled down while supporting amphibious and island struggles in the Coral Sea–Guadalcanal region. When a powerful Fast Carrier Attack Force was created late in 1943 for the offensive, it was organized into three or four task groups, each made up of three or four carriers plus escorting gun ships in a circular screen. Under the brilliant tactical command of Adm. Marc A. Mitscher, the fast carriers neutralized Japan's air and naval bases at Rabaul and Truk, annihilated its carrier planes in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and sank its last operational carriers at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In all subsequent amphibious campaigns—Luzon, Iwo Jima, Okinawa—the carriers battled land based Japanese kamikazes, striking their airfields and other strategic targets. Most close air support in the Pacific, and North Africa and the Mediterranean as well, was provided by the small, slower escort carriers. U.S. carriers helped defeat Germany's U boats in the Battle of the Atlantic by utilizing antisubmarine hunter killer groups, each an independent force of one escort carrier and a screen of destroyers. The major controversies over carrier warfare have been caused by opponents within the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and Congress claiming the carrier to be vulnerable to air and submarine attacks and thus a waste of defense expenditures. These arguments have yet to be proven. Condition: Very good / No dust jacket issued.

Keywords: Aircraft Carrier, Naval Warfare, Warships, Battle of Midway, Akagi, Escort Carriers, Guadalcanal, Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, Solomon Islands, Yamamoto, Marc Mitscher, Naval Operations

ISBN: 0809433044

[Book #85174]

Price: $35.00