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Clash of the Carriers: The True Story of the…

Clash of the Carriers: The True Story of the Marianas Turkey Shoot of…

by Barrett Tillman

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While a lot of naval books focus on the 'big' battles of war - Jutland, Midway, The Atlantic - this one is an in-depth study recollecting a US vs. Japan battle in the Philippine Sea in gaining control of the Guam and its island neighbours. The term 'Turkey Shoot' was coined by an airman after one of the dogfights during the week-long fight and is famous for being a totally fought in the air by two battle groups hundreds of miles apart where surface ships never saw sight of each other.

While Midway became the real turning point in the Pacific War for the Americans when Japan lost a lot of its major 'flat tops', Philippine Sea all but sealed the deal as the Japanese, stretched at best, lost not only three more carriers, but somewhere close to 75% of its remaining seaborne aircraft, and more importantly experienced pilots.

The recollection is very good in building up to the battle, the planning and sparring from both sides while putting into layman's terms what was happening, and what the risk was to both sides. Calling on interviews from survivors on both sides it is (almost) balanced in its reporting, however it does tend to lean towards the American side i bias, something which is probably easy to do when the author is a Yank, and the Yanks were deemed the victors.

All in all a fascinating read that doesn't bore one with too much jargon and has a good focus on the thoughts and fears of those who dueled in the air. I have read many a book on war and more often than not I have sometimes wondered how the hell the Allies managed to win, what with poor planning, poor execution, and more often than not inter-service distrust. This book almost has you thinking the same thing, but the underlying tone in this is courage, and risk, and the Americans more than had this with near fatal results. Nothing to take away from the Japanese; hopelessly outnumbered and in inferior hardware, but if one chapter sticks out for me, it comes near the end when the American aircrews are left with no choice but to 'come home' in the dark.

Thrilling stuff that makes it hard to put down... ( )
  scuzzy | Feb 25, 2013 |
I rarely abandon a book, but this one I did. In the 50 pages I managed there was much about every aspect of WW2 carrier warfare except the ostensible subject of the book.

Those first 50 pages are written as though by a bad sportswriter, with lots and lots and lots of facts and figures, connected only by being about WW2 naval operations, but presented in a painfully meandering style. It's as if he took his notes, threw them in the air, and wrote about them in the order he picked them up. Consequently there are lots of non sequiturs, un-referenced statements that seem bogus on their face, and an overall lack of clarity as to what point, exactly, he might be trying to make in any given paragraph/page/section/chapter. It doesn't help that he tried never to use the same word twice, or an ordinary one where jargon is available: the text is a mish-mash of four different vocabularies all at once: regular English, official US Navalese, US naval slang, and Japanese. Then there's the editing, which appears to have been performed solely by his word processor's spelling checker.

In an unwonted grant of the benefit of the doubt, I actually gave it two stars because for all I know it gets better after page 50. But if I were you, I wouldn't risk your time on that chance. ( )
1 vote drbubbles | Feb 22, 2009 |
Fascinating insite into the circumstances and men behind this WW2 battle. ( )
  dswaddell | May 6, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tillman, BarrettAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coonts, StephenForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Foreword: Once upon a time carrier decks were straight, Grummans had tail-wheels, and Pratt & Whtneys had props.
Preface: Marianas: The word conjures different meanings to different audiences.
Prologue: On Tuesday, June 6, 1944, a huge invasion fleet departed its various embarkation areas, formed up, and shaped course for a hostile shore.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451219562, Paperback)

In June, 1944, American and Japanese carrier fleets made their way through the Philippine Sea, both hoping to take control of the vital Marianas Islands. When they met, they embarked upon a naval engagement that escalated into the most spectacular aircraft carrier battle in history. Here is the true account of the battle, told from both sides - by those who were there. Drawing upon numerous interviews as well as official sources, Clash of the Carriers is an unforgettable testimonial to the bravery of those who fought and those who died in a battle that will never be forgotten.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Provides an account of the June 1944 clash near the Marianas Islands between the American and Japanese carrier fleets, a confrontation that became the most spectacular aircraft carrier battle in history.

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