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Titans of the Seas; The Development and Operations of Japanese and American Carrier Task Forces During World War II Hardcover – 1975

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row; 1st edition (1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060102780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060102784
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I conservatively estimate I've read about 100 books on WWII and this is one of the best on carrier operations in the Pacific. The authors do a wonderful job weaving strategy with combat stats and individual air combat stories in a general narrative. They also do a good job explaining evolution of weapons and tactics during the war. My only complaint is the relatively narrow focus: the book ends with the destruction of Japanese naval air power in June '44. The battle of Leyte Gulf and the subsequent Kamikaze attacks are merely footnoted. The authors also could have delved deeper into the personalities (especially from the Japanese perspective) of the men devising tactics and strategy as the strategic balance of naval power tipped from the "gun club" to air power. Not a book for beginners -- those new to WWII history would be better off starting with one of the many of the excellent overviews of the entire Pacific war. But for a history buff like me, this book was a real pleasure.
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Format: Hardcover
Titans of the Seas is a riveting and thorough history of carrier warfare in the Pacific from its developmental stage in the 1920s through the battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944. The book focuses especially on the five great carrier-vs.-carrier battles fought between the Imperial Japanese Navy and United States Navy in 1942 and 1944, and on the organizational, technological, and operational contexts in which they took place. More a popular than an academic treatment of the subject, the book has some resultant strengths and weaknesses.

Titans of the Seas delivers what the subtitle promises, documenting the development of Japanese and American carrier doctrine and operations beginning with the U.S. Fleet Problems of the 1920s and 30s and including Japanese operational experience in China after 1937. Other strengths of the book are its careful identification of unit commanders, strike leaders, and participants (both American and Japanese); its descriptions of ship and aircraft equipment, armament, and capabilities; its inclusion of significant carrier-relevant events in between the major battles; and its relation of combat events to carrier construction programs and progress on both sides. The Belotes were careful to research and include Japanese accounts and perspectives, giving the book a welcome balance. Throughout the book they also document the significant impact American signals intelligence made in the carrier war.

The authors were clearly taken with their subject, adopting an enthusiastic, pro-carrier perspective that is easily discerned in their discussion of Japanese and American command decisions and shipbuilding programs. It is this enthusiasm, however, that sometimes diminishes what is otherwise an excellent account.
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Format: Hardcover
I acquired my copy of this book from the Military Book Club soon after I left the military.
I have had a very keen interest in military history my entire life, and to me, this book is "The Bible" of carrier operations in the Pacific during World War two.
The authors lay the background for why carrier operations became so valuable, making the battleships obsolete.
The detail is rich with good descriptions of the types of planes used and detailing odd deployment on some carriers of planes older than the ones Hollywood has made familiar.
For instance, some of the Japanese carriers used in the Indian Ocean raids still employed biplane bombers, just as the Brits used Swordfish and Albacores!
The more notable carrier commanders are identified, their operations and tactics explained.
Lately, I am really surprised at how little is needed to purchase a copy of this book, which (in my opinion) should be in every military historians collection, especially of this war in particular.
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Format: Hardcover
During World War II, the aircraft carrier surpassed the battleship as the most important naval vessel, nowhere more so than in the Pacific conflict between Japan and the United States. Beginning with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and going through the Battle of the Philippine Sea (aka "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot"), this book looks at the rise to prominence of the aircraft carrier in the Japanese and American navies and the pivotal role it played in the outcome of the war.

I found the book to be very informative, without bogging down in too much detail. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of information on the Japanese side of things, especially the early part of the war when the Japanese Navy sailed supreme over the waves. The raids in the Indian Ocean and the covering of operations in New Guinea and Indonesia (fka the Dutch East Indies) were not something I'd previously seen much on, so this book helped fill in that gap in my knowledge.

Both sides are looked at critically in many aspects: training, tactics. leadership and results to name a few. In the early part of the war, the Japanese were clearly superior in all aspects, but as their core of experienced personnel dwindled due to losses and the Americans gained more experience the balance of power clearly shifts until by mid-1943 the Japanese are definitely starting to face long odds of winning the war. One aspect I found interesting which I had not seen presented in this fashion before was the matter of bombing results, especially among the American dive bombers and torpedo planes. The latter were basically saddled with an inferior weapon in the Mark 13 torpedo, so that definitely explains some of their lack of success.
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