Attack on Taranto (Stackpole Classics) Paperback – September 15, 2017
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"This is a very well written book by two well-qualified authors in possesion of the facts." THE GLOBE & LAUREL.
From the Author
- Item Weight : 9.4 ounces
- Paperback : 174 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0811726610
- ISBN-10 : 0811726614
- Product Dimensions : 5.94 x 0.47 x 9.06 inches
- Publisher : Stackpole Books; 1st Printing Edition (September 15, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #193,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Another book with a major section on Taranto is "To War in a Stringbag," a Bantam War Book that covers many actions involving Swordfish airplanes. To me it was a better read.
Authors Lowry and Wellham spend considerable time explaining both the planning and the execution of the mission, including its multi-faceted deception plan. As the authors repeatedly remark, the British fliers courageously made the attack at night in obsolete open-cockpit biplanes into the teeth of a heavily defended target. In fact, the Swordfish biplanes, nicknamed "stringbags", would provide good service at sea throughout the war.
Lowry and Wellham emphasize the parallels to the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, including the intense Japanese interest in Italian and German after-action reports and an inspection of the base at Taranto. Their further speculation on Pearl Harbor is perhaps less well-founded. "The Attack on Taranto" is well-recommended to student of naval aviation, as a solid account of a lesser-known but important event in the development of carrier aviation.
The authors cover the attack phase of the operation very well. The attack itself was in peril from liftoff of the first heavily laden aircraft, but with good planning and a refusal to give up, the Brits pulled off a stunning surprise attack and victory over much stronger forces. Using speed (relative to the ability of the Italians to react, not necessarily the planes themselves) shock and surprise, the hammered the Italian forces.
The book would benefit from more maps, and more post mortem study of the operational and strategic effects of this defeat. As much as Mersa Matruh, this battle changed and shaped the way that the rest of the campaign in the Med would be fought.
A more detailed study of the weaponeering would also be of interest, on both the land defense side and the naval aviation. Specifically guns, bombs and torpedoes, there differences and different advantages and disadvantages would be of great interest. Further study of the different staff procedures and command structures that enabled the British to induce such chaos and destruction would be of interest. Lastly, a final third of the book could be devoted to comparing the Doolittle Raid, Pearl Harbor and Taranto, and then looking at the differences at Rabul, Coral Sea and Leyte Gulf over the subsequent years in the naval focused war in the Pacific.
One of the authors was a member of the attack group, and he gives his own account in the battle.
This is a nice little read. The book is short and has plenty of photos. A determined reader could finish this book in two to three hours. Taranto was indeed the prelude the Pearl Harbor, but now few people realize this. With Lowry's perspective, this is good book about the Second World War.