US Carrier History in WWII

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US Carrier History in WWII

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jul 7, 2016, 9:32 pm

I just finished Shattered Sword by Tully and Parshall, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Found it lucid and comprehensive. In the book, reference was made to the differences in US capability in 1944 vs 1942, both in sheer number of carriers available, and in that carrier strategy was still early in its evolution in 1942.

Is anyone aware of a good book on the topic of carrier warfare, and in particular on the evolution of carrier power and strategy over the course of the war?

jul 8, 2016, 9:24 am

A good book to read is THE FAST CARRIERS: THE FORGING OF AN AIR NAVY by Clark G. Reynold. It was first published in 1968. It has been reprinted since. It provides a detailed examination of the characteristics, tactics, and operations. Also for a detailed design history look at U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS: AN ILLUSTRATED DESIGN HISTORY by Norman Friedman, published 1983. I think reprinted since.


jul 8, 2016, 10:03 am

Thanks a lot, Jim

jul 8, 2016, 2:16 pm

I read The Fast Carriers many years ago and I would second the recommendation, but I would add a small caveat. If you read enough about the US Navy's war in the Pacific, and especially about the high-level commanders, you will find out about the schism among many top admirals that's sometimes known as the "black shoe/brown shoe" controversy--the debate over the role and influence which naval aviators were to have. My very strong recollection, from when I read Reynolds' book, is that he had a number of sources in one of the two camps, and that as a result, he gave a one-sided view of some issues (not all) covered in his book. I would not let that dissuade you from reading it, but it's something to be aware of.

A couple of other recommendations. First, for a good general introduction to carrier warfare, mostly focused on World War Two, read Titans of the Seas by James and William Belote (Jim Belote was one of my history professors in college). Second, an excellent book that focuses on a much narrower topic is The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway by John Lundstrom.

jul 10, 2016, 9:35 am

Thanks Jestak. I've got three books on the way!