Early U.S. Navy Carrier Raids, February–April 1942

Five Operations That Tested a New Dimension of American Air Power


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About the Book

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, America’s fast carrier task forces, with their aircraft squadrons and powerful support warships, went on the offensive. Under orders from Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, the newly appointed Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, took the fight to the Japanese, using island raids to slow their advance in the Pacific.
Beginning in February 1942, a series of task force raids led by the carriers USS Enterprise, USS Yorktown, USS Lexington and USS Hornet were launched, beginning in the Marshall Islands and Gilbert Islands. An attempted raid on Rabaul was followed by successful attacks on Wake Island and Marcus Island. The Lae-Salamaua Raid countered Japanese invasions on New Guinea. The most dramatic was the unorthodox Tokyo (Doolittle) Raid, where 16 carrier-launched B-25 medium bombers demonstrated that the Japanese mainland was open to U.S. air attacks.
The raids had a limited effect on halting the Japanese advance but kept the enemy away from Hawaii, the U.S. West coast and the Panama Canal, and kept open lines of communications to Australia.

About the Author(s)

David Lee Russell is a retired Naval Air Intelligence Officer, and former IT director. He is also the author of a book on a top WWII Navy Ace, the history of Eastern Airlines, three books on the American Revolution and two intelligence thriller books. He lives in Canton, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

David Lee Russell
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 207
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, 22 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7846-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3861-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 • War Begins in the Pacific 5
2 • Marshall and Gilbert Islands 17
3 • Rabaul 66
4 • Wake and Marcus Islands 83
5 • Lae and Salamaua 107
6 • Tokyo 127
7 • Aftermath 164
Appendix A: Marshall and Gilbert Islands Raid, U.S. Navy Task Forces 8 and 17, February 1, 1942 169
Appendix B: Rabaul Raid, U.S. Navy Task Force 11, February 20, 1942 170
Appendix C: Wake and Marcus Island Raid, U.S. Navy Task Force 16, February 24, 1942 171
Appendix D: Lae-Salamaua Raid, Allied Task Force 11 (TF 11, TF 17 and ANZAC Squadron), March 10, 1942 172
Appendix E: Tokyo Raid, U.S. Navy Task Force 16, April 18, 1942 173
Chapter Notes 175
Bibliography 183
Index 187

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Proves worth the wait…a solid, valuable work that sheds new light on these crucial moments…. Plenty of readers should welcome Russell’s informative, interesting book”—Stone & Stone Second World War Books

• “A must read, if not a must have…a well-written account of a series of operations that, while minor, were significant. All are largely forgotten today. Russell offers readers a fresh look at them in this book.”—Nautical Research Journal

• “David Lee Russell’s book is a valuable account of the first months of 1942… offering readers a detail-rich description of each attack… an important and detailed account of the Pacific War that would appeal to anyone interested in the Second World War, particularly in the role of the aircraft carriers in the Pacific.”—The Northern Mariner