Setting the Rising Sun: Halsey's Aviators Strike Japan, Summer 1945 Audiolibro Audible – Edizione integrale
By the summer of 1945, Adm. Bull Halsey's US Third Fleet had fought its way far enough in the Pacific that its carrier-based fighters could launch attacks on Japan itself in preparation for the invasion of the home islands, planned for the fall of 1945. This mission US Navy fighters, fighter-bombers, dive-bombers, and torpedo-bombers - Hellcats, Avengers, Helldivers, and more - carried out with a vengeance, striking airfields, industrial targets, and coastal facilities while flying into the teeth of Japanese air defenses. Meanwhile, the fleet's aircraft continued to attack the Japanese navy (sinking a submarine from the air, attacking - but not sinking - the famous battleship Nagato, and attacking other ships), interdict enemy merchant shipping, and defend against kamikaze attacks on Third Fleet. As late as the morning of August 15 - the day the ceasefire took effect (before the formal signing on September 2) - the fighters saw hard fighting, downing Japanese fighters making last-ditch, almost literally last-minute attacks on the US fleet.
Numerous books have covered the American bomber war against Japan in World War II, from the Doolittle Raid to Curtis Lemay's strategic bombing campaign, the firebombing of Tokyo, and the dropping of the atomic bombs. But other than memoirs and bit parts in air war histories, fighter and fighter-bomber operations have received short shrift. Setting the Rising Sun corrects that oversight, zooming in on fighters during the war's final two months. In this carefully researched narrative history, Kevin Mahoney recounts this vital period of the Pacific War with drama and attention to detail. He draws on both American and Japanese perspectives to reconstruct intense combat missions and place them in the context of a war that was hurtling toward its conclusion in two mushroom clouds in Japan.
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Admiral Halsey had positioned his massive Third Fleet at Japan's doorstep. Given the task of softening up Japanese defenses in preparation for the invasion of Japan in the fall of 1945, Halsey's aviators flew hundreds of sorties over Japanese targets in July and August, 1945. Attacks were launched on airfields containing kamikaze aircraft as well as attacks on the remnants of the Japanese navy. Merchant shipping was a high-priority target, for these ships carried what little supplies remained among the home islands. Occasionally, Japanese planes would rise to meet the Americans, but most often, these planes, piloted by inexperienced pilots, were easily dispatched by the much superior American airmen.
Dogfights did occur, and American planes were shot down, but thanks to the U.S. Navy's heroic air sea rescue pilots and lifeguard submarines, many crewmen who were forced to ditch were rescued. The atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but battles continued afterwards, as Japan's leaders decided what to do. Attacks continued by the American pilots right up to the day the Japanese finally surrendered, August 15th, 1945.
This book does a good job of describing the American carrier attacks on the Japanese home islands. Often using official flight records as sources, author Kevin Mahoney describes these missions in great detail, including the attack on the remainder of the Japanese fleet at Kure to the numerous strikes on Japanese airfields.
I recommend this book to readers interested in the final days of the Pacific War. Much of the content covered in this book is not readily found in other works, and this book describes those final days in great detail.
The author has done a good job of chronicling virtually all of the strikes carried out in July and August, 1945, along with some discussion of the U.S. Navy's naval bombardment operations carried out during this same period. However, while pretty much all the attacks are covered and much detail is provided, this book is a bit of a slog to get through. The author uses After Action Reports as the primary source of his research and seems to just regurgitate their contents with a little filler to tie them together. Very little personal recollections of the various actions and pretty much all the information presented excludes any post-war research into actual bombing results and claims.
I had high hopes for this book. While I did find the detail of the air strikes interesting, the narrative had virtually no flow and just seemed to be a repeat of what was originally written up 75 years ago. It was hard for me to sit and enjoy this book for extended periods of time, so I don't really think I'd recommend this.