** Santa Cruz is the forgotten carrier battle of 1942. Despite myth, the Japanese carrier force was not destroyed at Midway but was rebuilt in time to participate in the Guadalcanal campaign. At the battle of the Eastern Solomons in August, the opposing carrier forces fought to a draw. In October, both sides committed their surviving carriers to gain control of the waters around Guadalcanal. In the resulting battle of Santa Cruz, two American carriers faced four Japanese carriers. The clash occurred on October 26, and the Americans were defeated with the loss of the carrier Hornet and damage to Enterprise. In return, two Japanese carriers were damaged. More importantly, the Japanese suffered heavy aircraft losses and were unable to turn their tactical victory into a strategic one, since the damaged Enterprise was able to escape. Santa Cruz was the last time during the war the Japanese carrier force was able to take on the growing power of the US Navy on equal terms. **
** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Santa Cruz 1942 – Carrier duel in the South Pacific as Number 247 in their Campaign series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white and color photographs, black and white and color illustrations, color maps, 3-dimensional ‘bird’s-eye-views’, informational charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-605-9. As the title states, the book covers American and Japanese naval battles at the Santa Cruz islands in 1942 during World War II.
- Opposing Commanders
- The United States Navy
- The Imperial Japanese Navy
- Opposing Fleets
- The United States Navy
- The Imperial Japanese Navy
- Orders of Battle
- Opposing Plans
- The US plan
- The Japanese plan
- The Campaign
- The battle of the Eastern Solomons
- The battle of Santa Cruz
- The carriers clash
- The Japanese respond
- The Americans attack
- The Japanese attack
- Analysis of the battle
The text in the book is well written and contains many excellent details of the carrier duel between the US Navy and Japanese Imperial Navy in the South Pacific at Santa Cruz in 1942 very well. Mark Stille has gone to great lengths to research the carrier duel and provides a very well written and accurate history of it. The text and the accompanying photographs are in a correct chronological order and are well written. Mark Stille covers the incident from the before, during and after very well and covers the important areas required to provide a well narrated and informative history of a subject in the form of the “who, what, when, where, and why” in regards to both the American and Japanese actions. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the text. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. Anyone interested in the carrier duel between the US Navy and Japanese Imperial Navy in the South Pacific at Santa Cruz in 1942, World War II American or Japanese naval actions, World War II Pacific warfare and military history in general will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 64 black and white photographs and 2 color photographs featured in this volume. The majority of the photographs are great and will help the military naval modeler as well as navy and World War II enthusiasts. However there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark which is typical for some of the photographs of that period of time. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are close to 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. One thing that I was appreciative of with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not the same old overused photographs that tend to turn up. It is always nice to see the lesser known photographs. Mark Stille has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are of carrier duel between the US Navy and Japanese Imperial Navy in the South Pacific at Santa Cruz in 1942 and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. Many of the photographs are action scenes and I think that this helps to add the realism, seriousness and intensity and the importance of this less known naval battle.
Some of the various ships and aircraft shown and discussed are:
- USS Enterprise
- USS Hornet
- US Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat
- US SBD-3 Dauntless dive-bomber
- US PBY Catalina
- IJN Ryujo
- IJN Zuikaku
- IJN Shokaku
- Japanese Type 99 carrier bombers
- Japanese A6M Type 0 carrier fighter
- USS Pensacola
Some of the key American and Japanese Naval Personnel shown and discussed are:
- Admiral Ernest King
- Admiral Chester Nimitz
- Vice Admiral William Halsey
- Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku
- Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi
- Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutake
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 3 color illustrations by illustrator Howard Gerrard that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:
- Attack on Zuiho
- Junyo Attacks
- The End of Hornet
There are also 3 black and white illustrations provided that accompany the color illustrations. They are smaller black and white copies of the color illustrations and they provide specific details shown in the scene.
There are 5 color maps included in this volume. They are of:
- Strategic situation, September 1942
- American and Japanese bases in the South Pacific, September – October 1942
- The battle of the Eastern Solomons, August 24, 1942
- The battle of Santa Cruz, October 26, 1942, 0000-1200hrs
- The battle of Santa Cruz, October 26, 1942, 1200-2400hrs
THE 3-DIMENSIONAL ‘BIRD’S-EYE-VIEWS:
There are 3 color 3-dimensional ‘bird’s-eye-views’ included in this volume. They are of:
- American Carrier Aircraft Attack Shokaku
- Attack On Hornet
- The Japanese Carrier Aircraft Attack On The American Carrier Enterprise
THE INFORMATIONAL CHARTS:
There are 2 informational charts included in this volume. They provide information on:
- A US to Metric conversion chart
- Japanese losses in the attack on TF-17, by cause
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photographs because, as with the text, they describe the “who, what, when, where, and why”. They detail things such as the specific ships shown, ship and aircraft type, key individuals, locations as well as what has happened in the scene shown. As with the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors as I read through the captions. As I stated before, grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
This book was provided by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.
All in all I am very pleased with the book. It examines the carrier duel between the US Navy and Japanese Imperial Navy in the South Pacific at Santa Cruz in 1942 very well. With its wealth of relevant photographs, nicely done illustrations, well detailed maps and 3-dimensional ‘bird’s-eye-views’ this book will appeal to anyone interested in the carrier duel between the US Navy and Japanese Imperial Navy in the South Pacific at Santa Cruz in 1942, World War II American or Japanese naval actions, World War II Pacific warfare and military history in general will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read and will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library. Osprey Publishing continues to release many great titles such as this one and I would have no hesitation to add more of their books to my personal library, nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others.
The American Heritage Picture History of World War II
American Heritage Publishing Co. Inc.
World War II Day by Day
An Illustrated Almanac 1939-1945
World War II
Octopus Books Limited
The Military History of World War II
Consultant Editor: Barrie Pitt
The Military Press
Osprey web site
Osprey Publishing has Santa Cruz 1942 – Carrier duel in the South Pacific available as a PDF eBook and as an ePub eBook as well.
Amazon web site with an inside search of this title:
Take a look at the Kindle Edition at the Amazon web site: