• Absorbing account of the World War II revolution in aerial combatCritically acclaimed author of A Blood Dimmed Tide, Terrible Terry
Allen and Battling Buzzards
• First-hand reports of air strikes and dogfights over the Pacific
From critically acclaimed military historian Gerald Astor comes Wings of Gold, the first account of how the aeroplane revolutionised the US Navy. The transformation of tactics and equipment paved the way to victory in the Pacific in World War II. Astor tracks that fateful journey from its humble beginnings in 1910, when Eugene Ely flew the very first plane off the deck of a US Navy ship, to the unprecedented air-combat missions that helped defeat the Japanese.
Few naval aviators in World War II realised that when they earned their wings of gold they were about to become test pilots for a whole new kind of combat. In their own words, these courageous fliers describe the life-and-death air battles that defined the sea change in naval strategy. The revolution in tactics arose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor, when fighter pilots watched in horror as Japanese carrier-launched aircraft bombed their planes and airfields into smoking rubble.
While following the pilots'first-hand reports of air strikes and blazing dogfights across the islands and atolls of the Pacific, Astor explores the ways the US Navy began its momentous transformation before the war. Later, the critical role of aircraft carriers in the stunning US victory at Midway sounded the death knell for conventional naval warfare. Still, the public, the press, the Army and even the president's advisers refused to recognise the new reality. In fact, only a few in the Navy understood that a new era had begun which would change the face of war for ever.
The young Americans who fought the deadly duels against Imperial Japanese forces high over the Pacific gave everything they had to the war effort, and many made the supreme sacrifice. Wings of Gold pays tribute to their courage, daring, and selfless dedication. Vividly told, thoroughly researched, and filled with stirring accounts of the Pacific War's greatest air battles, Wings of Gold is an important addition to the annals of World War II aerial combat.
The US Navy aircraft have always attracted a strong following and this book I'm sure will receive a lot of attention. Wings of Gold is a historical description of the service from its humble beginnings through to the end of the WW2. Wings of Gold is meticulously researched with accounts of the Pacific Wars greatest air battles and the bravery shown by the young pilots complemented with black and white photographs. The book opens with stunt pilot Eugene Ely flying off the ramp built on the deck of the US Navy cruiser ‘Birmingham' in 1910. The aeroplane was considered somewhat of a novelty and although developed for the Navy it was always on the sidelines. The US Navy's plans soon changed with the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor which proved how devastating naval launched aircraft could be.
The chapters run in chronological order with the mauling experience at Pearl Harbor through to the rebuilding of the US Navy air arm. This showed the vital transformation with the critical role played by aircraft carriers in the victory at Midway.
Although the majority of the book is based in the Pacific it also covers the anti-submarine war in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean operations. The Mediterranean account includes an unusual account of the U.S Navy aircraft dog fighting Vichy French planes in the skies over North Africa during Operation Torch.
The book finishes with the role played by the US Navy in the dropping of the atomic bombs over Japan and the final surrender.
Wings of Gold would be an important addition to anybodies library and is real value for money.