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Fire From The Sky (Hardback)

Surviving the Kamikaze Threat

WWII Naval: Iron & Steel General Seaforth Seaforth

By Robert C Stern
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781848320383
Published: 17th March 2010
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£30.00

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By late 1944 the war in the Pacific had turned decisively against the Japanese, and overwhelming Allied forces began to close in on the home islands. At this point Japan unveiled a terrifying new tactic: the suicide attack, or Kamikaze, named after the 'Divine Wind' which had once before, in medieval times, saved Japan from invasion. Intentionally crashing bomb-laden aircraft into Allied warships, these piloted guided missiles at first seemed unstoppable, calling into question the naval strategy on which the whole war effort was based.

This book looks at the origins of the campaign, at its strategic goals, the organization of the Japanese special attack forces, and the culture that made suicide not just acceptable, but honourable. Inevitably, much mythology has grown up around the subject, and the book attempts to sort the wheat from the chaff. One story that does stand up is the reported massive stock-piling of kamikaze aircraft for use against any Allied invasion of the home islands, if the atomic bombs had not forced Japan's surrender.
However, its principal focus is on the experience of those in the Allied fleets on the receiving end of this peculiarly alien and unnerving weapon – how they learnt to endure and eventually counter a threat whose potential was over-estimated, by both sides. In this respect, it has a very modern resonance.

ROBERT C STERN has published more than twenty books on military and naval subjects including the bestselling Battle Beneath the Waves. His last book for Seaforth was Destroyer Battles published in 2008.

Very interesting book - worth getting just for the photographs!

Fly Navy, Nov 2010

Very interesting book - worth getting just for the photographs!

Fly Navy, Nov 2010

It all makes fascinating reading and the text is supported by some stunning combat photographs.

Warships International Fleet Review

An excellent and exciting overview.

Baird Maritime
 Robert C Stern

About Robert C Stern

Robert C. Stern has been writing naval history for more than thirty years, during which time he has published four major works and numerous monographs for the history buff and modeler.

His major works include Type VII U-boats and The Lexington Class Carriers, both of which were technical analyses of important warship types, and Battle Beneath the Waves: The U-boat War, which was a collection of stories of of U-boat warfare from the two World Wars.

His most recent work is Destroyer Battles - Epics of Naval Close Combat accounts dramatic engagements in the history of destroyer warfare.

His other main interest is photography, which can be seen at www.stern-photography.com. He lives in Cupertino, CA, with his wife Beth and two uninterested cats.

Perfect Partner

The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service (Hardback)

This book describes in considerable detail the people, events ships and aircraft that shaped the Air Service from its origins in the late 19th century to its demise in 1945. The formative years began when a British Naval Mission was established in Japan in 1867 to advise on the development of balloons for naval purposes. After the first successful flights of fixed-wing aircraft in the USA and Europe, the Japanese navy sent several officers to train in Europe as pilots and imported a steady stream of new models to evaluate. During World War One Japan became allied with the UK and played a significant…

By Peter Edwards

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