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Shar2

South Pacific Air War Vol.2. The Struggle For Moresby

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South Pacific Air War Vol.2

The Struggle For Moresby

Avonmore Publications

 

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Written by Michael Claringbould and Peter Inhman and published by Avonmore publications, this book tells the story of the battle for Port Moresby in a day to day, blow by blow account of the air forces of Australia and the US against the Japanese air force and naval air arm. While the first volume, which we never received dealt with the air battles over Rabaul, This second volume, over  two hundred and twenty nine pages, chronicles the aerial warfare in the South Pacific for the two crucial months of March and April 1942 when a deadly struggle for Port Moresby played out. It can be read alone or as part of a trilogy that culminates in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. The period begins with the stunning 10 March US Navy carrier strike against Lae and Salamaua, which caused the Japanese to pause their advance until their own carriers were available. Instead, they tried to grind the Allied forces at Port Moresby into submission through an unrelenting air assault by their Betty bombers and Zero fighters.

 

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After a long wait, Allied land-based fighters finally arrived in the form of Royal Australian Air Force No. 75 Squadron Kittyhawks. These were backed up by a growing collection of United States Army Air Force bombers, including A-24 Banshees, B-17 Flying Fortresses, B-25 Mitchells and B-26 Marauders (the latter two types making their worldwide combat debut over the skies of New Guinea). But it’s not just about the aircraft as the crew members and fighter pilots are also described and in some cases photographed next to their aircraft or in more relaxed surroundings that brings the human story to the fore. Together, this motley force took the fight to the Japanese, resulting in a complex aerial campaign that saw units from both sides reach exhaustion. The book is filled with the details of almost every encounter between the two protagonists, the identities of the pilots and even the ships that were involved. At the end of the book there are tables covering each aircraft lost and what happened to them, not only for the Allies but for the Japanese forces too.  To accompany the text there are numerous period photographs as well as computer generated renders of combat between the various aircraft. The final thirty one pages are filled with either three views or side views of the aircraft involved, with descriptions of the unit, where they were based and occasionally their sad demise.

 

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Conclusion

I’ve not come across this series of books before and will certainly be getting hold of the first volume as this one was compelling reading about a battle I knew very little about. While not aimed at the modeller Per Se, it has a wealth of information about aircraft markings, units and where they were based which, along with the side views allows the modeller to build a true replica of the aircraft involved. There are also some great photographs from which a vignette or diorama can be built should you wish. Highly recommended

 

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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