A fully illustrated history of how the US Navy destroyed Truk, the greatest Japanese naval and air base in the Pacific, with Operation Hailstone, and how B-29 units and the carriers of the British Pacific Fleet kept the base suppressed until VJ-Day. In early 1944, the island base of Truk was a Japanese Pearl Harbor; a powerful naval and air base that needed to be neutralized before the Allies could fight their way any further towards Tokyo. But Truk was also the most heavily defended naval base outside the Japanese Home Islands and an Allied invasion would be costly. Long-range bombing against Truk intact would be a massacre so a plan was conceived to neutralize it through a series of massive naval raids led by the growing US carrier fleet. Operation Hailstone was one of the most famous operations ever undertaken by American carriers in the Pacific. This book examines the rise and fall of Truk as a Japanese bastion and explains how in two huge raids, American carrier-based aircraft reduced it to irrelevance. Also covered is the little-known story of how the USAAF used the ravaged base as a live-fire training ground for its new B-29s -- whose bombing raids ensured Truk could not be reactivated by the Japanese. The pressure on Truk was kept up right through 1945 when it was also used as a target for the 509th Composite Squadron to practise dropping atomic bombs and by the British Pacific Fleet to hone its pilots combat skills prior to the invasion of Japan.
INTRODUCTION CHRONOLOGY ATTACKERS CAPABILITIES Long-range air power in 1944 DEFENDERS CAPABILITIES The Gibraltar of the Pacific CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES Keystone of the Pacific War Allied objectives and plans Japanese objectives and plans THE CAMPAIGN From feared bastion to the Allies punchbag Background: 1939-January 1944 Operation Hailstone: February 1944 April Showers: April 1944 Truk Besieged: March 1944-June 1945 Operation Inmate: June 14-15, 1945 AFTERMATH AND ANALYSIS Surviving Aircraft FURTHER READING INDEX
Mark Lardas has been fascinated by things related to the sea and sky his entire life. From building models of ships and aircraft as a teen, his interests led him to study Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and work as a navigation engineer for the Space Shuttle program for 30 years. Currently he works as a contract technical writer. He has written extensively for Osprey and is the author of over 25 books, including ACM 21 Battle of the Atlantic 1942-45: The climax of World War IIs greatest naval campaign and ACM 09 Japan 1944-45: LeMays B-29 strategic bombing campaign.