Fabled Fifteen: The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15

Fabled Fifteen: The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15

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by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
     
 

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FABLED FIFTEEN
The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver

The record of Carrier Air Group 15 in World War II speaks for itself: Fighting Squadron 15 scored 312 enemy aircraft destroyed, 33 probably destroyed, and 65 damaged in aerial combat, plus 348 destroyed, 161 probably destroyed, and 129 damaged in ground attacks.

Overview

FABLED FIFTEEN
The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver

The record of Carrier Air Group 15 in World War II speaks for itself: Fighting Squadron 15 scored 312 enemy aircraft destroyed, 33 probably destroyed, and 65 damaged in aerial combat, plus 348 destroyed, 161 probably destroyed, and 129 damaged in ground attacks. Twenty-six Fighting 15 pilots became aces, including their leader, Commander David McCampbell, who became the U.S. Navy�s Ace of Aces. Twenty-one squadron pilots were killed in action and one in an operational accident aboard their carrier. Bombing Squadron 15 and Torpedo Squadron 15 scored 174,300 tons of enemy shipping, including 37 cargo vessels sunk, 10 probably sunk, and 39 damaged. As well, Musashi, the world�s largest battleship, was sunk, along with one light aircraft carrier; one destroyer; one destroyer escort; two minesweepers; five escort ships; two motor torpedo boats; and Zuikaku, the last surviving carrier that participated in the Pearl Harbor attack. Incredibly, every pilot of Torpedo 15 was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest award for bravery after the Medal of Honor, during this tour of combat for valor in the face of the enemy by torpedoing an enemy ship under fire.

All of this took place between May 19 and November 14, 1944. No other American combat unit in any service came close to a similar score in such a short time period.

Air Group 15 participated in the two greatest naval battles in history, the First and Second battles of the Philippine Sea�also known also as the Marianas Turkey Shoot and the Battles of Leyte Gulf, which saw the end of Japanese naval power, as well as Admiral William �Bull� Halsey�s rampage across the Central Pacific that fall, which marked the high tide of the carrier war. On June 19, 1944, forever after known as the Marianas Turkey Shoot in the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, Fighting 15 shot down 68.5 attacking Japanese aircraft, a one-day record unmatched by any other American fighter squadron.

In documenting the saga of Air Group 15�s momentous six months at war, Thomas McKelvey Cleaver�s Fabled Fifteen provides an intimate and insightful view of the group�s fabled lone combat tour, including details of daily life and human interactions aboard the fleet carrier USS Essex during the busiest phase of the Pacific War.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940149394395
Publisher:
Pacifica Military History
Publication date:
03/18/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
480,388
File size:
363 KB

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Fabled Fifteen: The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thomas McKelvey Cleaver’s FABLED FIFTEEN, The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15 is a great bit of history mixing factual research and the personal touch through letters and interviews. The sagas of USS Enterprise, Air Wing 15 and its CAG, David McCampbell, have each been told before, but, until now, not together in a comprehensible and readable whole. A suggestion before reading; all but the most expert and specialized historian will be overwhelmed by the number of aircraft types. While all are included in the glossary with sparse descriptions, the reader will better comprehend the action with an illustrated guide to aircraft of the Pacific War, especially the Japanese. Odd to say, while Cleaver’s aerial combat descriptions are exciting, after several one begins to lose track of who did what. Cleaver is able to make official combat action reports understandable and vivid, but the air battle descriptions become too much of a good thing. The stories of individuals is where Cleaver shines. Top ace McCampbell, movie star Morris (Caution; he is referred to as Bert-his given name- and not Wayne-his Hollywood moniker.) and lesser known pilots and aircrew come to life. Often through not well known events: McCampbell’s abandon ship “dive”, lack of fresh supplies (I can’t imagine a more unpalatable diet than canned Spam, asparagus and beets.), a potential mutiny of air gunners and radio men. Life aboard a 1940’s carrier at war has been glamorized over the years, but Cleaver brings out the realities of monotonous days at sea, poor food, crowded living and constant heat. Admiral Halsey is deservedly not treated kindly. Explanations of his poor command decisions are cogent as well as why they were glossed over by the Navy. Cleaver makes the brilliant observation, “(Halsey’s decision) was the reason why, after the war, there was a Spruance (commander during the battles of Midway and the Philippine Sea) class of destroyers.... But there was no Halsey class. Such is the quiet way in which the U.S. Navy passes professional judgment.” The summary gives reasons enough to read Fabled Fifteen: “Air Group 15’s record has never been equaled: on its own or in conjunction with other groups, Air Group 15 sank thirty-seven Japanese ships and probably sank ten more. With other air groups, it took part in the sinking of two carriers, including the Zuikaku; a heavy cruiser; the battleship Musashi; a light cruiser; and in damaging three battleships, one carrier, five heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and nineteen destroyers. Every pilot in Tor
Anonymous More than 1 year ago