Torpedo Squadron Four - A Cockpit View of World War II

Torpedo Squadron Four - A Cockpit View of World War II

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by Gerald W. Thomas
     
 

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Thomas, in the only combat account of World War II Torpedo Bomber pilot published, relates his 25 months of service with Torpedo Squadron 4 (VT-4) on the USS RANGER, USS BUNKER HILL, and USS ESSEX. Thomas served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.

While on the RANGER, he participated in OPERATION LEADER, the most significant attack on Northern Europe

Overview

Thomas, in the only combat account of World War II Torpedo Bomber pilot published, relates his 25 months of service with Torpedo Squadron 4 (VT-4) on the USS RANGER, USS BUNKER HILL, and USS ESSEX. Thomas served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.

While on the RANGER, he participated in OPERATION LEADER, the most significant attack on Northern Europe by a US carrier during the war. During LEADER, while attacking a freight barge carrying 40 tons of ammunition, Thomas’ plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Surprisingly, in spite of the considerable engine damage, the plane made it back to the RANGER, where Thomas crash-landed. That landing was his 13th official carrier landing.

In the Pacific, Thomas participated in the numerous actions against Japanese targets in the Philippines, including strikes on Ormoc Bay, Cavite, Manilla, Santa Cruz, San Fernando, Lingayen, Mindoro, Clark Field and Aparri.

Following these actions, Thomas’ squadron made strikes on Formosa, French Indo-China, Saigon, Pescadores, Hainan, Amami O Shima, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Japan. The attack on Japan was the first attack on Japan from an aircraft carrier since the “Doolittle Raid.”

While on the ESSEX, just after Thomas had returned from a strike on Santa Cruz, the ship was hit by a Kamikaze piloted by Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Yoshino Special Attack Corps. Yamaguchi was flying a Yokosuba D4Y3 dive bomber. The Kamikaze attack killed 16 crewman and wounded 44.

Returning from a strike on Hainan, off the Chinese coast, Thomas’ plane ran out of fuel. After a harrowing water landing, Thomas and squadron photographer Montague succeeded in inflating and launching one rubber boat and his crewman Gress another. After a long day in pre-Typhoon weather with 40 foot swells, the three were rescued by the USS SULLIVANS.

In recounting the events in this book, Thomas draws upon his daily journal, his letters home, and extensive interviews and research conducted over 40 years with fellow pilots and crewman. The book cites 20 interviews and 5 combat journals, and contains 209 photos documenting the ships, planes, men, and combat actions of Torpedo Squadron 4. Many of the photographs were collected by Thomas during the war and include gun photo shots, recon photos, and, remarkably, a picture of the tail of Thomas’ Torpedo plane as it sinks in the China Sea following his water crash landing.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012975683
Publisher:
Doc45 Publications
Publication date:
06/10/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
292
Sales rank:
405,118
File size:
14 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Gerald W. Thomas was born at home in Small, Idaho, in 1919. He grew up on a ranch during the Great Depression. His rural school went only to the 10th grade, so his Mother took his brother and him to California to finish High School and attend Junior College. He graduated from the University of Idaho just in time to volunteer for Navy service following Pearl Harbor. After training, he was assigned as a pilot to Torpedo Squadron VT-4.

Following World War II, he earned a Ph.D in Range Management, and after stints as professor at Texas A&M University and Dean of Agriculture at Texas Tech University, he became president of New Mexico State University. He retired after serving as president for 14 years.

Thomas was awarded 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 Air Medals, and 2 Presidential Citations for his combat actions in WWII. He retired from the Navy Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

He is the author of numerous books, including "A Winding Road To The Land Of Enchantment" and "The Academic Ecosystem."

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Torpedo Squadron Four - A Cockpit View of World War II 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because of a very favorable review in the Fall 2011 issue of Naval Aviation. The reviewer said, "This book contains more first-person accounts than I have seen in several years. The stories are done in a factual, even-handed style that enhances the overall narrative. As they make the trip up to the doorstep of Japan, bringing the war to the enemy, we can feel the emotion and perhaps the intense feeling of satisfaction, tempered by the daily losses that characterized this final stage of the war in the Pacific." I agree completely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall the author does an excellent job of relating the experiences of both fighter and dive bomber-torpedo pilots. Only criticisim is the opening chapters regarding bombing attak in Norway precedes his training and childhood. Would cause less confusion. He also tends to repeat incidents and events. Very descriptive representation of actual combat conditions, flights, and experiences. A factual reporting of combat missions and naval engagements. I don't know what a the terms "fox tare baker", "sugar baker", "fox tare charlie", etc. mean. Would help the reader to have the regular names of vessel types instead of navy lingo. He obviously meant for the book to be read by naval personnel, disregarding the average reader. Summay this is one of the better books regarding naval air combat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago