Dogfight over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men to Die in World War II

Dogfight over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men to Die in World War II

by John Wukovits


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From an expert in the Pacific theater of World War II comes the tragic story of the pilots who fought the last fight of the war during the first hour of peace

When Billy Hobbs and his fellow Hellcat aviators from Air Group 88 lifted off from the venerable Navy carrier USS Yorktown early on the morning of August 15, 1945, they had no idea they were about to carry out the final air mission of World War II. Two hours later, Yorktown received word from Admiral Nimitz that the war had ended and that all offensive operations should cease. As they were turning back, twenty Japanese planes suddenly dove from the sky above them and began a ferocious attack. Four American pilots never returned—men who had lifted off from the carrier in wartime but were shot down during peacetime.

Drawing on participant letters, diaries, and interviews, newspaper and radio accounts, and previously untapped archival records, historian and prolific author of acclaimed Pacific theater books, including Tin Can Titans and Hell from the Heavens, John Wukovits tells the story of Air Group 88's pilots and crew through their eyes. Dogfight over Tokyo is written in the same riveting, edge-of-your-seat style that has made Wukovits's previous books so successful. This is a stirring, one-of-a-kind tale of naval encounters and the last dogfight of the war—a story that is both inspirational and tragic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306922053
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 08/27/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 246,627
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

John Wukovits is a military expert specializing in the Pacific theater of World War II. He is the author of many books, including Tin Can Titans,Hell from the Heavens, For Crew and Country, One Square Mile of Hell, and Pacific Alamo. He has also written numerous articles for such publications as WWII History, Naval History, and World War II. He lives in Michigan.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chronology xiii

Part I To the War

Chapter 1 "And Then Came the War": Training for Combat, 1943-1944 3

Chapter 2 "Kids Jerked Right Out of High School": Air Group 88 Takes Form, 1944 23

Chapter 3 "Moved, Always West, Toward the Combat Zone": To the Pacific, February-June 1945 45

Chapter 4 "An Aircraft Carrier Is a Noble Thing": Air Group 88 Joins the Yorktown, June-July 1945 63

Part II The July 1945 Battles

Chapter 5 "Today Our Group 88 Starts Raising Hell with the Japs": Preparation for Battle, July 10, 1945 89

Chapter 6 "Carrier Pilots Were the Best in the World": The First Attack, July 10, 1945 109

Chapter 7 "Somebody Said We Are to Hit Hokkaido": North to Hokkaido, July 14-15, 1945 127

Chapter 8 "Stay Away from Kure": Finishing the Imperial Japanese Fleet, July 18-30, 1945 145

Part III To War's End

Chapter 9 "The Navy Would Be in to Get You": The July 1945 Air Sea Rescues 171

Chapter 10 "Fighting a War That Had Already Been Won": August 1-14, 1945 193

Chapter 11 "Failed to Return with This Flight; Shot Down Over Target": August 15, 1945 211

Chapter 12 "Two Only of the Six Returned": The Aftermath 231

Notes 251

Bibliography 275

Index 309

Map: Air Group 88 Off Japan 107

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