Doomed at the Start: American Pursuit Pilots in the Philippines, 1941-1942

Doomed at the Start: American Pursuit Pilots in the Philippines, 1941-1942


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During the first three days of the Japanese assault on American Pacific bases in December of 1941, the 24th Pursuit Group, the only unit of interceptor aircraft in the Philippine Islands, was almost destroyed as an effective force. Yet the group’s pilots, doomed from the start by their limited training, an inadequate air warning system, and lack of familiarity with the few flyable pursuit aircraft they had left, fought on against immensely superior number of Japanese army and navy fighters.

“. . . bold drama, with almost novel-like narration. This is good history. . . .” –Daniel R. Mortensen, Office of Air Force History

“. . . an engrossing and minutely detailed account based on a variety of US and Japanese government and military records and on personal interviews with the surviving pilots.” –Choice

“. . . an admirably detailed history . . . the work will [be of] interest to both aviation buffs and students of WWII.” –Publisher’s Weekly

“Ignoring the point of view of the top brass, Bartsch’s book becomes a triumph of human interest rather than another statistical account. . . . A winning account of a losing campaign defended by courage and honor.” –Journal of Military History

“. . . as much a compelling human drama as an objective and detailed unit history. . . . a prodigious achievement in unit history research that does overdue justice to the memory of a tragic group of airmen who did the best they could with what they had under extraordinary circumstances and against thoroughly daunting adversity.” –Military History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780890966792
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication date: 04/01/1995
Series: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series , #24
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 548,399
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

William H. Bartsch is the author of two other books published by Texas A&M University press: the award-winning December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor (2003) and Every Day a Nightmare (2010). Bartsch, a former United Nations development economist and independent consultant now exclusively researching and writing on the Pacific War, lives in Reston, Virginia.

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