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

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

by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
5.0 2

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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