Read The Kamikaze Hunters: Fighting for the Pacific, 1945 by Will Iredale Online


In May 1945, with victory in Europe established, the war was all but over. But on the other side of the world, the Allies were still engaged in a bitter struggle to control the Pacific. And it was then that the Japanese unleashed a terrible new form of warfare: the suicide pilots, or Kamikaze. Drawing on meticulous research and unique personal access to the remaining surviIn May 1945, with victory in Europe established, the war was all but over. But on the other side of the world, the Allies were still engaged in a bitter struggle to control the Pacific. And it was then that the Japanese unleashed a terrible new form of warfare: the suicide pilots, or Kamikaze. Drawing on meticulous research and unique personal access to the remaining survivors, Will Iredale follows a group of young men from the moment they joined up through their initial training to the terrifying reality of fighting against pilots who, in the cruel last summer of the war, chose death rather than risk their country's dishonourable defeat and deliberately flew their planes into Allied aircraft carriers. A story of courage, valour and dogged determination, The Kamikaze Hunters is a gripping account of how a few brave young men helped to ensure lasting peace....

Title : The Kamikaze Hunters: Fighting for the Pacific, 1945
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780230768192
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 456 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Kamikaze Hunters: Fighting for the Pacific, 1945 Reviews

  • Eric
    2019-05-19 18:05

    An example of my favorite kind military history: a book about schools, instruction; washouts, wastage, training accidents; laborious logistics, sleepless mechanics, the fuel greed of far-flung fleets; fatigue, friction, the crescendo of small stresses, psychological attrition, “twitchiness.” The years it took to train a combat pilot, and all the millions and misery it took to put up a dozen planes for three seconds of strafing. The tip of the spear is sharp but brittle.

  • Scottnshana
    2019-05-19 12:01

    I often tell my British coworkers that if Pax Americana is on the decline I hope that process is as graceful as their experience since 1945. While "The Kamikaze Hunters" is an attempt to tell the less-known story of the Fleet Air Arm's impressive record in battle later in the Second World War, the decline of Pax Britannica lurks in the background of this entire narrative. I often also tell my colleagues that culture is the story we tell our kids about ourselves, and Iredale takes time to explore the 1920s and the clubs in British society like the Air League Aviation Society, the Skybird League, and the Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers--initiatives deemed to be "'of national importance', helping to spread 'air sense', which could end up 'producing the potential airmen of the future'." While many of these young men went on to the RAF, a certain number also went off to the Royal Navy, which had gone through some interesting and groundbreaking experiences exploring the concept of the floating airfield. Iredale chronicles this effort and the lessons learned in designing aircraft uniquely suited for carrier operations. The history also takes the reader through the training pipeline, not only in England, but the follow-on flight schools in Canada and NAS Pensacola (full disclosure--I spent some time at the U.S. "Cradle of Naval Aviation" in a similar program and this book certainly brought back some memories), putting first-hand accounts into the pages to fill in the details. The Fleet Air Arm's war experiences at Taranto, Palembang, and against the Tirpitz are chronicled here (honestly, the lack of maps in this book is really it's big weakness, in my opinion). On the same day operations began to sink this particular German ship-of-the-line from off the Norwegian coast, FDR and Churchill were meeting in Quebec (famously to discuss D-Day, but also the U.S. Army Air Corps's support to the British Chindits in Burma--the Air Commando ops that launched USAF Special Operations) and decided Great Britain would "take her full and proper place in the war against Japan," not by liberating colonies like Hong Kong and Singapore, but by contributing what became the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) and its carriers to the similar and ongoing U.S. effort. The book describes the dread of Kamikaze attacks, first-hand accounts of ditching stricken airplanes into the sea (in this particular story, Prince Phillip met the survivors on the nearby rescue ship--it is this sort of detail that makes "Kamikaze Hunters" so enjoyable), and the heartbreaking losses of brave aircrews when everyone knew the Japanese were done but the missions to strafe airfields and harbors were launched anyway. As Maxwell Taylor Kennedy did in "Danger's Hour", the book also discusses Japan's reasoning behind tasking young men to become winged suicide bombers--Britain's ambassador to the U.S. told Churchill that "they were constantly losing 40 or 50 American sailors for one Japanese" in this effort, writes Iredale, and the reader can thus see the cold utilitarian logic behind it. Perhaps it's because I'm American, but I didn't know that Lend Lease ended a week after V-J Day, and that the BPF was forced to toss its U.S.-manufactured Corsairs, Avengers, and Hellcats overboard (my grandmother was in Kansas, tweaking B-17 engines on the assembly line, so I was particularly affected by this passage); I actually scrawled "Hello! Korea is coming!" in the margins after I read it, but Iredale astutely makes a similar comment further down the page. He calls it "the Forgotten Fleet" in the introduction and writes of his desire that the modern audience hear about what these naval aviators accomplished in the last half of WWII. If, as I said, culture is the stories we tell our kids about ourselves, I think this particular history is a noteworthy cultural achievement and is most welcome even in 2015.

  • Susan Paxton
    2019-05-08 17:13

    It's pretty unusual to have a new book that covers an aspect of World War II that has not literally been done to death, but Will Iredale has succeeded and done a fine job of it with The Kamikaze Hunters: Fighting for the Pacific 1945. The book is far more ambitious than the title implies; while covering the brief campaign of the British Pacific Fleet against Japan in the closing months of the war, Iredale takes a long and welcome look at what got them there, in particular the training of the Fleet Air Arm's pilots, much of which took place in Canada and the US and, for someone like me who has done a great deal of reading about Bomber Command, was very different from the RAF's training.Not only does Iredale introduce us to the airmen, he gives us the airplanes they flew. It's not well known on this side of the pond, but it was the Fleet Air Arm that took the Corsair to sea and figured out how to operate it from carriers. The FAA also operated the Hellcat and the Avenger, but pride of place here goes to the bent wing bird. Compared to the Seafire, the Corsair was a bit of a blunt instrument, but it was rugged, flew and fought beautifully, and delivered a powerful punch. The Avenger too was a vast improvement for the British over the torpedo bombers they had started the war with.The decision to send a fleet to fight alongside the US Navy in the Pacific seemed a dubious one at the time, and it looks dubious now. For all their courage, the British airmen were not entirely ready to fight the Japanese, and their smaller (yet very rugged) carriers delivered comparatively small strikes that were riskier to fly. In hindsight, it would have been a lot smarter to distribute the British carriers into American task forces. The British felt that having their own fleet would impress the Americans and improve their treatment of the UK after the war - which it did not.Iredale had the great good fortune to find several airmen still alive and well, and also did a fine job pulling up original sources such as diaries and caches of letters, as well as spending the requisite time in the archives. The book is well organized and written and a pleasure to read apart from Iredale's grating use of the term "flyboys." I know this is now considered vital since an American author wrote a successful book using "flyboys" as the title, but in fact the term was not used by anyone other than newspaper reporters during World War II. I am certain none of the airmen Iredale interviewed referred to themselves as "flyboys."I'm looking forward to whatever he writes next; he made a great choice of topic here. Recommended.

  • Cropredy
    2019-04-27 19:59

    Well, the title is a bit of an attention-getting misnomer. The book is really about the formation and actions of the British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers and FAA crew. It is told partly through the eyes of survivors or participant diaries. Kamikaze suppression takes up maybe 10% of the book and not until the last third. What was interesting to me?1. The stories of training the men to be pilots in 1942-4. The diary and interview sources made for some amusing stories. 2. The details of the Palembang air raids in January 1945. At that point, the FAA's largest operation by far yet mostly unknown compared to the more famous Taranto, Bismarck, and Channel Dash actions. 3. The details of the airfield suppression actions southwest of Okinawa and the kamikaze attacks on the Formidable. You get (once again in well-told war histories) how WW II was a war of attrition. One side wore the other down but at a high cost. It was no different for the BPF who had to repeatedly bomb and strafe the same airfields every day, taking losses on each mission. Participant survival rates were poor and the ranks were filled by a stream of replacements. How could the book have been better? The author admits that the BPF's tactics, weapons, and operations weren't up to what the US Navy could do. But the author doesn't really analyze why this was so and what, if anything, the FAA did about it. One yearned to know if the seemingly intelligent leaders evolved the FAA into a more effective force or whether it was 'once more into the breach'Read the book to learn more about this aspect of World War II if you've not been previously exposed. Iredale writes well and the book is never dry given its heavy reliance on first person accounts.

  • Miles
    2019-05-19 18:19

    All in all the book has some good bits of information pertaining to less known events of the Pacific theater. However, I was disappointed with the how the book played out compared to its title. If you're looking for a book covering Kamikaze tactics and how the allies combated this, be aware that this book is more about the British Royal Navy/FAA from its inception to the OPs that were carried out in the Pacific theater. With that said, I am glad I read Kamikaze Hunters as it opened my eyes to the sacrifices made/burden shared by the British in Pacific...and that's the entire point of a book.

  • Sindre
    2019-04-26 13:07

    Very good so far. As other have said, the title is a bit misleading, but I knew this beforehand, so I am in no way disappointed. Hugely interesting and personal

  • Brie
    2019-05-08 14:02

    I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads I gifted this book to my dad for Christmas. He is really into WW2 history.

  • Charles H Berlemann Jr
    2019-05-13 16:58

    This was a very interesting book and provided insight into how the Royal Navy filled its Fleet Air Arm for the second half of the war (1943 to 1945). From volunteers primarily from the commonwealth nations such as Australian, Canada, New Zealand, in addition to the ones from the UK itself. They trained in UK and later in Canada and the US to become Naval Aviators. Some of the stories shared about their time in flight schools in the US were interesting if only because we have men who were just leaving primary school during the Battle of Britain and used to austerity. Now living in a land where the lights were on round the clock and there was food aplenty. After the training session these men then form up in squadrons flying US lend-lease aircraft and learn to land, fight and fly their new birds like the Hellcat, Corsair, or Avenger for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm using USN tactics. The first mission is against the Triptiz which was a moderate success, but gave these men the first taste of combat. The author spends a chapter talking about the development, pushing of and the ultimate assignment of the British Pacific Fleet to support USN operations. Complete with all the politics that came with it. Whereas, we had Ike to help paper over and bridge the gaps in relationships; the Royal Navy used Admirals Bruce Fraser and Bernard Rawlings to help bridge the gap. Ultimately Nimitz, Halsey and Spruance were very appreciating of the help that the Royal Navy provided. After getting the fleet formed up in what is now Sri Lanka. These new men and ships flew the first mission against the Japanese over Palembang Indonesia. Where the author states that in the two days of raids the FAA suffered losses that would have made even the UK Bomber Command wince with pain. Something like 75% of the FAA aircraft were damaged and over 80% of the FAA crews who flew the bombers were either severely injured or killed by the Japanese defense, in contrast RAF Bomber Command had on an average a dead crew by the 4th mission which was the loss of about 12-15 men at the height of the war. Ultimately the book closes out on the RN and FAA's participation in the infamous "The Fleet that Came to Stay" portion of the battle for Okinawa and then later when tasked with Halsey's fleet in prep for the expected Operation Olympic they are dealing with now war weary crews who had spent over a year in constant combat and men not wanting to be the last dead man in what appears to be a war winding down. The insight provided about their feelings and dealing with the PTSD of the constant combat for the last 8 months of the war with no let up is interesting. As well as the heartache they dealt with while flying in the tropics on ships designed for the cold of the North Atlantic. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in the Royal Navy and its Fleet Air Arm operations during the Second World War and just to open up doors about how much the US did to support the UK in Europe was feed back during the end in the Pacific.

  • lexo philia
    2019-04-19 14:52

    This book tells the tales of some brave British flyboys, from their earliest dreams of flying, to training in the US or Canada, heading for the Pacific on an aircraft carrier, and then their various terrifyingly riveting experiences fighting the horror of Japanese kamikaze attacks. It could've done with somewhat better organization in places (which I'll blame on the editor more than the writer), and the lack of even a single map is extremely disappointing. My own illiteracy of British slang & terminology frustrated on occasion. Even still, I found The Kamikaze Hunters very enjoyable, and myself once again in awe of the courage and selflessness displayed by so many WWII fighters- this time in an arena that tends to get much less than its due credit today. Absolutely worth the read.

  • Dakota
    2019-05-08 15:10

    Slowly worked my way through this last month. Well told story, the author's journalistic background was pretty obvious but he managed to make it a very personal story, especially towards the end where it became apparent he'd travel to the Japan with one of the pilots he focused on. As history the focus was narrow--Fleet Air Arm of the British Navy pilots training for the Pacific Theater--and perhaps a bit thin on some aspects one might expect in a war history. But an enjoyable, engaging, and very human read.

  • Ian Chapman
    2019-04-27 15:11

    Fast paced, with much input from aged surviving aircrew. Excellent index.

  • Dave Hoff
    2019-04-28 20:01

    History has recorded many books about the RAF and how they saved Britain from the Nazi. More books, such as the one i just read on the Pacific part of WW2 told of the Naval and Marine aircrews and carriers. This a book about a group in the war unknown to most of us. The Fleet Air Arm. The Royal Navy's airmen. Getting into the war end of 1944 and thru to the end of the war in Aug. 1945, they did the impossible. Defending the Allied Navy ships from the Kamikaze. Stopping many in the air and shooting and bombing their airfields and Japanese Carriers. How some of the US Admirals didn't want the British involved, but Bull Halsey and Nimitz appreciated how these Royal Navy aircrews fought.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-01 16:16

    This book covers the activities of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) in the closing days of World War II and concentrates on the Fleet Air Arm. This includes the British carriers and pilots. The first half focuses on the training of the pilots and the build-up of the fleet. The second half describes the combat the BPF was involved in supporting the United States Navy in the Pacific. Since the British lost territory to the Japanese at the beginning of the war, it was felt by Churchill and other British leaders that Great Britain should participate in the Pacific war.Fighter pilot training is an intense and hazardous routine, especially for carrier warfare. The first half of the book goes over this training and shows that it is a long process involving several steps. The United States helped by performing some of the training and provided venues in the United States. Pilots finally saw action in the Norway fjords by bombing the German battleship Tirpitz.Finally, details are worked out between Great Britain and the United stated in how the BPF will participate in the Pacific. After some strafing and bombing raids on Japanese refineries in Indonesia, British carriers provided flanking protection during the preparation and invasion of Okinawa in 1945. First, they started by focusing on Japanese airfields on the American left flank. These airfields were a source of kamikaze attacks that hit both American and British ships. After Okinawa was taken, preparations were made for an invasion of the Japanese homeland where heavy casualties were expected. British efforts were then switched to the right flank of the American fleet to soften targets in Japan until the atomic bombs forced Japan to surrender.This book seems to be a good complement to the overall story of the war in the Pacific and shows how Great Britain provided support, however minor, to the American fleet. Recognition is given to the vast difference between the material and manpower of the Americans and British in the Pacific and how the Americans provided critical guidance to the British development. It is well-written, though there is some British jargon that can be a little off for an American reader. Nevertheless, it is easy to read and gives another perspective on the Pacific war efforts.

  • Tom
    2019-04-29 18:11

    Tells the story of the British Navy in WWII in the pacific, supporting the U. S. Navy in late 1944 and in 1945

  • Lori Tatar
    2019-04-23 20:03

    The Kamikaze Hunters: Fighting for the Pacific:1945 by Will Iredale is a fascinating biography of some of the British fighter pilots during World War II and shows what an important role our English allies played in securing the Pacific arena and helping the allies win the war. There is also a breathtaking array of photos toward the center of the book, and one photo in particular, that really shows what the times were like. There is a group of primarily British POWs who were being liberated from a Japanese prison camp. What is so amazing is that these men are conspicuously emaciated, but literally light up the page with their happiness at being rescued. This photo is one that truly says a thousand words.Not to detract for the review of the story, let me add that the author does a remarkable job of showing the courage and humor these soldiers used amid tremendous sacrifice. They left family, friends and other loved ones at great peril to their lives. They learned to fly, often on untested equipment, but they made more than the best of it and had fun despite the high loss of life. And that was just preparing to be deployed. Once they were called to action, the feats they accomplished are unmatched, the sacrifices and valour much greater, yet still tempered with incredible humor.I highly recommend this book to warriors, pilots, WWII buffs, historians and anyone who is interested in a good recounting of a great story. I also thank Goodreads for allowing me to preview this book, which is scheduled for release 6/15/16.

  • Rick Brindle
    2019-05-14 19:20

    This story is less about hunting Kamikazes as following the Fleet Air Arm pilots from civilian life, through their training and then on to operations, fist against the Tirpitz, and then off to the fledgling British Pacific Fleet, where part of their mission was to hunt Kamikazes.Not that I'm being critical about this, except maybe a different title would have helped.So, a very detailed story, in which the reader gets to know the veterans very well. Much like warfare itself, the participants aren't trading blows with the enemy every day. We get to follow the pilots from training, right up to their missions. There is also a lot of information about why the British Pacific Fleet came into being, a very typically cobbled together British affair that somehow actually managed to do a decent job. And while the British fleet was in no way small, this book does illustrate the immense power that America had become through the course of world war two, as well as the rather shabby British disease that we can somehow still compete as a world mega-power.A very interesting read, I would recommend.

  • Chris Shepheard
    2019-05-02 16:51

    When I bought this book I thought it with just deal with the Kamikaze suicide attacks in the latter stages of WW2 but how wrong I was.This is the story of Britain's naval flyers from the days before the war when they were very much a "second class" service with inferior equipment and lack of dedicated, experienced flyers.It leads the reader through the revitalising of the Fleet Air Arm using newly recruited personnel who were trained on both sides of the Atlantic before being sent east equipped with up to date American aircraft.There they formed the flying elements of the British Pacific Fleet, the carrier centred force that joined the Americans with their enormous carrier air groups for the last battles of the second world war ready for the invasion of mainland Japan - an invasion that was eventually not needed.Despite this, these battles were bloody and costly especially for Britain's navy flyers.This book is much more than the title suggests. It is the story of the birth of the country's modern naval aviation arm.

  • David Lowther
    2019-04-24 19:09

    The Kamikaze Hunters is a superb record of a Second World War campaign that of which few people were aware; the Fleet Air Arm lending invaluable support to the US Navy in the final months of the war against Japan.The author chronicles the lives of one particular group of (very young) flyers from recruitment through training to action in Norwegian waters and the Pacific. Half were dead by August 1945. Using diaries and personal recollection the author, Will Iredale, has charted their progress from raw recruits to hardened combat pilots. The action sequences are stunning and terrifying and brilliantly described. Tough enough bombing heavily defended oil installations in Sumatra or engaging Zeros in dogfights or trying to shoot down Japanese planes piloted by Kamikaze warriors, the FAA boys then had to land on an aircraft carrier, often in heavy seas. Real heroes.David Lowther. Author of The Blue Pencil, Liberating Belsen and Two Families at War, all published by Sacristy Press

  • jeffrey
    2019-05-05 19:06

    The first-time author does a good job covering an area of WW II not familiar to me -- the British FAA participation in the Pacific theater during the waning days of the conflict. I agree that the title is a bit of a misnomer, as the Kamikaze is a rather minor, albeit significant portion of the book. The thread of the book follows the lives of some FAA pilots from boyhood, through the war, and beyond. Well-paced, wide-ranging, and interestingly written.

  • Steve Switzer
    2019-05-06 20:06

    Superb well written account of the 'forgotten fleet 'of ww2and most of all its fleet air arm pilotsFew and facing horrific japanese defences and the nightmare of the kamikaze they endured higher losses than most air forces in a largely unknown andunrecognised campaignA first class read with lots of personal accounts including some japaneseA tribute to these brave men

  • Ken
    2019-04-25 20:19

    You don't read much about the English Royal Navy in the Pacific after the beginning of the war. e This book helps correct that by covering the Its efforts after the fall of Germany and what it did in the Pacific. The aircraft form their carriers helped in the final defeat of Japan by attacking airfields to help keep the Kamakazies in check.

  • Dave
    2019-04-19 13:12

    Really want to love this type of book. Brave brave guys who really went to the edge. But its difficult to write an edgy, thrilling book about dry, dusty dates, places, times and people. I think the author has done reasonably well to give a historical account about the British side of this theater of war

  • Ray
    2019-05-03 14:01

    Title is a little misleading, in that the kamikaze element is but a small element in the book. That doesn't necessarily detract from the rest of the book, which is about British pilots fighting the Japanese in the Pacific during WW II, a story not often heard.

  • Julie Witte
    2019-05-07 12:04

    I recieved this book through GoodReds First Reads. I struggled a bit to get through this, as it is a bit dry. It is a concise and well researched book. I enjoyed the photographs. I would recommend this as astute reading for anyone interested in the Kamakazi fighting in the Pacific theater.

  • Norman Peires
    2019-04-25 18:09

    A really good read crafted from meticulous research. Modern history at its best.

  • Tetsuya
    2019-04-22 15:00

    Its racist against japanese

  • Simon
    2019-05-16 13:54

    A very readable history of the British Pacific Fleet in the closing months of WW2