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Guadalcanal 1942–43: Japan's bid to knock out Henderson Field and the Cactus Air Force (Air Campaign) (Paperback)

Guadalcanal 1942–43: Japan's bid to knock out Henderson Field and the Cactus Air Force (Air Campaign) By Mark Stille, Jim Laurier (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mark Stille, Jim Laurier (Illustrator)
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This new title tells the story of Japan's long-range air campaign to destroy the “Cactus Air Force” on Guadalcanal, why Henderson Field was so vital to both sides, and how the Allies defeated the previously all-conquering Japanese.

The campaign for Guadalcanal, which stretched from August 1942 until February 1943, centered on Henderson Field. The airfield was captured by the US on 8 August and placed into operation by 20 August. As long as the airfield was kept operational and stocked with sufficient striking power, the Japanese could not run convoys with heavy equipment and large amounts of supplies to the island. Instead, they were forced to rely on night runs by destroyers which could not carry enough men or supplies to shift the balance decisively against the American garrison on the island.

The American air contingent on the island, named the “Cactus Air Force”, comprised Marine, Navy and Army Air Force units. It had the challenging mission of defending the airfield against constant Japanese attacks, and more importantly, of striking major Japanese attempts to reinforce the island. The mission of neutralizing Henderson Field fell primarily to the Imperial Navy's Air Force flying out of airfields in the Rabaul area. The units charged with this mission were among the most accomplished in the entire Imperial Navy with a high proportion of very experienced pilots and a superb air superiority fighter (the famous “Zero”). However, the distance from Rabaul to Guadalcanal handicapped Japanese operations and their primary bomber was terribly vulnerable to interception.

This book traces the air campaign from both sides and explores the factors behind the American victory and the Japanese defeat. The text is supported by full-color illustrations and contemporary photography.

About the Author

Mark Stille (Commander, United States Navy, retired) received his BA in History from the University of Maryland and also holds an MA from the Naval War College. He recently concluded a nearly 40-year career in the intelligence community including tours on the faculty of the Naval War College, on the Joint Staff and on US Navy ships. He is the author of numerous Osprey titles focusing on naval history in the Pacific.

Jim Laurier is a native of New England and lives in New Hampshire. He attended Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, from 1974–78, and since graduating with Honours, he has been working professionally in the field of Fine Art and Illustration. He has been commissioned to paint for the US Air Force and has aviation paintings on permanent display at the Pentagon.

Praise For…

"Whether this is one's first exposure to the Cactus Air Force, or another visit to the remarkable history of the Guadalcanal campaign, this book provides a wealth of information. It is very interesting the data and commentary." - Aeroscale Kitmaker
Product Details
ISBN: 9781472835512
ISBN-10: 1472835514
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publication Date: November 26th, 2019
Pages: 96
Series: Air Campaign