Clash of The Carriers: The True Story of the Marianas Turkey Shoot of World War II

ISBN: 0451219562
ISBN 13: 9780451219565
By: Barrett Tillman Stephen Coonts

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Aviation Currently Reading History Military Naval History To Read Us History World War 2 World War Ii Wwii

About this book

In June, 1944, American and Japanese carrier fleets made their way through the Philippine Sea, both hoping to take control of the vital Marianas Islands. When they met, they embarked upon a naval engagement that escalated into the most spectacular aircraft carrier battle in history. Here is the true account of the battle, told from both sides - by those who were there. Drawing upon numerous interviews as well as official sources, Clash of the Carriers is an unforgettable testimonial to the bravery of those who fought and those who died in a battle that will never be forgotten.

Reader's Thoughts


This book helped me understand the fifth and final carrier vs. carrier battles of WWII. While technically and historically accurate, two things ruined this book for me. I read "First Team" by John Lundstrom first, and Mr. Lundstrom's depth and scope of research is incomparable to any other historical monograph I have encountered. In comparison, Mr. Tillman's lack of hard details and more decorative language rubbed me the wrong way. Still, a good read.

Carl Fasbinder

Know a few of the aviators discussed and they have all read it and recommend it,

John E

A really fun history of the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June of 1944. I really enjoyed the author's style; a great combination of personal stories and technical military analysis.


As Good as it gets in Narrative histories covering specific battles. Contains those little extra details that military history buffs eat up. Like:Those coughing gouts of smoke when A propeller starts? A starter cartridge that fires to start the motor rotating.or the delicate manuevers required when rescuing a downed pilot by submarine. (it's not as easy as you might think.)If I had any quibbles it would be that Tillman occasionally uses military slang that he does not explain. Just about perfect.


Detailed description of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, June 1944. Also called the Marianas Turkey Shoot, it remains the largest carrier battle of all time, and resulted in the virtual elimination of Japanese naval aviation.Due to winds and other factors, US carriers were forced to launch their attacks against the Japanese fleet very late in the day, with the result that the US aircraft had to be recovered well after dark. Most of these pilots were not trained in nighttime landings. Even finding the carriers would be a challenge. Tillman's description of the efforts to recover the returning aircraft is excellent. Adm Clake and, later, Marc Mitchner, decided to illuminate ships in the fleet with deck lights, searchlights, star shells, etc. Mitchener also launched specially trained night fighters, equipped with radar, to intercept returning flights far off course and guide them back to the task force. Nearly two thirds of the returning aircrew were recovered, and over half the remainder were rescued in the water the next day.From a purely tactical position, risking the entire task force to recover a few hundred airman. But this effort was never forgotten by all naval aviators.

João Martins

This book is part story-telling, part history book. The combination of the two sometimes works out, but sometimes doesn't. In particular, I disliked the beginning. It offers important and interesting technical insights, but it all felt very unorganised and disconnected.The absence of factual evidence also appears to be somewhat hidden throughout the narrative. For instance, the author repeatedly mentions how many planes were claimed by the USN during each skirmish, but fails to mention how many were actually lost. He does make up for it in latter chapters, where this information finally shows up. It bugged me that I had to read through to the end to get it though. I was worried it would not appear at all.All in all, it was a pretty decent read. Because of the story-telling, the book contains several descriptions of the activities involved in operating a carrier. If you're into that stuff, you'll find plenty of "gold nuggets" in this book :) It is usual for other authors to neglect or distill this information and keep it at a higher level, simply mentioning that it took X time to land the planes, and not what is involved in doing so (LSOs, barriers, arresting hooks & wires, etc).

Russ Bingaman

Mr. Tillman's book on the Clash of the Carriers gives a great detail account of the Marianas Turkey Shoot. It was obvious that the author spent an enormous amount of time in the research that was required to cover this massive air and sea battle that marked the end of Imperial Japan's naval aviator forces. Highly recommend.

Steven Peterson

Ever hear of the "Marianas Turkey Shoot"? This book, in simple terms, describes this great sea battle. This is one of the largest sea battles in history, taking into account the number of ships involved.The American fleet featured 15 carriers and the Japanese put 9 flat tops into the fray. But it was not an even struggle. Japanese planes were no longer as competitive as earlier in the war and the pilots were much rawer than those who fought at Pearl Harbor and at Midway. Many Japanese carriers and the bulk of the force of planes was destroyed at this battle, effectively rendering the Japanese naval forces much weakened.The book nice a nice job telling the story, describing fleet tactics, describing key figures in both navies, and laying out the strategic picture of which this battle was a part.

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