‘Into The Dragon’s Jaws – the US 5th Air Force at Rabaul, October-November 1943’
From 12 October 1943 to 11 November, the US 5th Air Force launched daylight attacks on ships and airfields at Rabaul. B-24s at high level, B-25s at low level and P-38 escorts attacked the strongest Japanese base in the region, defended by 90,000 Japanese, with 360 anti-aircraft guns, ships’ guns, and fighters based at four airfields.
The book describes the attacks using official records, personal accounts, letters and diaries and captured Japanese documents that describe the raids from the viewpoint of the defenders, as well as the missionary prisoners at Rabaul.
The official reports are included, from public relations communiques to the Top Secret reports of decoded Japanese radio messages, to present the range of information available to staffs, from highest to squadron level. Rather than being a window into the innermost Japanese plans, the decoded messages provided little information of real use to the US planners, and photo reconnaissance was their best source. But the weather blocked reconnaissance and attacks for most of the 30-day period, allowing the Japanese to recover and repair damage and alter their defences to cope with the attacks.
The high point of the book is the daring attack on 2 November, when B-25s attacked ships at low level with P-38 escort, not knowing that hundreds of Zero fighters had just arrived and cruisers and destroyers had just entered harbour.
Rabaul was heavily defended and is surrounded by active volcanos, so making the attacks a flight into the jaws of the Japanese dragon.
This book will be on disk, priced at $22.00 within Australia and as an e-Book at Amazon-Kindle, priced at US$7.99.
To be available in November 2012.