Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks   Donate Now  
Search Chronology Locations Aircraft Vessels Missing In Action (MIA)
Pacific World War II Book Review  
Order Book
by Steve Birdsall
Doubleday  1977
Hardcover
300 pages
Index, photos, ace list
ISBN: 0385032188

Language: English

In Association with Amazon.com
Order this book online
via amazon.com

Return to
Book Reviews
Main Menu

Flying Buccaneers
The Illustrated Story of Kenney's Fifth Air Force

The book begins with a forward by General George C. Kenney, the commander of the 5th Air Force from 1942 - 1945.

For anyone interested in the air war of the South Pacific, this book is the quintessential primer and 'required reading'. Using photographs on nearly every page, the book is also a visual story of the men and aircraft of this Air Force.

"Flying Buccaneers" begins with the first meeting of General MacArthur and General Kenney in Brisbane. Both men were under tremendous stress, MacArthur had just escaped the Philippines, and needed results. Kenney was inheriting a disorganized air force made up of survivors of the Philippines and Java.

Although Kenney's 5th Air Force was much smaller than other American Air Forces, it pioneered the use of new weapons and tactics. Skip bombing, parafrag bombs and B-25s converted to strafers, to name a few. Administratively, he choose "operators" to get the job done. Quickly, the 5th would become one of the most innovative and pioneering fighting air forces in the world.

Quickly, the 5th changed the war in New Guinea and the role of air combat forever. In one of its first achievements, Kenney convinced MacArthur to air lift troops aboard C-47 Dakotas, a first in American military history. This contributed to the first Army victory at Buna in January 1943. Soon afterwards, American aircraft halted a Japanese convoy bound for Lae during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. These victories proved that Kenney's Air Force could not only support the Army, but also turn the tide of war.

The book traces all the campaigns and targets of the 5th: neutralization of Rabaul, capture of Nadzab, Lae, Hollandia and every stop on the 'island hopping' across New Guinea to the Philippines, ending at Okinawa and the surrender of Japan.

During 1942-1945 5th Air Force fighter pilots were in the right place at the right time to rack up tremendous score boards America's highest scoring aces: including Richard Bong and Thomas McGuire. Their exploits are recounted in the text and the long list of 5th aces are listed in an appendix.

For anyone interested in the Pacific War, Steve Birdsall's "Flying Buccaneers" is required reading. It was and still is the best single read on this most exciting Air Force.

Interview with author Steve Birdsall

Review by  Justin Taylan

Return to Book Reviews | Add a review or submit for review

Last Updated
May 3, 2016


 
    All rights reserved.  
  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram
 
Forum Updates People Museums Reviews Submit Info How You Can Help