By Christopher Miskimon

In the chaotic period immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese military launched numerous offensives in support of its goals to expand Japan’s territorial holdings in Asia and the Pacific. What is less known are the carrier raids carried out by the United States Navy from January through March 1942. The Americans sought to keep the Japanese off balance while the U.S. recovered from the blows it received in Hawaii, Wake Island, the Philippines and elsewhere. Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, Wake Island, Rabaul, Marcus Island, Lae, and Salamanca all suffered quick hit-and-run attacks, proving America was in the fight and determined to carry forward. 

These early-war carrier raids are usually given brief coverage if they are mentioned at all. This interesting new book instead focuses on them, bringing to light the planning and execution of these risky missions. These raids helped American aircrews gain experience and set the stage for future battles such as Coral Sea and Midway; this book provides a detailed look at them.

Early Pacific Raids 1942: The American Carriers Strike Back (Brian Lane Herder, Osprey Books, Oxford, UK, 2023, 96 pp., maps, photographs, bibliography, index, $25, softcover)