Darren Baker takes a look at a Pen and Sword release as part of their Images of War series titled 'US Naval Aviation 1898 - 1945 The Pioneering Years to the Second World War'.


The following introduction is taken from the Pen and Sword website:

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 sank or crippled almost all of the battleships belonging to the US Navy's Pacific Fleet, but the fleet's aircraft carriers survived to demonstrate that naval aviation was now the dominant factor in the struggle at sea, turning the tide of the Pacific War. That the US Navy had the necessary ships, aircraft and crews was the result of pioneering, far-sighted decisions made in the pre-war years. Before the First World War the navy had recognised the potential of aircraft at sea, and it went on to develop the techniques and equipment that contributed so much to the defeat of the Japanese. This is the fascinating story Leo Marriott tells in this photographic history.

In a selection of over 200 rare photographs he traces the growth of US naval aviation from the flimsy seaplanes of the first years of the twentieth century to the mighty armadas that challenged those of the Japanese and, after the carrier battles at Coral Sea and Midway, led the advance across the Pacific. Key aspects of the history are the navy’s first aircraft carriers of the 1920s and the tremendous progress made the decades between the wars in tactics and strategy as well as in the design of ships and aircraft.


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Images of War series, and covering  US Naval aviation 1898-1945, is authored by Leo Marriott. This is a soft backed book, with a card cover protecting 173pages of a semi matt paper. The contents are laid out as follows:

Glossary and Abbreviations


Chapter 1     Pioneers of Naval Aviation

Chapter 2     TheNavy’s First Aircraft Carriers

Chapter 3      Coming of Age

Chapter 4      Airships and Flying Boats

Chapter 5      Going to War

Chapter 6      Atlantic and Europe

Chapter 7      Hard Times

Chapter 8      Destination Japan

Photo Credits


The written content in this release, provided by Leo Marriott is restricted to the start of each chapter. The text is well written, and easily understood. It only covers one or two pages per chapter, and so its purpose is not to supply you with the nuts and bolts of US Naval aviation from inception to the end of World War II. What it does provide is a insight into what the chapter you are about to look overcovers, and to provide an overview for each chapter.

As this book is part of the Images of War series, I am sure you will not be surprised that most of its content are period photographs, and flicking from front to back does give you a very good glimpse at US naval air power. From the early aircraft, that look as if they should be flown on the end of a piece of string. Through the more conventional aircraft seen between the wars to some of the best aircraft from World War II, such as the Corsair, and Hellcat. Every facet of US naval aviation is very well covered, in photographic form, and these photographs are made all the more valuable due to the excellent captions provided with them. Each and every photograph gets it’s own written caption, which adds a great deal of context to what you are looking at.


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Images of War series, covers a period of US naval aviation prior to the start of World War II, of which I knew little about, and proceeds through World War II and so covering a period I am much more familiar with. The contents are well presented, in a fairly chronological order, as well as the developments of aviation in the US Navy.  



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