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The Attack on Taranto

Blueprint for Pearl Harbor

By Lowry, Thomas P.
2000, Stackpole Books
ISBN 0811726614

Descripton: On November 11, 1940, 21 slow, canvas-covered British warplanes, launched from the carrier Illustrious, attacked the harbor at the Italian port of Taranto and put most of the Italian navy out of commission. This all-but-forgotten operation, the authors argue, deserves historical recognition as an inspirational precedent for the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor 13 months later. Taranto demonstrated that battleships in a shallow, heavily defended harbor could be sunk by a handful of torpedo-bombers. That lesson Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Japanese fleet, learned well-while the American military virtually ignored it. The book includes an instructive comparison of the ways Japanese and Americans reacted to Taranto and a fine summary of the origin and development of carrier doctrine. The account of the 1940 raid itself is detailed and suspenseful. Lowry is the author of The Story Soldiers Wouldn't Tell: Sex in the Civil War; Wellham, who flew in the Taranto raid, is the author of With Naval Wings: The Autobiography of a Fleet Air Pilot in World War II. Illustrations.

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