How Carriers Fought

Carrier Operations in WWII

Lars Celander

A detailed examination of carriers and carrier operations in WWII, looking at the tools behind the major carrier battles and their evolution throughout the war.
Date Published :
June 2020
Publisher :
Illustration :
21 b/w photos, 7 b/w illustrations, and 5 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612006215
Pages : 296
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781612008530
Pages : 296
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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In November 1921 the first purpose-built aircraft carrier was launched by the Japanese, followed a year later by the launch of the British Hermes. The conversion of battlecruisers into aircraft carriers after World War I required the consideration of issues including handling aircraft on the flight deck and the techniques of attacking enemy ships, and the evolution of carrier operations was ongoing when World War II broke out. With a focus on the conflict in the Pacific between the U.S. Navy and the imperial Japanese fleet, this title examines how aircraft carriers fought during World War II by first considering all the tools and building blocks of carrier operations, and then discussing the various battles that involved aircraft carriers to explore how carrier operations evolved during war.

Every aspect of carrier operations is covered; from the technology used on the carriers and in aircraft including for navigation and communication, to what life was really like in the cockpit for the pilots. A world of tactical dehydration, amphetamine pills, and illegal smoking is explored, as well as the measures pilots implemented to reduce their risk of death in the event of being hit.

The major carrier battles of the war are considered, from Coral Sea to Leyte Gulf, with a focus on how the tools of carrier operations were employed. At the battle of Midway the debate of concentration vs. dispersion became relevant, as the Japanese decided to divide their forces while the Americans concentrated theirs. How Carriers Fought questions these tactics, exploring which worked best in theory and in practice.
The book concludes with a discussion of how carrier operations changed during the course of the war, as better technology and a better understanding of this new type of warfare allowed for quick advances in how operations were carried out.

About The Author

Lars Celander has had a lifelong interest in naval and military history. With a MSc in Physics, he did his military service as a systems engineer, gaining operational experience of various radars, missiles, guns amongst other things and has worked for several years as a design engineer on radar and radio communication systems. He is trained as a private pilot and is an avid yacht racer. He has written a number of titles on various technical topics.


" engaging and informative work that helps deliver clarity to a topic that is still far more commonly asserted and assumed than it is understood."

- Vulcan: The International Journal of the Social History of Military Technology

"[I] never stopped being interested in what the author had to say."

- Army Rumour Service

"[Celander's] meticulous accounting illuminates the very great risks that naval aviators took and the extreme losses they endured, particularly American pilots during the first two years of the war."

- Naval War College Review

"...a great introduction to carrier operations during World War II, and should be read by all who want to understand the potential limits of carrier aviation."

- PowerShips

"...this book goes well beyond the hobby-horse genre to make a substantial contribution to the literature."

- The Nautilus: A Maritime Journal of Literature, History, and Culture

"Celander does a good job of examining the various aspects, technology, and training that went into the carrier forces of the major powers during the war..."

- The Northern Mariner

"It was interesting to read how logistic support to naval fleets and the ability to replace planes, ships, and manning affected operations and final outcomes."

- Air Power History

"This book is thoroughly recommended. It inspired all kinds of ideas and reflections whilst also being worthwhile simply as a reminder of the importance of tactical and technical detail for a fully rounded appreciation of why the Pacific War turned out the way it did. […] Whether you are primarily a war-gaming enthusiast or a historian of operations and strategy, there is much here for you."

- Naval Review

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