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American Aces Against the Kamikaze

American Aces Against the Kamikaze Book Review

By Rachel E. Veres

Date of Review December 2012 Title American Aces Against the Kamikaze
Author Edward M. Young Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2012 ISBN 9781849087452
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95


Osprey author Edward M. Young recounts daring WWII air battles between American pilots and Japan's final, desperate "Special Attack" suicide units.  The Kamikaze ("Divine Wind") option emerged after conventional defensive methods failed, and American forces retook the Philippines in late 1944.

Early January 1945 proved action-packed.  During Combat Air Patrols (CAPs), for instance, Wildcat pilots encountered dozens of Ki-61 "Tonys" and A6M Zero "Zekes".  Ens. Robert Pfeifer particularly recalls downing a "Zeke" at close range: "I had closed to point blank range – approximately 30 ft – when firing at the last "Zeke", and after retiring to my carrier, I found my windshield and engine covered with human flesh, hair and blood stains."

Color profiles by Mark Styling vividly season this study.  And evocative archival photos enhance Young's exciting account.  For example, a Hellcat or Corsair gun camera sequence captures a Japanese fighter's final moments – as .50-cal bursts turn the Kamikaze into a ball of flame!

Highly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!