Leyte Gulf 1944
German and Italian Aircraft Carriers of World War II
The Polish Navy 1918-45
Being there . . . . to hover above Leyte Gulf and watch the largest naval clash in world history
resulting in the vanquishing of a much-reduced Imperial Japanese Navy severely outnumbered
and fatally lacking in air power; then popping over to Poland to appreciate her small but
capable navy led by destroyers and submarines fending off the mighty fleets of the Soviet
Union and the Third Reich; and finally winding up over the seaports of Italy and Germany to
applaud their failures in building and operating aircraft carriers.
Part Two of Two
AGAIN, IT’S OPSREY PUBLISHING WE THANK FOR THE SPECTACULAR BIRD’S-EYE VIEWS. . .
Other than the Naval Institute Press, no publisher has provided WW II buffs, armchair
historians, and serious aficionados with such colorful help and resources to visualize from the
bird’s-eye perspectives the full details of attacks, battles, defeats, and victories. Employing a
myriad of artistic and photographic tools we are present, observing, evaluating, then smiling, all
because of the new Osprey “visual literature” approach, hitherto unknown in reading history.
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“LEYTE GULF 1944 (Volume 2) – – Surigao Strait and Cape Engano”, by Mark Stille, illustrated by
Jim Laurier. Opsrey Publishing, Campaign 378: 2022, 96 pages, sc; $24. See:
“GERMAN AND ITALIAN AIRCRAFT CARRIERS OF WORLD WAR II”, bY Douglas C. Doldy & Ryan K.
Noppen, Illustrated by Paul Wright. Osprey Publishing, New Vanguard 305: 2022, 48 pages, sc;
$19. See: www.ospreypublishing.com
“THE POLISH NAVY 1918-45 – – From the Polish-Soviet War to World War II”, by Przemyslaw
Budzbon, Illustrated by Paul Wight. Osprey Publishing, New Vanguard 307: 2022, 48 pages, sc;
$19. See: www.ospreypublishing.com
Around noontime on October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur kept the pledge he made
to the people of the Philippines more than two years before. “I shall return”, he announced to
36 million Filipinos when ordered by President Roosevelt to flee with his family to Australia.
Three days later, on October 23, the most decisive naval battle of the entire Pacific War began
between the world’s greatest navies across an area almost the size of France. In short, Japanese
naval power was smashed and sunk for good.
“LEYTE GULF 1944 (Volume 2) – – Surigao Strait and Cape Engano” complements the first
volume’s coverage of the IJN’s First Diversion Attack Force at the Battles of the Sibuyan Sea and
off Samoa. This brilliantly illustrated second volume focuses on the forces supporting the main
Japanese thrust. The size and complexity of the battle is unmatched. We deployed two entire
fleets, the Third and Seventh with a total of over 220 principal combatants (destroyer size and
larger). Among these were 34 aircraft carriers of all types, 12 battleships, and an array of
cruisers and destroyers. This imposing collection of warships was sent to Leyte to escort an
invasion force of 420 amphibious ships carrying 132,400 men.
Enjoy for yourself, reader, what happened in the tense hours and days that followed. Be
prepared for the riveting narrative skill of Mark Stille and the wonderful illustrations of Jim
Laurier. You will be mesmerized to the battle’s final minutes when the last battleship duel in
history culminates in a colossal U.S. victory.
As for “The Polish Navy 1918-1945 – – From the Polish-Soviet War to World War II”, author
Przemyslaw Budzbon explains how Poland had to rapidly develop new naval forces to fight off
the Soviet Union and later Germany. In 1939, the new Polish naval forces were no match
against Hitler’s navy, the Kriegsmarine. Only three destroyers managed to get away to Britain,
followed by two submarines, while the rest of the fleet was sunk or captured.
In this trim, superbly filled illustrated book we are privy to the design, development, and
operational histories of Poland’s surviving warships. A must-read chapter deals with how the
tiny Polish destroyer, “Piorun” took on the fleeing mammoth, “Bismarck”, in a lone gun duel. In
addition, author Budzbon presents us with an excellent treatment of how Poles contributed to
the Allied effort in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Arctic Convoys, and at the Normandy landings.
“German and Italian Aircraft Carriers of World War II”, by Douglas C. Dildy and Ryan K. Noppen,
illustrations by Paul Wright explain the role of naval aviation in the two powers’ rearmament
programs, and how unseen wartime events proved challenging in building and operating
aircraft carriers. Packed with new artwork and archival photos, the authors and illustrator detail
the history of the “Graf Zeppelin”, and the Italian attempts to convert the liners, “Roma” and
Augustus”, into swift carriers, but the attempts failed miserably, primarily because of relentless
RAF bombings, all to Allied delight.