Part seven of a ten part series- 5th Fighter Command

Being there . . . . day by day in the cockpit of any one of six aircraft types flown by the legendary aces of the 5th Fighter Command strafing and bombing the major Pacific islands, every gritty sand-grained of them!


Part seven of a 10 series
honoring America’s top military publishers
Celebrating, and with special kudos, to the
Schiffer Publishing Company for the
vision and resoluteness to print a three-volume
set, a half million words in over 1,300 pages
illustrated with some 9,000 private and personal photograms
Schiffer Publishing, LTD; [email protected]; (610) 593-1777

Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi

“You buy ‘em,
we’ll fly ‘em!”

A 1942 WW II poster worth remembering . . . .

“THE 5TH FIGHTER COMMAND IN WORLD WAR II, Volume1: Pearl Harbor to the Reduction of Rabaul”, by William Wolf. Schiffer Military History: 448 pages, HC; $69.99

Since the end of World War II, the major role played by the 5th Fighter Command in winning the war in the Pacific has been almost totally neglected author. Author William Wolf places the air campaigns into strategic and tactical context, then cogently breaks down every daily air battle into fighter groups and squadrons using unit Narrative Combat Reports. Daily battles are then described by flights, elements, and in dividual pilots using over 19,000 newly released documents. Volume 1 describes the 5FC precursors in the Philippines, Java and Australia and continues through Papua, and New Guinea, ending with the elimination of Rabaul in November of 1943.

Volume 2: The end of New Guinea, the Philippines to V-J DAY: pages 449 to 905; $69.99.

In this second of a three-volume set, author William Wolf continues his definitive history of the 5th Fighter Command combining grand world strategy and Pacific strategy with subsequent land and air campaigns. Volume 2 describes the 5FC as it continues the offensive after the reduction of Rabaul in November 1943, and then the decimation of Japanese air power over western New Guinea and on its approach to the Philippines. The final destruction of Japanese air and ground forces during the Philippines’ Campaigns until V-J Day concludes the author’s truly amazing chronicle of the 5th Fighter Command making this history a must for every World War II aviation enthusiast.

Volume 3: 5th FC vs Japan: Aces, Units, Aircraft and Tactics: pages 906 to 1,304; $69.99.

Following his first two giant volumes describing the day-by day history of the 5th Fighter Command and associated tactical, strategic, and grand strategy, William Wolf completes the trilogy with this volume. His aces of the 5FC, after two volumes, have become personalized and their fighters described. Surprisingly, author Wolf portrays Japanese aces commensurable with American and Japanese pilots, their training, and each other’s importance to the outcome of the war. New details of 5FC groups and squadrons are revealed, as are those of the Japanese Naval and Army Air Force. Easy to comprehend are Wolf’s comparison of the aircraft of the two combatants. The flying of the six aircraft types of the 5FC is first described from pilot flight manuals, then by the aces who flew them. Combat maneuvers and tactics from both sides are described, equally the interesting are the logistics and construction of airfields on the best possible sites, along with the minutiae from maintenance and repair textbooks and manuals.

In concluding his staggering three volume saga, William Wolf presents the Japanese perspective and viewpoint on why its air forces were defeated. And, incidentally, the avid aviation reader should peruse the Schiffer catalog for the other books this author had written. When combined, they guarantee an additional column devoted to aviation unit histories. Look for it soon.