In November 1940, the battleship became obsolete. In one night, a small force of canvas-covered biplanes sank most of the Italian Navy, sitting then in the heavily-defended harbor of Taranto. This astonishing tour de force, carried out by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, was duly noted by Winston Churchill, who wrote: “By this single stroke the balance of naval power in the Mediterranean was decisively altered.” Within days, the Japanese sent observers to study how to attack capital ships in shallow water. Their diligent use of new facts was seen on the morning of December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor. The senior men of the United States Navy seemed to have learned nothing from the British. Nothing. Dr. Lowry’s co-author, John W. G. Wellham, who flew one of those biplanes at Taranto, adds a note of faultless authenticity to the narrative, which has become the definitive text of the raid and its implications. 1995, Stackpole Books, 144 p.
Reed Business Information, Inc.: 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.