Pa­cific 1941–45

Flight Journal - - FEATURES -

The Pa­cific Ocean was the largest theater of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in his­tory. Cov­er­ing nearly one-third of Planet Earth, no big­ger arena is pos­si­ble. And even dis­count­ing more than half of that sur­face, which saw no com­bat ac­tion, leaves about 30 mil­lion square miles.

Naval com­bat did not lend it­self to pro­longed en­gage­ments as were com­mon in land bat­tles. Op­pos­ing fleets clashed over one or two days, and gen­er­ally the is­sue was re­solved. Un­like air­craft and ar­mored ve­hi­cles, war­ships re­quired months or years to build, and their losses were not eas­ily re­placed. But in­sert­ing the air­plane into the mix changed the com­bat dy­nam­ics, re­sult­ing in Pa­cific ac­tions rang­ing from one day to six months.

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