Re­view Run­way

Flight Journal - - CONTENTS - by Mark Lar­das Gerry Yar­rish

(Osprey Pub­lish­ing, 96 pages, $20.00)

Part of the new Osprey Air Cam­paign se­ries, Rabaul 1943–44: Re­duc­ing Ja­pan’s

Great Is­land Fortress by Mark Lar­das is an ex­cel­lent read, filled with orig­i­nal art­work, maps, il­lus­tra­tions (by Mark Postleth­waite), and his­tor­i­cal pho­to­graphs. For read­ers in­ter­ested in the air­craft and strate­gies used in the South Pa­cific the­ater of World War II, this 96-page pa­per­back lays out the events and en­gage­ments be­tween the U.S. Navy air com­bat units and the Ja­panese air forces. Specif­i­cally dur­ing 1942, when the mas­sive Ja­panese naval base and air­field at Rabaul, on the is­land of New Bri­tain, were a fortress stand­ing in the Al­lies’ path to Tokyo. Im­pos­si­ble to in­vade Rabaul, the United States be­gan an in­no­va­tive, hard-fought two-year air cam­paign avoid­ing a ground as­sault, al­low­ing them to by­pass the is­land com­pletely. Their use of air power elim­i­nated the need to oc­cupy ground ob­jec­tives in or­der to con­trol them. As it turned out, the siege of Rabaul proved to be more just than a suc­cess­ful demon­stra­tion of air power—it pro­vided the road map for con­duct­ing the rest of the war in the Pa­cific.

Lar­das has been fas­ci­nated his en­tire life by things re­lated to the sea and sky. From build­ing mod­els of ships and air­craft as a teen, his mar­itime in­ter­est led him to study naval ar­chi­tec­ture and marine en­gi­neer­ing. But his in­ter­est in avi­a­tion led him to take a job with the space shut­tle pro­gram, where for more than 30 years, he worked as a nav­i­ga­tion en­gi­neer. Cur­rently, he works de­vel­op­ing com­mer­cial air­craft sys­tems as a qual­ity-as­sur­ance man­ager. He has writ­ten ex­ten­sively about air­craft and war­ships and is the au­thor of 25 books, all re­lated to mil­i­tary, naval, or mar­itime his­tory.—

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