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American Courage in the Darkest Days of World War II
By Bruce Gamble
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Based in Australia with inadequate supplies and no ground support, the squadron’s pilots and combat crew endured tropical diseases while confronting numerically superior Japanese forces. Yet the outfit, dubbed the Kangaroo Squadron, proved remarkably resilient and successful, conducting long-range bombing raids, carrying out armed reconnaissance missions, and rescuing General MacArthur and his staff from the Philippines.
Before now, the story of their courage and determination in the face of overwhelming odds has largely been untold. Using eyewitness accounts from diaries, letters, interviews, and memoirs, as well as Japanese sources, historian Bruce Gamble brings to vivid life this dramatic true account.
But the Kangaroo Squadron’s story doesn’t end in World War II. One of the squadron’s B-17 bombers, which crash-landed on its first mission, was recovered from New Guinea after almost seventy years in a jungle swamp. The intertwined stories of the Kangaroo Squadron and the “Swamp Ghost” are filled with thrilling accounts of aerial combat, an epic survival story, and the powerful mystique of an invaluable war relic.
Oahu, Territory of Hawaii
Oceania and the Western Pacific
New Guinea Odyssey
Kangaroo Squadron Reconnaissance Area, Summer 1942
It is neither an exaggeration nor boastful arrogance to say that I was born to write this story. When I came into this world—on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, no less—I became part of a large, extended family living in an old stone farmhouse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Three generations resided in that wonderful home, including my uncle, John Steinbinder, a navigator in the squadron whose story is described herein.
My immediate family later moved from Bucks County, so I had little awareness of Uncle Johnny’s military service during my youth. Instead I paid more attention to my father’s experiences as a B-29 pilot over Japan, which inspired me to serve as a flight officer in the U.S. Navy during the closing years of the Cold War. It wasn’t until much later, after I was medically retired and began writing, that my interest in Uncle Johnny’s wartime adventures revived. Sadly, by the time I began work on my trilogy about Rabaul, he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But fate took a turn. Not long before his death, I took possession of a footlocker containing his military papers and other memorabilia, including a handwritten diary filled with details of his combat tour with the Kangaroo Squadron in 1942. Many of his entries revealed the intense drama he experienced during combat missions, which made even the day-to-day commentary seem all the more interesting. And the more I learned about his squadron, the more impressed I became with the achievements those young men accomplished during the darkest days of the war.
While I worked on other books, I began gathering as much information on the Kangaroo Squadron as I could find. Considering the early period of the war, when setbacks and retreats were a daily occurrence and official records were frequently lost or neglected, it was a pleasant surprise to find that a wealth of documentation had been preserved by the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama. Later, thanks to the assistance of numerous colleagues, I managed to track down the diaries, memoirs, and photograph collections of several other squadron members to supplement the official records and my uncle’s material. Now, almost sixty years after my arrival on that winter night, it is my honor and privilege to share this narrative account of the Kangaroo Squadron and its brave crews. My only regret is that so few members of Uncle Johnny’s generation are still extant. We can’t slow the march of time, of course, but it is my sincere hope that this book will enable another generation of readers to appreciate the courageous efforts of a few American aviators during the opening months of World War II. May their actions be remembered for just a little while longer.
Lieutenant General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold: Aviation pioneer, chief of the U.S. Army Air Forces
Sergeant Mervyn C. Bell: One of six Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilots attached to the Kangaroo Squadron
First Lieutenant Frank P. Bostrom: Native of Bangor, Maine, and the most decorated pilot in the Kangaroo Squadron
Major Richard H. Carmichael: West Point graduate, former pursuit pilot, first commanding officer of the Kangaroo Squadron
Frank Allan Champion: Australian born in New Guinea, former seafarer, resident magistrate of the Northern District
First Lieutenant Frederick C. Eaton Jr.: Reservist raised in suburban New York City, pilot of the Kangaroo Squadron’s first bomber lost in combat
Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue: Commander of operations in New Guinea and the Japanese Southeastern Area
Lieutenant General George C. Kenney: Commander of Allied Air Forces in Australia
Captain William Lewis: Former airline pilot, second commanding officer of the Kangaroo Squadron
General Douglas MacArthur: Supreme commander, Southwest Pacific Area
Manuel Quezon: Exiled president of the Philippines
Brigadier General Ralph Royce: Chief of air staff, U.S. Army Forces in Australia
Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Jun-ichi Sasai: Japanese Naval Academy graduate and division leader, Tainan Air Group
First Lieutenant John J. Steinbinder: First-generation American, Kangaroo Squadron navigator, author’s uncle
Sergeant Earl T. Williams: Assistant crew chief, tail gunner, aircraft mechanic. Last known surviving member of the Kangaroo Squadron
THE HEROES WHO DIDN’T COME HOME
The crew of Chief Seattle, missing in action over the Solomon Sea on August 14, 1942:
Flight Sergeant George S. Andrews, RAAF, copilot, Brisbane, Australia
Private David B. Beattie, radar specialist, native of Scotland raised in Flint, Michigan
First Lieutenant Wilson L. Cook, pilot, Bradley, Oklahoma
Second Lieutenant Joseph R. Cunningham, bombardier, Travelers Rest, South Carolina
Staff Sergeant John J. Dunbar, assistant flight engineer, Tujunga, California
Corporal Charles M. Hartman, assistant radio operator, Gettysburg, South Dakota
Technical Sergeant Irving W. McMichael, radio operator, Lincoln, Nebraska
Second Lieutenant Hubert S. Mobley, navigator, Tampa, Florida
Corporal Richard K. Pastor, gunner, Lynbrook, New York
Staff Sergeant Elwyn O. Rahier, flight engineer, Itasca County, Minnesota
Killed in action by Japanese fighters in the vicinity of Rabaul, New Britain, on October 9, 1942:
Corporal Ralph C. Fritz, tail gunner, Detroit, Michigan
LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO WAR
Of all the breathtaking panoramas that grace this blue-and-white marble of a planet, few can rival the beauty of a sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. As dawn broke on the seventh day of December 1941, the crews of twelve B-17 bombers flying westward toward Hawaii were treated to a spectacular view. Almost imperceptibly at first, the first pinkish rays of sunlight peeked over the horizon behind the bombers, revealing their graceful silhouettes. Soon, blazing higher, the sun’s full glory reflected off distant pillars of cumulus clouds, turning them the color of molten gold.1
It had been a long night. Twelve hours in the air already, mostly flying above a moonlit layer of clouds. The bombers cruised at altitudes ranging from six thousand to ten thousand feet, where the ambient temperature was reasonably comfortable. But not the noise. Acoustically, the interior of a B-17 was little more than an aluminum barrel that rattled with every bump and accentuated the unmuffled roar of the four Wright “Cyclone” radial engines. Quilted padding filled with cotton insulation alleviated the noise in some compartments, and the crewmembers wore headsets, but the earphones caused their own aggravation after pressing against the skull for hours on end.
Despite the noise and discomforts, most of the crewmen had managed to relax or even fall asleep. All were exhausted, having spent the past several days preparing for a two-year deployment to the Philippines. Their present destination, Hickam Field in the Territory of Hawaii, was merely the first stop on a journey of almost ten thousand miles. After refueling and arming the bombers at Hickam, the crews faced another week of island-hopping flights across the Pacific.
Not everyone could enjoy the luxury of a nap. Aboard each bomber, two crewmembers were compelled to stay alert throughout the flight. Radio operators, sitting in their insulated compartments amidships, passed the long hours trying to tune in any signal they could find. Strict radio silence was in effect, which meant no transmitting except in an emergency, but the operators were keen to pick up a commercial radio station in Honolulu to aid with direction-finding. And then there were the navigators: shuffling between their charts and octant mounts with nervous energy, they periodically “shot the stars” and referred to celestial navigation tables to update their plane’s estimated position. Most, fresh out of training, still received cadet pay. Among them, only one or two had ever conducted an ocean crossing. And because the B-17s flew independently rather than in formation, each navigator was responsible for guiding his aircraft to a safe landfall.
The pilot of the lead aircraft, Major Truman H. “Ted” Landon, gave a long leash to his newly winged navigator. Fully qualified in navigation himself, Landon sensed a gradual drift to the right. He held his tongue, however, allowing Second Lieutenant Chester L. Budz to figure out his own calculations. “It is much better to be on a known side of a course than to not know where in the hell you are,” Landon would later comment. “So I let him continue.”2
As the commanding officer of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron, it wasn’t easy for Landon to ignore the temptation to micromanage his young navigator. The challenges of crossing that particular stretch of ocean were demanding, regardless of experience. From the rocky outcroppings of the California coast to the shores of Oahu, the bombers would cross 2,400 miles of uninterrupted ocean. On such a long overwater flight, a drift of only three degrees could potentially cause an aircraft to miss the islands by more than a hundred miles. The risks were great, but the opportunity for a neophyte navigator to gain experience was equally important.
Daybreak therefore offered more than just a lovely view. It brought a sense of relief, banishing the gremlins that teased the greenhorn navigators into constantly second-guessing their calculations. The lifting veil of darkness also gave the crews an opportunity to scan the horizon for their squadron mates. Most found nothing but clouds in an otherwise empty sky. After cruising all night at slightly different speeds and headings, the bombers had become widely separated. Lieutenant David G. Rawls, piloting a brand-new B-17E of the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron, spotted one bomber off to his left at a distance of twenty miles, practically the limit of his vision. He regarded the lone aircraft, though it was little more than a speck, as “a welcome sight after the solitude of the night.”3
DOWN ON THE ocean’s surface some two hundred miles west of the bombers, six aircraft carriers shouldered through heavy swells and intermittent rain showers north of Hawaii. Dawn would not come for another hour, but there was plenty of activity onboard as the flattops steamed behind a protective phalanx of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. From the halyards of every vessel snapped a large white flag with a unique geometric design: a blood red disk, offset from the center, with sixteen rays extending in a sunburst pattern. Symbolic of the dawn that was about to come, the flags represented the nation proudly referred to by the sailors as Nippon, “Land of the Rising Sun.”
The six flattops, stalwarts of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Kido Butai, or Mobile Force, had stealthily approached Hawaii for more than a week. Now, upon reaching their assigned coordinates without detection, the crews underwent last-minute preparations for a massive airstrike. On each wooden flight deck, dozens of single-engine aircraft sat idling, their pilots and aircrews anxiously awaiting the signal to take off. After a twenty-minute delay caused by foul weather, the first planes began to roll, cheered enthusiastically by hundreds of cap-waving sailors lining the catwalks and observation galleries. Despite the darkness, the six carriers collectively launched more than 180 aircraft in only fifteen minutes. The warplanes circled above the task force while gathering into assigned formations according to type: level bombers, dive bombers, torpedo planes, and fighters.4
As soon as the launch cycle was complete, the carrier crews shuttled more planes up to the flight decks, readying a second wave of attackers with remarkable efficiency. Overhead, just as the sky began to lighten, the first wave turned southward and flew off toward the same island the American B-17s were approaching.
For the Japanese, of course, Oahu was not a destination. It was their target.
ON A KNOLL near the northernmost tip of Oahu, two U.S. Army privates prepared to wrap up their shift in a new, high-tech outpost. The remote site, located in the Opana district more than five hundred feet above Kawela Bay, provided a striking view of the ocean. But the two men were immune to the postcard scenery. For the past few hours they had been seated inside the darkened van of a Signal Corps truck filled with electronic equipment. The vehicle housed the receiver and oscilloscope of an early warning radar, designed to detect aircraft at long range. Manufactured by Westinghouse, the first-generation SCR-270B was classified as a mobile radar unit, although moving it was a major undertaking that required four trucks, including a flatbed tractor-trailer to haul the forty-five-foot-tall antenna. Five virtually identical units had been established at strategic points around Oahu, and a sixth was preparing to come online. When active, their operators searched the oscilloscope displays for “blips” representing unidentified aircraft, which were reported by telephone to the Information Center at Fort Shafter, several miles east of Pearl Harbor. There, personnel maneuvered icons representing the bogies on a room-sized plotting map. Collectively, the radar sites and the Information Center were part of a newly established unit with a convoluted name: Signal Company Aircraft Warning Hawaii (SCAWH). Despite the impressive title, the radar network was underfunded, undermanned, and underutilized.
Like many new technological developments, the first radar establishments in the Army Signal Corps were underappreciated by the old-timers who had forged careers in the infantry, artillery, or cavalry. Among them was the commander of army forces in Hawaii, Lieutenant General Walter C. Short. Although he had seen impressive demonstrations of the radar center’s capabilities during recent war games, the sixty-one-year-old Short either failed to fully grasp the new technology or lacked confidence in the information it provided. Perhaps both.5
And it wasn’t simply a matter of old versus new. Island-wide, the military struggled with complacency. Despite specific warnings from the War Department about the possibility of a Japanese attack, an entrenched peacetime attitude prevailed. Army units in Hawaii worked five days a week, scheduling only essential personnel for duty on weekends and holidays. General Short took this a step further with the radar sites, restricting them to three hours of operation per day, from 4:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M. The odd schedule was supposedly established to preserve the limited supply of spare parts—especially the delicate glass transmitter tubes—but at least one historian has suggested that Short wanted to prevent the radar branch from “interfering with normal army operations during the day.”6
On this particular Sunday morning, privates George E. Elliott Jr. and Joseph L. Lockard were the only personnel on duty at the Opana station. Lockard, who possessed the most experience, monitored the oscilloscope. At 6:54 A.M., after nearly three hours with no activity, the Information Center phoned in and advised the two men to shut down their unit. They were about to comply, as Elliott would later explain, when a spontaneous suggestion led to an unexpected discovery:
Lockard began to power down, but I reminded him that we had received previous permission from our platoon sergeant to keep the system operating so that I could learn how to operate the oscilloscope. I had less than three months’ radar experience under my belt and Lockard agreed to keep the unit running.
At 0702 I was sitting at the controls while Lockard peered over my shoulder and instructed me on how to detect planes. Suddenly, there appeared the largest blip either of us had ever seen on an oscilloscope.
“What’s this?” I asked him. Lockard thought the unit had either malfunctioned or was giving us a false reading. He quickly tested the equipment and determined everything to be working perfectly.
We calculated the blip to be a large group of aircraft approaching quickly from 3 degrees east approximately 137 miles out to sea. I suggested to Lockard that we should notify our Information Center.
“Don’t be crazy!” he laughed. “Our problem ended at seven o’clock.”
However, I was insistent and after a long discussion he said, “Well, go ahead and send it in if you like.”7
Elliott tried the primary phone line, but his call went unanswered. Due to the scheduling limitations, almost everyone in the Information Center had gone off duty at seven o’clock and promptly left the facility. Trying again on an administrative line, Elliott reached the switchboard operator. “I nervously explained what we’d seen,” he recalled, “and asked him to get someone in charge to call us back as soon as possible.” At 7:20, the only other person on duty in the Information Center phoned the radar site.8
This was Lieutenant Kermit A. Tyler, a twenty-eight-year-old fighter pilot from Iowa and second in command of the 78th Pursuit Squadron based at Wheeler Field. He had been in the Information Center exactly twice before: once for an introductory tour, followed a few days later by his inaugural duty as the pursuit officer. Tyler understood the principles of radar—if called upon he would direct airborne fighters to intercept hostile aircraft—but he had received no formal training. To him, it was all theoretical. Lacking practical experience, and knowing his shift was about to end, he listened with probably less than complete attention as Lockard described the large radar return.
By now the unidentified bogies had closed to within seventy-five miles of Oahu. Lockard, who answered the call from Tyler, mentioned that the blip was the largest he had ever seen. Unfortunately, his subjective comment gave the inexperienced Tyler no basis for analysis or comparison, but the information presented by Lockard jogged Tyler’s memory. While driving to Fort Shafter early that morning, he had listened to a Honolulu radio station on his car radio. “I had very good reason to believe that there was a flight of B-17s en route to the islands from the mainland,” Tyler would later testify. “I had a friend in the bomber command who told me that any time the radio stations were playing this Hawaiian music all night, I could be certain that a flight of our bombers was coming over.”9
This was indeed true. Commercial radio waves could be used as a homing signal, so the army paid station KGMB in Honolulu to stay on the air throughout the night whenever long-distance flights were scheduled to arrive. (Coincidentally, the leader of the first wave of Japanese planes, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, was at that very moment tracking KGMB in his Nakajima bomber.10) Tyler rationalized that the huge blip represented a formation of B-17s approaching from the mainland. “Well,” he said to Lockard, “don’t worry about it.”11
Viewed with the cold eye of hindsight, both Lockard and Tyler had committed errors, mostly of omission. Considering the shortcomings they faced, from a dearth of comprehensive training to the lackadaisical attitude of the peacetime army, their blunders were predictable. If Lockard had been more empirical about the size of the radar return, which he later described as “probably more than fifty” aircraft, Tyler would almost certainly have paid more attention. Conversely, on just his second shift as the pursuit officer in the Information Center, Tyler lacked the experience to seek additional clarification regarding Lockard’s verbal report.
Speculation aside, the burden of responsibility fell on Tyler, who ultimately made not one but two incorrect assumptions. The first was equating the radar blip with a possible flight of B-17s, an assessment based more on hearsay than official information. His second mistake was to presume the inbound bombers would be flying in formation, thus creating a large radar return. No one had briefed him on the particulars of transpacific bomber flights, such as the fact that the aircraft flew independently. Had he known this, the young lieutenant would not have been so cavalier about the large radar return.
The die had been cast, an opportunity fumbled. Soon enough, Tyler and the two radar operators would realize that the equipment had detected an inbound formation of hostile aircraft, a scenario they never considered. Ultimately, all three men would be linked with the first wartime use of radar in American history—but not heroically. By the time comprehension settled over them with a sickening reality, it was too late to sound the alarm. The newfangled radar had silently done its job. The human element had not.
THE B-17S APPROACHING Hawaii were not only scattered across hundreds of square miles, some were far off course. Major Landon’s bomber, a brand-new E model, had drifted approximately a hundred miles north of the intended route. With adequate fuel remaining in the tanks, Landon was not overly concerned when his navigator keyed the interphone and reported their destination was due south, requiring a ninety-degree turn to the left. However, soon after Landon completed the turn, the direction finder locked onto station KGMB and revealed that a southeasterly heading was required to put Oahu on the nose. This meant the bomber had already flown well beyond the islands and was actually doubling back.
The other new E model in Landon’s flight, flown by German-born Lieutenant Karl T. Barthelmess, had also drifted off course. As a result, the squadron’s four obsolescent B-17Cs had overtaken both of the E models during the night. This was not unusual, considering the weight difference between the two variants. The B-17E, with its electrically powered machine-gun turrets and an enlarged empennage to accommodate a tail gun, was some nine thousand pounds heavier than the older C model. The first bomber to make landfall, therefore, was a B-17C named Skipper, flown by Lieutenant Robert H. Richards.12 His crew had affectionately named the plane after a terrier-mix puppy that had been flying with them since he was only a few weeks old. Even now, the little mutt was a passenger under the watchful eye of the crew chief, Staff Sergeant Joseph S. Angelini, who had gone to great lengths to fashion a doggy-size oxygen mask and flotation device for the four-legged mascot.13
In addition to an unorthodox passenger, Richards had two cadet navigators on board his B-17. Neither had made a long overwater flight before, but their combined efforts proved remarkably accurate. As Skipper approached the eastern shore of Oahu, a small fighter strip named Bellows Field appeared straight off the nose. From there, a meandering flight around the island’s southern coastline would bring the airplane to the approach pattern for Hickam Field. Keeping just offshore, Richards banked gracefully around the contour of Koko Head, then took a westerly heading past the more famous landmarks of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and the still-sleeping city of Honolulu. Dead ahead lay John Rogers Field, a civilian airport serving Honolulu. Just beyond that, Hickam Field was easily identified by its Moorish-inspired water tower. The tapered octagonal structure, its concrete exterior gleaming in the early morning sunlight, soared to a height of more than 170 feet.
Their long flight almost over, Richards and his crew approached Hickam Field with visions of sandy beaches, palm trees, and hula girls in their heads—but a different welcome was in store.
INSIDE THE OPERATIONS building at Hickam, the arrival of the B-17s was highly anticipated. The commander of the airfield, Colonel William E. Farthing, arrived early and climbed the control tower to enjoy the fabulous view. Several officers from the Hawaiian Air Force, the controlling authority for army aviation in the territory, were also on hand to welcome the big bombers. Among them was the operations officer, Major Roger Ramey, eager to greet his good friend and West Point classmate Ted Landon. While waiting for the B-17s to arrive, he and the base operations officer, Captain Gordon A. Blake, swapped stories in the latter’s downstairs office.14
Unbeknownst to all of them, the first wave of Japanese aircraft had already received the attack signal from the strike leader, Commander Fuchida. A formation of fifty-one Aichi D3A dive bombers divided over central Oahu, the first element peeling off to attack Wheeler Field, the second continuing straight ahead. After a sweeping turn, the second formation separated once again, one group heading east to bomb the naval air station at Kaneohe, the other circling around to initiate simultaneous bombing runs against Hickam Field and Ford Island.
Known to the Japanese as Type 99 dive bombers, each of the fixed-gear planes carried one 250-kilogram bomb in a centerline rack and two 60-kilo bombs on wing racks. Their objective was to smash the airfields across Oahu and destroy as many planes as possible on the ground, thereby reducing the possibility of counterattacks against the Kido Butai.15 At 7:55, just as a formation of Type 99s rolled into their dives over Ford Island and Hickam Field, the horizontal bombers and torpedo bombers initiated simultaneous attacks against the warships in Pearl Harbor. Except for a few minor glitches, none of which affected the outcome, the strike had been almost perfectly coordinated.
"In the darkest days of World War II in the Pacific, a squadron of forgotten heroes gave their all, becoming the first to strike back against the Japanese. Kangaroo Squadron is an inspiring, beautifully crafted tale of ordinary Americans exhibiting extraordinary heroism and grit when it mattered most."--Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The Longest Winter and The First Wave
"Bruce Gamble has beautifully captured the dark early days of World War II--and the brave American airmen willing to take the fight to the enemy. With a novelists's gift for storytelling, Gamble takes readers into cockpits over Japanese bases, drops them waist-deep in malarial swamps, and lets them unwind in dusty outback bars. Kangaroo Squadron is a soaring story and a triumph of the American spirit."--James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Rampage and Target Tokyo
"With his exquisite eye for detail and spellbinding talent as a stroyteller, Bruce Gamble takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the perilous early months of World War II in the Southwest Pacific."--Colonel Walter Boyne, author and former director of the National Air and Space Museum
"Fast-paced and packed with vivid descriptions and valuable information, Kangaroo Squadron shines a bright light on the valiant American fliers who took on the Japanese in the first engagements in the Pacific. Bruce Gamble brings these heroes out of the shadows and makes them come alive. A must-read for anyone interested in World War II."--John Darnton, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Almost a Family
"Bruce Gamble demonstrates again why he is one of the best aviation historians in the business. In Kangaroo Squadron he has crafted a fascinating account of men and machines, painting a compelling picture of what it was like to fight as an American aviator during the very darkest days of the Pacific War. Outstanding!"--Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
"Bruce Gamble's excellent history of the U.S. Army's B-17 bombers in the Pacific, officially the Southern Bomber Command but colloquially known as the Kangaroo Squadron, is a triumph. The characters are vivid and the narrative gripping; the story of the downed B-17 later known as the 'Swamp Ghost' is especially riveting. Throughout, Gamble's mastery of aircraft characteristics is impeccable, and his fast-paced storytelling is irresistible."--Craig L. Symonds, author of World War II at Sea: A Global History
"Flying Boeing B-17s, the Kangaroo Squadron's aircrews and maintenance men fought not only Imperial Japan but weather, geography, and a perennial shortage of everything--except courage and dedication. Their example remains an inspiration to Americans three generations later, thanks to Bruce Gamble's in-depth research and deft writing."--Barrett Tillman, author of On Wave and Wing: The 100-Year Quest to Perfect the Aircraft Carrier
- "Gamble has a solid grasp of big-picture strategy and of the alternating tedium and terror of war, especially as bomber crews experienced it, never knowing when anti-aircraft fire would take them down or the fuel would run out before they could return to base."—Kirkus Reviews
- "Gamble delivers an inspiring and impeccably researched tale...Both the air war expert and the general reader will enjoy and learn something from this well-crafted work."—Publishers Weekly
- "Gamble is a fine story-teller. His narrative in Kangaroo Squadron is fast-moving and full of vivid descriptions and moving detail of a group of American warriors that deserve to be remembered with gratitude."—American Spectator
- "Brims with heroism in the face of seemingly impossible odds...a well-written and informative examination of the air war."—Washington Times
- On Sale
- Nov 20, 2018
- Page Count
- 416 pages
- Da Capo Press