One of the most heroic ships of World War II, CV-8 served as the flight deck for the Doolittle Tokyo raid, and its predecessor ship, the CV-12, endured 16 months of non-stop combat action, ... See full summary »

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One of the most heroic ships of World War II, CV-8 served as the flight deck for the Doolittle Tokyo raid, and its predecessor ship, the CV-12, endured 16 months of non-stop combat action, coming within 40 miles of Japan, and setting incredible wartime records. Some of those feats included: 10 of its pilots reached "Ace in One Day" status, over 1,400 enemy planes destroyed, and a considerable amount of its Hellcat pilots became aces. Written by Lou Reda Productions

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15 June 2008 (USA)  »

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Through the Pacific War.
17 May 2015 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

It's always interesting to see how such simple linguistic features as word order can affect the impression a sentence makes. The Doolittle raid on Japan, in retaliation for Pearl Habor, lost every airplane and didn't make a dent in Japan's ability to wage war "but it was a big boost for morale." In the battle of the Coral Sea, we lost more important ships than the Japanese, but "although it was a tactical loss, it was a strategic victory" because the enemy landing force was turned back.

At Midway, not a single one of our torpedo planes made a strike on the Japanese fleet, and Torpedo Squadron 8 was entirely destroyed. But their sacrifice had paved the way for our victory by drawing the Japanese zeros down to sea level so our dive bombers at a higher altitude were unmolested and were able to sink all four enemy aircraft carriers. I watched one of the few Japanese feature films about Midway. Admiral Nagumo, in charge of the carrier strike force, watches as one American airplane after another is shot out of the sky. "Very brave but very foolish," say the subtitles.

The semantic weight carried by syntax is greatly underestimated. "He was handsome but dumb." What impression are you left with, if you had to sum it up in a single word? I will now step down from behind the lectern and briefly described the movie. Oops, caught my shoe. Thank you.

It's surprisingly balanced, as these documentaries go. It follows the Hornet (CV 8)through her career in World War II and the initial description is objective, describing her engineering weaknesses as well as her strengths. We see the B-25s taking off for their raid on Japan. The Hornet had been spotted by a Japanese fishing vessel and no one knew whether it had a radio aboard, so our ships sank it. Rod Steiger claimed to be aboard one of the destroyers and described the fishermen and their families running about in panic.

The Hornet is then rushed down to the Coral Sea -- the strategic victory. And then rushed again to take part in the Battle of Midway. She was mortally damaged by overwhelming air attack in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. She was abandoned and scuttled by our own shells. I've never understood why, if a ship is unsalvageable, it must be sunk by its own escorts. If it really can't be saved, it's of no use to the enemy. There is always the possibility that the fires will burn off and the wreck can be towed to safety. And if nothing else, wouldn't it serve as a decoy in case of further enemy attack by air or submarine? What's to be gained by sinking it? I'm sure there's a rationale but I don't know what it is.

It was promptly replaced by a newer, more powerful Hornet (CV12). The new Hornet was never bombed, torpedoed, or hit by Kamikaze although the attempts were numerous. She was barely saved from the scrap heap and now sits at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, a relic, part of the naval museum.


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