Pacific Payback

Pacific Payback

The Carrier Aviators Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway

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Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9780451465528
  • 448 Pages
  • NAL
  • Adult


Sunday, December 7, 1941, dawned clear and bright over the Pacific.

But for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. Flying directly into the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor, they lost a third of their squadron and witnessed the heart of America’s Navy broken and smoldering on the oil-slicked waters below.

The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway—a dark time during which the Japanese scored victory after victory—this small band of aviators saw almost constant deployment, intense carrier combat, and fearsome casualties. Many were killed by enemy Zero fighters, antiaircraft fire, or deadly crash landings in the Pacific, while others were captured and spent years in POW camps. Yet the Enterprise’s Dauntless crews would be the first to strike an offensive blow against Japanese installations in the Marshall Islands, would be the first to sink a Japanese warship, and would shepherd the Doolittle Raiders’ bombing of Tokyo.

Not until Midway, though, would Dauntless crews get the chance to settle the score. In June 1942, Japan mobilized the best of its Navy to draw out the smaller American carrier fleet for a final showdown designed to destroy the U.S. Navy once and for all. What they didn’t anticipate was the gutsy dive-bombing pilots and gunners whose courage and skill would change the course of World War II.

Drawing on dozens of new interviews and oral histories, author Stephen L. Moore brings to life inspiring stories of individual sacrifice and bravery—and the sweeping saga of one of America’s greatest triumphs.



Advance Praise for Pacific Payback

“Deeply researched and well-written, Pacific Payback is by far the most detailed account of U.S.S. Enterprise‘s dive-bombers, and their decisive role at the Battle of Midway.”—Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

“In the early naval battles in the Pacific, the U.S. carriers took the fight to the enemy. Their most effective weapon was the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber. At Midway the SBDs destroyed four carriers and arguably turned the tide of the War against Japan. Their individual stories, however, remain largely untold. Stephen L. Moore’s Pacific Payback relates the experiences of the Enterprise SBDs beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor up to Midway and covers all the carrier dive bombers in that decisive battle. This heartfelt tribute to the SBD pilots and radiomen offers much new information and is a valuable contribution to the history of the Pacific War.”—John B. Lundstrom, author of The First Team

“In bringing this story to the public, Stephen Moore has done a service to the courageous fliers of Scouting Squadron Six and Bombing Squadron Six. These men piloted the Douglas Dauntless dive bombers from the decks of the noble Enterprise, often entering battle despite being outnumbered. Their bravery during the war’s first six months, when the nation needed heroes, should long occupy a premier spot in our nation’s history.”—John F. Wukovits, author of For Crew and Country and One Square Mile of Hell