The gripping account of the U.S. Navy’s fast carrier force—and how its Central Pacific campaign in 1944 marked the achievement of American naval supremacy
Task Force 58 was World War II’s most powerful battle fleet. Made up in mid-1944 of sixteen aircraft carriers, over a thousand combat aircraft, and an armada of escorts, it was vital to victory over Japan.
In this compelling account, Evan Mawdsley charts the 3,500-mile dash of the “Big Blue Fleet” across the Central Pacific in the first six months of 1944, overwhelming enemy opposition and transforming the nature of naval warfare. The Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944 crushed the enemy’s naval air force and secured war-winning air bases in the Mariana Islands. Mawdsley examines the elements of the rapidly assembled force—ships, planes, and 100,000 officers and men—as well as the advanced bases and fleet train that provided such astounding mobility.
Task Force 58’s campaign marked the achievement of naval supremacy by the United States, a status it maintains to this day.
Evan Mawdsley is an historian and former professor of international history at the University of Glasgow. His book, The War for the Seas: A Maritime History of World War II, won the Anderson Medal for the best maritime history of 2019.
“The creation of the modern carrier task force is the most important development in naval warfare of the past century. Evan Mawdsley deftly weaves together the human, technical, and logistical advances that forged this mighty naval warhammer, and then grippingly relates how the Americans wielded it during their victorious campaigns in the Pacific in early 1944. Highly recommended.”—Jon Parshall, author of Shattered Sword
“Supremacy at Sea tells of Task Force 58, the U.S. Navy’s Big Blue Fleet, from inception to its great victory in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Evan Mawdsley has an eye for what is important and his exploration of how TF 58 became the most successful and powerful naval force of World War II shines with insight and fresh perspective. The narrative is accurate and compelling. This is a story worthy of Mawdsley’s skills and is naval history at its finest.”—Vincent P. O'Hara, author of Struggle for the Middle Sea
“In his masterful study of Task Force 58, Evan Mawdsley offers a deep and compelling account of the US Navy’s triumph in the Pacific War that looks beyond the battles and explains the foundation of eighty years of American naval supremacy.”—Joe Maiolo, author of Cry Havoc
“Mawdsley's singular contribution to our collective historical understanding of the naval aspects of that war – and of the ongoing battles for control of the seas – stands among the very best. Supremacy at Sea shall fill an important place in the historiography of wars at sea in the past and it shall stand among other works as required reading for the future.”—David Kohnen, author of King's Navy
"Mawdsley, with his trademark clarity and force, tells the story of Taskforce 58, the most successful strike force in Second World War naval history. This is a comprehensive story, which ranges from the building of US aircraft carriers in the 1930s, to the formation of TF 58 under Admiral Mitscher and Spruance, to the winning of some of the greatest naval battles in the Pacific. A tour de force."—Phillips O'Brien, author of How the War was Won
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