Scratch One Flattop

Scratch One Flattop

The First Carrier Air Campaign and the Battle of the Coral Sea
Robert C. Stern
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/14/2019
ISBN: 978-0-253-03930-9
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By the beginning of May 1942, five months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the US Navy was ready to challenge the Japanese moves in the South Pacific. When the Japanese sent troops to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the Americans sent the carriers Lexington and Yorktown to counter the move, setting the stage for the Battle of the Coral Sea.

In Scratch One Flattop: The First Carrier Air Campaign and the Battle of the Coral Sea, historian Robert C. Stern analyzes the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first major fleet engagement where the warships were never in sight of each other. Unlike the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Coral Sea has received remarkably little study. Stern covers not only the action of the ships and their air groups but also describes the impact of this pivotal engagement. His analysis looks at the short-term impact as well as the long-term implications, including the installation of inert gas fuel-system purging on all American aircraft carriers and the push to integrate sensor systems with fighter direction to better protect against enemy aircraft.

The essential text on the first carrier air campaign, Scratch One Flattop is a landmark study on an overlooked battle in the first months of the United States’ engagement in World War II.

Author Bio

Robert C. Stern has been writing naval history for more than thirty years, during which time he has published nine major works, numerous magazine articles, and pictorial monographs. His major works include Fire from the Sky: Surviving the Kamikaze Threat, The US Navy and the War in Europe, and The Battleship Holiday: The Naval Treaties and Capital Ship Design. His other main interest is photography, which can be seen at He lives in Cupertino, CA, with his wife Beth and two uninterested cats.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1

Part 1: Winning the Unwinnable War (1936-December 1941)

Part 2: South to Rabaul (1 January--20 February 1942)

Chapter 2: Beyond Rabaul (21 February--10 March 1942)

Chapter 3: Setting the Board (9 March 1942-23 April 1942)

Chapter 4: Opening Moves (23 April--3 May 1942)

Chapter 5: ". . . disappointing" (4 May 1942)

Chapter 6: Chasing Shadows (5-6 May 1942)

Chapter 7: Scratch One Flattop (7 May 1942)

Chapter 8: Seconds Out (8 May 1942)

Chapter 9: Mopping Up & Dispersal (9-27 May 1942)

Chapter 10: Afterword

Appendix: Dramatis Personae