Santa Cruz 1942
Carrier Duel in the South Pacific



Written by Mark Stille
Illustrated by Howard Gerrard

This 96 page book is number 247 in Osprey Publishing’s Campaign series.

During World War II there were a total of five major carrier battles, four of which occurred in 1942. The first carrier battle was the Battle of Coral Sea that occurred during May 4th to the 8th 1942 when two carrier forces met for the first time. While this first carrier battle was considered a Japanese tactical victory, America can claim a strategic victory as this was the first time that Japanese expansion was stopped and the losses of Japanese ships and planes could not be quickly replaced. Osprey Publishing’s Campaign number 214 covers this battle.

The next carrier battle was the Battle of Midway which occurred the next month, June 4th to the 7th, off the island of Midway. This battle has often been called “the turning point of the Pacific” as it was the first American naval victory in the Pacific war. While the actual outcome was not as dramatic as that, the result of the cumulative attrition on the Japanese was more crucial. Osprey Publishing’s Campaign number 226 covers this battle.

The third carrier battle was the battle of the Eastern Solomons and took place on August 24th and 25th 1942. This was the first naval engagement that occurred during the Guadalcanal Campaign. As with the first two battles, neither sides forces was never in physical sight of the other. This battle is considered both a tactical and strategic victory for the Americans as the Japanese lost more ships and planes and the Japanese Guadalcanal invasion force was delayed. As with the first two battles, the significance of the Eastern Solomons engagement was the loss of Japanese planes and pilots, both of which were difficult for the Japanese to replace.

The fourth carrier battle of 1942 occurred on October 26th and was the Battle of Santa Cruz which is what Osprey’s Campaign book number 247 is all about. As with all of the other books in the Campaign Series, this book it is also well written and jam packed with information from cover to cover. This is another naval battle that occurred during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The result of this battle was that the Japanese suffered significant losses of aircraft and pilots from which they were never able to truly recover. This was a last time that a Japanese carrier force was able to meet an American carrier force on equal terms. Osprey’s Campaign book number 247 details the events of this often forgotten naval battle of World War II.

The contents of this book are full of useful information regarding this naval battle. The books contents are:


  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Opposing Commanders
    • The United States Navy
    • The Imperial Japanese Navy
  • Opposing Fleets
    • The United States Navy
    • The Imperial Japanese Navy
    • Orders of Battle
  • Opposing Plans
    • The US Plan
    • The Japanese Plan
  • The Campaign
    • The battle of the Eastern Solomons
    • The battle of Santa Cruz
    • The carriers clash
    • The Japanese respond
    • The Americans attack
    • The Japanese attack
    • Analysis of the battle
  • Aftermath
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Throughout this book there are full color battle scenes, numerous illustrations, a number of 3-dimensional bird’s-eye-views, and many maps showing each sides dispositions. All of this information supplements the written material and makes reading the book all that more enjoyable.

Santa Cruz 1942 will appeal to a wide range of readers. The World War II Pacific theater historian or someone with a passing interest in the subject will enjoy reading about the battles and appreciate all the photographs and graphics. The naval wargamer will make good use of the maps, the Order of Battle, and the details of the battle. The modeler can use this book for researching the ships that were there and potential dioramas that he can build. Santa Cruz 1942 is an excellent addition to Osprey Publishing’s Campaign series of books detailing World War II carrier battles and will be an excellent addition to anyone’s library.

This book is available from Osprey Publications.

This book is available in three formats and they are;

Paperback Book $24.00
ePub eBook $19.20
PDF eBook $19.20