Tidal Wave - From Leyte Gulf to Tokyo Bay

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
Other Publication Information
Hardbound, 320 pages, 16 pages of photos, 13 chapters
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Book Cover


In Tidal Wave from Leyte Gulf to Tokyo Bay, Thomas McKelvey Cleaver offers a deep analysis of the political and strategic situation in the last months of the Pacific War, interwoven with engaging accounts of kamikaze raids and aerial combat. He explains how the last months of the Pacific campaign constantly challenged the crews of the US Navy ships, whose pilots conducted continual bombing missions and aerial skirmishes, how the success or failure of the ship’s gunners spelled life or death for their vessels, and how the commanders had to protect their ships from the worst ravages of the Pacific Typhoons.

The Author

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver has been a published writer for the past 40 years, with his most recent work being the best selling Osprey titles: The Frozen Chosen and Pacific Theater. He is also a regular contributor to Flight Journal magazine and the author of Aces of the 78thFighter Group, F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat Aces of VF-2, Fabled Fifteen: The Pacific War Saga of Carrier Air Group 15, and The Bridgebusters: The True Story of the Catch-22 Bomb Group. During his 30 years as a screen writer in Hollywood, he wrote the cult classic The Terror Within and worked as a supervising producer on a number of TV and cable series. He served in the US Navy in Vietnam.


The book is hardbound has 320 pages, 16 pages of black and white photos of the era, and has 13 Chapters. One chapter is dedicated to Typhoon Cobra that hit the Navy Fleet and documented the devastation to the ships, aircraft and sailors.

Tidal Wave is full of detailed accounts of battles with the Japanese, American and British Fleet’s.

The subjects in the book are detailed, fascinating and numerous, I have included a few that I personally found noteworthy:

  • The numerous references to the (secret) naval base Ulithi where US Navy warships were replenished and repaired. I decided to look up the base and found out it was the largest Naval base in the world at that time, for roughly 7 months, then it was abandoned.
  • Marine Corps aviators in August 1943 stopped being carrier qualified because of the fact all squadrons were land based. The first time since 1920. In August 1944 there was a need for more experienced pilots by the Navy. Only the Marines had those type of pilots but were not qualified for carrier operations. It was decided to start training the Marines again for Carrier operations and are still being trained for that duty today.
  • The story of why Aviation Machinist Mate 2/c Loyce Deen, who was in the turret of a TBM 1C Avenger on a mission against a Japanese ship the Nachi, was hit by the ships defensive fire and was fatally injured. When the plane returned to the aircraft carrier, Deen’s body was left in the turret when his plane was pushed over the side, burying Deen at sea.
  • The Royal Navy had aircraft carriers that had armored flight decks, the US Navy had wood decks. When the Royal Navy took and were able to withstand Kamikaze attacks on their flight decks, the US Navy took notice and built all aircraft carriers since 1945 with armored flight decks.
  • 1st Lieutenant Robert Klingman spotted a Japanese “Nick” and pursued it to 38,000 feet. When Klingman got to within 50 ft of the Japanese aircraft he opened fire but nothing happened. His guns were frozen in the sub-zero stratosphere so Klingman proceeded to chew up the Nick with his propeller taking pieces of the rudder and right stabilizer causing the Nick to spin into the ocean.

These are only 5 brief accounts in the book of the many detailed encounters between the Japanese, Americans, and the British by the author. Each page of the book is filled with individual’s stories and combat situations with the Japanese. The Author also describes the role of the United States Submarines in the Sea of Japan.

Included photos from the book:

  • The Command Staff for the Pacific campaign.
  • Damage to the wood flight deck of the USS Bunker Hill
  • Aircraft carrier USS Cowpens rolling in heavy seas during Typhoon Cobra
  • Murders row, aircraft carriers at the Ulithi repair and replenish Navy base.


This book was an awesome publication, fun to read and review. Every page is packed with details of events that took place from Leyte Gulf to Tokyo Bay for the US Navy and the role of the British Royal Navy fighting the Japanese. I am going to go out and buy Mr. Cleavers other books.

This is definitely recommend reading especially for anyone who is interested in World War 2’s Pacific battles. I have a special interest in the Pacific War and reading this book is a great resource. I have read of the two Typhoons documented and the tragic toll they took on Navy resources and sailors, a subject well detailed in the book.

Thank you to Thomas McKelvey Cleaver, Osprey Publishing and IPMS for the ability to review this book.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.