Despite myth, the Japanese carrier force was not destroyed at Midway but survived to still prove a threat in the Pacific Theater. Nowhere was this clearer than in the battle of Santa Cruz of October 1942. The stalemate on the ground in the Guadalcanal campaign led to the major naval forces of both belligerents becoming inexorably more and more involved in the fighting, each seeking to win the major victory that would open the way for a breakthrough on land as well. The Japanese were able to gain a tactical victory at Santa Cruz and came very close to scoring a strategic victory, but they paid a very high price in aircraft and aircrew that prevented them from following up their victory. In terms of their invaluable aircrew, the battle was much more costly than even Midway and had a serious impact on the ability of the Japanese to carry out carrier warfare in a meaningful manner.
Mark E. Stille (Commander, United States Navy, retired) received his BA in History from the University of Maryland and also holds an MA from the Naval War College. He has worked in the intelligence community for 30 years including tours on the faculty of the Naval War College, on the Joint Staff and on US Navy ships. He is currently a senior analyst working in the Washington DC area. He is also the author of numerous Osprey titles, focusing on naval history in the Pacific. He is also the author of several wargames. Howard Gerrard studied at the Wallasey School of Art and has been a freelance designer and illustrator for over 20 years. He has worked for a number of publishers and is an associate member of the Guild of Aviation Artists. He has won both the Society of British Aerospace Companies Award and the Wilkinson Sword Trophy, and has illustrated a number of books for Osprey. Howard lives and works in Kent