This is a highly illustrated history one of the most deadly types of attack aircraft. The torpedo bomber first appeared during the later years of World War One but served their most useful role in the Second World War. The most famous attacks include Taranto, where Fairey Swordfish destroyed the Italian Battle fleet and the infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. In both these cases the attacks were against ships laying in harbour and therefore stationary. Heavy defensive anti-aircraft fire was the greatest danger to the torpedo bombers in those circumstances but ships under way in the open sea had far more room to take evasive action. The lengthy time it took a torpedo to reach its target allowed many ships to escape destruction. However noteable exceptions were the sinking HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse by the Japanese during the early stages of the war in the Far East. During the hunt for the Bismark it was an air-launched torpedo from a Swordfish that severley damaged the ship's steering gear and enabled the Royal Navy to close in for the final kill.
Some of the types included are the Fairey Swordfish, Bristol Beaufort, Fairey Albacore, Bristol Beaufighter, Heinkell He 115, Marchetti SM.79, Fokker T.VIII, Grumman Avenger and the Nakajima B5N.
Peter C. Smith is an internationally renowned author on the history of the dive-bomber, especially with regard to the feared and reviled Junkers Ju 87. His first book, Stuka at War, appeared in 1971 and contained a foreword by Hans-Ulrich Rudel, sole holder of the Golden Oak Leaves with Swords and Diamonds to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He is also author of Junkers Ju 87 Stuka (1998), Stuka Squadron (1990), Stuka Spearhead (1998), Stukas over the Mediterranean (1999), and Stukas over the Steppe (1999). His wider interest in the dive-bomber has led to books on the Vultee Vengeance, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, North American A-36 Apache, Petlyakov Pe-2 Peshka, Blackburn Skua. Douglas SBD Dauntless, Douglas AD Skyraider, and the Aichi D3A1/2 as well as many articles for several leading military and aviation magazines.