Rain of Steel

Mitscher's Task Force 58, Ugaki's Thunder Gods, and the Kamikaze War off Okinawa

  • Subject: World War II
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    133 b/w photos 4 b/w maps
  • Published:
    September 15, 2020
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9.25 × 6.125 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    31 oz
Hardcover $41.95
Member Price $33.56 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


The last Pacific campaign of World War II was the most violent on record. Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher’s Task Force 58 carriers had conducted air strikes on mainland Japan and supported the Iwo Jima landings, but his aviators were sorely tested once the Okinawa campaign commenced on 1 April 1945. 

Rain of Steel follows Navy and Marine carrier aviators in the desperate air battles to control the kamikazes directed by Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki. The latter would unleash ten different Kikusui aerial suicide operations, one including a naval force built around the world’s most powerful battleship, the 71,000-ton Yamato. These battles are related largely through the words and experiences of some of the last living U.S. fighter aces of World War II. 

More than 1,900 kamikaze sorties—and thousands more traditional attack aircraft—would be launched against the U.S. Navy’s warships, radar picket ships, and amphibious vessels during the Okinawa campaign. In this time, Navy, Marine, and Army Air Force pilots would claim some 2,326 aerial victories. The most successful four-man fighter division in U.S. Navy history would be crowned during the fight against Ugaki’s kamikazes. The Japanese named the campaign tetsu no ame (“rain of steel”), often referred to in English as “typhoon of steel.” 

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

Rain of Steel not only profiles some of the unknown men who fought and won the brutal final Pacific campaign in World War II, but brings to life how close we came to defeat at the hands of the relentless Japanese. The bravery, guile, and determination outlined in Stephen Moore’s masterpiece insure the names and faces and gathering heroics at Okinawa will never be forgotten.” —Brian Kilmeade, author of New York Times best-sellers George Washington’s Secret Six and Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers

“Stephen Moore adds to his already lustrous reputation by bringing to life the dramatic story of U.S. carrier aircraft battling Japanese aces in the Pacific. His reliance on aviator interviews reminds us that these were humans, not aircraft, racing into battle, and as such they grappled with every emotion as they gallantly met their foe. Moore helps illuminate a part of the Pacific War that offers courage, a sense of duty, and lessons for us all.” —John Wukovits, 2018 recipient of the RADM Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature and author of the recent Dogfight over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men to Die in World War II
“Context and action. These attributes, in combination with Moore's exhaustive research and excellent writing, make the history of the savage fight against Japan's suicide flyers uniquely accessible to all. Rain of Steel is a must-read for aviation fans and students of the Pacific War alike. Highly recommended.” —Jay A. Stout, author of Air Apaches: The True Story of the 345th Bomb Group and Its Low, Fast, and Deadly Missions in World War II
Rain of Steel is a rare book. It offers a fresh look at a campaign now 75 years in the past. Combining contemporary records, declassified material, newly unearthed source material, and recent interviews, Moore brings the past into the present. He lets readers see the battle through the eyes of the participants.” —Ricochet
“Moore tells the story of the last great battle of the War in the Pacific with masterful grace. His detailed narrative is factual and specific, and includes dozens of Marine Corps and Navy squadrons, U.S. air groups, task groups, and task forces…. Moore’s work is clearly a labor of love, describing a one-of-a-kind, now-unimaginable warfare coordinated by a peerless leader in Adm. Mitscher. This book is packed with extensive notes, references, photos, glossary, and information from both historical records and witness interviews. Moore provides context and nuance in an objective and steady style that is a pleasure to read.” —Navy Reads
Rain of Steel is a solid book. The reader gains an appreciation of the importance of the Okinawa campaign on multiple levels. The extensive interviews make this a useful work in understanding the experiences of the individual participants. At the same time, Moore has crafted an accessible narrative. That narrative takes the individual battles and actions from 1945 that can seem to be distinct, separate events and weaves them into a fabric that places the battle of Okinawa within a strategic framework. It’s an indispensable reference for understanding the Okinawa campaign…. If you want to understand the last year of the war in the Pacific, Rain of Steel is an excellent book with which to start your exploration.” —Armchair General
“Moore has … done the hard work in museums, archives, and interviews. He uses his research to insert further detail into some of the campaign’s greatest war stories—the hard slog up to Shuri Castle, the Bunker Hill, the Yamato, Hacksaw Ridge, and Ernie Pyle’s death are all narrated here with admirable objectivity.” —Air Space & Power Journal
“The book is well illustrated and, as one would expect, there are plentiful source notes for those who want to research further and a bibliography which runs to thirteen pages, including oral histories and personal papers.  For those who want to read about the achievements of Marc Mitscher, his chief of staff Arleigh Burke and Task Force 58’s fighter pilots during the Okinawa campaign or, perhaps, to understand the vast expansion of the US Navy and Marine Corps’ fighter squadrons to form the core element of the most powerful fleet the world had ever known in the pre-nuclear era, this is a good book and I thoroughly recommend it.” —Australian Naval Institute
“Moore’s work gives readers an excellent and detailed description of skill, bravery, and command of the seas and the air by the United States Navy in World War II.” —Naval Historical Foundation
“Moore has written an engrossing book enriched with compelling main character studies.” —Air & Space
Rain of Steel is one of the top five aviation books released in the last year or so, and should be on everyone’s reading list.” —The Aviation Historian