I just finished this book yesterday, and I must say after the first few chapters, it's one that's hard to put down. One night I read until 3am, it was so riveting.
It's the story of how, during the invasion of the Philippines, the Japanese surprised the invasion force with a full on naval attack, after baiting Admiral Halsey to sail his fleet away chasing another Japanese fleet. Out gunned in the extreme, the American destroyers, called "tin cans," charged into the teeth of the Japanese fleet, firing furiously, and ultimately contributing to turning aside the enemy.
It's an amazing read, during a time when the United States was up against a foe that was well armed, resourceful and determined. In this case, the tin cans were up against a far better armed force, but the destroyers so impressed the Japanese with their willingness to fight to the death, that when the American survivors of one sunk can, floating in the sea, were passed by another Japanese ship, the Japanese sailors honored them by standing at attention on deck as they passed.
I was also surprised to see a post on this very battle up at Ace of Spades.
Thanks for loaning it to me, Lou, it was great!
You're welcome my friend. I'm glad you found it as compelling as I did.ReplyDelete
My father was on the USS Hazelwood (Fletcher Class Destroyer), DD531, and was hit by a kamikaze off Okinawa. The book had special meaning to me because of him, even though it didn't cover the Okinawa Campaign. He was a Tin Can Sailor.ReplyDelete
A great book on the Okinawa battle is Tennozan. Once you read that, you know why there was no hesitation to use nuclear weapons to bring that war to a halt.Delete
The men who fought WW2 had a different vision of war at the conclusion of the conflict than the soft Americans of the present day. Could we as a people stand again? Maybe. Maybe they'd prefer slavery.Delete
Definitely one of my favorites ...and not just because I served in a tin can.ReplyDelete
I had no idea, when picked up the book, who the heck the sailor my ship, the USS Wiltsie (Gearing Class) DD716, was named for.
Small world! I was a GM on the Southerland, DD 743 from 68 to 72 and I'm sure we were in the same Hong Kong and Subic Bay bars when we weren't on the gunline.Delete
That's a wonderful book by Hornfischer. He so well conveys the brass balls courage of the men who unflinchingly drove their badly outgunned ships into battle and fought so valiantly as long as possible... and beyond.ReplyDelete
His "Neptune's Inferno" about the naval forces at Guadalcanal is also good, although I had wished better action illustrations while reading. What's there is not quite sufficient for this layman to fully visualize what he was describing in words.
For another really good book on the naval war in the pacific, try Evan Thomas's "Sea of Thunder," where he follows both the Americans, Halsey and Evans, and the Japanese, Kurita and Ugaki before, up to and through the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Very balanced and thorough.
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Feel free to delete the duplicate comment. It's not worth reading twice. :-)Delete