The early morning hours of July 6, 1943, found the USS Helena off the Solomon Islands in what would later be known as the Battle of Kula Gulf. But the ship’s participation in the battle came to a swift end when three Japanese torpedoes suddenly struck. One hundred and sixty-eight sailors went down with the ship, many never surviving the initial torpedo hits. As the last of the Helena disappeared below the ocean’s surface, the remaining crewmen’s struggle for survival had only just begun. Sunk in Kula Gulf tells the epic story of the Helena’s survivors. Two destroyers plucked more than seven hundred from the sea in a night rescue operation as the battle continued to rage. A second group of eighty-eight sailors --clustered into three lifeboats--made it to a nearby island and was rescued the next day. A third group of survivors, spread over a wide area, was missed entirely. Clinging to life rafts or debris, the weary men were pushed away from the area of the sinking by a strong current. After enduring days at sea under the hot tropical sun, they finally found land. It was, however, the Japanese-held island of Vella Lavella and deep behind the front lines. The survivors organized and disappeared into the island’s interior jungle. Living a meager existence, the group evaded the Japanese for eight days until the Marines and U.S. Navy evacuated the shipwrecked sailors in a daring rescue operation. Using a wide variety of sources, including previously unpublished firsthand accounts, John J. Domagalski brings to life this amazing, little-known story from World War II.
A gunnery officer on one of the American destroyers involved in the Battle of Tassafaronga assesses the tactical U.S. failures of the battle and the discussions that followed, especially the fact that it took until well into 1943 before Americans acknowledged the superior capabilities of Japan's torpedoes and their night tactics. Original.
This is the Life and Death Story of a famous ship, a very special ship that endured almost to the point of invincibility?until one dark night its luck ran out?or maybe it was only some diabolical twist of fate?long overdue?What better way to relate this Helena Story than from the inside as seen through the eyes of its crew-members; rather than following the usual stereotyped path of massaged battle reports based on after the fact access to analytically reconstructed data (even including that of the enemy)?Why not a first-hand narrative, a subjective one as viewed by a junior-officer reporting aboard his first ship: strangely?by coincidence, the very same ship his twin brother, as a plank-owner, had placed in commission only a short two years before Pearl Harbor?Why not a full accounting(?)?beyond that ?living-hell? of night encounters; of battles fought at point-blank range: in eerie, acrid smoke-filled darkness?sporadically interrupted by the blinding glare of searchlights and bursting starshells? billowing flashes of gunfire? exploding torpedoes, burning ships?those intermittent cries of distress and garbled transmissions?the scene beyond mere confusion and rampant disorder?as friend and foe alike become entangled in a single encircling mass!Yes?tell about the story of ships in the night, off Guadalcanal, patrolling the ?Slot?, intercepting the ?Tokyo Express?.And make it a story of feeling, of emotion; of life aboard ship; of shore-leave in San Francisco and Sydney, Australia during WW II?of the almost countless humorous daily incidents, personalities, and wartime vigils beneath distant southern stars.
This book is written about a Light Cruiser that was heavily involved in the Solomon's in the far Pacific. It seemed that she was indestructable and possessed of a charmed life. Time after time when trouble struck and it seemed that disaster lurked in the wings the angel of death passed over her. But those who repeatedly tempt fate are destined to reap a bitter harvest. It happened after the Enemy had been driven off the Island of Guadalcanal and had retired to the Island of New Georgia to make a desperate stand. But the United States Military Forces were not to be denied the Fruits of Final Victory. Fierce nocturnal Fights erupted at Night in the Sea around the Island of New Georgia. And it was on one of these terrible nights in a God Forsaken stretch of Water the Natives called Kula Gulf that the Helena's charmed life came to an end. The first Torpedo tore off her bow; two more torpedoes broke her hull in two pieces and put her on the bottom. About 176 men perished in the sinking. Another 760 were cast into the sea. Two destroyer picked up about 500 of them and fled the scene to be out of reach of the Japanese dive bombers before dawn began to light up the eastern sky. This book is about the rescue of the remaining crew members who remained in the dark murky waters of Kula Gulf. These unfortunate men had no assurance that they would ever be rescued. Many of them spent what seemed to be endless hours tortured by thirst; plagued by the pain of burns and other injuries that exposed raw flesh to the Salt Water. It was a hellish situation if there ever was one. From time to time another and another gave up the fight to survive and sank below the sea to rise no more. Here they were cast into the dark waters right at the enemies doorstep. But their salvation was waiting in the wings as the valor and devotion to their fellow comrades decided the issue. Like the Cavalry of Old charging across the prairie with the Bugles Shrill notes blowing the Charge the remaining destoyers at Guadalcanal came to their rescue. This in the final analysis is the incredible Story of that Valiant Rescue.
Made famous by her final commanding officer, John F. Kennedy, PT-109 is one of the most celebrated warships in American history. However, a full chronicle of PT-109's wartime story has heretofore been lacking. Behind the familiar account of the future president and the boat's violent demise is the little-known record under two previous officers dur
Named as the North American Book Exchanges winner of the 2008 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in the Reference catagory, this book is laid out like a calendar containing information pertaining to World War II. In going to a specific date, you will find it divided by area (i.e. Western Europe, North America etc.). Those areas are further divided by year. What makes it unique is that those years range from the 1800s to the present day. The information includes everything from actual battles, to the final fate of a favorite ship, to the activities of movie stars during the war. It covers the first six months of the year. Volume Two takes care of the last six months.
During the opening days of World War II in the Pacific, a small group of American sailors in the Philippines were propelled into the forefront of the fighting. They were manned with six small wooden torpedo (PT) boats and led by a courageous, larger-than-life character in Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley. The men of Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 faced insurmountable odds as they conducted a series of heroic operations against the navy and air power of Imperial Japan. As AmericaÕs defense of the Philippines crumbled under the weight of a massive Japanese assault, the courageous activities of BulkeleyÕs men made headlines across the U.S.Ñoften as the only good news coming from the bleak Pacific front. The unit achieved everlasting fame by evacuating General Douglas MacArthur from the front. Then the squadron continued to fight on until all six of its torpedo boats were lost under fire. The fate of the doomed American defenders was sealed when the Japanese won the battle for the islands in the spring of 1942. The exploits of the unit were immortalized in the blockbuster 1945 movie They Were Expendable, starring John Wayne and Robert Montgomery, but since then the saga of Bulkeley and his men has slipped into history. Under a Blood Red Sun revives the story of the Philippine PT-boats through the intertwined accounts of Bulkeley and his subordinate officers and men. It is a story of the courage and sacrifice of men thousands of miles from their homeland, representing American gallantry and fighting prowess, while giving the Japanese a taste of what was further to come their way.
CARRIER STRIKE The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942 By Eric Hammel The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, a strategic naval action in the bitter Guadalcanal Campaign, was history’s fourth carrier-versus-carrier naval battle. Though technically a Japanese victory, the battle proved to be the Empire of Japan’s last serious attempt to win the Pacific War by means of an all-out carrier confrontation. Only one other carrier battle occurred in the Pacific War, in June 1944, in the Philippine Sea. By then, however, the U.S. Navy’s Fast Carrier Task Force was operational, and Japan’s dwindling fleet of carriers was outnumbered and completely outclassed. Though hundreds of Japanese naval aviators perished in the great Marianas Turkey Shoot of June 19–20, 1944, it was during the first four carrier battles—in the six-month period from early May through late October 1942—that the fate of Japan’s small, elite naval air arm was sealed. It was at Coral Sea, in May, that Japan’s juggernaut across the Pacific was blunted. It was at Midway, in June, that Japan’s great carrier fleet was cut down to manageable size. And it was at Eastern Solomons, in August, and Santa Cruz, in October, that Japan’s last best carrier air groups were ground to dust. After their technical victory at Santa Cruz, the Japanese withdrew their carriers from the South Pacific—and were never able to use them again as a strategically decisive weapon. Of the four Japanese aircraft carriers that participated in the Santa Cruz battle, only one survived the war. Following Santa Cruz and the subsequent series of air and surface engagements known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the Imperial Navy’s Combined Fleet never again attempted a meaningful strategic showdown with the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Though several subsequent surface actions in the Solomons were clearly Japanese victories, their results were short-lived. After November 1942, Japan could not again muster the staying power—or the willpower—to wage a strategic war with her navy. Once the veteran carrier air groups had been shredded at Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz, Japanese carriers ceased to be a strategic weapon. The Santa Cruz clash was deemed a Japanese victory because U.S. naval forces withdrew from the battlefield. That is how victory and defeat are strictly determined. But on the broader, strategic, level, the U.S. Navy won at Santa Cruz—because it was able to achieve its strategic goal of holding the line and buying time. Japan was unable to achieve her strategic goal of defeating the U.S. Pacific Fleet in a final, decisive, all-or-nothing battle. The technical victory cost Japan any serious hope she had of winning the Pacific naval war. The “victory” at Santa Cruz cost Japan her last best hope to win the war in the Pacific. Once again, author-historian Eric Hammel brings to the reading public an exciting narrative filled with the latest information and written in the edge-of-the-seat style that his readers have enjoyed for nearly two decades, in nearly thirty acclaimed military history books. As was the case with its companion volume, Carrier Clash, this new book is based upon American and Japanese battle reports and the recollections of many airmen and seamen who took part.
Abandon Ship is a fascinating account of enlisted life onboard U.S. naval warships in the Pacific Theater during WW2. Bill Jim Davis, the author, provides a riveting account of what it was like for him as a young seaman during those hazardous times. Amazingly, his individual experiences took him from the attack on Pearl Harbor to Okinawa, to the Japanese mainland, and from a new recruit to a commissioned officer by war's end. The reader gets a vivid, blow by blow account of the war in the Pacific. Anyone who wishes to see the war in the Pacific from the well trained eyes of a young sailor will find great value in this book. We, as a nation, are forever indebted to the young Davis and countless others like him who answered the call to duty and performed with valor. Such accounts are an invaluable reminder to future generations of the sacrifice, courage, and vigilance required to maintain the liberty and freedom we all enjoy in our great nation. Those young men and women who aspire to service in the United States Navy would be well served by reading this book.
Not much larger than a few city blocks (219 acres, plus 72 acres of water), the Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of the most historically significant sites in America. It was one of the U.S. Navy’s major shipbuilding and repair yards from 1801 to 1966. It produced more than 80 warships and hundreds of smaller vessels. At its height during World War II, it worked around the clock, employing some 70,000 people. The yard built the Monitor, the world’s first modern warship; the Maine, whose destruction set off the Spanish-American War; the Arizona, whose sinking launched America into World War II; and the Missouri, on whose deck World War II ended. On June 25, 1966, the flag at the Brooklyn Navy Yard was lowered for the last time and the 165-year-old institution ceased to exist. Sold to the City of New York for $22.4 million, the yard became a site for storage of vehicles, some light industry, and a modest amount of civilian ship repair.
The dramatic account of two American warships in the South Pacific, this book follows the USS Astoria (CA–34) and USS Chicago (CA–29) during the late summer of 1942, when both participated in the early days of the critical battle for Guadalcanal. Drawing on a variety of firsthand accounts, some previously unpublished, the book tells the story from the perspective of the men aboard each ship, transporting readers inside the gun turrets, behind the lookout binoculars, and below deck as the battle rages. Individual stories of heroism, sacrifice and survival unfold as both vessels meet their fates in the South Pacific.
Military history. The story of the World War II warship dubbed "The Fightin'est Ship" -- the cruiser "Helena."
"This publication is the eighth in the series The U.S. Navy and the Vietnam War. The publication focuses on the sealift and logistic operations during the war and includes a number of photographs as well as sidebars detailing specific people and ships involved in the logistic operations."--Provided by publisher.
An epic narrative of World War II naval action that brings to life the sailors and exploits of the war's most decorated destroyer squadron When Admiral William Halsey selected Destroyer Squadron 21 (Desron 21) to lead his victorious ships into Tokyo Bay to accept the Japanese surrender, it was the most battle-hardened US naval squadron of the war. But it was not the squadron of ships that had accumulated such an inspiring resume; it was the people serving aboard them. Sailors, not metallic superstructures and hulls, had won the battles and become the stuff of legend. Men like Commander Donald MacDonald, skipper of the USS O'Bannon, who became the most decorated naval officer of the Pacific war; Lieutenant Hugh Barr Miller, who survived his ship's sinking and waged a one-man battle against the enemy while stranded on a Japanese-occupied island; and Doctor Dow "Doc" Ransom, the beloved physician of the USS La Vallette, who combined a mixture of humor and medical expertise to treat his patients at sea, epitomize the sacrifices made by all the men and women of World War II. Through diaries, personal interviews with survivors, and letters written to and by the crews during the war, preeminent historian of the Pacific theater John Wukovits brings to life the human story of the squadron and its men who bested the Japanese in the Pacific and helped take the war to Tokyo.
Originally printed in 1946 at the order of Vice Admiral Lockwood, Commander of Submarines, Pacific Fleet, United States Submarine Losses memorializes the 374 officers and 3131 men lost at sea between 1941 and 1945. It also chronicles the gallantry and persistence of these men, who under the most difficult conditions possible, performed critical missions and almost single-handedly decimated Japan¿s merchant fleet. ¿To those whose contribution meant the loss of sons, brothers or husbands in this war,¿ Admiral Lockwood noted in a speech given on Navy Day, 1945, ¿ I can assure you that they went down fighting and that their brothers who survived them took a grim toll of our savage enemy to avenge their deaths. May God rest their gallant souls.¿ This book is a testament to all those, living and dead, who served in the Silent Service in WWII. This enhanced, softbound edition features the entire original text and includes an official appendix of Axis submarine losses.
During World War II, the United States built 72 light cruisers of various classes. In response to the severe air threat that surface ships faced, new cruisers were designed with increasingly heavy antiaircraft weaponry as well as the traditional six-inch guns. With the speed and range to keep up with aircraft carriers, and their considerable antiaircraft capability, they were a mainstay of the carrier escorts. This book examines every US light cruiser produced, including those of the Fargo and Worcester classes--which were actually completed after World War II had ended--tracing their design, development, and evolution throughout the war and beyond.