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Old 07-03-2013, 05:01 AM
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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'm up to volume 11 of Samuel Elliot Morrison's, The History of US Naval Operations in WWII.

I was wondering if any of you US Navy buffs can recommend more detailed, balanced and recent histories of individual battles in the Pacific, not just the ones we "won".

I did buy the book, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors about the engagement between Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's battle fleet and the ships of Taffy 3 in the Battle off Samar and enjoyed immensely.

My father, who served in the USCG in WWII in the North Atlantic and Pacific gave me the Morrison series in 1963 and I hadn't read them for, what, 50 years! The stimulus to do so was supplied by The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea by Walter Borneman.

Too bad there is not a recent biography of Leahy, whose role in the war has been overshadowed by King, Nimitz, Halsey and others. Great men and often often don't have great moments because they are quietly and consistently great.

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Old 07-03-2013, 10:40 AM
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I have a few that my father (retired E9 US Army who reads constantly) read, enjoyed and recommended to me. They aren't nearly as weighty as the History of US Naval Operations, but you may find them enjoyable nonetheless...

(quotes taken from Amazon)

The Dungaree Pilot: A US Navy sailor with a dream to fly; And where that dream landed him.

His passion to become a U.S. naval aviator found its home in his heart at the tender age of fifteen during the Great Depression. It began one summer afternoon while lying in the sand on a New Jersey beach. From his unique vantage point, he witnessed small navy planes fly in and out of the belly of the airship, USS Akron.

His biography traces his family heritage and deep roots in New Jersey that served as his permanent foundation during an uncertain career. It focuses on the life-threatening experiences he faced in pursuing his goal. The up close explosion of the Hindenburg while assigned to its ground crew and his unusual escape from the attack on Pearl Harbor via a bottle of whiskey were just a couple of his near misses.

As a navy pilot, he risked his life during WWII in an assignment to bomb German subs in the Atlantic and Caribbean and later flew a test flight through an actual atomic bomb blast. A crash-landing in a New York cemetery and a lightning strike late at night over the dark Atlantic added to the threats on his life.

His story represents the thousands of undecorated and unrecognized heroes of the greatest generation. The experiences of two decorated heroes, Elwood’s close friends, are paralleled throughout his own story.

His high school buddy, Bob Case, became a WWII Army Air Corps flying ace in the Pacific. The other, Eddie Bronson, was a forgotten childhood school chum, with whom Elwood was reunited at the navy indoctrination center in Philadelphia. Three ships were sunk beneath him, the last of which led to three and a half years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, and the revenge imposed on the captors at the war’s end.
Humble Heroes, How the USS Nashville CL43 Fought WW2

“Top Secret” mystery missions, many without other ships in support, were becoming uncomfortably familiar for the crew of the USS Nashville CL43. It started like a Hollywood thriller, secretly transporting from England $25 million in British gold bullion, delivered to the ship in unguarded bread trucks, a pre-war “Neutrality Patrol” that was really an unofficial hostile search for the far bigger and more powerful German battleship Prinz Eugen, and sneaking through the Panama Canal at night with the ship’s name and hull number covered for secrecy.

Now, with the ship bulging with an unusual load of fuel and supplies, in the company of a large fleet quietly passing under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the crew was about to learn of their latest (but not last) and most improbable adventure yet as the captain made an announcement that would change the war and their lives forever, “We are going to Tokyo!”. Over three years, scores of battles and hundreds of thousands of ocean miles later, the Nashville and her crew had earned 10 Battle Stars, served from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the Aleutians to the Yangtze River, as McArthur’s flagship and suffered heavy casualties from a devastating kamikaze attack. Tokyo Rose reported her sunk, repeatedly.

Earlier, with goodwill trips that included France, England, Scandinavia, Bermuda and Rio de Janeiro, the new, sleek Nashville built a pre-war reputation as a “glamour ship”. But with war came the secret missions, capturing the second and third Japanese POWs of the war, having a torpedo pass just under the stern, being strafed and bombed by Japanese planes, losing a third of the crew in a single devastating Kamikaze attack, swimming in shark infested waters protected by marines with machine guns, enjoying the beauty of Sydney and her people, planning a suicide mission to destroy the Japanese fishing fleet, and bombarding Japanese troops and airfields across the Pacific.

The Nashville crew served their ship and country well. They came from Baltimore row-houses, New York walk-ups, San Francisco flats, Kansas wheat farms, Colorado cattle ranches, Louisiana bayous and Maine fishing towns. Many had never traveled more than 25 miles from home and had never seen the ocean until they joined the service. They were part Irish, part Italian, part Polish and All-American. Battered, burnt and bombed, they made the USS Nashville their home and lived and died as eternal shipmates. Historical narrative enriched with the personal stories of the crew, this is the story of a ship and crew of ordinary men who did extraordinary things.
At Close Quarters: PT Boats in the US Navy

Small though they were, PT boats played a key role in World War II, carrying out an astonishing variety of missions where fast, versatile, and strongly armed vessels were needed. Called "weapons of opportunity," they met the enemy at closer quarters and with greater frequency than any other type of surface craft. Among the most famous PT commanders was John F. Kennedy, whose courageous actions in the Pacific are now well known to the American public. The author of the book, another distinguished PT boat commander in the Pacific, compiled this history of PT-boat operations in World War II for the U.S. Navy shortly after V-J Day, when memories were fresh and records easily assessable. Bulkley provides a wealth of facts about these motor torpedo boats, whose vast range of operation covered two oceans as well as the Mediterranean and the English Channel. Although their primary mission was to attack surface ships and craft close to shore, they were also used effectively to lay mines and smoke screens, to rescue downed aviators, and to carry out intelligence and raider operations. The author gives special attention to the crews, paying well-deserved tribute to their heroism, skill, and sacrifice that helped to win the war.
Torpedo Squadron 4 - A Cockpit View of WW2

Thomas, in the only combat account of World War II Torpedo Bomber pilot ever published, relates his 25 months of service with Torpedo Squadron 4 (VT-4) on the USS RANGER, USS BUNKER HILL, and USS ESSEX. Thomas served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters, and in some of the most important World War II battles.

While on the RANGER, he participated in OPERATION LEADER, the most significant attack on Northern Europe by a US carrier during the war. During LEADER, while attacking a freight barge carrying 40 tons of ammunition, Thomas' plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Surprisingly, in spite of the considerable engine damage, the plane made it back to the RANGER, where Thomas crash-landed. That landing was his 13th official carrier landing.

In the Pacific, Thomas participated in the numerous actions against Japanese targets in the Philippines, including strikes on Ormoc Bay, Cavite, Manilla, Santa Cruz, San Fernando, Lingayen, Mindoro, Clark Field and Aparri.

Following these actions, Thomas' squadron made strikes on Formosa, French Indo-China, Saigon, Pescadores, Hainan, Amami O Shima, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Japan. The attack on Japan was the first attack on Japan from an aircraft carrier since the "Doolittle Raid."

While on the ESSEX, just after Thomas had returned from a strike on Santa Cruz, the ship was hit by a Kamikaze piloted by Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Yoshino Special Attack Corps. Yamaguchi was flying a Yokosuba D4Y3 dive bomber. The Kamikaze attack killed 16 crewman and wounded 44.

Returning from a strike on Hainan, off the Chinese coast, Thomas' plane ran out of fuel. After a harrowing water landing, Thomas and squadron photographer Montague succeeded in inflating and launching one rubber boat and his crewman Gress another. After a long day in pre-Typhoon weather with 40 foot swells, the three were rescued by the USS SULLIVANS.

In recounting the events in this book, Thomas draws upon his daily journal, his letters home, and extensive interviews and research conducted over 40 years with fellow pilots and crewman. The book cites 20 interviews and 5 combat journals, and contains 209 photos documenting the ships, planes, men, and combat actions of Torpedo Squadron 4. Many of the photographs were collected by Thomas during the war and include gun photo shots, recon photos, and, remarkably, a picture of the tail of Thomas' Torpedo plane as it sinks in the China Sea following his water crash landing.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:05 AM
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Fom the Japanese perspective, I enjoyed "Shattered Sword", by J.Parshall & A. Tully, about the failure of the "Kido Butai" at Midway. Read sometime ago, "Japanese Destroyer Captain" by Tameichi Hara was very good.
"Pacific Crucible: by Ian Tull covers the first 6 months of the Pacific War. " Neptune's Inferno" by James Hornfischer is a fine account of the naval battles of the Guadalcanal campaign.
" Tin Can Sailor", by Raymond Calhoun, is about the USS Sterett in the Pacific.
Just a few suggestions.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:25 AM
Location: NE Mississippi
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"Robinson Crusoe, USN:

I have an original, autographed copy of this book. Mine is not for sale. It is the story, written first person, of George Tweed, who spent years on Guam surviving in the jungle waiting for the U.S. to come back.
It makes me angry with myself for not knowing this history when I was on Guam in 1967, as many of the people involved would have still been alive then. I would have loved to sit and have a conversation.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:32 AM
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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Thanks, keep them coming!
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:56 AM
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Rick Atkinson's trilogy on the American Army in the Western Europe and Mediterranean theaters is first rate.
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Rick Atkinson's trilogy on the American Army in the Western Europe and Mediterranean theaters is first rate.
Yes, but the OP is looking for books on Pacific naval battles.
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Old 07-10-2013, 01:05 PM
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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You might like to take a look at these, dealing with the RCN escort ships war, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Here are three that I have in my collection, and each is a good one, on its own.

The Corvette Navy. by James B Lamb, a RCNVR Lt, in corvettes in WW2. No Admirals are mentioned, but the day to day grind of convoy and U boat actions are covered fully, and he talks about the characters that he served with. ISBN 0-7737-6127-6 Published MacMillan Toronto 1977.

Tin Hats, Oil skins and Seaboots. by Latham B Jenson.

He started out as a 16 year old Ensign, in the RN, although he was a Canadian by birth, in the late 30 s pre war period. He rose to command a number of RCN ships, and his book is FULL of excellent hand drawn sketches of every thing from ships compartments to a sea mans kit as laid out for Captains rounds.

His descriptions of action at sea are right on, and he spares no sacred cows, when he talks about how things SHOULD have been done, in training and at sea. ISBN 1-896941-14-1 Published by Robin Brass Studio, Toronto, in 200. This author has about 20 other books in print, about various themes, all naval in topic.

On the Triangle Run, By James B Lamb. This refers to the convoy route that started in American east coast ports, went up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, then on to St John Newfoundland, then on to the Mid Ocean Meeting Point, where the RCN turned the convoy over to RN escorts, then back to the starting point, usually at NYC. ISBN 0-7737-3255-1 Published by MacMillan Canada 1977.

In the beginning of the Second World War, in 1939, the RCN had a total of six modern destroyers.... by the end of the war, it had over 400 ships, most of which were built in Canadian ship yards. That made the RCN the third largest navy in the world, in 1945, behind the USN and the RN.

A final point, the Germans were not afraid to operate in the shallow waters of the St Lawrence river, and they sank a number of freighters there.... and the RCN sank a number of U boats there as well.

Jim B

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Old 07-10-2013, 02:25 PM
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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For detailed history and information on specific ships, Paul Stillwell's books can't be beat.

Battleship Missouri and Battleship Arizona are the two I have.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:22 AM
Location: london,England
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There are so many excellent Naval history book's [unfortunatly there are also a lot of not so good ones] but if i had to choose say 10 it would be 1]DREADNOUGHT by ROBERT K. MASSIE..2]CHURCHILL'S NAVY by BRIAN LAVERY ..3]ADMIRALS by ANDREW LAMBERT ..4]THE WAR AT SEA 1939-45 byRICHARD HOUGH.....5]A PIRATE OF EXQUISITE MIND [WILLIAM DAMPIER]by DIANE PRESTON..6]COMMAND OF THE OCEAN BY N.A.M RODGER..7]TRAFALGAR by ROY ADKIN..8]WAR FOR ALL THE OCEANS by ROY ADKIN...9]CAPTAIN COOK [a biography]by RICHARD HOUGH ..10]SEA WOLVES by TIM CLAYTON all factual books hope it helps .I just reread the thread again and it say's WW2 i know but you won't go far wrong with any of these,of course they are anglo centric but most naval buff's are interested in each others Navies to some extent
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