Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (2004)

Author: James D. Hornfischer | Page Count: 427
“In no engagement in its entire history has the United States Navy shown more gallantry, guts and gumption than in those two morning hours between 0730 and 0930 off Samar.” - Samuel Eliot Morison.
Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors recounts the events of October 25, 1944 in the Battle off Samar; one of the greatest military mismatches in naval history. Read how the tiny US task unit Taffy 3 came to face the powerful Japanese Center Force including the famous Yamato; the largest battleship ever put to sea and larger than all the American ships combined. The sailors of Taffy 3 fought a desperate battle using anything and everything at their disposal to keep the Japanese from reaching their objective which was to disrupt the invasion forces at Leyte Gulf. As part of a larger strategy, this would keep the US from taking the strategically important and resource-rich Philippines.

James D. Hornfischer writes a narrative that is crisp and engrossing which is a nice change from some other military histories that are often too rigid for their own good. Pictures and diagrams give a clear picture of the larger battle while the story provides a more personal point of view from various sailors. One stand out example is two sailors going down a hallway when an explosion rocks the ship. One looks over to his shipmate he was speaking to only moments ago… and sees his headless body walk several paces before collapsing. One of many things that sailors experienced.

If military history is your thing, you can’t do much better than this tale of courage in the face of hopeless odds.

4 torpedoed cruisers out of 5

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