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The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The…
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The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II… (2004)

by James D. Hornfischer

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A very easy book to read and an excellent account of a battle that's always interested me. I was compelled to read the book after watching a Military Channel program that featured the author. This book hit all the spots I wanted it to - both sides although naturally more the US side, the ships and planes covered, the actors very well covered, ther hum,an angle, and (if I may use the word) the romance of the place and time.

As a side note I have a model of "The Gambier Bay" to make to which I've added "The Chikuma"! ( )
  martinhughharvey | May 23, 2014 |
Very good description of the ships and men who fought in the Battle of Samar Island in Oct 1944. The ships on the US side were all out gunned and outmanned by the Japanes ships. The bravery of these men was beyond description given the odds against them, but they prevailed. Listening to the description of the battle and the ships' size vs the larger and more powerful foes was somewhat lost because no maps or relative pictures were available,, which I assume is present in written volume. Four stars ( )
  oldman | Sep 18, 2012 |
A great story about one of the greatest moments in US naval history. I'm glad I read it, but I really wish there had been more analysis, documentation and facts. This is the story of the sailors involved on that terrible day, not so much about the battle itself. A great tribute to those sailors. ( )
  Karlstar | Jul 2, 2011 |
Not normally a huge fan of nonfiction history books because of the intense ratlling off of names, places, dates, and weaponry, I found this one a page-turner. It still served to increase my distrust of those in high military rank doing what it is right. Too many cover ups of those in charge at the expense of the "little guy." Halsey should have been court-martialed! To give him some credit, however, hindsight is always 20/20. Overall, a good read. It still had LOTS of names and places which made it hard to distinguish which ship sometimes, but it had a lasting impression of the horror of war and the isolation of fighting a battle on the sea. ( )
  creighley | Feb 13, 2011 |
Very good, detailed account of the action of small carriers, ships and pilots against a big Japanese fleet towards the end of the war. ( )
  kcslade | Feb 25, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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to those in peril on the sea
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A giant stalked through the darkness.
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Destroyermen have this in common with submariners: they experience no greater suspense than while counting the seconds to their torpedoes' time of impact. Jack Bechdel's calculations were seldom wrong. Captain Evans and everyone else in the pilothouse listened to the countdown. They had shot their one spread; the ship carried ten torpedoes and no more. Bob Hagen's good work in the gun director notwithstanding, this was their best and only chance to sink an enemy ship. At 7:24 lookouts on the Kumano reported three torpedo tracks close off the starboard bow. Knifing through the water at more than thirty knots, the ship was traveling too fast to evade. The Kumano could not make the turn. Between squalls and smoke Ellsworth Welch saw a bright flash and the long, dark form of a ship lift out of the water slightly, as if punched from below by an enormous fist. Torpedo explosions sounded different than gun blasts. Five-inch guns stung the eardrums with their sharp, concussive bark, throwing out shock waves that patted the clothes. Torpedo explosions were deeper and heavier-basso reverberations that could be felt in the sternum as readily as heard with the ears. The men of the Johnston felt a deep thrummp - some felt a second one, and then a third. The Johnston whipped through thickets of smoke, emerging long enough for Lieutenant Welch and others on deck to see a tall column of water rising beside the Japanese heavy cruiser, which appeared to be burning furiously astern. One torpedo from the Johnston struck the Kumano in the bow, ripping it clear away. The crippled cruiser fell out of line, limping along at fourteen knots.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553381482, Paperback)

“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”

With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthur’s vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American flotilla poised to charge into history.

In the tradition of the #1 New York Times bestseller Flags of Our Fathers, James D. Hornfischer paints an unprecedented portrait of the Battle of Samar, a naval engagement unlike any other in U.S. history—and captures with unforgettable intensity the men, the strategies, and the sacrifices that turned certain defeat into a legendary victory.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:57 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Chronicles the October 1944 battle off Samar between a vastly outnumbered fleet of American warships and a flotilla of the Japanese Navy, a struggle that changed the course of World War II in the Pacific.

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