Lost at Guadalcanal: The Final Battles of the Astoria and Chicago as Described by Survivors and in Official Reports

McFarland
1
Free sample

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 Drawing on a variety of firsthand accounts, some previously unpublished, the book tells the story from the perspective of the men aboard each ship, transporting readers inside the gun turrets, behind the lookout binoculars, and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.
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About the author

Retail developer John J. Domagalski lives in the Chicago area. His articles have appeared in World War II History Magazine.
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Additional Information

Publisher
McFarland
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Published on
Jan 10, 2014
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9780786460076
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / Military / World War II
Transportation / Ships & Shipbuilding / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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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 shipÆs 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 oceanÆs surface, the remaining crewmenÆs struggle for survival had only just begun. Sunk in Kula Gulf tells the epic story of the HelenaÆs 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 sailorsùclustered into three lifeboatsùmade 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, deep behind the front lines. The survivors organized and disappeared into the islandÆs interior jungle. Living a meager existence, the group evaded the Japanese for eight days until the 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.
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 America’s defense of the Philippines crumbled under the weight of a massive Japanese assault, the courageous activities of Bulkeley’s men made headlines across the U.S.—often 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.
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