Sunk in Kula Gulf: The Final Voyage of the USS <i>Helena</i> and the Incredible Story of Her Survivors in World War II

Potomac Books, Inc.
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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 Using a wide variety of sources, including previously unpublished firsthand accounts, John J. Domagalski brings to life this amazing, little-known story from World War II.
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About the author

John J. Domagalski is the author of Lost at Guadalcanal (2010). He lives in the Chicago area.

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Publisher
Potomac Books, Inc.
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Published on
Sep 30, 2012
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781597978392
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Naval
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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By the end of 1943 the German submarine war on Atlantic convoys was all but defeated, beaten by superior technology, code-breaking and air power. With losses mounting, Dönitz withdrew the wolfpacks, but in a surprise change of strategy, following the D-Day landings in June 1944, he sent his U-boats into coastal waters, closer to home, where they could harass the crucial Allied supply lines to the new European bridgehead.

Caught unawares, the British and American navies struggled to cope with a novel predicament -in shallow waters submarines could lie undetectable on the bottom, and given operational freedom, they rarely needed to make signals, so neutralizing the Allied advantages of decryption and radio direction-finding. Behind this unpleasant shock lay an even greater threat, of radically new sub- marine types known to be nearing service. Dönitz saw these as war-winning weapons, and gambled that his inshore campaign would hold up the Allied advance long enough to allow these faster and quieter boats to be deployed in large numbers.

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NIKLAS ZETTERLING, a researcher at the Swedish Defense College, is most recently co-author of The Korsun Pocket: The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944. Together with MICHAEL TAMELANDER, a part-time military author, they have written books about the battleship Tirpitz, the D-Day landings and the 1940 campaign in Norway.
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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.
#1 New York Times Bestseller

From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

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Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
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