The Bode Testament

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9780595180134: The Bode Testament

In the early hours of August 9, 1942, a Japanese force of five heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and one destroyer under the command of the wily, audacious, and courageous Japanese admiral, Gunichi Mikawa, slammed into a surprised allied cruiser screen under the command of a British admiral, Victor Crutchley. This intimidating force achieved surprise despite the fact that it had been spotted eleven times on the seventh and eighth. It first struck the Southern Force, consisting of two destroyers and two heavy cruisers, under the command of Captain Howard D. Bode, who doubled as the commander of the heavy cruiser, Chicago. Dispatching Bode's force in a matter of minutes, Mikawa then circled Savo Island and turned his Long Lance torpedoes and eight-inch guns on the Northern Force under the command of Captain Frederick Riefkohl. In about thirty minutes, one Australian heavy cruiser, the Canberra, and three American heavy cruisers, the Quincy, Astoria, and the Vincennes began their watery trek to the bottom of Ironbottom Sound, a uniquely prophetic name. The Chicago would be the only heavy cruiser to survive that morning. There were errors aplenty on the part of admirals in the vicinity. In addition to command, reconnaissance, and communication errors in the planning, Admiral Fletcher withdrew the Air Support Force on the eve of the eighth. Admiral Turner, responsible for the planning of the operation, failed to heed the warnings and called a conference as a result of Fletcher's actions. Admiral Crutchley, who also failed to heed the warnings, attended the conference with one-third of the strength of the Southern Force, the Australian heavy cruiser, Australia. Despite the errors of admirals, a single captain was censured in the Hepburn Report, the Navy's investigation. That captain was Howard D. Bode. This book is a story concerning that captain.

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About the Author:

Sandy Shanks lives with his lovely wife, Florence, in the San Gabriel Valley which lies to the east of Los Angeles. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in education, and served as an officer in America's finest, the United States Marine Corps. This work is a result of four and a half years of effort, and the collaboration of three author/historians; Bruce Loxton, Chris-Coulthard Clark, and John Lundstrom. It is also the result of a dream born forty years ago.

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