Disaster in the Pacific: New Light on the Battle of Savo Island

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9780870212567: Disaster in the Pacific: New Light on the Battle of Savo Island
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In the early morning hours of 9 August 1942 a Japanese task force moved swiftly and quietly into the Solomons and unleashed a murderous barrage of shells and torpedoes on U.S. and Allied naval ships, sinking four cruisers and killing more than 1,000 sailors. In examining every aspect of this disturbing story. Denis and Peggy Warner tell a tale of Japanese mastery of surprise, night fighting, and unbelievable unpreparedness and bungling on the part of the Allies.
This book answers many questions about the disaster that have never before been addressed. The Warners verify that an Australian pilot on the morning of 8 August spotted the approaching Japanese fleet and radioed a warning that was received immediately by Allied commanders and the Japanese. Why, then, did Samuel Eliot Morison in his massive official history of the naval war state that the pilot failed to break radio silence? Why did Admiral Fletcher pull his protective carrier force away from the area of the battle a short time before it took place? Why was the captain of the USS Vincennes, though expecting the Japanese ships, asleep when they arrived? Why was a junior officer on the USS Quincy dismissed as hysterical when he identified scout planes as Japanese? Why did the results of the "informal inquiry" into the disaster remain classified until 1981?
Answers to all of these questions and many more are provided in this dramatic, exhaustively researched account. Stalking the facts relentlessly in the official records of the United States and Australia, in unofficial reports and interviews, and in Japanese documents with the help of Commander Sadao Seno, the Warners have written what will remain for the foreseeable future the definitive history of the Battle of Savo Island.

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From Library Journal:

The U.S. Navy suffered its worst defeat on August 9, 1942 off Savo Island near Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The U.S. Task Force met the Japanese fleet with disastrous results; one Australian and three American cruisers were sunk while enemy losses were nil. For 50 years, the true story of this humiliating defeat has been kept under wraps. Now this Australian historian/journalist team answers the numerous questions about Savo Island. Why were the Americans taken by surprise? Why were reports of Japanese movements ignored, and why was U.S. intelligence so inept? In fact, the Americans underestimated the Japanese capacity for night fighting as well as their excellent training and equipment. U.S. forces were poorly trained in night fighting, their torpedoes were ineffective, and the American commanders were tired and inexperienced. Until now, very little accurate information on Savo Island has been available. This remarkable book belongs in all World War II collections.
-Stanley Itkin, Hillside P.L., New Hyde Park, N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Warner, Denis Ashton; Warner, Peggy; Senoo, Sadao
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