Sea Cobra: Admiral Halsey's Task Force and the Great Pacific Typhoon

Overview

The Greatest Generation meets The Perfect Storm in this riveting account of one of the most devastating episodes in the Pacific during World War II.
 In the final year of the Second World War, as the United States Navy fought Japanese forces in the largest sea battle in human history, none could foresee that just a few weeks later the Pacific Fleet would be fighting another foe: the Pacific Ocean itself. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Imperial Japanese Navy had unleashed ...

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Overview

The Greatest Generation meets The Perfect Storm in this riveting account of one of the most devastating episodes in the Pacific during World War II.
 In the final year of the Second World War, as the United States Navy fought Japanese forces in the largest sea battle in human history, none could foresee that just a few weeks later the Pacific Fleet would be fighting another foe: the Pacific Ocean itself. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Imperial Japanese Navy had unleashed a new weapon of desperation, the dreaded kamikaze squadrons, in an effort to stave off defeat. Admiral “Bull” Halsey, his reputation clouded after controversial decisions at Leyte, grew obsessed with destroying kamikaze air bases in the Philippines. Meanwhile, a tropical storm in the Pacific was slowly gaining power, unseen, untracked, unsuspected. It was headlong into this storm, dubbed Typhoon Cobra, that Halsey would lead his fleet.
 Sea Cobra tells the dramatic story of the ships and men of the famed Fast Carrier Task Force as fate lands them squarely in the path of this killer typhoon. Using survivors’ interviews and other firsthand accounts, seasoned historian and author Buckner F. Melton Jr. tells the story of a modern fleet encountering one of the most destructive forces of nature. As bomb- and gasoline-laden aircraft carriers—and destroyers critically low on fuel—are overtaken by towering waves and hundred-plus-knot winds, the fleet is pushed to the brink of disaster. Melton recounts the many heroic efforts in the fleet’s struggle to survive, and he also examines the ensuing court inquiry ordered by Admiral Chester Nimitz, as officials sought to make sense of this perilous mission.
 In the tradition of Joseph Conrad and Herman Wouk comes a gripping, real-life story of men versus the sea—and against the typhoon named Cobra.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The ripple of interest in the typhoon that struck the U.S. Third Fleet in December 1944, sinking three destroyers and drowning 800 sailors, swells onward in this absorbing naval adventure saga. Historian Melton (Aaron Burr) paints a wider canvas than do Bob Drury and Tom Clavin in Halsey's Typhoon(reviewed Oct. 9). Like them, he regales readers with firsthand recollections of the shrieking winds and titanic waves that battered ships to pieces, the ordeal of survivors besieged by thirst and sharks, and the heroism of sailors who rescued them in mountainous seas. He recounts at length the subsequent navy inquiry into the performance of meteorologists, Adm. William Halsey and Cmdr. James Marks of the sunken destroyer Hull, who are pilloried by Drury and Clavin but largely exonerated here. Melton pads out the story with a blow-by-blow of the preceding Battle of Leyte Gulf, an account of another typhoon Halsey sailed the Third Fleet into in 1945, and a chapter on Japanese kamikazes. Melton's prose can be purplish—"The beast was still growing in the heart of the sea... feeding on the heat of the water as if it were mother's milk"—but when the storm breaks, he settles down to a straightforward, gripping narrative. Photos. (Mar.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592289783
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 708,382
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Buckner F. Melton Jr. is a historian and a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and University Press Fellow at Mercer University. He is the author of A Hanging Offense and Aaron Burr.

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Table of Contents


The Fleet     1
The Beast     41
The Smart Bombs     63
Deluge     91
Lost Boys     145
The Reckoning     201
Epilogue: Viper     247
Author's Note     275
Notes     279
Glossary     303
Suggested Reading     305
Index     311
About the Author     319
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Recipe



The Greatest Generation meets The Perfect Storm in this riveting account of one of the most devastating episodes in the Pacific during World War II.
 In the final year of the Second World War, as the United States Navy fought Japanese forces in the largest sea battle in human history, none could foresee that just a few weeks later the Pacific Fleet would be fighting another foe: the Pacific Ocean itself. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Imperial Japanese Navy had unleashed a new weapon of desperation, the dreaded kamikaze squadrons, in an effort to stave off defeat. Admiral “Bull” Halsey, his reputation clouded after controversial decisions at Leyte, grew obsessed with destroying kamikaze air bases in the Philippines. Meanwhile, a tropical storm in the Pacific was slowly gaining power, unseen, untracked, unsuspected. It was headlong into this storm, dubbed Typhoon Cobra, that Halsey would lead his fleet.
 Sea Cobra tells the dramatic story of the ships and men of the famed Fast Carrier Task Force as fate lands them squarely in the path of this killer typhoon. Using survivors’ interviews and other firsthand accounts, seasoned historian and author Buckner F. Melton Jr. tells the story of a modern fleet encountering one of the most destructive forces of nature. As bomb- and gasoline-laden aircraft carriers—and destroyers critically low on fuel—are overtaken by towering waves and hundred-plus-knot winds, the fleet is pushed to the brink of disaster. Melton recounts the many heroic efforts in the fleet’s struggle to survive, and he also examines the ensuing court inquiry ordered by Admiral Chester Nimitz, as officials sought tomake sense of this perilous mission.
 In the tradition of Joseph Conrad and Herman Wouk comes a gripping, real-life story of men versus the sea—and against the typhoon named Cobra.
 
Read More Show Less

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