Reddit Reddit reviews The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour

We found 25 Reddit comments about The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
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25 Reddit comments about The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour:

u/jetpacksforall · 39 pointsr/HistoryPorn

This is a big TIL for me. I knew that there were different classes of carriers, but never realized they made baby carriers that essentially couldn't keep up with a main battle fleet.

Some basics on their capabilities and how they were used from wikipedia. They were built on commercial hulls, and were too slow to keep up with fleet vessels. Their primary missions were:

  • Convoy protection. Many escort carriers were used to carry U-boat hunter-seeker planes during the Battle of the Atlantic.
  • Air support. During amphibious operations in the Pacific, Med and D-Day landings, CVEs served as platforms for aerial sorties in support of ground troops.
  • Aircraft ferry. Each CVE could hold a single squadron of 24-30 fighter, bomber and/or torpedo bomber aircraft. They were often used to transport aircraft and crews to remote fleet carriers and airfields.

    Their main advantage was cheapness and construction speed. The post-WWI Washington Naval Treaty, designed to prevent a naval arms race, had limited carrier size and deployment, making the need for carrier construction urgent at the outbreak of hostilities. CVEs filled a dangerous gap while shipyard production raced to catch up.

    A secondary advantage was stability, especially in the North Atlantic convoys, where CVEs proved to pitch and yaw less than purpose-built Light Carriers. Probably because of the commercial hulls.

    Crews had a sardonic nickname based on the CVE designation: Combustible, Vulnerable and Expendable. Funny. Also completely accurate. Magazine protection was minimal, evasive maneuvering was a joke, armament not so great. HMS Avenger was sunk by a single torpedo. Three escort carriers were destroyed by kamikazes, making them the largest ships lost to that tactic. Their best defense was their aircraft screen, but that was also limited given that at any one time they might be carrying primarily fighters, bombers or ground support aircraft and so be well- or ill-suited to the role of fleet defense.

    The CVE's finest hour came probably during the Battle off Samar, one of the key actions in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and a battle military historians have called one of the greatest mismatches and one of the greatest upsets in naval history.

    >Adm. William Halsey, Jr. was lured into taking his powerful 3rd Fleet after a decoy fleet, leaving only three escort carrier groups of the 7th Fleet in the area. A Japanese surface force of battleships and cruisers, battered earlier in the larger battle and thought to have been in retreat, instead turned around unobserved and stumbled upon the northernmost of the three groups, Task Unit 77.4.3 ("Taffy 3"), commanded by Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague. Taffy 3's few destroyers and slower destroyer escorts possessed neither the firepower nor armor to effectively oppose the Japanese force, but nevertheless desperately attacked with 5 in (127 mm)/38 cal guns and torpedoes to cover the retreat of their slow "jeep" carriers. Aircraft from the carriers of Taffy 1, 2, and 3, including FM-2 Wildcats, F6F Hellcats and TBM Avengers, strafed, bombed, torpedoed, rocketed, depth-charged, fired at least one .38 caliber handgun and made numerous "dry" runs at the attacking force when they ran out of ammunition.

    Heh. Uh heh heh heh. Dry runs. Just reading that phrase gives me the dry runs. I assume it refers to attack missions against a fleet of some of Japan's most powerful battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers without any bombs or bullets. The guy firing his .38 special out the window at Vice Admiral Karita's fleet? I guess it's a good thing he didn't resort to strong language.

    >Sprague's task unit lost two escort carriers, two destroyers, a destroyer escort and dozens of aircraft. Over a thousand Americans died, comparable to the combined losses of men and ships at the better known Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. But in exchange for the heavy losses for such a small force, they sank or disabled three Japanese cruisers and caused enough confusion to persuade the Japanese commander, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, to regroup and ultimately withdraw, rather than advancing to sink troop and supply ships at Leyte Gulf. In the combined Battle of Leyte Gulf, 10,000 Japanese sailors and 3,000 Americans died. Although the battleship Yamato and the remaining force returned to Japan, the battles marked the final defeat of the Japanese Navy, as the ships remained in port for most of the rest of the war and ceased to be an effective naval force.

    The Battle off Samar was given its first full narrative account in the book The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, which won the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature in 2004 and just went into my Amazon shopping cart.
u/ssgtsiler · 12 pointsr/history

Great book about Letye Gulf: The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

u/beachedwhale1945 · 10 pointsr/movies

The Battle off Samar.

It's early morning on 25 October 1944. You are a sailor on an American destroyer, also called a tin can for the lack of armor, protecting a force of slow escort carriers from submarines. Your task force is hunting submarines and assisting ground troops during the Invasion of the Philipines. Yesterday a major Japanese surface fleet turned back after massive air attacks, last night you heard another get wiped out over the radio. This morning the big carriers are far to the north destroying Japan's last significant carrier fleet.

Suddenly, out of the mist you see ships on the horizon. Big ships. Japanese ships. The fleet that turned around yesterday is here. Your fleet has 29x5" guns and 42 torpedoes. The largest Japanese ship has 24x5" guns and weighs more than your entire fleet combined. Thirteen of the smallest ships in the American Navy are about to face off against the largest warship in the world and the most powerful Japanese surface fleet of the war.

So what do the Americans do? Charge. One captain, who will win the Medal of Honor, America's highest military award, says over the ship's PA system "This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can."

The fighter pilots fire pistols at the largest battleship ever built with the largest naval guns ever put to sea. The bombers drop whatever is in their bomb bays, often depth charges, before buzzing the enemy fleet without ammunition. The destroyers fight off heavy cruisers five times their size. The destroyer escorts, designed solely to hunt submarines, duel for an hour so close to the enemy cruisers that the guns can't depress low enough to hit. The carriers, dodging fire from every direction while desperately trying to reach safety, cripple an enemy cruiser with anti-aircraft shells. The outnumbered and inferior ships fight so heroically that the smallest ship in the fleet goes down in history as "The Destroyer Escort that fought like a Battleship".

In the end the Americans lose more men than at almost any other naval engagement of the war. But the Japanese, convinced this is part of a larger force and led by an admiral unwilling to throw away lives needlessly, turn and run. The last major surface action of the war and one of the most lopsided naval battles in recorded history ends as an unexpected American victory.

Of course in order to protect the reputation of the admiral who did not guard the straits the Japanese came through, this story was not known until a couple decades ago. Older histories claim this was another victory of air power over surface ships and ignore the bravery of the surface fleet. Until the excellent book Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors was released, this heroic tale of bravery against all odds was almost entirely unknown.

u/spacemanspiff30 · 10 pointsr/history

Always love seeing someone else post this battle. Probably by tonnage the most lopsided naval battle in history, and the underdog won.

I highly advise anyone interested in this read The Last Stand Of The Tin Can Sailors.

u/Gadgetman53 · 8 pointsr/WorldOfWarships

Read James D. Hornfischer's books:

Neptune's Inferno - About Guadalcanal

The Fleet at Flood Tide - The Pacific campaign later in the war. I'm currently reading this.

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors - About Taffey 3 and battle off Samar

u/mithikx · 7 pointsr/WarshipPorn

I second reading The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, I grabbed the audiobook to listen on my commute and found it an enjoyable listen/read.

u/nastylittleman · 7 pointsr/history

In the Gardens of Beasts, about the US ambassador to Germany during Hitler's rise to power.

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, about an amazing battle at sea in the Pacific.

u/CzarMesa · 6 pointsr/history

Obligatory mention of this book about it:

It's fantastic.

I always loved this line from a destroyer captain at the start of the battle: "This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can." It's so laconic and the courage in it is almost banal in its expression.

u/GTdeSade · 6 pointsr/WorldOfWarships

Short answer: the entire Japanese battlegroup had been under murderous attack for the previous two days. Kurita, the IJN commander, had his flagship torpedoed out from under him, then spent an entire day under air attack, losing Musashi and taking damage across the fleet. The center force then had a nighttime strait transit through San Bernardino, at battle stations expecting an attack. Much like the Allied crews that were massacred at the first battle of Savo Island, the IJN crews were exhausted and prone to mistakes, from the commander on down to the lookouts.

Read Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors if you want the details of this fight. Hornfischer for Navy history win.

u/chinamanbilly · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

Merry Christmas, you filthy animal!!! Read this book.

u/mraimless · 3 pointsr/WarshipPorn

And for the readers out there: The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (not a ref link)

u/bitter_cynical_angry · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

There's a pretty good book about the Battle off Samar called Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

u/Sewer-Urchin · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors is a great book about those seven Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts that charged into the Japanese fleet of Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. Amazing story.

u/ocKyal · 2 pointsr/WorldOfWarships

came in here to recommend this book, here's an amazon link

u/CookbookChef · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

There is a book called "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" that details the battle in very good detail. An amazing story that will change what you believe about naval battles in WWII.

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/Military

The Battle off Samar is known as The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors. Two destroyers, two DE's, and some jeep carriers with pop guns stood off a task force of Japanese battleships and cruisers. The Yamato was there.

u/Osiris32 · 2 pointsr/modelmakers

Oh man, you are in for a hell of a ride. Go buy this book. The Gambier Bay was lost in what is considered to be one of the US Navy's most incredible achievments. A few baby carriers, three destroyers, and four destroyer escorts versus four battleships (including the Yamato), six heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers, in a brave and ultimately successful attempt to keep the Japanese fleet from smashing into the troop and supply ships during the landings at Leyte Gulf.

It reads like a damn movie script, and I wish they'd get around to making a good movie about it.

u/BKizzle77 · 2 pointsr/movies

The book that tells this story is excellent. Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James Hornfischer. WWII yielded some incredible stories.

u/Tincansailorman · 1 pointr/pics

I can recommend a fantastic one regarding Samar:

It's extraordinary and rather reads like a novel.

u/krnlpopcorn · 1 pointr/books

Saboteurs by Michael Dobbs - a very interesting account on the Nazi effort to land saboteurs in the US to cause havoc.

Given Up for Dead by Bill Sloan - a detailed account of the battle of Wake Island and what happened to the defenders after the battle ended. Notable as the only time in history the Marines have surrendered.

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailor - Probably one of the best books written about the US Navy during WWII, definitely a very good read.

u/kegman83 · 1 pointr/nfl
u/Psyentific · -4 pointsr/kancolle

The only combat deployment of the Yamato-class battleships was in Operation Ten-Go and the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the last significant operation of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Musashi was crippled by waves-upon-waves of massive air strikes from Adm. Halsey's carrier fleet, and the day afterwards Yamato was driven off by a 'blaze of glory' torpedo run from the Destroyers & Destroyer Escorts of Taffy 3. This is a diagram of the torpedo and bomb hits suffered in their first and last battle.

Artist: Sakazaki Freddy