Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars

Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars

by Clint Johnson

Hardcover

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Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers that Won Two World Wars 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
billmarsano 11 months ago
By Bill Marsano. This perplexing book argues a la Rodney Dangerfield that destroyers “just don’t get no respect.” Hardly true. Destroyers did much, even most of the real slash-and-dash combat of World War II (World War I was still an era of fleet engagements), and so there are plenty of books on “destroyers at war,” books about specific squadrons, even about individual ships. Still, a book about destroyers is always welcome. For newcomers to 20th Century naval combat I'll give a generous 4 stars: this is a decent summary of all-out firefights as well as anti-sub actions, shore bombardments and open-ocean rescues in aid of grateful infant infantry and downed airmen, and perhaps it will lead them to a truly great destroyer book such as James D. Hornfischer’s “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” (which B&N also carries), the splendidly told tale of what I and many others consider the greatest naval triumph in U.S. Navy history. Just skip over the too many pages of armament details, launch dates and construction specs, too often repeated. That detail-dense aspect, however, makes for a 4-star book for geeks, who revel in numbers and minutiae that are eye-glazers to the rest of us. Those more conversant with the subject will, however, be disappointed. It's a 2-star book marred by numerous lapses that truly qualify as howlers: German’s Bismarck (50k tons, 15” guns) was not a “pocket battleship,” that was the Graf Spee (10k tons, 11” naval rifles) and five similar others. Roosevelt and Churchill did not meet aboard HMS Prince of Wales “docked” at Placentia but afloat in Placentia Bay. Another eyebrow raiser: the claim that the U.S. Navy originated and pushed for using convoys to reduce sinking by U-boats. Some of the battle reports are good enough, but others are a bit skimpy, and in at least one he omits the NAME of the battle. As a reference, the book is clumsy because of it ridiculous index: all battles are alphabetized under “Battle of,” all officers are alphabetized by rank not name; civilians are alphabetized by FIRST name. All in all, not destined to go down as a classic, and inadequate as what the author intends: a testament to the courage and resourcefulness of Tin Can Sailors. —Bill Marsano is a veteran writer and editor with an abiding interesting in naval warfare.