"Mr. Johnson has ... produced a technical history of destroyers as all-around naval weapons. Anyone interested in these ships will value his efforts." —The Wall Street Journal
A “well-written” and “enjoyable history of destroyer class warships” filled with “memorable sea battles in which destroyers played prominent roles.” —Publishers Weekly
For men on destroyer-class warships during World War I and World War II, battles were waged “against overwhelming odds from which survival could not be expected.” Those were the words Lieutenant Commander Robert Copeland calmly told his crew as their tiny, unarmored destroyer escort rushed toward giant, armored Japanese battleships at the Battle off Samar on October 25, 1944.
This action-packed narrative history of destroyer-class ships brings readers inside the half-inch-thick hulls to meet the men who fired the ships' guns, torpedoes, hedgehogs, and depth charges. Nicknamed "tin cans" or "greyhounds," destroyers were fast escort and attack ships that proved indispensable to America's military victories. Beginning with destroyers' first incarnation as torpedo boats in 1874 and ending with World War II, author Clint Johnson shares the riveting stories of the Destroyer Men who fought from inside a "tin can"—risking death by cannons, bombs, torpedoes, fire, and drowning.
The British invented destroyers, the Japanese improved them, and the Germans failed miserably with them. It was the Americans who perfected destroyers as the best fighting ship in two world wars. Tin Cans & Greyhounds compares the designs of these countries with focus on the old, modified World War I destroyers, and the new and numerous World War II destroyers of the United States.
Tin Cans & Greyhounds details how destroyers fought submarines, escorted convoys, rescued sailors and airmen, downed aircraft, shelled beaches, and attacked armored battleships and cruisers with nothing more than a half-inch of steel separating their crews from the dark waves.
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About the Author
Clint Johnson is an author and military historian whose books include The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South, Bull's-Eyes and Misfires: 50 Obscure People Whose Efforts Shaped the American Civil War, and Colonial America and the American Revolution.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Early Years: "Weather today fine, but high waves." 1
Chapter 2 World War I in Europe: "Do as much damage as possible." 17
Chapter 3 U.S. Enters the War: "We are ready now, sir!" 27
Chapter 4 The 1920s: "We have no destroyers today!" 45
Chapter 5 The 1930s: "A destroyer is not a likely target." 57
Chapter 6 Atlantic Theater 1939-1941:"Keep on engaging the enemy." 71
Chapter 7 Pacific Theater 1941: "Suddenly and deliberately attacked." 93
Chapter 8 Atlantic Theater 1942: "American beacons and searchlights visible at night." 105
Chapter 9 Pacific Theater 1942: "Courageous abandon against fearful odds." 123
Chapter 10 Atlantic Theater 1943: "Wiped out every exposed member of the sub's crew topside." 151
Chapter 11 Pacific Theater 1943: "Our losses for this single battle were fantastic." 165
Chapter 12 Atlantic Theater 1944: "Man on deck of sub attempting to man gun disintegrates." 193
Chapter 13 Pacific Theater 1944: "A fight against overwhelming odds from which survival can't be expected." 207
Chapter 14 Atlantic Theater 1945: "I think that is the end of the sub." 229
Chapter 15 Pacific Theater 1945: "The gates of hell awaited us." 241