Archive for the 'Books' Category

Dec 15

Some new titles at the Navy Department Library

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 2:17 PM

Come visit us at the Washington Navy Yard to check out these and many more books!

Allah’s angels : Chechen women in war / by Paul J. Murphy

An Army at the crossroads / by Andrew F. Krepinevich

Attitudes aren’t free : thinking deeply about diversity in the US armed forces / [edited by] James E. Parco, David A. Levy

The Battle of North Cape : the death ride of the Scharnhorst, 1943 / by Angus Konstam

The Brusilov offensive / by Timothy C. Dowling

Central Greece and the politics of power in the fourth century BC / by John Buckler and Hans Beck

Cities of the dead : contesting the memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914 / by William A. Blair

A concise history of Hungary / by Miklós Molnár ; translated by Anna Magyar

A different kind of war : the United States Army in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), October 2001-September 2005 / by Donald P. Wright … [et al.]

Douglas MacArthur : statecraft and stagecraft in America’s East Asian policy / by Russell D. Buhite

Essays in naval history, from medieval to modern / by N.A.M. Rodger

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 3

Navy Ace Bill Davis and The Last Ship

Friday, December 3, 2010 8:48 AM

Bill Davis in his F6F Hellcat. The washed out rectangles on the side are actually Japanese flags, one each for his seven aerial kills.

Naval History Blog is pleased to present a guest post by author Doug Keeney about his friend Bill Davis:

In October of 1944, a young Navy lieutenant nosed over his F6F Hellcat and began a dive towards a Japanese aircraft carrier below. “I screamed down on the carrier which now completely filled my gunsights,” the pilot wrote in his memoir Sinking The Rising Sun.

“I rested my finger on the bomb release button. I kept going.” And go he did. U.S. Navy fighter pilot William E. “Bill” Davis had no idea of it then but he was just seconds from taking his place among the many great Americans that have worn a Navy uniform. The ship filling his gunsights was no less than the Japanese carrier Zuikaku, the last of the fleet that had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Unlike today, back in 1941 no one sent out a fleet directive to hunt down those ships but every sailor had a mental list and as each ship was sunk, one name was checked off. Zuikaku was the last. With his F6F Hellcat insanely past the redline, Davis triggered the release, pulled back on his stick, and promptly slumped down into unconsciousness. No, he never saw his bomb but it squarely hit its mark, the beginning of the end for the Zuikaku, closure you might say, but Bill had little time to think about any of that. When his eyes fluttered open, his off-the-charts F6F was headed squarely into the side of the destroyer light cruiser Oyodo.

I met Bill Davis in 1972 at the Los Angeles Tennis Club and we became instant friends. Bill and I were of course avid tennis players but in the greatest of all coincidences we were both from the same very small suburb of Philadelphia and in fact had grown up just blocks apart, albeit with 40 years in between us. Bill had gone to the University of Pennsylvania as had my father and we were both pilots, too, but that’s where the comparisons ended. Bill was the recipient of the Navy Cross, a fighter ace in the Pacific with seven kills, the first in a gaggle of fighter pilots that would drop the bombs that would sink the last Japanese carrier that had attacked Pearl Harbor. Militarily at least, the final revenge for Pearl Harbor would come here.

Today, 69 years after Pearl Harbor, Bill’s bombing run may be the last untold story of Pearl Harbor. He managed to pull his F6F above the gunwales of the Oyodo and he flew through an impossibly small space between the forward gun turret and the bridge; he remembers the white uniform of a Japanese admiral and perhaps he saw his life flash before his eyes as he twisted his plane into a 500-mile-per-hour knife-edge pass and cleared the destroyer. Of course this is the stuff of the Navy’s highest honor but none of this had anything to do with why Bill nosed over into a hail of anti-aircraft fire and held steady until his bomb found its mark. Neither honor nor glory rode that Hellcat down to the deck, just duty. Bill did his duty and the reward he fought for was the reward men in World War II wanted more than any medal or ribbon. They wanted to go home. That Bill could do that and provide a measure of closure for the sailors that went down on December 7th was merely the added satisfaction of a job exceptionally well done.

Doug Keeney is a widely published author including his forthcoming book from St. Martin’s Press titled 15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation. Bill Davis, 90, received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Bill began to write during his successful thirty-year career in business. His first work was optioned by 20th Century Fox.

Oct 22

Cordon of Steel, The U.S. Navy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Friday, October 22, 2010 12:01 AM

The cover art of the popular Naval Historical Center monograph, “Cordon of Steel, The U.S. Navy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” by Curtis A. Utz.

“In the fall of 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union came as close as they ever would to global war.” So begins the monograph published by the Naval History & Heritage Command “Cordon of Steel, The U.S. Navy and the Cuban Missile Crisis” by Curtis A. Utz. First printed in 1993, this booklet was a yearlong effort by Utz to chronicle the Navy’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Because this historic event was a dramatic example of how the U.S. Navy enabled the nation to protect its interests in one of the most serous confrontations of the Cold War, it was considered an ideal subject for the first work of a new series of monographs titled “The U.S. Navy in the Modern World.”

Broad in scope, these booklets were created to address such activities as the Navy’s deterrence of war, support for U.S. foreign policy, refugee evacuations and other humanitarian activities, joint and multinational operations, ship and aircraft development, the projection of power ashore, ship, aircraft and weapons development. Heavily illustrated and in short booklet form, they were specifically designed to appeal to the Sailor and junior officer.

Hoping to correct what he saw as a strategic imbalance with the United States, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev began secretly deploying medium range ballistic missiles (MRBM) and intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) to Fidel Castro’s Cuba in the summer of 1962. Once operational, these nuclear-armed weapons could have been used against cities and military targets in most of the continental United States. Before this happened, however, U.S. intelligence discovered Khrushchev’s brash maneuver.

At that time, by forcefully employing U.S. naval forces, President John F. Kennedy was able to achieve his strategic objectives and deal with a dangerous and well-armed Soviet Union without war.

Naval forces under the U.S. Atlantic Command, headed by Adm. Robert L. Dennison (CINCLANT), steamed out to sea, intercepting not only merchant shipping en route to Cuba, but Soviet submarines operating in the area, as well. U.S. destroyers and frigates, kept on station through underway replenishment by oilers and stores ships, maintained a month-long naval “quarantine” of the island of Cuba.

Radar picket ships supported by Navy fighters and airborne early-warning planes assisted the U.S. Air Force’s Air Defense Command in preparing to defend American airspace from Soviet and Cuban forces.

Khrushchev, faced with the armed might of the United States and its allies, had little choice but to find a way out of the difficult situation in which he had placed himself and his country. In a face-saving trade, the Soviet Union agreed to remove all offensive weapons from Cuba in exchange for the removal of obsolete American Jupiter missiles in Turkey.

The monograph “Cordon of Steel, The U.S. Navy and the Cuban Missile Crisis” can be ordered from the Government Printing Office’s online bookstore.

Oct 16

Around the World With the Great White Fleet

Saturday, October 16, 2010 12:01 AM

Over at Government Book Talk Blog, there is a nice review of one of our books: Around the World With the Great White Fleet. 

Government Book Talk writes, “…This handsome volume, subtitled “Honoring 100 Years of Global Partnerships and Security” commemorates the centennial of the voyage of Teddy Roosevelt’s U.S. Great White Fleet around the world. I was a bit chagrined to learn, despite my having read a book about U.S. sea power a couple of years ago, that the ostensible cause of the cruise was a war scare with Japan that died down almost immediately – that had totally escaped my memory.”

Click here to read the rest of the post.

Sep 3

Some New Titles from the the Navy Department Library

Friday, September 3, 2010 12:01 AM

Interested in reading any of these books? Come visit the Navy Department Library at the Washington Navy Yard. 

America in Vietnam : the war that couldn’t be won / by Herbert Y. Schandler

America’s captives : treatment of POWs from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror / by Paul J. Springer

The blocking of Zeebrugge : Operation Z.O. 1918 / by Stephen Prince

Blood on the snow : the Carpathian winter war of 1915 / by Graydon A. Tunstall

British aircraft carriers 1939-45 / by Angus Konstam ; illustrated by Tony Bryan

The Cambridge companion to the Roman historians / edited by Andrew Feldherr

The Cambridge history of the Cold War / edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad

Cataclysm : General Hap Arnold and the defeat of Japan / by Herman S. Wolk

The Cockleshell raid : Bordeaux 1942 / by Ken Ford ; illustrated by Howard Gerrard

The complete Victoria Cross : a full chronological record of all holders of Britain’s highest award for gallantry / by Kevin Brazier

Conceiving the empire : China and Rome compared / edited by Fritz-Heiner Mutschler, Achim Mittag

The Coral Sea 1942 : the first carrier battle / by Mark Stille ; illustrated by John White

The empire project : the rise and fall of the British world-system, 1830-1970 / by John Darwin

The forts of New France : the Great Lakes, the Plains and the Gulf Coast, 1600-1763 / by René Chartrand ; illustrated by Brian Delf ; series editor Marcus Cowper

German battleships 1914-18 (2) : Kaiser, König and Bayern classes / by Gary Staff ; illustrated by Paul Wright

German commerce raider vs. British cruiser : the Atlantic & the Pacific 1941 / by Robert Forczyk

Hell in An Loc : the 1972 Easter Invasion and the battle that saved South Viet Nam / by Lam Quang Thi

Israel’s lightning strike : the raid on Entebbe, 1976 / by Simon Dunstan

Italian Blackshirt, 1935-45 / by P. Crociani & P. P. Battistelli ; illustrated by G. Rava

Katyn and the Soviet Massacre of 1940 : truth, Justice and memory / by by George Sanford

Lincoln and the decision for war : the northern response to secession / by Russell McClintock

Regia Aeronautica : the Italian Air Force 1923-1945: an operational history / by Chris Dunning

Rommel’s desert war : waging World War II in North Africa, 1941-1943 / by Martin Kitchen

The Soviet counterinsurgency in the western borderlands / by Alexander Statiev

USN cruiser vs IJN cruiser : Guadalcanal 1942 / by Mark Stille

Violence and social orders : a conceptual framework for interpreting recorded human history / by Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast

The war for Korea, 1950-1951 : they came from the north / by Allan R. Millett

Who dares wins : the SAS and the Iranian Embassy Siege 1980 / by Gregory Fremont-Barnes

Jun 28

Remembering Operation Red Wings

Monday, June 28, 2010 12:35 PM

From Seal of Honor:

“On 28 June 2005, Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy led a four man special reconnaissance SEAL team consisting of Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell to locate Ahmad Shah, a notorious Taliban leader in the remote Hindu Kush Mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

After an initial infiltration to begin Operation Red Wings, local goat herders stumbled upon the team’s hiding place. Unable to verify any hostile intent from the herders, Murphy ordered them released. Shortly after the herders left, the team was surrounded by a large force of Taliban fighters.

After about an hour and engaged in the most fierce fire fight since World War II and the most fierce in SEAL team history, LT Michael Patrick Murphy, in a last ditch effort to save his men knowingly stepped into the line of fire to obtain reception for his cell phone in order to call for reinforcements. One of the two rescue helicopters sent in response to Murphy’s call was shot down killing 8 navy SEALS and 8 Army “Night Stalkers”.

Marcus Luttrell was the lone survivor and gave a detailed briefing to military leaders that resulted in LT Michael Patrick Murphy being awarded this nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.”

On 24 June 2010, Lt. Michael Murphy’s father, Dan Murphy, appeared at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy in Washington, DC with SEAL of Honor author, Gary Williams. Here’s an excerpt of Dan Murphy’s talk from our YouTube channel:

Jun 25

The United States Navy and the Korean War by Dr. Edward J. Marolda

Friday, June 25, 2010 12:05 AM

60 years ago today, North Korea invaded South Korea. Our very own Dr. Edward J. Marolda, author of The United States Navy and the Korean War, discusses on Naval History Blog the U.S. Navy’s role in the Korean War:

What inspired you to first produce booklets commemorating the Korean War and then later compiling them into The U.S. Navy and the Korean War?

One of my primary objectives during my time at Naval Historical Center (now Naval History and Heritage Command) was to stimulate interest in the vital history of the U.S. Navy in the Cold War era. As head of the Contemporary History Branch and then as Senior Historian, I sought to generate works on this period. We began and completed multi-page books on the USN in the Cold War but I anticipated a need for shorter studies during the 50th anniversary of the Korean War from 2000-2003. With the funding assistance of the DOD Korean War Commemoration Committee and the Naval Historical Foundation, we enlisted authors for the booklets and when produced distributed them to numerous commemoration groups and naval activities nationwide. To reach another key audience (the members of the Naval Institute) I then partnered with the USNI and the NHF to produce the book, which I am pleased to say has generated lots of positive comment.

Who were your contributors on this important project?

In addition to the organizations mentioned above, the most important contributors to the project were the individual authors, some of the finest naval historians around, including the late Tom Buell, Joe Alexander, Dick Knott, Tom Cutler, Curtis Utz, Bernie Nalty, and Malcomb (Kip) Muir.

What was the Navy’s role in the Korean War?

Withouth the USN, the UN coalition would not have been able to fight in Korea. Within a few weeks of the North Korean invasion, US, UK, and ROK naval units were driving North Korean naval forces from the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan; sea control was never in question after that. The Navy’s Military Sea Transportation Service rushed troop reinforcements into South Korea that prevented loss of the peninsula. At the same time carrier-based Navy, Marine, and British aviation forces bombed the North Korean capital at Pyongyang, bombarded the enemy’s supply lines leading to Pusan, and provided UN ground forces with close air support. In addition to the masterful amphibious assault at Inchon which changed the power equation in mid-1950, the threat of other amphibious operations throughout the war compelled Mao and Kim to keep powerful forces away from the front line at the 38th parallel. Naval air both shore and carrier-based was critical to the 1st Marine Division’s successful fight to the sea from Chosin Reservoir (in the process badly beating up several PLA armies). Moreover, the fleet successfully withdrew 91,000 troops and their equipment (and 100,000 refugees) from Hungnam to South Korea and they were soon in the fight again. Naval bombardmente from BBs and other combatants denied the enemy free use of his own coastlines.

How did maritime power keep the first “limited war” of the Cold War era confined to Korea?

With the “neutralization” of the Straits of Taiwan by the Seventh Fleet at the outset of the war and carrier task force sweeps along the China coast throughout the war, Washington made it clear to Bejing that any attempt to widen the war beyong Korea would put China’s coastal cities and industries at great risk. The Soviets were equally concerned about the vulnerability of their remote Far Eastern holdings.

What projects are you working on now?

A few years ago (while I worked at the NHC) in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War (one could pick several dates for that, but I chose 1965) in 2015, I inaugurated a new commemorative booklet series. With invaluable assistance of the Naval Historical Foundation, I enlisted distinguished authors to write individual booklets on the following topics: coastal operations, riverine operations, Operation Rolling Thunder, Operation Linebacker, POWs, naval leaders of the Vietnam War, sealift and logistic support, intelligence, Seabees and naval construction, and special operations. As a consultant to the NHHC, I am continuing work on the project as coeditor with Sandra Doyle, the NHHC’s Publications Editor. We hope to have 14 booklets completed by 2015.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I continue to believe there is much more we all can do to preserve and interpret the Navy’s vital contribution to the nation’s success in the the Cold War. In addition to the Vietnam booklet series, the NHHC and the NHF are embarked on a major project, completing a Cold War Gallery to the National Museum of the United States Navy at the Washington Navy Yard.

Originally posted here.

Jun 2

New Additions to the Navy Department Library

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 10:04 AM

Last week 230 volumes of nautical accident investigation reports from the National Transportation Safety Board were donated to the Navy Department Library. These reports detail the incidents and investigations into marine accidents for the period 1979-2006. Several of the reports focus on accidents involving US Navy vessels and other vessels. These reports detail such incidents as the sinking of small passenger vessels to groundings of large transport ships, to include the May 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez. The in-depth reports cover crew information, meteorological information, rescue efforts, and the testing and research done to investigate the incidents. These reports are a wealth of information from analysis to the findings of the investigations. These books are currently being processed and will join our collection some time in the next few weeks. We hope this exciting new addition will become a valuable resource for researchers in the very near future.

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