The Navy of World War II, 1922-1947

The Navy of World War II, 1922-1947

The Navy of World War II, 1922-1947

The Navy of World War II, 1922-1947

Synopsis

'The Navy of World War II, 1922-1946' comprehensively covers the vessels that defined this momentous 24-year period in US naval history. Showcasing all the ships that propelled the US Navy to prominence in the first half of the 20th century, this text catalogues all the warships from this era.

Excerpt

In 1945, at the end of World War II, the U.S. Navy stood at its peak in size and power. Huge numbers of ships had been built from the largest Iowa-class battleships to wooden submarine chasers. Thousands of merchant ships were constructed, of which the Navy used hundreds as auxiliaries of all types.

The attack on Pearl Harbor opened hostilities with the devastation of the fleet, magnified by the surprise nature of the attack. Conditions close to war were already in effect in the Atlantic Ocean, and Adolf Hitler made it simpler for the United States to enter the global conflict by declaring war three days later.

Major ships were hurriedly transferred to the Pacific Ocean using the Panama Canal. No doubt, there were many who thanked the foresight of Theodore Roosevelt decades earlier. Nevertheless, during the early battles of 1942 disasters continued with the loss of the Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies. Thousands of Allied troops were killed or captured, and many ships were sunk. Japanese forces roamed the western Pacific virtually unopposed, their attacks reaching as far as Ceylon and Northern Australia. The battles in the Coral Sea and then the decisive Battle of Midway were the first setbacks for Japan. In August 1942 the two enemies clashed in the Solomon Islands, which were destined to become a ferocious battleground that would cost the lives of many men and dozens of ships.

The clash came on the island of Guadalcanal, where the Japanese were building an airfield. American landings started an intense battle for the island, into which more ships and men were drawn. Following the disaster at Savo Island, a series of naval battles were fought—in the Eastern Solomon Islands, at Cape Esperance, and at Santa Cruz—culminating in the actions in November called the Battle of Guadalcanal. Both sides suffered serious losses in cruisers and destroyers.

During the next year the American forces made their way up the Solomon Island chain, landing and fighting on Vella Lavella, Rendova, Kolombangara, Choiseul, New Georgia, and, finally, Bougainville—names of places previously unknown to most. Naval fighting occurred at Kula Gulf, Empress Augusta Bay, the Bismarck Sea, and Cape St. George. Other fighting took place in New Guinea, and an intense air campaign caused havoc to Japanese shipping in these confined waters.

During this time, shipyards and training stations in the United States were busy producing the fleet that emerged in 1943 and grew into the carrier task forces and amphibious forces, which turned the tide and eventually dominated the Pacific. Meanwhile, the underwater war was growing, as an increasing number of newly built submarines carried out the destruction of the Japanese Navy and Merchant Marine.

The American war in the Pacific . . .

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