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Battle of Surigao Strait (Twentieth-Century Battles)
Surigao Strait in the Philippine Islands was the scene of a major battleship duel during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Because the battle was fought at night and had few survivors on the Japanese side, the events of that naval engagement have been passed down in garbled accounts. Anthony P. Tully pulls together all of the existing documentary material, including newly discovered accounts and a careful analysis of U.S. Navy action reports, to create a new and more detailed description of the action. In several respects, Tully's narrative differs radically from the received versions and represents an important historical corrective. Also included in the book are a number of previously unpublished photographs and charts that bring a fresh perspective to the battle.
A fine work, but with some jarring problems
By Alan D. Zimm "dradz"
- April 30, 2009
My strongest recommendation up front: buy this book, read it. There are information and insights here that you will not be able to get from any other English-language source on the Battle. This book is in my collection, and I expect to be referring to it often in the future. The author has done a great job of research, drawing on many unused American and Japanese sources, and has corrected many errors in the "standard" historical works and records. You will get information on the Japanese planning and conduct of the battle that you will not get anywhere else.
My most important caveat - and the reason why I can only score the book a "4" - is that there are significant interpretive and stylistic problems in Mr. Tully's text. Care must be taken when reading this book, as I will delve into later.
First, the good stuff: Mr. Tully has made a significant contribution to the history of the battle, and has contributed to a better understanding of the objectives of... read more
Order, Counterorder, Disorder
By L. Veid "Chronic Reader"
- April 22, 2009
This is an excellent addition to the 20th Century Battles series, which addresses a number of relatively obscure battles. While Surigao Strait isn't particularly obscure, being part of the huge Leyte Gulf battle, it most often is referred to only as "the last battle between battleships".
Mr. Tully does an excellent job of rescuing the battle from that historical ghetto. He has tapped not only previously overlooked original Japanese records of the battle, but also the memories of Japanese survivors. These sources have been added to the US records to provide a balanced view of not only the Surigao Strait battle but also the strategic and operational situations that led to the battle.
The Japanese naval command sent Yamashiro and Fuso, their two oldest and slowest battleships on what was essentially a one-way mission to attack portions of the US landing force in the Phillipines, supposedly in coordination with other Japanese forces. In a nice bit of historical irony... read more
Excellent Work from the Japanese Side
By David M. Dougherty
- October 10, 2009
Author Tully has produced an excellent work on the Battle of Surigao Strait, primarily from the Japanese side, and made a definite contribution to English literature on the Pacific War. Prior to reading Tully's book, I had thought of Nishimura as some sort of naval Kamikase following orders to no purpose. Clearly, that thought was in error. Although Nishimura's mission was a long shot to succeed, so were many Civil War battles fought by Robert E. Lee (Chancellorsville comes immediately to mind.) And at this stage in the war, Japan was reduced to taking long shots. Nishimura took his shot and died in the attempt, but can hardly be criticized for his seamanship, decisions or valor. Shima, on the other hand, does come in for substantial criticism. He could have (but didn't) closed the gap between their task forces to produce more of a concentrated attack. Of course, that probably would not have affected the outcome except to bring about more losses on the Japanese side... read more
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