|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
Military shipwrecks - vessels lost due to war.
See also: RAIDERS
Please note: The books are listed for interest only,
and not offered for sale.
The Saga of U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster.
Ricard F. Newcomb. With introduction and after-word by Peter Maas.
Australia Harper Collins Publishers, 2000.
Certainly paperback by Harper-Collins.
Appears originally in paperback by Corgi Books, 1977, and Bantam Books 1980.
First published in 1958 by Henry Holt & Co., New York.
Others: Indiana University Press, USA, 1976. Also Stein and Day publishers, New York, 1982 (Book Club edition).
326 pages (paperback); 400 pages hardcover. With index.
From booksellers blurb: In July 1945, the heavy cruiser U. S. S. Indianapolis put in at the Pacific atoll of Tinian to deliver a rare cargo: several hundred pounds of uranium, the makings of the two atomic bombs that only a few weeks later would be dropped on Japan. Having discharged this duty, the Indianapolis made way for Guam, and thence for the Philippines, in waters that the high command had assured its captain were safe. En route, it crossed the path of a Japanese submarine, which fired six torpedoes and sank the cruiser, killing hundreds of sailors--some of whom were devoured by sharks--and leaving others to float in the open ocean for days.
The stirring saga of the U.S. Navy"s heroic response to an incredible disaster. On July 29/30, 1945, in the South Pacific, the heavy cruiser Indianapolis, flagship of the Fifth Fleet, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. In twelve minutes of fury, she sank. Over 800 men went overboard-only to face one of the worst ordeals in Navy history. Of 196 men on board, only 316 survived.
Originally published in 1958, thirteen years after the sinking of The Indianapolis, Newcomb wrote the book in an effort to exonerate the Captain after a court martial found him guilty of negligence ( the only US captain to be court martialled for the loss of his ship due to enemy action). He was unsuccessful , but he did keep the event in the public's eye. About 1996 a sixth-grade student, after watching Jaws and hearing Quint talk of the sinking of the Indianapolis, decided to make it a project for a history fair. He raised so much interest, especially with the remaining survivors, that the case was eventually reviewed and Captain McVay finally exonerated.
[Details from internet]
VOYAGE - The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis.
The True Story of the (US) Navy's Greatest Sea Diaster, A World War 2 Scandal That Still Haunts the Pentagon.
Atheneum, Macmillan Publishing Co, New York, 1990. ISBN 0-689-12007-9
Hardcover, dustjacket, 331 pages, mono prints, bibliography, index.
And well it may still haunt the Pentagon - the situation of the loss of the Indianapolis is perhaps the most disgraceful marine loss, be it in war or peace, ever perpetrated, with so many young men lost due to incompetence, ignorance and pure stupidity of the US Navy and military operations. Shipwreck books are not pleasant reading. This one will give you nightmares, particularly if you are an Amercian (or their Allies) and you pray that military attitudes have improved to this day. I wonder! From the fly: "On a clear morning in 1945, the cruiser USS Indianapolis unloaded at the tropical island of Tinian the vital parts of the atomic bomb that would destroy Hiroshima. This highly classified mission accomplished, Captain Charles McVay turned his ship toward the Philippines, secure in the belief that the war was virtually over. But, for McVay and his crew, the ordeal was only beginning - on the overcast night of July 30, a Japanese submarine took advantage of a momentary break in the clouds and torpedoed the Indianapolis. In Fatal Voyage, Dan Kurzman vividly depicts the horrors braved by the shipwrecked sailors: first the flight from their rapidly sinking vessel, then the frenzied sharks who feasted on hundreds of injured and defenseless crewen, the five parched days spent under the killing sun (for the most part, without food, fresh water, or lifeboats), and the mirage temptations of oasis islands and underwater hotels. Kurzman reveals in telling detail the bureaucratic snafus that prevented the Navy from even being aware that the Indianapolis was missing. By the time the crew was found (a near- miraculous story in itself), only 316 of the original 1200 men were still alive. This was the worst sea disaster in American naval history, and the Navy high command desperately needed a scapegoat; they settled on Captain McVay, who, to his astonishment, found himself the first American captain ever brought to trial for losing his ship in battle (and, surreally, confronted by the Japanese submarine commander, who was flown to the U.S. to testify for the prosecution). In a ringing conclusion, Kurzman shows how the McVay trial was primarily a public relations gesture, and how the Navy's management of the incident haunts the Pentagon to this day." [ps]
SORRY FOR SINKING YOU
The Story of the S.S.City of Cairo.
Collins, London, 1984. ISBN 0 00 216464 7.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 250 pahes, mono pirnts, index.
From the fly blurb:"On 6th November 1942 the S.S.City of Cairo,. alone in the middle of the South Atlantic making for Recife in Brazil, was torpedoed by the German V-boat V-68. She had nearly 300 passengers and crew aboard, who moved quickly to the lifeboats. Twenty minutes after the first torpedo, KarI-Freidrich Merten sent another to scuttle the ship; in passing it sank one of the lifeboats and dam~ged another. As those in the water fought to clamber into the remaining boats, most of them already overloaded, he surfaced to identify his kill, to criticise the captain of the Cairo for his lack of organisation, to tell him how far he was from land, and to wish him 'Goodnight. Sorry for sinking you'. What follows forms one of the greatest tales of survival and endurance. The Cairo's captain decided that their only hope was to sail for St Helena, despite the considerable chance of overshooting and being lost in the ocean beyond. Three boats did become.detached from the main group, and their story is the most extraordinary of all. In the weeks that followed, the survivors, growing steadily fewer and weaker, found and knew the extremes of selfishness and depravity of which human beings are capable. But they also discovered in some-of their number a nobility and heroism that defies easy description. It is this latter which is the lasting impression of this book. " [ps]
Oldbourne Book Co. Ltd., London. 1959.
Hardcover, dust jacket, 256 pages, mono prints.
From the fly: "It was Monday, June 17th, 1940. Along the French coast a bewildered, battered army had crowded the beaches and filled the little ports, waiting to be picked up and taken back across the Channel. Lying off St. Nazaire was the liner Lancastria, 16,000 tons of elegance and steel, in which more than four thousand men, packed into every available inch of space, could be carried to safety. Between seven and eight that morning the first boats began to ferry their human cargoes out to the liner: airmen, pioneers, infantrymen, engineers, gunners, even 38 civilians. Around the Lancastria a group of ships was lying, all too vulnerable in those shallow waters. The Oronsay had already been hit. Then, about four o'clock in the afternoon - "at eight bells, at the end of the after- noon watch" - the Lancastria was struck by bombs, and turned over and sank. This was, it is true, a maritime disaster of the first magnitude: and yet, such was the heroism and fortitude it evoked, that it will always be remembered with a sense of national pride. Geoffrey Bond tells the whole story for the first time. He follows individuals and units across France to St. Nazaire; he tells what these people were doing when the bombs struck; he follows them into the water, and - for the lucky ones - to England and safety. All the records of the Lancastria Survivors' Association have been opened to him. In addition he has personally interviewed hundreds of men, of all units, who were there. His story is factual, intensely moving, gripping as the tension mounts page by page. Here, in clear, compelling prose, is the very stuff of war-a full record of tragedy, irony, infamy and human bravery." [ps]
OF THE SMOKE
Ray Parkin. With an Introduction by Laurens Van der Post.
Christopher Dobson, John Miller, Ronald Payne.
Little, Brown ? Co, Boston, Toronto. 1979. Library of Congress Catalog 79-91329.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 223 pages, a few mono plates, index.
From the fly:
The Cruelest Night reveals, for the first time, the full story of the worst of all sea tragedies, the sinking by a Russian submarine of the German ocean liner Wilhelm Gustloff in the Baltic Sea in 1945. At least seven thousand military personnel and civilians in flight from the avenging Red army perished - nearly five times the number who died on the Titanic. The subsequent loss in the same operation of two other overladen German liners, the General Steuben and the Goya, brought the devastating toll to eighteen thousand. This book describes the background of the whole affair: the amazing episode of "Germany's Dunkirk," Admiral Doenitz's evacuation of nearly two million Germans who lay in the path of the Russian advance as the eastern front collapsed. On January 30, 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff, a Nazi pleasure liner built to hold two thousand, set sail trom the port of Gdynia with approximately eignt thousand aboard. In part to prevent even more of the refugees clamoring at the docks from boarding, the liner departed hastily - without proper escort, suitable crew, or enough lifeboats, and so overloaded that it could not follow the precautionary zigzag course through the mine and submarine infested Baltic. The next night, the Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed. Incorporating horrific accounts by survivors, the authors provide vivid cinematographic descriptions of the desperate crush to board the ship, the pandemonium at sea, and the re- morseless struggle by soldier, sailor, and civilian alike for a place on the lifeboats. Dobson, Miller, and Payne outline the naval and political implications of the events and reveal the suppressed story of Captain Alexander Marinesko, the hard-drinking, flamboyant Soviet submarine ace responsible for the sinking, who was later disgraced and banished to the dreaded labor camp at Kolyma. Here, too, is the mystery of the whereabouts of the famed Prussian "Amber Room" and the extraordinary story of Gauleiter Erich Koch, the Nazi war criminal, whom the authors discovered alive and imprisoned in Poland. The Baltic ordeal was the greatest seaborne evacuation in history, as well as the biggest sea disaster. Incredibly, the story has never been fully told until now. [ps]
E. Keble Chatterton.
Hurst ? Blackett, Ltd., London. No date but perhaps the 1930s.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 286 pages, twenty-eight illustrations (photos) and maps, index.
Chatteron is well-know for his books on the sea, a most prolific writer with no less than thirty-seven books to his name when this one was printed around 1936.
From the fly: Not all the best yarns belong to fiction. Everyone loves a mystery story and few people fail to be thrilled by sea adventure. Here is a narrative as full of excitement, suspense and drama as any detective tale. There are the very essentials of the latter, but on a grand scale-the crime committed, the escape of the perpetrator, the false clues, the piecing together of slender threads, the crossexamination of witnesses, the thwarting of spies, the chase, the desperate efforts to get away. But it is all fact, and becomes more fascinating because the people were real and the principal characters are still alive. The setting is on tropical seas, and rivers with their mangrove swamps. Reefs and islands, forests, moonlight, blazing sun, fast warships and aeroplanes, wireless and tiny steamboats, wonderful and breathless brave exploits by determined men on a gorgeous adventure: these are the qualities of this exceptional volume. For the first time the full and complete account is given of how the cruiser Konigsberg, after sinking the British S.S. City of Winchester, and then surprising and sinking H.M.S. Pegasus, hid herself for months up an apparently unnavigable river, but after thousands of miles had been searched by British men-of-war, was finally discovered and destroyed. This volume, based entirely on original documents and first-hand material from actual participants, is at once of permanent historical value and an absorbing record. The events happened in 1914. [ps]
The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis and New York. 1953
There is sure to have been a British edition.
Hardcover, presume dustjacket, 246 pages, drawings, no photos.
The definitive work on the loss of HMAS Perth and USS Houston in the Java Sea, March 1942.
Captain Russell Grenfell.
Published by Faber and Faber Limited, London.
First published mcmxlviii. (What a wank! Whats wrong with 1948). This third impression mcml - 1950.
"Captain Grenfell, R.N., tells quite simply, and for the first time, the detailed story of the chase and sinkling of the German battleship Bismarck". Etc etc.
LEXINGTON GOES DOWN
The Last Seven Hours of a Fighting Lady.
Published by Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey, USA; 1971. Several printings.
The author should be well known to readers of maritime hisstory; he has writen on the Lusitania and the Emden.
From the fly blurb: "In May 1942 the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese naval forces -each with two aircraft carriers- launched history's first sea confronta- tion where aircraft would press the bat- tle. On May 7 the Americans, aboard the Lexington, drew first blood in the carrier war. They sank the Japanese light carrier Shoho. Japan was bent on revenge. One day later the Lex was at- tacked by 100 Japanese planes. The attack began a few minutes past 11A.M. The Lexington's valiant death struggle continued from the first torpedo hit at 11: 18 until 7:56 P.M. when the flaming hulk received the coup de grace from the American destroyer Phelps. The Lex plunged beneath the surface of the Pacific, but her loss represented a stra- tegic victory: Japan's southward ex- pansion was curbed. , This book, however, is more than the, tragedy of a fallen behemoth~ Rather it is the story of man's indomitable spirit pitted against overwhelming odds. To effect such a canvas, the actions and thoughts of individual crew members during the crisis have been recorded. Survivors have been interviewed and naval authorities consulted. [ps]
Publishers and Distributors
303 Commercial Road, Yarram, Vic 3971, Australia
Phone (03) 5182 5108 International 61 3 5182 5108
Fax (03) 5182 5823 Internationl 61 3 5182 5823
homepage, link on graphic.