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South Pacific Destroyer, The Battle for the Solomons from Savo Island to Vella Gulf (Naval Institute

Discussion in 'The Pacific and CBI' started by Slipdigit, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    South Pacific Destroyer, The Battle for the Solomons from Savo Island to Vella Gulf (Naval Institute Press, 1998, paperback edition 2009, 304 pages) Russell Sydnor Crenshaw, Jr.

    When eating a great meal at a fine restaurant, I like to send my regards to chef for the preparation of the exquisite repast. I consider it the very least that I can do (other than paying the bill) to extend my thanks for a job well done. After completing South Pacific Destroyer, The Battle for the Solomons from Savo Island to Vella Gulf (Naval Institute Press, 1998, paperback edition 2009, 304 pages), I wanted to do the same for the author. Russell Sydnor Crenshaw, Jr.’s masterful book was as enjoyable as a good meal and caused me to miss sleep several nights, as my eyes were glued to the pages of this well written book.

    The story of the battles in and around the Solomon Islands is an enduring tale of valor, confusion, mistakes and determination and for the men involved, the war hung in the balance for much of the campaign. Crenshaw picks up his narrative in the days immediately following the Battle of Tassafaronga, while two US cruisers lay heavily damaged and camouflaged while at anchor in a small inlet at Tulagi, with the crews working to make repairs that would allow them exit the warzone. Crenshaw’s ship, USS Maury (DD-401) was left behind to provide protection and aid to the stricken cruisers.

    Crenshaw provides a water level view of the fighting around Guadalcanal over the next 9 months, while detailing life aboard a destroyer. He includes his observations of well known personalities, such as Arleigh Burke and Frederick Moosbrugger and as he spoke of his skipper, Gelzer Sims, I could sense the deep respect that Crenshaw had for the captain of the Maury.

    At the time, the Combat Information Center (CIC) was a novel idea and was a need that developed with the integration of radar into the handling of the ship and sighting of the guns. Crenshaw goes over in some detail the formation of this new part of the ship.

    The author doesn’t just deal with the mundane, however. His descriptions of the various naval battles are superb and he easily integrates the infantry combat onshore with the naval actions that he was involved in and the inclusion of appropriate maps and charts aids the reader in keeping up with the various maneuvers, as they are discussed.

    Crenshaw’s writing style is engaging as he relates the day to day activities aboard his destroyer, while not bogging down the novice or veteran reader with boring details. I welcomed the explanation of how things work, having never served aboard a ship. As I read the book, I came to better understand the difficulties often faced by ordinary men as they endeavored, with weapons that did not always work as advertised, to defeat the enemy.

    If you’ve not figured it out after reading the opening paragraph, I greatly enjoyed reading South Pacific Destroyer, The Battle for the Solomons from Savo Island to Vella Gulf. I highly recommend this book for the student of the naval Pacific War, both for pleasure and historical value.
     
    dgmitchell likes this.

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