Monday, September 7, 2009

Tragedy at Honda

By Charles A. Lockwood and Hans Christian Adamson
280 pages US Naval Institute Press 2004 978-1591144670
Known to seafarers as the Devil's Jaw, Point Honda has lured ships to its dangerous rocks on California's coast for centuries, but its worst disaster occurred on 8 September 1923. That night nine U.S. Navy destroyers ran into Honda's fog-wrapped reefs. Part of Destroyer Squadron 11, the ships were making a fast run from San Francisco to their homeport of San Diego as fog closed around them. The captain of the flagship Delphy ordered a change of course, but due to navigational errors and unusual currents caused by an earthquake in Japan the previous week, she ran aground. Eight destroyers followed her. Only Pearl Harbor in 1941 would do more damage. In dramatic hour-by-hour detail, the authors recreate what happened, including the heroic efforts to rescue men and ships. In addition to presenting a full picture of the tragedy, they cover the subsequent investigations, which became a media sensation. The authors suggest that the cause of the tragedy lay in the interpretation of the differences that exist between the classic concepts of naval regulations and the stark realism of the unwritten code of destroyer doctrine to follow the leader. Admiral Nimitz's introduction sets the scene for this action-filled account of America's greatest peacetime naval tragedy in history, first published in 1960.
The book contains a number of illustrations; unfortunately the captions were cut off on some of the pages.
Charles A Lockwood is famous as being the commander of US submarines in the Pacific during the Second World War but turned his efforts after post war retirement to writing works of US Navy history in conjunction with others and by himself.
In this book he collaborated with Hans Christian Adamson to compile what is probably the definitive history of one of the worst disaster in US Navy history.

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