Blood On The Sea: American Destroyers Lost In World War Ii Hardcover – December 21, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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USS Reid (DD-369) During a convoy escort west of Leyte on 11 December 1944, a swarm of Japanese planes appears overhead:
' ...Racing down through a murderous wall of 20- and 40-mm cannon fire and 5-inch projectiles, four more "bandits" were splashed, four others being damaged by Reid's gunners. Then five more aircraft prepared to crash-dive onto the destroyers, four of which ganged up on Reid.
The first suicider screamed in, snagged its wing on the starboard whaleboat, and went careening forward to crash against the ship's hull, just above the waterline abreast of No.2 magazine. The explosion blew a huge hole in the destroyer's side and set her ammunition ablaze. Seconds later, another aircraft plunged into her Mo.3 5-inch gun mount aft, then spun aronund and crashed into a 40-mm gun tub, detonating with a thunderous blast. A flaming shower of burning gasoline splashed across Reid's decks, burning and scorching every sailor in its path and causing ready 20- and 40-mm ammunition to explode in a lethal pyrotechnic display.
Within two minutes of first being struck, the damaged Reid was on her way to a watery grave. Shaken by violent internal explosions and unchecked flames gutting her bridge and superstructure, Reid began to settle swiftly by the stern... Seemingly as if in protest, after she had vanished beneath the waves, the sea shook and rumbled violently as her ammunition continued to detonate throughout her battered, fiery hulk. ' (p. 261)
This was the first campaign to suffer from Kamikazes- and death from the sky came quickly. The U.S. Navy needed to adapt to every new tactic from the enemy; soon, carriers arrived with strengthened fighter groups to provide air cover. As seaborne radar controllers detected new raids, the Combat Air Patrols would be vectored to intercept. Ships continued to be struck. It also helped to supply the ships with ammunition that exploded in proximity to an airplane.
See also: The deadly fuze: The secret weapon of World War II , USN Destroyer vs IJN Destroyer: The Pacific 1943 (Duel) .