On 2 September 1945, the Empire of Japan formally surrendered to the Allied Powers, ending World War II. The surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay took place on the battleship Missouri (BB 63) shown here on that morning beneath a massive flyover by U.S. Navy carrier aircraft. National Archives image 80-G-421130.

On 13 July 1943, during the Battle of Kolombangara, destroyer USS Gwin (DD 431) was torpedoed amidships. After a losing struggle to save their critically damaged ship, her crew was taken off and the ship was scuttled. In this photo, Gwin is shown underway in 1941. NHHC image NH 97913.

Norman Polmar’s Corner: Edward Teller and the A-Bomb

By Norman Polmar

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Edward Teller, the “father” of the hydrogen bomb. Teller believed strongly that the United States should have had a demonstration of the atomic bomb for the Japanese leadership before the weapons were used to destroy Japanese cities. We met on 14 November 1986. Earlier, as a member of the Secretary of the Navy’s Research Advisory Committee (NRAC), I had participated in a major study of theater nuclear war at sea.

(read the full story)

In the early morning of 6 July 1943, the cruiser USS Helena (CL 50) was part of a task force that fought Japanese destroyers in the Battle of Kula Gulf. Hit by three torpedoes in that action, the cruiser was broken into three parts and sunk, with the loss of nearly 170 of her crewmen.

BOOK REVIEW – Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919-45 (1): Minekaze to Shiratsuyu Classes

By Mark Stille, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, United Kingdom (2013)

Reviewed by Diana L. Ahmad, Ph.D., Missouri University of Science and Technology

As with other Osprey publications, this volume packs a lot of information into a small space and completes its discussion of Japanese destroyers with excellent illustrations by Paul Wright and photographs from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command and the Yamato Museum. A tremendous amount of detail is provided regarding the development of the Japanese destroyer that became the most successful part of the Japanese fleet.

(read the full review)

Norman Polmar’s Corner: Paul Nitze and the A-Bomb

By Norman Polmar
In the early 1960s, while researching my book Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events (1969), I encountered the massive, detailed series of reports produced by the U.S. government after World War II—the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS). A reading of the reports related to Japan at the end of the war indicated that Japan was about to collapse, even without the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If true, on a very simplistic basis, that meant that there was no need to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Photographer Remembers Sinking of USS Yorktown

Read the account of CDR William G. Roy, USN(Ret) as he describes his experience as a member of the salvage party on board the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV 5) during the Battle of Midway. CDR Roy is a long time Naval Historical Foundation member.

(read his account here)

On 4 June 1942, in one of the most stunning victories in naval history, forces of the U.S. Navy triumphed over the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway. As a huge Japanese invasion force approached the Midway atoll, it was met by U.S. carrier planes and aircraft from Midway. By the close of the battle on 7 June, four Japanese aircraft carriers were on the bottom of the sea, and Japanese naval supremacy of the Pacific Ocean was irrevocably smashed.

BOOK REVIEW – Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater

By Brayton Harris, Palgrave Macmillan: New York, (2012)

Reviewed by Captain Scott Mobley, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Brayton Harris begins his narrative by pledging to give the reader a “guided tour” of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s life.  Harris delivers on this promise, tracing Nimitz’s rise from a small-town Texas boyhood to the apex of naval high command. U.S. Naval Institute oral histories inform Harris’ research, as do contemporary news stories and an array of secondary sources-most notably E.B Potter’s monumental biography of the admiral: Nimitz, published in 1976. Compared to Potter’s earlier work, Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater provides a tidy, straightforward account-in a volume considerably slimmer than its predecessor.

(read the full review)

USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) Battle Ensign Donated to Navy

Last month, a truly unique piece of history found a new home in the collection of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). The 48 star battle ensign of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) was transferred from a private collection to the Material Section at NHHC.

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