Neptune's Inferno:The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal

"Neptune's Inferno - The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal"
by James D. Hornfischer

A few days ago, I finished reading this well written, recently published book.

The very close win by the USA in its campaign to retake Guadalcanal is made clear in this book by Hornfischer.

One amazing fact is that the U.S. Navy lost about 3 times as many men as was lost by land forces. Two major US Navy aircraft carriers were sunk by the Japanese and Japan lost two battleships from the guns and torpedoes of the U.S. Navy, one finished by air power based from Henderson Field.

At one point, the US had only one large aircraft carrier and one battleship in combat areas in the Pacific. They were assigned to the Guadalcanal campaign against a vastly superior size of Japanase Naval forces at the time.

The US Navy was severely restricted by fuel shortage and lack of supply line in the South Pacific - worse than the Japanese Navy - during the first 2 1/2 months of the campaign. Meanwhile, the Japanese overestimated the strength of the US Navy. Ironically, Admiral Yamamoto was looking for his decisive naval victory in the Solomon Island area, but moved too late to be given any probability of success.

What resulted was an extremely close win of Guadalcanal by the USA forces. It all depended on the victory at sea.

The historical events are blended with the human aspect as Hornfischer presents the story of the warriors as well as the weapons. Strategy and tactics are revealed with the courage and the blunders in the fog of war with some individuals making brilliant decisions which made victory possible.

Battles are carefully described, including order of battle, dispositions, and good maps.

There is important information about such battles that would be difficult to find.

I feel that this book would be a good reference to developing missions for IL-2 Sturmovik or another combat flight simulator. Perhaps a campaign could be made, too. The Slot map would be good for this.

It is very good reading for anyone interested in Guadalcanal.


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