THE SHIP THAT WOULD NOT DIE by

THE SHIP THAT WOULD NOT DIE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A naval officer's comings and going, in and out of battle, in World War II--with a destroyer named Laffey as the focal point. At the Battle of Guadalcanal, Admiral Becton--then a lieutenant commander--witnessed the daring attack of the U.S. destroyer Laffey on the overpoweringly large Japanese battleship Hiei. The Laffey was sunk, to be sure, but not before damaging the battleship; and Becton's ship, mauled and repaired, was also sunk some weeks later. Sent back to the States, he was assigned command of the new Laffey, an even larger destroyer being built at a Maine ironworks. Promoted to commander, he stopped off to woo his Broadway-entertainer girlfriend, then watched over the final assembling of his new ship; took his crew and vessel on a shakedown voyage to Bermuda and back, and was assigned to Operation Overlord. The Laffey supported the Normandy invasion at Omaha beach--at one point it was penetrated by a huge dud shell which had to be removed with infinite care. Returning to the States, Becton helped fellow-officer Robert Montgomery, the actor, get transferred from duty with an ogre, then took his ship through the Panama Canal for the Pacific battle for the Philippines. As the war wound down, the Japanese increased their unnerving Kamikaze attacks. Then, off Okinawa, the Laffey fought off the greatest Kamikaze attack in naval history, with 22 planes waiting to fireball into her and six actually getting through the ship's barrage to crash onboard. These chapters burst with action and make up for the fairly straightforward surrounding material. Overall, though, mainly for buffs.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1980
Publisher: Prentice-Hall