Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

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“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do all the damage we can.”

Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland
Commanding Officer, USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413)

This book details the battle of Taffy 3, comprised of escort carriers, destroyers, and destroyer escorts, against a Japanese battleship and cruiser force led by the monster BB Yamato in 1944. It’s told from the perspective of many of the men in the fight, and this will give you a “I can’t believe what these men did” feeling that no simple historical overview can impart.

You are there with the tin cans as they charge the battleships and cruisers. Yes, they charged them. Some of those Japanese battlewagons had gun turrets that outweighed each US ship. And they charged anyway.

The things men and women have done to make America what it is staggers the imagination.

By James D. Hornfischer. I’m currently listening to the audiobook. Also in paperback. Good stuff.


  1. Thanks. I’ve read a number of accounts of that battle. The one that I thought best captured the details of the gallantry of Taffy 3 was The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23-26 October 1944, by Thomas J. Cutler. I’m looking forward to checking this one out too.

  2. Excellent book. Goes beyond Cutler’s work, though his book is a must read for reporting on the last major battle between surface fleets. The lttle DEs put up quite the rear guard battle…

  3. I also caught it on audiobook earlier this year. An excellent work that details the trials and tribulations of them men on the ‘Little Boys’ that stood up to the Japanese battleline.

  4. Just loaded it on to m ipod. Libraries audio books and ipods are a great combination. I don’t have to give the books back, now. Which was always my biggest problem with library books.

  5. A couple of statistics that illustrate the overwhelming odds: o The DEs displaced about 2500 tons. The main turrets on the Yamato weighed 2100 tons. o The biggest shell the destroyers could fire weighed 57 pounds. The biggest shell the Yamato could fire weighed 3500 pounds.