Sea Cobra

Admiral Halsey's Task Force and the Great Pacific Typhoon


Book Description

In the tradition of Joseph Conrad and Herman Wouk comes a gripping, real-life story of men versus the sea—and against the typhoon named Cobra.

In the final year of the Second World War, as the United States Navy fought Japanese forces in the largest sea battle in human history, none could foresee that just a few weeks later the Pacific Fleet would be fighting another foe: the Pacific Ocean itself. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Imperial Japanese Navy had unleashed a new weapon of desperation, the dreaded kamikaze squadrons, in an effort to stave off defeat. Admiral “Bull” Halsey, his reputation clouded after controversial decisions at Leyte, grew obsessed with destroying kamikaze air bases in the Philippines. Meanwhile, a tropical storm in the Pacific was slowly gaining power, unseen, untracked, unsuspected. It was headlong into this storm, dubbed Typhoon Cobra, that Halsey would lead his fleet.

Sea Cobra tells the dramatic story of the ships and men of the famed Fast Carrier Task Force as fate lands them squarely in the path of this killer typhoon. Using survivors’ interviews and other firsthand accounts, seasoned historian and author Buckner F. Melton Jr. tells the story of a modern fleet encountering one of the most destructive forces of nature. As bomb- and gasoline-laden aircraft carriers—and destroyers critically low on fuel—are overtaken by towering waves and hundred-plus-knot winds, the fleet is pushed to the brink of disaster. Melton recounts the many heroic efforts in the fleet’s struggle to survive, and he also examines the ensuing court inquiry ordered by Admiral Chester Nimitz, as officials sought to make sense of this perilous mission.

About Melton, Buckner F., Jr.

Buckner F. Melton Jr. is a historian and a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and University Press Fellow at Mercer University. He is the author of A Hanging Offense and Aaron Burr.