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Phalanx Against the Divine Wind

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Phalanx Against the Divine Wind

Protecting the Fast Carrier Task Force During World War 2
  • by Martin Irons
  • Merriam Press World War 2 History Series
Admiral William Halsey’s Fast Carrier Task Force was the ultimate naval armada during World War II. To protect the carriers from kamikazes, squadrons of destroyers were placed in harm’s way on the outer flanks of the formation.

The USS Haynsworth DD 700 was one of the nine sister destroyers that formed Squadron 62 in 1944. Her warrior-captain and his twenty-five year old executive officer led a mostly teenage crew through bold engagements in the South China Sea, Iwo Jima, Tokyo, and Okinawa. The destroyers battled Japanese warships, submarines, torpedoes, mines, and planes. On the road to victory in the Pacific, the young crew matured from boys to men as they endured typhoons, took prisoners on the high seas, and rescued pilots.

But, on April 6, 1945, Kikusui No.1 was initiated, the largest kamikaze attack of World War II. After months of protecting the aircraft carriers from danger, the USS Haynsworth found itself in the crosshairs when it was the first warship struck. For the Haynsworth and the Fifth Fleet, it was a fight for survival against nearly seven hundred enemy planes in an epic battle that spanned thirty hours.

The crew of the USS Haynsworth carried the weight of the attack through their lifetimes. For one young radioman, Jack McAllister, the attack defined his life in unexpected ways.

Phalanx Against the Divine Wind contains possibly the last first-hand accounts of kamikaze attacks against destroyers. It is a riveting account of young sailors and their warships’ struggle for survival during their intense battles against the Japanese in World War II.

Book Signing Held Aboard USS Slater in the Port of Albany, New York

August 27, 2017

ALBANY - A special book signing was held Sunday aboard the USS Slater. Author Martin Irons was on the destroyer escort signing his book Phalanx Against the Divine Wind.

The book chronicles Kikusui 1, the largest kamikaze attack of World War II. The attack targeted the USS Haynsworth and spanned 30 hours.

Irons was joined Sunday by surviving family members of two local sailors who were killed in the attack.

"A lot of the Navy men in the northeast came to Albany to enlist,” Irons said. “John Dyer was killed on the Haynsworth. He enlisted at the Port of Albany.”

“By reading the book, I found out what kind of life my brother had aboard the ship and what his final days were like,” said Helen Richmond, brother of John Dyer.

Richmond says prior to the book her family had trouble getting details about her brother's last days since he was buried at sea.

[The USS Slater DE-766 is a destroyer escort, the last of its type still afloat. It is maintained by the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association and is the home of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum.]

View the news report video

Jack Vaessen, 101, former crew member of Haynsworth, holding his copy of Phalanx.


Foreword: Robert G. Walker, Cdr., USN

Part I: THE WAR 1941-1944: The Boy; Battleship; Sunday, December 7th; Attack!; Pacific Island Hopping Campaign; Shangri-La: The Doolittle Raid; Halt: The Battle of the Coral Sea; Midway; Guadalcanal

Part II: A CREW IS FORMED: Boot; Destroyer Training: Norfolk, Virginia; Battle of the Philippine Sea: Turkey Shoot; USS Haynsworth DD-700; Sea Trials; Destroyers and Goliath: Battle off Samar Island; Plankowners: First Mission; Storm Winds Gather; Pacific Bound; Kamikaze: Divine Wind; Destination Pearl Harbor; Warrior Seaman; Departure; Ulithi Bound

Part III: FAST CARRIER TASK FORCE 38: Joining the Pacific Fleet; Task Force 38: Halsey’s Hammer; 1945; Rescue at Sea; “You will not get our alive”: The South China Sea; Replenishment at Sea; Storm: Nature’s Hammer

Part IV: FAST CARRIER TASK FORCE 58: Prepare for Battle; Operation JAMBOREE: Attacks Against Japan; Target: Tokyo; Marine Rescue; Iwo Jima; “The Destroyers Were Lifesavers”; Emergency at Sea; Reprieve

Part V: OKINAWA: Operation ICEBERG; 18 March 1945: Day 1 Against the Home Islands; “Six planes are down”; 19 March: Day 2 Against the Home Islands; Target: Kure; 20 March: Task Force 58; 21 March: A New Threat Emerges; Okinawa Gunto; Raid!; Easter Week; Leaving Pearl; Lucky Day: Invasion of Okinawa; Operation TEN-GO: Kikusui No.1

Part VI: DIVINE WIND STORM: 6 April 1945; 7 April 1945: The Storm Continues; 8 April 1945: Task Group 58.3; En route to Ulithi




The Crew
The Saved
Post Script
Chapter Notes
Task Group 38.2 Organization December 1944
Task Group 58.3 Organization February 1945
Task Group 58.3 Organization March 1945
Ships Sunk or Damaged by Kamikazes 6-7 April 1945
Pilot and Crew Rescues
Crew Letter: Clifford Heob
Muster Roll 1944-45
Destroyer Squadron 62 Commanders
Destroyer Squadron 62 World War II Battle Stars

Bibliography: Interviews and Correspondence; Personal Journals, Letters and Published Accounts; Published Histories and Other References; Official War Diaries, Muster Rolls, and Action Reports


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