Between August 1942 and February 1943, a land-sea and air battle was waged for an island in the south pacific called Guadalcanal. The six-month long battle for the island would be one of the definitive battles of the war. It was also one of the costliest. Thousands of Allied and Japanese soldiers died. And a channel north of the island had so many ships go down there that it was renamed Iron Bottom Sound.
It is possible that more men died in the waters off Guadalcanal then on the island itself. But for many years, most of the ships were out of reach to divers and eventually were all but forgotten. Then, in 1992, Oceanographer Robert Ballard, who had found the Titanic and the Bismarck, decided to explore the area using the latest in technology. It is quite an experience to see a past battlefield on land like Normandy, Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg or Guadalcanal itself. But the battlefields were obviously cleaned up afterward and don't look the way they did when the battle concluded. But time knows no boundaries in Iron Bottom Sound. The paintings by Ken Marshall and the photographs show many of the ships still upright on the ocean floor; Their guns and torpedo tubes still trained outward as if firing at a long gone enemy. But some of the ships are not so beautifully preserved. The Battleship Krishima, for example, lies upside down in two pieces on the ocean floor. And the Destroyer Barton is broken in half and lying on its side from two torpedoes. Nevertheless, most of the ships appear ready to rise up and continue fighting.
Lavishly illustrated and with a detailed text, The Lost Ships of Guadalcanal will make a welcome addition to the collection of any War, Naval or Shipwreck enthusiast (If you can find a copy that is).