Under a Blood Red Sun

The Remarkable Story of PT Boats in the Philippines and the Rescue of General MacArthur

John J. Domagalski

Date Published :
October 2016
Publisher :
Illustration :
16 pages of photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781612004075
Pages : 304
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
In stock


The true story behind the exploits of the unit that was immortalized in the blockbuster 1945 movie They Were Expendable.

During the opening days of World War II in the Pacific, a small group of American sailors in the Philippines were propelled into the forefront of the fighting. They were manned with six small wooden torpedo (PT) boats and led by a courageous, larger-than-life character in Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley. The men of Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 faced insurmountable odds as they conducted a series of heroic operations against the navy and air power of Imperial Japan.

As America's defense of the Philippines crumbled under the weight of a massive Japanese assault, the courageous activities of Bulkeley's men made headlines across the U.S.—often as the only good news coming from the bleak Pacific front. The unit achieved everlasting fame by evacuating General Douglas MacArthur from the front. Then the squadron continued to fight on until all six of its torpedo boats were lost under fire. The fate of the doomed American defenders was sealed when the Japanese won the battle for the islands in the spring of 1942.

The exploits of the unit were immortalized in the blockbuster 1945 movie They Were Expendable, starring John Wayne and Robert Montgomery, but since then the saga of Bulkeley and his men has slipped into history. Under a Blood Red Sun revives the story of the Philippine PT-boats through the intertwined accounts of Bulkeley and his subordinate officers and men. It is a story of the courage and sacrifice of men thousands of miles from their homeland, representing American gallantry and fighting prowess, while giving the Japanese a taste of what was further to come their way.

About The Author

John J. Domagalski is the author of 'Into the Dark Water: The Story of Three Officers and PT-109.' Domagalski's fascination with history began at a young age by building model ships and reading books about World War II. This interest eventually grew into research and writing.


Prologue: War Comes to the Philippines

Part I: Voyage to the Orient
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Part II: Thrust into the Fire
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22

PART III: Evacuation
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28

PART IV: Scattered
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39

Appendix 1: MacArthur's Evacuation Mission
Appendix 2: Motor Torpedo Boats Squadron Three Final Disposition of Boats


"... author, John J. Domagalski, should be thanked for bringing the brave men and their tough little boats back into the limelight.  The heroics of the PT boat men won Lieutenant Bulkeley the Congressional Medal of Honor, among other medals, and he was touted in the U.S. early in the war as one of our first heroes. He went on to have a long career after the war and was retired as a Vice Admiral."

- Wargamers Needful Things, November 2016

"Under a Blood Red Sun balances scholarly research with accessible storytelling to preserve and illuminate the story of Lieutenant Bulkeley and his men, enriched with maps, appendices, notes, a bibliography, and an index. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library military history collections."

- Midwest Book Review, January 2017

"…provides much food for thought given the current geopolitical situation in the South China Sea…An excellent book published very presciently.”

- Work Boat World, February 2017

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