The United States Navy in China, 1925-1928

Bernard D. Cole

NF/NF. Jacket in mylar protector. (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1983). Maps, photographs, notes, bibliography, appendices, index, 229 pages.

The 1920s were years of turmoil in china, as revolution and civil war spread throughout the country. The many American sthen in China ~ primarily missionaries, businessmen and diplomats ~ were caught in this upheaval. Their safety often depended on the armed protection of the sailors and marines of the United States Asiatic Fleet. In the middle 1920s, however, this fleet consisted of one cruiser, two divisions of submarines, about twenty destroyers, a dozen gunboats, and assigned Marine Corps detachments. this book tells the dramatic story of the role the U.S. Navy played during this tumultuous period of Chinese history. These few ships and men were charged with preparing for war with Japan, under War Plan Orange. However, in the midst of the turmoil of the Chinese revolution, the Asiatic Fleet was forced to spend most of its time and energies protecting and rescuing Americans from the turmoil of the rebellion. In meticulous detail, Cole describes the efforts of the river gunboats at the forefront of this activity. They were a motley collection of mostly antiquated, uncomfortable craft, which represented the United States on the rivers and lakes of inland China. In time of crisis, these gunboats were augmented by the Asiatic Fleet destroyers and by Marines. The commanding officers of these vessels and detachments often had to be both naval officers and diplomats, dealing with seemingly unnavigable waters and rambunctious warlords.

See also Gunboat on the Yangtze: The Diary of Captain Glenn F. Howell of the USS Palos, 1920-1921, and Kemp Tolley's Yangtze Patrol: The United States Navy in China.