When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the U.S. Navy had a total of 111 submarines. However, this fleet was not nearly as impressive as the number suggests. It was mostly a collection of aging boats from the late teens and early twenties, with only a few of the newer, more modern Gato-class boats. Fortunately, with the war in Europe was already two years old and friction with Japan ever-increasing, help from what would become known as the Silent Service in the Pacific was on the way: there were 73 of the new fleet submarines under construction. The Silent Service in World War II tells the story of America's intrepid underwater warriors in the words of the men who lived the war in the Pacific against Japan. The enemy had already begun to deploy advanced boats, but the U.S. was soon able to match them. By 1943 the new Gato-class boats were making a difference, carrying the war not just to the Japanese Imperial Navy, but to the vital merchant fleet that carried the vast array of materiel needed to keep the land of the Rising Sun afloat. As the war progressed, American success in the Solomons, starting with Guadalcanal, began to constrict the Japanese sea lanes, and operating singly or in wolfpacks they were able to press their attacks on convoys operating beyond the range of our airpower, making daring forays even into the home waters of Japan itself in the quest for ever more elusive targets. Also taking on Japanese warships, as well as rescuing downed airmen (such as the grateful first President Bush), U.S. submarines made an enormous contribution to our war against Japan. This book takes you through the war as you learn what it was like to serve on submarines in combat, the exhilaration of a successful attack, and the terror of being depth-charged. And aside from enemy action, the sea itself could prove to be an extremely hostile environment as many of these stories attest. From early war patrols in obsolescent, unreliable S-boats to new, modern fleet submarines roving the Pacific, the forty-six stories in this anthology give you a full understanding of what it was like to be a U.S. Navy submariner in combat.
Author: Michael Sturma
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
From unpromising beginnings in March 1942, the submarine base at Fremantle became a vital part of the Allied offensive against Japan. Pushed back from the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies, American submariners, accompanied by small numbers of Dutch, retreated to Fremantle on the remote west coast of Australia as a port of last resort. Far from their prospective patrol areas and their own supply lines, they had little reason to feel optimistic. Thanks largely to a welcoming civilian population, the morale of Allied submariners quickly improved, as did their effectiveness in fighting the enemy. The first arrival of American and Dutch submarines at Fremantle coincided with a period when Western Australians felt especially vulnerable. On 3 March Japanese Zero fighters bombed the towns of Wyndham and Broome, while the same day there were three Japanese submarine attacks on shipping off the Western Australian coast. With many locals convinced that a Japanese invasion was imminent, Allied submariners got an appreciative reception. While in relatively small numbers, submariners were widely perceived as an elite force not only within the navy, but more generally by those who admired their courage and commitment. Although the Australians had no submariners of their own, they supported the base through the mobilization of resources and labor. Joined by British submariners from 1944, Allied submarines made a total of 416 patrols from Fremantle during the course of the war, becoming the most active base in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Some of the most famous submarines of the Second World War – including USS Harder, USS Flasher and HMS Trenchant – operated out of Fremantle, and many of the submariners who sailed from that port made the ultimate sacrifice. The success of Fremantle’s submarines depended not only on personal heroism, but cooperation between allies. From disastrous beginnings, the Allies overcame inertia and national suspicions to become a much more effective fighting force than their enemies. The Australian government provided unstinting support, while Australian commandos shared the perils of many submarine patrols. Meanwhile cooperation between American, Dutch and British submariners pioneered joint naval operations in the Pacific. This book documents not only the courage of submarine crews and the multinational cooperation that developed between Allies, but integrates the experiences of submariners on shore with their operations at sea. The promise of leave in Australia made the hardships and perils of lengthy war patrols more bearable. News that a submarine was ending its patrol in Fremantle inevitably created an expectant excitement among the crew on board. The hospitality and sense of belonging fostered by Western Australians became legendary among Allied submariners and remains central to their wartime memories. Many of those memories focus on relationships with young women, frequently sealed permanently through marriages. Many submariners also remember fondly the high alcohol content of Australian beer. Most of all, however, they recall the generosity of those civilians who welcomed them into their homes and hearts. At the same time, visiting submariners helped fill the emotional void created in many Australian families by absent sons, brothers, fathers and husbands fighting overseas. In an atmosphere of wartime austerity and rationing, the submariners also proved generous in sharing scarce resources with the local population. From the standpoint of morale, Fremantle became one of the most successful military outposts of the Second World War.
Author: Eugene B. Fluckey
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey. This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column. Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, "Luckey Fluckey" relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, videogame style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where they sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship until it sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.
World War II at Sea
Author: Craig L. Symonds
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Author of Lincoln and His Admirals (winner of the Lincoln Prize), The Battle of Midway (Best Book of the Year, Military History Quarterly), and Operation Neptune, (winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature), Craig L. Symonds has established himself as one of the finest naval historians at work today. World War II at Sea represents his crowning achievement: a complete narrative of the naval war and all of its belligerents, on all of the world's oceans and seas, between 1939 and 1945. Opening with the 1930 London Conference, Symonds shows how any limitations on naval warfare would become irrelevant before the decade was up, as Europe erupted into conflict once more and its navies were brought to bear against each other. World War II at Sea offers a global perspective, focusing on the major engagements and personalities and revealing both their scale and their interconnection: the U-boat attack on Scapa Flow and the Battle of the Atlantic; the "miracle" evacuation from Dunkirk and the pitched battles for control of Norway fjords; Mussolini's Regia Marina-at the start of the war the fourth-largest navy in the world-and the dominance of the Kidö Butai and Japanese naval power in the Pacific; Pearl Harbor then Midway; the struggles of the Russian Navy and the scuttling of the French Fleet in Toulon in 1942; the landings in North Africa and then Normandy. Here as well are the notable naval leaders-FDR and Churchill, both self-proclaimed "Navy men," Karl Dönitz, François Darlan, Ernest King, Isoroku Yamamoto, Erich Raeder, Inigo Campioni, Louis Mountbatten, William Halsey, as well as the hundreds of thousands of seamen and officers of all nationalities whose live were imperiled and lost during the greatest naval conflicts in history, from small-scale assaults and amphibious operations to the largest armadas ever assembled. Many have argued that World War II was dominated by naval operations; few have shown and how and why this was the case. Symonds combines precision with story-telling verve, expertly illuminating not only the mechanics of large-scale warfare on (and below) the sea but offering wisdom into the nature of the war itself.
Sink 'Em All by Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, the U.S. Navy commander of the Pacific submarine fleet during World War 2, is the exhaustive and definitive account of submarine warfare between the US and Japanese 1942-45. Lockwood's intricate narrative is the breathless story of every submarine in the US fleet, what they did during the war, their misses, near misses and hits. He takes us into the cramped quarters of mess-halls and control rooms and brings the chief actors in the grueling conflict to life.
Blind Man's Bluff
Author: Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew
Over the course of five years, investigative reporters Sherry Sontag and Chris Drew interviewed hundreds of men who had never spoken about their underwater lives—not even to their wives and children. They uncovered a wealth of classified information: the tapping of undersea Soviet telephone cables, the stealing of Soviet weapons, the tragic collisions of enemy submarines. They tell of medals awarded in secret and deaths disguised with disinformation. Blind Man's Bluff is a critical work of history that reads with all the excitement of a Tom Clancy novel and all the tragedy of Das Boot.
Author: Clay Blair
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
With the content of an authoritative reference and the excitement of a thriller, this history of the U.S. submarine war is one of the most informative and entertaining books written on the Pacific campaign. The author, a respected journalist and World War II submariner himself, is credited with providing a complete and unbiased account of what happened. When published in 1975, it was the first such account to detail controversial aspects of the American campaign, from the torpedo scandal to discrepancies between claimed and confirmed sinkings. To get to the truth, Clay Blair interviewed scores of skippers, staff officers, and code breakers, and combed thousands of documents and personal papers. In addition, he thoroughly researched the development of the submarine and torpedo from pre-war to post-war times. As a result, he takes the reader into the submarine war at all levels--the highest strategy sessions in Washington, the terrifying moments in subs at the bottom of the ocean waiting out exploding depth charges, the zany efforts of a crew coaxing a chicken to lay an egg. He also exposes the reader to the jealous infighting of admirals vying for power and the problems between cautious older skippers and daring young commanders. Supplementing the text are nearly forty maps showing submarine activity in the context of every important naval engagement in the Pacific, more than thirty pages of photographs, multiple appendixes (including a calendar of submarine war patrols), and an index of over 2,000 entries. This is a work of great scholarship and scope that makes a timeless contribution to the history of World War II.
For as long as an American naval force has existed, black sailors have served it with bravery, distinction, and little or no recognition. They have since earned praise for service in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, and more recently, they were integral to the development of the U.S. Submarine Service. Their roles limited by segregation, black submariners nonetheless were a key element of the “Silent Service” throughout World War II. With desegregation came expanded opportunities, and black submariners witnessed the birth and evolution of the nuclear-powered submarine, and some of the tensest moments of the Cold War. These men paved the way for those who followed—their contributions deserve recognition, and their stories deserve to be told. This exploration of the role of African American submariners chronicles their service from World War II through the Cold War era. An historical overview of black sailors and the evolution of the Steward’s Branch, to which black sailors were eventually restricted, precede descriptions of becoming a steward and a submariner, and of life as a submariner during World War II. An account of black submariners in post-war service during desegregation, the development of the nuclear submarine, and throughout the Cold War follows. Oral histories of more than fifty black submariners who served in World War II and post-war form the heart of the book. Photographs of the men profiled, including wartime photographs, complement the text. Appendices outline the naval steward rating system, list all black submarine stewards serving in World War II, top stewards by number of war patrols, and those lost or killed during wartime service. Rear Admiral Melvin G. Williams, Jr., submarine fleet commander and son of one of the men profiled, provides a foreword.
Author: Don Keith
No man above or below the waves was as admired--or feared--as this determined naval commander... Among submariners in World War II, Dudley "Mush" Morton stood out as a warrior without peer. At the helm of the USS Wahoo he completely changed the way the sea war was fought in the Pacific. He would relentlessly attack the Japanese at every opportunity, going through his supply of torpedoes in record time on every patrol. In only nine months, he racked up an astounding list of achievements, including being the first American skipper to wipe out an entire enemy convoy single-handedly. Here, for the first time, is the life and legend of a heroic, dynamic, and ultimately divisive submarine commander who fought the war on his own terms, and refused to do so any other way.
Author: Edward L. Beach
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
For the World War II submariner, every day was a life-or-death trial: going to sea for months at a time; existing in dank, claustrophobic conditions; enduring long stretches of monotonous silence punctuated by adrenaline-spiked episodes of paralyzing fear and victorious elation. It was a duty few men could handle -- and even fewer would survive. This is the true story of those brave men who served and too often died under the ocean surface, written by a man who was there. Edward L. Beach masterfully weaves his gripping experiences aboard the USS Trigger with those of other boats fighting the war in the Pacific. Part action-packed combat chronicle, part testament to the courageous sacrifices made by those who never came back, this is a compelling eyewitness account of the war as few have seen it.
His Majesty's submarine Unbeaten was last heard from via a signal sent to Flag Officer Submarines on 1st November 1942. The signal simply stated 'Operation Bluestone completed'. After this date the 58-metre British U-Class submarine inexplicably disappeared. Unbeaten was fully operational for just over two years. During her short tenure she successfully returned to war-torn Malta many times, symbolically flying her Jolly Roger. 'Being Silent They Speak' endeavours to highlight the varied triumphs, tragedies, events and sacrifices of submarine life during World War II.
A highly illustrated (b&w) account of the development of US submarines that begins with small submarines such as David Bushnell's Revolutionary War Turtle and the Civil War Hunley, which weak navies hoped could help them face down their far more powerful enemies, and ends with the big fleet submari
No Ordinary Joes
Author: Larry Colton
Documents the stories of four World War II prisoners of war who were tortured by their Japanese captors, describing the events that led to their imprisonment, the brutal conditions that forged their deep bond and their considerable struggles to re-acclimate to civilian life. Reprint.
War in the Boats
Author: William J. Ruhe
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
The journal from eight action-filled patrols in the South Pacific
One of the greatest fears in life that many people share is that of drowning. Others fear being encased in small cramped spaces with no way out. Those that operate submarines face both. These unique machines are a fairly newer wave in combat at sea. Learn about the origin of the submarine. Where were they created to begin with? You may be surprised to find out about some of the earliest prototypes and how the concept got started. What country began to use them early on and how was the success? Find out about the pivotal role of the submarine in WWII. The usage and development of battle strategies may have turned the tide of war. Read about the heroic men that made the tough decisions to go down with the ship in order to maintain the secrets of the United States. The capture and extraction of information could have given the Germans a winning advantage. Read about Britain's midget sub fleet and how they influenced the modern mini-sub used by today's Special Forces. Find out what the wolfpack is and how that formation created a nearly unstoppable offensive charge against the ships it took on. While the technology has changed, the courage and bravery that sub crews show with every mission is still the same. Journey through the origins of the original submarine crews and discovery history in a whole new light! Comments From Other Readers "I've read many books on World WarII and submarine warfare. This is one of the best I've read. The writer puts you in the submarine. Not only is his writing good but his research is extensive and accurate. He weaves a story that shows the compassion and dedication of the silent service. This is a must read for anyone interested in submarine warfare!" - Jared (Hawaii, US) "I read just about any WWII history book I can get my hands on, be it navy, army, air corps or marines. This is one of the best I've read on submarines. The selflessness of this and all brave crews living in cramped, smelly, over heated tin cans is amazing. I doubt I could ever do that. I'm amazed at the sacrifice and courage of these men. The author really puts a face to the battles that happened under the water, securing the seas for the victory of the allied forces. Simply wonderful!" - Anna (Minnesota, US) Tags: Pacific, Medal of Honor, Coast Guard, Marine, World War II, World War II, WWII, Naval Battle, American War, Voices of the Pacific, World War 2, History, warfare, a higher call, Adolf Hitler, Soldier Story, war, war stories, bravery, military, D-Day, Pearl Harbor, Stalingrad, Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand, Wild Bill Donovan, Douglas Waller, The Monuments Men, Allied Heroes, A Higher Call, The Dead and Those About to Die, The Guns at Last Light, The Longest Day, An Army at Dawn, Killing Patton, A spy at the heart of the Third Reich, A Higher Call, Forgotten 500, submarines, subs, midget subs, wolfpack, Thunder Below, USS Barb, Submarine Warfare, Grey wolf grey sea, Eugene B. Fluckey, Wahoo, submarine patrols, shadow divers, operation storm, UBoat, German U-Boat