The Silent Service in World War II: The Story of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force in the Words of the Men Who Lived It

The Silent Service in World War II: The Story of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force in the Words of the Men Who Lived It


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612001258
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
Publication date: 12/07/2012
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 525,391
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Michael Green is the author of numerous acclaimed books in the Images of War series. He lives in California.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7

Glossary 10

Introduction 13

Hollywood and American Submarines 18

Part 1 Prewar and Early war Stories (1941-1942)

1 Submarine School Cornelius R. Bartholomew 23

2 Sea Dragon's Prop Wash J. Killin 28

3 A Vanishing Day-dream Cornelius R. Bartholomew 30

4 Operational Readiness on December 7, 1941 Frank E. Perry 33

5 Rest and Recreation Frank Kimball 42

6 The First and Only Patrol of S-27 (SS-132) George J. Herold 48

7 S-37's Voyage Home Robert B. Lander 54

8 Bob Rose and Sargo's Australian Welcome Doug Rhymes 59

9 Escape by Submarine Lucy I. Wilson 63

10 The Doubtful Tale of the S-36 Alfred Sims 67

11 Rivets in the O-2 Stanley Lambkin 69

12 Aground on a Reef Frank Bowman 73

Part 2 Mid-War Stories (1943)

13 Pompon Evades Torpedoes Charles Foskett 79

14 Gun Boss Pay Edward Crawfoot 80

15 Loss of the USS Grenadier (SS-210) Robert W. Palmer 83

16 Midway, Our Refuge of 1943 Jack Quade 87

17 Loose Torpedo at Pearl Harbor James H. Allen 91

18 Second Patrol of the USS Bluefish (SS-222) Edwin J. Shepherd 93

19 S-48, My First Boat Churchill "Jim" Campbell 99

20 The Ryubo's Last Stand John M. Good 105

Part 3 Late War Stories (1944-1945)

21 Submarine on the Loose William Dreher 111

22 USS Ray's Great Conning Tower Flood Hal Moyer 112

23 Ambush on Borneo Ken Harrington 116

24 Pogy's Stowaway W. E. Battenfield 121

25 The Battle of the Philippine Sea Ernest J. Zellmer 125

26 Penny Picked Me Bill Gleason 132

27 Story of the USS Flier Second Patrol and Its Survivors Alvin E. Jacobson 137

28 Left on the Bridge John Paul Jones 163

29 Dying of the Emperor on Palau Norman R. Direy 167

30 Picking Up the Left-overs off Palauig Point R.C. Gillette 170

31 A Total Loss Farrell Stearns 174

32 The Sape Strait Shooting Incident of November, 1944 H. E. Miller 179

33 From the Perspective of an Aviator C. B. Smith 183

34 A Submarine Home Myron Alexander 187

35 My First War Patrol Joseph Corneau 191

36 Bucket Brigade Hank "Nate" Henderson 197

37 Three Submarines in Three Days Hughston F. Lowder 202

38 Bing is Missing Bill Gleason 213

39 Absence Without Leave, March 1945 Joe O'Rourke 217

40 From Kamikaze Attack to Typhoon K. F. Welty 222

41 The Sinking of Hatsutaka Worth Scanland 226

42 The Man Who Never Made a Mistake Jack Blumeberg 228

43 Gabilan's Aviator Robert Talbot 231

44 The Capture of I-401 Alex Leitch 236

45 From Perch to Prisoner B. R. Van Buskirk 239

46 The S-40 Leaves the Atomic Age George Stannard 247

Sources 251

Index 257

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