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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Glossary
Introduction
Hollywood and American Submarines

PART ONE: PREWAR AND EARLY WAR STORIES (1941–1942)
1: Submarine School • BY CORNELIUS R. BARTHOLOMEW
2: Sea Dragon’s Prop Wash • BY J. KILLIN
3: A Vanishing Day-dream • BY CORNELIUS R. BARTHOLOMEW
4: Operational Readiness on December 7, 1941 • BY FRANK E. PERRY
5: Rest and Recreation • BY FRANK KIMBALL
6: The First and Only Patrol of S-27 (SS-132 ) • BY GEORGE J. HEROLD
7: S-37’s Voyage Home • BY ROBERT B. LANDER
8: Bob Rose and Sargo’s Australian Welcome • BY DOUG RHYMES
9: Escape by Submarine • BY LUCY I. WILSON
10: The Doubtful Tale of the S-36 • BY ALFRED SIMS
11: Rivets in the O-2 • BY STANLEY LAMBKIN
12: Aground on a Reef • BY FRANK BOWMAN

PART TWO: MID-WAR STORIES (1943)
13: Pompon Evades Torpedoes • BY CHARLES FOSKETT
14: Gun Boss Pay • BY EDWARD CRAWFOOT
15: Loss of the USS Grenadier (SS-210) • BY ROBERT W. PALMER
16: Midway, Our Refuge of 1943 • BY JACK QUADE
17: Loose Torpedo at Pearl Harbor • BY JAMES H. ALLEN
18: Second Patrol of the USS Bluefish (SS-222) • BY EDWIN J. SHEPHERD JR.
19: S-48, My First Boat • BY CHURCHILL “JIM” CAMPBELL
20: The Ryuho’s Last Stand • BY JOHN M. GOOD

PART THREE: LATE WAR STORIES (1944–1945)
21: Submarine on the Loose • BY WILLIAM DREHER
22: USS Ray’s Great Conning Tower Flood • BY HAL MOYER
23: Ambush on Borneo • BY KEN HARRINGTON
24: Pogy’s Stowaway • BY W. E. BATTENFIELD
25: The Battle of the Philippine Sea • BY ERNEST J. ZELLMER
26: Penny Picked Me • BY BILL GLEASON
27: Story of the USS Flier Second Patrol and Its Survivors • BY ALVIN E. JACOBSON
28: Left on the Bridge • BY JOHN PAUL JONES
29: Dying of the Emperor on Palau • BY NORMAN R. DIREY
30: Picking Up the Left-overs off Palauig Point • BY R.C. GILLETTE
31: A Total Loss • BY FARRELL STEARNS
32: The Sape Strait Shooting Incident of November, 1944 •BY H. E. MILLER
33: From the Perspective of an Aviator • BY C. B. SMITH
34: A Submarine Home • BY MYRON ALEXANDER
35: My First War Patrol • BY JOSEPH CORNEAU
36: Bucket Brigade • BY HANK “NATE” HENDERSON
37: Three Submarines in Three Days • BY HUGHSTON F. LOWDER
38: Bing is Missing • BY BILL GLEASON
39: Absence Without Leave, March 1945 • BY JOE O’ROURKE
40: From Kamikaze Attack to Typhoon • BY K. F. WELTY
41: The Sinking of Hatsutaka • BY WORTH SCANLAND
42: The Man Who Never Made a Mistake • BY JACK BLUMEBERG
43: Gabilan’s Aviator • BY ROBERT TALBOT
44: The Capture of I-401 • BY ALEX LEITCH
45: From Perch to Prisoner • BY B. R. VAN BUSKIRK
46: The S-40 Leaves the Atomic Age • BY GEORGE STANNARD

Sources
Index

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