American submarines in WWII: Wartime stories, surviving vessels and the search for the wrecks.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
Lost WWII sub USS S-28 discovered off Oahu
A wreck-hunting organization announced that its search team has located the sunken World War II submarine USS S-28 in 8,700 feet of water off Oahu. STEP Ventures said on its website that the S-28, which was lost with 49 crew during training on July 4, 1944, is `considered to be one of the most important lost ships in the central Pacific.` `When the bombs fell on Dec. 7, she was being overhauled at Mare Island Naval Shipyard outside of San Francisco, Calif.,` the organization said. `She was one of several S-boats that were put into service in World War II and was initially sent to Alaska to defend the Aleutians against a possible Japanese invasion.`
Serving Aboard World War II Submarines Was Brutal
No one has ever claimed that life aboard a U.S. Navy ship was luxurious. Even on the most advanced warships on the planet life can still be cramped. Though today amenities are much improved, the sailors patrolling the oceans in WWII had a much different life than their modern counterparts. For one thing, the submarines of World War II were much smaller. Though only about 60 feet shorter than a modern submarine, the Gato and Balao-class submarines the U.S. Navy operated in WWII had a displacement of only about one third that of modern Virginia class submarines. In that small space, the submariners — some 60 to 80 in all — had to store themselves, their gear, and provisions for 75 days. Each crewmember had only about one cubic foot of personal storage space aboard the sub.
Fatal Dive recounts how the USS Grunion disappeared in the Fog of WWII - And how it was found
What do you do when Robert Ballard - who found the R.M.S.Titanic - turns down your attempt to find a WWII U.S. submarine? If you're the sons of Commander Mannert L. "Jim" Abele of the U.S.S. Grunion, you go ahead, against all odds in some of the heaviest seas in the world and find the boat and solve the mystery of its disappearance off the Aleutian Islands of Alaska on July 31, 1942. Timed to mark the 70th anniversary of the mystery of the Grunion, Peter F. Stevens's "Fatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the U.S.S Grunion" is the gripping account of the true story of the submarine's fate and the cover-up by the U.S. Navy of its disappearance.
Charles Crews recounts life on an American World War II submarine
Charles Crews fought WWII beneath the Pacific Ocean as a submariner. He and the crew of the USS Spot were depth-charged four times, twice by their own country. Assigned to submarine training in New London, Conn., Crews endured 100-foot diving tank trials, breathed underwater with the Munson Lung, endured the pressure tank (a 50% failure rate), mastered "the boat" from bow to stern, and trained at sea on antiquated WW1 subs. Graduating sixth in a class of 150, Crews received orders for the USS Seawolf. "The parents of a boy from Massachusetts wanted him to remain on the East Coast so I swapped boats with him. I took the USS Spot." The Seawolf was lost at sea in October of 1944. There were no survivors.
Volunteers try to raise funds to repair the WWII submarine USS Cavalla
Hurricane Ike did to the USS Cavalla what Japanese destroyers unsuccessfully tried to do. The storm punched a 30-foot hole hole in the rusted bow of the Gato-class submarine, which is currently located at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, north of Galveston, Texas.
John McMichael, Seawolf Park manager, explains that $86,000 is needed for the repairs, and $520,000 for restraining systems that will keep the USS Cavalla - and other vessels - stable if another big storm strikes the area.
Ken Ditcher recalls his WWII submarine service on USS Barb, which included blowing up a train
To get accepted into submarine school, sailor had to hold his breath for an extended period, withstand 44.4 pounds of pressure in a tank and emerge from 50 feet of water with a breathing device. After graduating from the 8-week school, Ken Ditcher was given the privilege of serving in a force that had a 24% death rate. "Each patrol lasted on average 50 days. It depended on supply of torpedoes and fuel." Ditcher's most memorable feat, which earned him the Bronze Star, happened on dry land: "There really weren't many targets, so the skipper decided to blow up a train."
A Big Anthology of World War II U.S. Submarine and Historic Stories by Paul W. Wittmer (WWII book review)
Paul W. Wittmer has assembled a collection of a unique type of story he describes as "about the individual recollection of significant experiences and incidents while on board a submarine during a war patrol." His desire was to get authentic war stories from the WWII veterans, so no one else could re-write their history. He has collected, edited, and published over 128 true stories written with emotion by the sailors that were there. The stories vary from maiden voyages, to fierce battles in scenes like Midway Island and Pearl Harbor, to personal memories and the "Story of Taps."
St. Marys Submarine Museum preserves and digitizes one of the nation's largest collections of submarine reports
John Crouse is preserving what may be the most important items at the St. Marys Submarine Museum. The ink is fading on one of the nation's biggest collections of submarine reports. The files are sailors' firsthand descriptions of battles, secret missions and near misses from attack. The library's air is monitored to preserve documents, but many of the reports were donated by sailors who had not kept them in ideal conditions. Crouse is entering the reports, some over 100 pages long, on a computer. Once all 1,800 reports are in digital format, the collection will be copied on CDs and sold at the museum.
WWII submarine USS Cobia needs restoration to remain part of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum
Historic World War II submarine - The USS Cobia (SS-245) - may stay afloat if the Wisconsin Maritime Museum can raise enough funds for the restoration project. The last time the USS Cobia, a Gato-class submarine, had serious maintenance was 14 years ago. The vessel would have to be towed to the dry dock - a big project that comes with a big price tag. The museum needs another $50,000 to be eligible for a grant that would help pay for the submarine restoration. "It's a phenomenal treasure that we have right here. It's linked to our history and heritage," said executive director Norma Bishop.
Robert Eady recalls life aboard World War II submarine Sawfish
The last ship Robert Eady's World War Two submarine the Sawfish torpedoed "was kind of classic in a way." "We had radar and the Japanese had none. They did have 3 submarines that had a special compartment built on the rear" to carry a seaplane. "Our espionage found out the Japanese planned to send one of their subs to Germany and pick up radar equipment for their use... The U.S. Navy commander put 6 of our subs together in a wolf pack between the Philippines and Formosa. He came right at the Sawfish’s track. We fired four torpedoes at the target... there was no more Japanese sub."
War Beneath the Waves: A True Story of Courage and Leadership Aboard a World War II Submarine (book review)
In "War Beneath the Waves," Don Keith takes us back to the Second World War in the Pacific. The Balao-class submarine Billfish is on its second patrol out of Australia under Captain Frederic Lucas when it comes under attack by enemy patrol boats. Indecision by the captain forced young, inexperienced diving officer Lt. Charlie Rush to take command. 16 hours later after surviving a brutal depth charge attack that caused heavy damage, flooding and loss of power, the Billfish, thanks to the efforts by two chiefs and the crew, was finally able to surface for a desperately needed breath of fresh air.
Sunken American World War II submarine USS Flier found
The Navy said that a sunken vessel in the Philippines' Balabac Strait has been id'ed as the WW2 submarine USS Flier. The Flier had seen a lot of action by the time it hit a mine and sank on Aug. 13, 1944. 78 crewmen were lost when the sub sank. 14 crewmen escaped, but only 8 made the swim to the shore. After travelling by raft to Palawan and being protected for several weeks by a local guerrilla unit, the sailors were rescued by the submarine USS Redfin. The last surviving crewmember Al Jacobson dedicated much of his life to finding the Flier before dying in 2008.
Oklahoma group seeks donations to restore World War II submarine USS Batfish
The USS Batfish was named after a fierce fish of the West Indies, and it lived up to that reputation during World War II. Launched in May 1943, the USS Batfish was a menace in the Pacific theater of operations, earning 9 battle stars. Batfish and its 85-member crew sent down 11 ships, one of them in Tokyo Harbor. But its claim to fame came in a 76-hour period in February 1945 when it sank 3 Japanese submarines. Today the Batfish sits on dry ground at Muskogee's War Memorial Park. Over the past 37 years, nature's elements have taken a toll on the Batfish's exterior. The biggest task, however, is repainting the gray lady - expected to cost $180,000.
Lost and Found: Legacy of USS Lagarto - WWII documentary film
For most of John Kenney's life he's heard a story about his grandfather William Mabin that had no ending. William was onboard of the USS Lagarto, a submarine that vanished in the Gulf of Thailand in 1945. Finally in 2005 divers found the sub, and the next year Harvey Moshman and fellow documentarian Chuck Coppola set out to make "Lost and Found: Legacy of USS Lagarto." The documentary uses photos, film footage, interviews with family of the crew and other WWII submariners, and animation to tell the story of the Lagarto. Curiously, commander Frank Latta may have had his Harley Davidson motorcycle on the submarine.
Navy confirms lost World War II submarine USS Grunion has been found, photos
The Navy has confirmed the wreckage of a sunken vessel discovered off the Aleutians Islands is the USS Grunion. Underwater video footage and photos taken by an expedition hired by sons of the commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Mannert L. Abele, enabled the Navy to confirm the discovery. The Grunion was last heard from July 30, 1942. The submarine described heavy anti-submarine activity at the entrance to Kiska, and that it had 10 torpedoes left. On the same day, the Grunion was ordered to return back. Japanese anti-submarine attack data show no attack in the Aleutian area at the time, so the sub's fate remained a mystery for over 60 years.
Escape from the Deep - WWII book examines lost U.S. submarine
Submarine warfare during World War II was as deadly a task as a sailor could get in the U.S. Navy. Not only did America's Navy have to deal with Adolf Hitler's U-boats, Japan's navy was just as good at sinking American submarines. Submariners learned that one false move, one too many depth charges and their vessel would become their "Iron Coffin". "Escape from the Deep: The Epic Story of a Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew" tells the story of the USS Tang (SS-306), one of the most highly decorated submarines during the war, and how only 9 men survived, only to be captured by the Japanese.