World War II Submarine Warfare - rare footage

in the Pacific battles of World War two much of the publicity went to the aircraft carriers and the naval aviators who flew from their decks yet as important as the carriers were the most significant naval warships and actually prosecuting the war toiled in almost complete obscurity while battles like Midway Santa Cruz and Leyte Gulf grabbed the headlines the Pacific Fleet submarine force quietly went about the task of isolating Japan the submarine was something that not too many people knew about it was called a silent service and it was a silent service nobody talked about where they went or when they went so we had the advantage of the other side not knowing when or where we were at that's the main thing why we were so successful American submarines crippled Japan's industry and prevented resupply in reinforcement of Japanese island Garrison's by destroying most of her merchant fleet it was eleven hundred and seventy-eight merchant ships and two hundred and fourteen naval ships and we had a total tonnage that was over five and a quarter million tons which was a tremendous amount when you consider the fact that most of Japan's ships were well under 12,000 tons but as decisive as the submarines contribution was the victory could have been even more complete hampered by a flawed pre-war doctrine and serious shortcomings in the mark 14 torpedo success during the first two years of war was disappointingly low it took months for these problems to be resolved but once they were the United States Navy's submarine force at first trained to play a junior role in its own service revolutionised naval warfare you [Music] today's nuclear-powered submarines are among the most technologically sophisticated machines ever built combining advanced computer systems precision navigation sensitive sonar equipment and devastating hitting power into one of the world's most lethal and stealthy weapons the adaptations and inventions that allowed sailors to not only fight a battle but also to live for months at a time underwater includes some of the most brilliant developments in military history submarines have been used for warfare in one form or another since the American Revolution but it was not until World War one that the combination of diesel engines battery power and self-propelled torpedoes made them a significant threat all of the world's major navies included submarines and their fleets but it was the Germans who would first exploit the versatility of the submarine in open ocean warfare in response to a sea blockade of reports by Great Britain Germany implemented a submarine blockade of the British Isles but was constrained by the international law of the sea which required block hating ships to board and search ships suspected of carrying forbidden cargo crewmen aboard guilty vessels will be allowed to man lifeboats and then the ship would be sunk in 1916 however the German Kaiser ordered unrestricted submarine warfare which allowed submarines to torpedo ships believed to be forcing the blockade without formalities like announcing their presence British shipping losses went up and so did those of the United States that were shipping large amounts of food raw materials and munitions to the British and French Germany's use of unrestricted submarine warfare was denounced as brutal and uncivilized by the Allies and by the American press the most notorious attack occurred when a German submarine torpedoed the British ocean liner Lusitania the huge ship sank in just 18 minutes killing 1198 of the nearly 2,000 people aboard among them 128 Americans the incident was used to turn American public opinion against Germany and was an important issue that helped push the United States into the war though the Germans ultimately lost they had demonstrated the effectiveness of submarine warfare against merchant shipping after the war the US Navy looked to improve the capabilities of its submarine fleet but existing technology proved a limiting factor s-class boats built between 1920 and 1925 were designed primarily for coastal defence purposes not to cruise vast expanses of ocean though significantly larger than their predecessors stowage space aboard was extremely limited and living quarters cramped beyond comfort derisive Lee called pig boats by their cruise s boats more than lived up to their nickname while designers work to improve functional capabilities strategists sought to address questions of identity and mission to competing interpretations of submarine doctrine emerged one camp or saw submarines employed in a fleet support role the other as an economic warfare arm of its own modeled on the German successes of the First World War however American naval thinking was oriented towards fighting other navies which left commerce rating with no real place and strategic planning or training it was determined that US Navy submarines would fight other warships and under the guidelines imposed by the 1930 London naval conference would not attack merchant ships without first providing warning though this attitude negatively impacted tactical training in the years leading up to World War 2 long-range strategic planning proved critical to the development of submarine technology the rise of Imperial Japan had been a cause of increasing concern in the West since the turn of the century anticipating an eventual war the united states developed war plan orange which relied heavily on battleships but included submarines as Scouts for the fleet they would go out and form a picket line in front of the the main fleet you'd see the enemy fleets showing up they'd take a couple shots at him as they went by they would radio back and let the main sleep know they were on their way many of the generals after World War one we're thinking that it was going to be like Jutland where you'd have all the huge battleships and battle cruisers firing away at each other for a couple minutes and see who came out the least bruised and everybody'd go home and of course then this submarine would still be out there in the picket lines and after they had this big exchange this decisive battle they would pick off the stragglers as they went back so they anticipated that is the role for this submarine the problem was that was how things happen in 1917 in Jutland that's not how they were going to happen in 1937 or 40 American submarine designers set out to produce a sub that would combine long-range cruising capabilities and a surface speed in excess of 20 knots with the very latest in technical advances we had the ask boats originally and the S boats were basically like the German submarines and so we tried to develop what called what we called fleet submarines which were designed to operate with the fleet and so they were longer range and bigger submarines and more capabilities the barracuda class the first of a series of subs originally thought to meet the fleet boat criteria proved less than ideal and the Argonaut class which followed in 1928 possessed the range but was able only to achieve an unacceptable 15 knots the narwhal class commissioned in 1930 didn't perform much better although improvements were seen in the performance of the dolphin and cash a lot classes which appeared in 1932 and 1933 respectively they remained a seemingly insurmountable problem the diesel engines powering all these craft simply didn't measure up the solution finally appeared when diesel engines developed for railroad locomotives proved both powerful and reliable enough to meet fleet requirements employing diesel electric motors for the first time the P class submarines constructed between 1935 and 1936 marked a tremendous improvement over the previous candidates with a surface speed of 19 knots and a range of 10,000 miles and a departure from earlier designs the engines were coupled to a large generator rather than propeller shafts making it possible to use the full power output to drive the boat charge the batteries or for a combination of the two when the boat was submerged and diesels had to be shut down the batteries provided all necessary power all welded construction became standard beginning with the P class producing a much stronger hull that allowed the boat to dive to 300 feet the 1938 submarine officers conference sought to improve on the P class by refining fleet requirements in addition to six forward and four stern tour and more reload torpedoes it was recommended that the next class include an improved torpedo data computer a longer thinner periscope a 5-inch deck gun and the ability to cruise at fleet speed on voyages of 12,000 miles habitability was to be improved by the addition of fresh water distillation units and air conditioning the Navy got all that and more with the tambour class a submarine that at last possessed the speed and firepower necessary for a fleet boat capable of 21 knots surfaced and 10 submerged they could crash dive to periscope depth in under a minute with good sea keeping great handling and excellent habitability the 300 foot long Tambor class provided sufficient elbow room for long war patrols the US Navy's first fleet sub had come of age the foresight of our building submarines in 1938 that would go across the Pacific Ocean and back round-trip signified that our leaders knew there was a potential hazard and a potential conflict coming up with Japan there was no weather in the enemy in that area the tambour class consisting of the submarines tambour tog thresher triton trout and tuna would eventually make a combined 70 war patrols and sink 80 enemy ships the average of 13 ships per submarine was unmatched by any other class of boat USS tog became the fleet's leading ace with 26 Japanese ships to her credit in 1940 the follow-on to the tambour class appeared Gado class submarines were fast heavily armed subs well-suited for an undersea war against Japan at 312 feet long gay toes comfortably accommodated a crew of 80 they could make 20 knots on the surface and nearly nine submerged and were equipped for journeys of 10,000 miles or more Gaydos and the remediate successor the balao-class became the bane of Japanese merchant ships during World War two they were faster longer range and a lot more torpedoes and a lot thicker ho hard diving depth Pollock was a riveted submarine and the P class was the last of the riveted submarines because they went to weld at halls after that and she was a thin held boat our tests step with 250 feet the new boats were 550 up with six tubes forward and four tubes aft Gado class subs could carry up to 24 torpedoes its primary weapon the mark 14 torpedo had an alcohol powered steam turbine engine that could propel it at 46 knots for up to four miles a beautiful piece of mechanism those torpedoes then when you consider how they worked with the steam in them with the burning of the alcohol with the propulsion that they develop from that pressure was just a tremendous piece of equipment the mark 14 s 668 pound warhead was detonated by the mark 6 influence exploder a device the Navy believed would revolutionize submarine warfare the magnetic motor mechanism which was a super-secret device that was supposed to detonate the torpedo it came in proximity with any large mass of Steel yet in spite of the improvements made to American submarines the US Navy's submarine force was woefully unprepared for the type of warfare they were about to face on December 7 1941 there were 50 submarines attached to the US Pacific Fleet 21 were stationed at Pearl Harbor and 29 at Manila Bay of these a number were the earlier s-class boats built in the 1920s only four were in Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. when the Japanese began their attack [Music] I heard all this explosion like everybody else and I thought my goodness came to leave us alone on Sunday morning for we talked to maybe was practicing they told me to get that phone my gun which was right up next deck above me and I was a gun captain on a five-inch 25-minute battery and we had 50 rounds of ammunition up and we started firing like everybody else we find everything is flying we got we got credit for poor but who knows a whole world war shoot in little more than two hours the Japanese caused personnel losses of more than 2,400 killed and 1200 wounded sank four battleships and damaged four more sank or damaged three cruisers three destroyers one mine layer and destroyed 188 aircraft in the aftermath of the devastating attack no surface fleet of any consequence remain in the Pacific when Pearl Harbor happened the Japanese didn't bother with the submarines the submarine base was just a short distance away from battleship Road in fact a couple of guys on the boat said yeah they wave to us they had their cockpits laid back and they would wave and smile and drop their tarp eaters and go and then right beyond the submarine base was our main Pacific oil storage tanks they didn't hit them either the loss of the battleship fleet greatly reduced the strength of US naval forces in the Pacific and placed Navy planners in a situation they never anticipated they now had only one weapon system immediately available to take the war to the enemy there was no other arms to send out to hold the enemy back or get back at the enemy other than the submarines submarines too carried the fight to to the Japs until the service come the Freak could repair their ships and get back on duty just hours after the Pearl Harbor attack AB Merle Harold Stark the Chief of Naval Operations ordered all available boats to immediately put to sea and for those already under way to conduct unrestricted submarine warfare against anything Japanese Starks call for unrestricted warfare meant that u.s. submarine commanders could now seek out and at hack any ship flying the flag of the Rising Sun however this new strategy presented some serious problems prior to the war tactical planning called for submarines to support the Navy's capital ships that Doctrine was now obsolete furthermore training exercises for submarine warfare had emphasized offensive operations against swifter warships and not against the slower lumbering merchant vessels which they were now permitted to engage it's not surprising then that the submarine campaign got off to a slow start the Navy had a plan orange that they had originally set up for the submarines part to work with the battle fleet and that plan was no good and it took quite a while for him to realize this and it was the younger officers that came in there and took command that really showed him where they were wrong and it was the older officers that have been taught that procedure they had a problem breaking away from it within days of the Pearl Harbor attack the boats based in the Philippines had left kaviti on their first war patrols to seek out and destroy the expected Japanese invasion forces we went out the data war zone it's being sent there and we went up all promotion of takeout Formosa it see that that was a big naval base up there to come and we were supposed to observe ships going in and out of there and surface at night and report you know such as such a size you know going on course so and so for sturgeon and the other boats of the Asiatic fleet several factors combined to neutralize the effectiveness of these first war patrols cautioned first seemed to be the motto for many skippers career officers who were generally older and more prudent few were willing to toss the pre-war rulebook by coming to periscope depth for attack surface attacks were out of the question consequently many of the early offensive maneuvers were made from the safety of deep water using only passive sonar to determine range and bearing we've fired at ships in there but I mean we never got a chance to actually come up and see them you know what did they think about you know we never did know 96 mark 14 torpedoes were fired in 45 separate attacks over the first weeks of combat but there were only three confirmed sinkings patrols originating from Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and the first three months of 1942 were credited with sinking a total of 19 enemy ships but were hampered by tactical and operational instructions USS gudgeons first foray into Japanese home waters illustrates the point her skipper was advised to remain submerged during daylight hours within 500 miles of her patrol area to avoid detection by aircraft as a result gudgeon spent 27 days submerged during her 51 day patrol and of these only twelve were on station and route back to Pearl Harbor however Gunjan sank a Japanese submarine the first enemy warships sunk by a u.s. Navy submarine in World War two although some early patrols mounted from Pearl Harbor targeted Japanese home waters most were assigned the far less productive Japanese Pacific Islands and the China coast while the lack of offensive initiative flawed doctrine and poor tactical positioning contributed to the slow start they were only part of the problem defective torpedoes severely reduced the submarine fleets effectiveness Tarr Peters success was less than 50 percent they were very bad and that wasn't corrected really corrected fully until 843 premature explosions sometimes the repeater would hit the ship and nothing would happen no explosion and erratic runs by erratic runs I mean they didn't go in the directions they were supposed to they would run deeper or they would run shallower and it was a very difficult time in the coming months instances of inexplicable misses and dud hits began to accumulate however all attempts to raise the alarm through the chain of command were ridiculed by the Navy Bureau of ordnance the powers it be or adamant that there was nothing wrong with the damn torpedo because when I fired it under ideal conditions it would went off but under wartime conditions did not go off that was due to this just not having enough time to take the ships out before the war and practice with the firing and witnessed the results of the firings they simulated a lot on paper and theory before we ever get into the war and it should have been done the other way around the mark 14 torpedo and it's mark 6 exploder had defects that tended to mask each other faults that weren't revealed due to inadequate peacetime testing it would be months before the problems were completely solved in the interim countless submarine crews put their lives in danger stalking enemy targets only to be cheated of their quarry by defective torpedoes you [Music] the problems facing the American submarine fleet early in the war were numerous but such was the case for the Allies throughout the Pacific beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor Japan handed the United States and her allies a series of crushing defeats simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor the Japanese moved against Malaya Hong Kong and the Philippines on December 8th an air raid on Clark Field in the Philippines destroyed most of the American Air Force stationed there before it ever left the ground two days later Japanese bombers flatten the kaviti naval station in Manila Bay home of the u.s. Asiatic fleet you know the beating they took out there but they took a beating out there just like Pearl Harbor did you know and you know we wasn't in there we was out when she got hit Coveney get hit but they got the sea lion there and they put some holes in the sea dragon the sea dragon get out of me and she has them holding of what they patched it up gotta back all right with this facility ruined in practically no air cover surface units of the Asiatic fleet withdrew to Australia and the Dutch East Indies where they would be out of range of Japanese aircraft on Formosa before the end of the year the submarine force followed suits abandoning the Philippines shortly after the Japanese came ashore at Lingayen Gulf 300 miles northwest of Manila they told us to go into Exmouth Gulf and they looked it up in the coast pilot in an air it said it didn't show nothing it just showed the entrance and then the line stopped and a whole list was nobody knew what it was you know we're supposed to go in there and they said that the last time anybody had been in there was in 1800 and something and at that time the nativist we were friendly as the Asiatic fleet struggled to regroup the Japanese overran Burma Malaya and Thailand only Java in the Dutch East Indies had yet to be conquered us submarines attempted to stem the tide by attacking the invasion forces but to no effect Java fell in little more than a week by the end of March 1942 Japan had achieved nearly all of her pre-war objectives after the loss of the East Indies us submarines of the Asiatic fleet withdrew to Perth Fremantle on the southwest coast of Australia since the outbreak of war they had managed to sink only ten enemy vessels eight merchants a destroyer and an aircraft very of the original 29 Manila boats four had been lost the US High Command decided to leave the remaining submarines of the Asiatic fleet down under rather than withdraw them to Pearl Harbor this was due in part to the decision to divide the Pacific into separate command areas General Douglas MacArthur assumed command of the southwest Pacific area which included the Philippines the Dutch East Indies Borneo Australia New Guinea and the western part of the Solomon Islands Admiral Chester Nimitz would command the northern central and southern Pacific from Oahu submarines based in Australia would be well-positioned to attack Japanese supply lines between Southeast Asia and the home islands or support offensive operations in either area by April 1942 the submarine force in Australia numbered 31 boats with 20 at Perth Fremantle and 11 at Brisbane the Fremantle forest was meant to deploy against Japanese supply lines in the southwest Pacific as well as to undertake special missions ordered by General MacArthur to pick up and deliver personnel and supplies behind enemy lines we would come in to island at night submerged and then just surface enough to get our cunning tower and our decks of wash and then the commandos could get their kayaks out and then at night they would grow into the islands and believe it or not they would count the Japanese every one of them intelligence gathering missions whether visual photographic or by landing party were an essential fleet support role throughout the war few Marines ever set foot on a shore that hadn't first been reconnoitered by a submarine in late April the Japanese mounted a duel Seabourn thrust to occupy Tuilagi in the solomon islands and to complete their conquest of New Guinea by seizing Port Moresby to log e fell without a fight but two American carrier task forces intercepted the Port Moresby force it was the first time in history that aircraft carriers fought each other during the Battle of the Coral Sea American air groups from Yorktown and Lexington sank the light Japanese carriers show ho and inflicted damage on the large Japanese carriers choukaku and xue ikkaku but sustained damage to Yorktown and lost Lexington the Coral Sea was considered a tactical defeat because we did lose one heavy fleet carrier as opposed to Japanese losing just a small carrier it did contribute significantly to altering the strategic direction of the war because it turned back the Japanese invasion force and it's so decimated the air groups on board so Kaku and zuy Kaku that it really prevented them from participating in the upcoming Japanese operation which turned out to be the Battle of Midway during the Battle of the Coral Sea for submarine stationed in Brisbane were able to attack elements of the Japanese invasion force but there only confirmed kill was a mine layer three weeks after the battle Rear Admiral Charles Lockwood assumed command of the Fremantle force his first order of business was to verify growing evidence that the mark 14 torpedo was malfunction and tests reveal that the mark 14 ran ten feet deeper than it was set for skippers were advised to adjust running depth accordingly but the number of sinkings remain disturbingly below continuing on the belief that the poor showing was due to ineffective skippers many were relieved of their commands at the beginning of the wall there were some that didn't seem aggressive and they didn't because of the torpedoes after you fired major proper runs and so forth and your calculations and all the right and you here's a Dutch school you really hesitate to go in there when you know they're heavy escorts and it chances a much slimmer of you getting a hit and then I think that had more to do with it than them being anything but good skippers just before the Battle of the Coral Sea it was agreed to begin exchanging submarines between Australia and Pearl Harbor so that Fremantle's boats could return to the United States for refitting during the transit to Australia the Pearl Harbor submarines would undertake war patrols off japanese-held islands under this arrangement and augmented by newly commissioned boats arriving from the United States war patrols from Pearl Harbor increased sharply during April and early May 1942 once we were underway everybody had a job to do they had a station to beyond if they were like myself a mortar machinist met you were either in the engine room or in the auxiliary room doing your job what you're supposed to be doing in your line of work and then you were assigned like four hours on an eight hours off and it went on just around the clock that way and a lot of people think 85 men 60 days at sea but you know I saw a third of them because we were split up into three sections and once you got settled down to a sea routine that your section was really the only ones you saw section on duty that's what they were on duty and you didn't let anything distract you just a slip you could put yourself in real trouble it was totally demanding it required every ounce of your energy in your strength mental and physically and even sometimes you felt inadequate then under such extreme conditions the level of military courtesy and discipline on board was far more relaxed than on a surface ship we are pretty kind of lacks we wore sandals and do we have with jeans that are way cut short and we have guys that have a beard and earrings there wasn't any any stuffiness you know we called him Sir or mr. so-and-so their name or the captain he was always called a captain you know it was such a wonderful association while a newcomer on board might have had difficulty distinguishing between the captain and his crew one aspect of the submarine service clearly stood out they got the best food in the Armed Services in World War two they always set out with you know frozen cuts of meat and whatnot which of course were rationed at home and the guys that were out in the field and you know Marines and digging in here and guys going through the bottle the boats didn't see sea ray shins or something like that we always asked for the best that we could ask for for example filet mignon come in 50-pound boxes they were all boneless we didn't have room for bones so everything was boneless and we'd take him other packages in the wax paper we'd put those in the freezer and that's what we would operate on when we left port we ate like a king and after about 20 days it was getting kind of bad and if you couldn't run up to a supply ship he was eaten k-rations as the patrol wore on the deterioration of the food quality was rivaled by the foul 'no sub the atmosphere the average age of submarines in World War two was 19 that's the average age which basically means it's a bunch of high school kids that are are operating the most technically advanced you know vessel of war that we that exist in the world so if you can imagine yourself stuck with 80 guys all of which are about teenage or high teenage years that are actually doing heavy labor down in the South Pacific going through drills everybody's got smelly feet the whole deal they're not really changing their clothes too much and you only get to shower about every two weeks now you can start to imagine what the smell on this thing would have been when you combine that with hydraulic fluid and diesel fuel and whatnot though the increase in patrol frequency during the spring of 1942 improved the chances of success the numbers returning from the Battlefront continued to dismay fleet commanders the Pearl Harbor boats were credited with sinking only 33 enemy ships between January and May 1942 tellingly the greatest success came on patrols to Japanese home waters and the East China Sea stakeouts of Japanese bases in the Central Pacific continued to yield meager results warship has caught a heart attack but they go too fast for the sub by the time you see of their God you have to be lucky to being right in front and to cross your path in mid-may Navy code breaking efforts provided advance warning of a major Japanese offensive aimed at Midway Island just 700 miles from Pearl Harbor Admiral Nimitz immediately deployed his three remaining aircraft carriers to intercept and the result is often described as the turning point of the Pacific War though a major success for American surface units the Battle of Midway was an exercise and frustration for u.s. submarine errs early in the war we found it we were not as effective as we might be trying to operate with the fleet at Midway it was a good example we had a huge number of submarines there trying to intercept the chap fleet and only one of them even attacked a ship 19 boats had sorted from Pearl Harbor but confusion indecision and poor contact reporting spoiled what might have been a signature battle for u.s. submarines it was late on June 6th with the battle largely over thanks to devastating air attacks launched from Hornets Yorktown and Enterprise that the USS Nautilus fired four torpedoes at a disabled Japanese carrier true to form one failed to run two ran erratically and the fourth was a dud the experience of the submarine force operating at Midway was disheartening but later as the number of available submarines weld and the moved into more confined waters with distinct shipping routes the submarines fleet role would be proven with devastating effect hoping to build on the shift in momentum that occurred at Midway u.s. Marines of the first division invaded Guadalcanal in early August it was America's first offensive operation of the war the campaign to secure the island lasted six months and for much of its course the balance Teeter precariously from one side to the other consequently the southwest Pacific submarine force and Australia was regularly assigned interdiction missions in support of the Solomons effort seeking to prevent the Japanese from reinforcing their island Garrison's by sea so critical was the Guadalcanal campaign that submarine squadrons eight and ten were transferred from Pearl Harbor to Brisbane which then boasted the largest concentration of u.s. submarines in the Pacific however the resulting dilution of effort left only lockwood's fremantle boats and roughly half of the Pearl Harbor submarines to actively engage enemy supply lines as a disappointing 1942 wound to a close a tally of the campaign to date revealed that US submarines had destroyed a total of 147 Japanese ships more less than half a ship for patrol of these only two were major warships significantly missions to Japan which numbered less than one in five accounted for nearly half of all the ships up [Music] [Music] after the defeat Aquatica now le in 1943 the Japanese shifted their focus to defending what remained of their earlier conquests while the Allies began developing a plan that would allow them to gain the offensive initiative with war materiel of all kinds beginning to flow from the United States the Allies were able to pursue a dual-pronged strategy forces under the command of General MacArthur would simultaneously attacked the northern Solomons and leapfrog westerly along the coast of northern New Guinea isolating Japanese garrison stationed there and ultimately bypassing Rabaul Admiral Nimitz would begin the drive across the Central Pacific with invasions of Tarawa and Macon in the Gilbert Islands before proceeding further west across the Pacific toward Japan such ambitious plans would take some time to put in place so again it fell to the men of the silent service to keep the pressure on by mid spring 1943 the submarine force at Pearl Harbor now under the command of Rear Admiral Charles Lockwood had grown to fifty votes the main submarines Pacific headquarters at Pearl Harbor and the advance base at Midway hummed with activity as boats return from patrols for refitting or a set sail for the war zone the base at Midway provided a fueling station 1,100 miles closer to Japan and did much to improve the logistical situation for sub pact between April and August an average of 18 sub packed boats left each month for war patrols of 40 to 50 days notably over half were targeted at enemy shipping in Japanese Empire waters and the East China Sea this shift and deployment marked a significant change from the strategy that had continued to place a high priority on hard to target enemy capital ships in spite of poor results and was further justified by the fourth war patrol of the USS wahoo when the gate Oakland wahoo arrived at Pearl Harbor in August 1942 she joined his submarine force struggling to find success her first two patrols were marked by attack failures but when charismatic Lieutenant Commander Dudley mush Morton assumed command at the end of the year her fortunes and the rest of the submarine fleets began to change personable with his crew and aggressive in his leadership morton reorganized Wahoo's patrol procedures waa-hoo transited to her third patrols operating area on the surface in daylight despite the threat of Japanese planes he trusted his executive officer Richard O'Kane to make all periscope observations during attacks which allowed Morton to better evaluate the entire combat situation as commanding officer of USS Tang ok knee ventually became the submarine forces leading ace of the war credited with destroying 31 ships Wahoo's third Patrol and first under Morton netted three ships but that was only the beginning on his next patrol Morton is sailed into the shallow confines of the East China and yellow seas in a series of slashing gun and torpedo attacks Morton sent nine ships to the bottom it was by far the most successful patrol of the war today and proved to be the turning point of the Pacific submarine war inspired by Morton's tactics and innovation other commanders began to adapt Wahoo's aggressive style and take the fight to the enemy these were all younger officers and I think that they set the whole procedure of submarine warfare though those people did not the Navy as far as doctrine that we had been schooled in as far as the depth that we would travel when when we would put the periscope up and that sort of thing this was developed in the field by our own skippers and breaking away from the old conservative non-aggressive rules that that had governed the way we reacted the determination and character exhibited by Morton and the crew of Oahu was hardly unique to that vessel just being accepted for submarine duty was a testament to these sailors abilities in order to get in submarines you had to pass a rigorous set of exams to show that you're very smart the show that you had psychologically what it take to live with 80 other guys for two little over two months on a war patrol without ever seeing the Sun in close quarters with very little privacy so these guys had a lot of camaraderie did a lot of respect for each other the people that were involved in it they were the cream of America crop they were the finest physically adapted people and mentally and they they had a tremendous attitude it was a very elaborate and in-depth screening process and did give an example of the number of people who made it there was a hundred and five that volunteered with me and were like six of us passed so it was a extremely difficult service it was all volunteer 100% volunteer the elite group of men who formed the submarine force made up only 1.6 percent of the entire US Navy each had receive 50 percent more pay than the rest of their Navy comrades for their willingness to accept the hazards rigorous and privations of service aboard a world war ii era submarine i first become aware of submarines when i was 10 years old and from that day land i wanted to be a Submariner and i like the thing most of them did I went there for the money it was nice it was nice to get the extra money but most of us there because that's what we wanted service aboard a submarine was far different than in any other branch of the military in the Second World War during a patrol that could last up to 10 weeks most Truman only rarely caught a glimpse of sky or the taste of fresh air let alone actually setting foot on dry land you didn't know what day it was you didn't wear the day or night when you were didn't prickly care you just had a job to do and of course also he had a sanitary problem because you had a a team in on there who hadn't had a bath in however long you were out patrols Warren all-glorious and a lot of fun there was a lot of tedium and boredom the weeks at a time before you might see a target and break up the monotony but I think the fact that we all suffered the same suffrages and the same glories and so on is what brought us all together along with the monotony training drills were another fact of life for submarine errs in our day it took five men just a diver for surfaces and it took about twenty to operate it and it had to be done in unison and in perfect coordination and just one mistake could cost the life of every man on the boat and so you work very acutely aware of your responsibilities in order to attain the rating of qualified in submarines each man in the crew of approximately 80 had to know how to perform every single job aboard a u.s. submarine the most sophisticated and complex man of war at the time every single person on this boat had a job to do and if they didn't do their job everyone else on the boat could literally die anyone from the captain right down to the cook had to know what every single thing did every compartment so if you were in that compartment when you underwent some kind of attack or there was some kind of emergency you would know what to do in order to save the boats of course the very first patrol that you go out on of course you're a new man and you've really got to learn things it's up to you to find out what it's all about on board you know just really investigate and ask questions and so you'll be able to qualify so you will know your submarine and know what it's all about and you had to make drawings of every system throughout boat then an officer aboard would take you through the boat and question you on every compartment in the boat you had to qualify on each submarine that you served up you had a reek walla fire even though the subs might be for the from the same shipyard but you had a reek walla phi but when you got your dolphins i think you were proudest man in the Navy the esprit de corps that developed among submarine errs was not entirely unique within the military elite units like airborne troops and close-knit groups like bomber crews or naval aviators shared a high level of camaraderie yet for these in virtually all others servicemen in World War two the near certainty of death should disaster strike did not exist I think you come close to death so many times with each other that you just develop a brotherhood I would say it's hard to describe but you talk about families I think we were even closer than the families everyone knew that their life depended on the man next to them and everyone knew that the man next to him his life depended on them doing their job so there was a huge amount of esprit de corps the disadvantages of course were first of all as in proportion this was the most risky arm of the armed services to serve in your chances of coming back on one of these alive were lower than any other thing you can think of daylight bombing raids over Germany storming Iowa Jima with the Marines your chances were better of surviving those activities than it was to be on one of these summaries in World War two they had a 24% casualty rate it was very rare for men to actually survive any kind of damage or attack on a submarine so if something went wrong Haiti guys just went to the bottom no one was immune to the inherent dangers of the submarine service in the fall of 1943 musch Morton in wahoo returned to the Sea of Japan and went on a rampage sinking at least four ships over the course of several days while attempting to exit viola Peru's Strait wha-hoo was detected by Japanese anti-submarine aircraft and a coordinated air and sea attack commenced Morton and his crew of 79 men were never heard from again [Music] since he had assumed overall command of the Pacific submarine for us early in 1943 much of Rear Admiral Lockwood's attention was consumed by nagging material problems foremost among these was torpedoes not only a shortage of supply the continuing evidence of serious malfunction Lockwood's tests at Fremantle in mid-1942 established that US torpedoes were running too deep but after correcting the problem torpedo performance failed to improve premature warhead detonations believed to be the result of a too sensitive magnetic influence exploder continued to bedevil to Fleet Lockwood convinced Admiral Nimitz to rely solely on the mark fourteens contact exploder but even with the magnetic feature disabled Pacific Fleet submarines continued to experience a significant percentage of duds I know one particular round we made we fired 19 torpedoes and we could hear him hitting the hall and we were being fired on from the direction that the torpedoes were coming from but we never got any damage done you never saw such a dejected bunch in your life as you did when when four torpedoes were fired and a sound man heard two of them hit and none go off it was frustration of the first order during a series of experiments conducted in Hawaii in September 1943 it was determined that when a torpedo struck at a 90-degree angle which was considered ideal the firing pin would buckle which in some cases prevented it from contacting the exploder cap merely installing a stronger firing pin resolved the issue with his simple modification the performance of the mark 14 torpedo finally reached acceptability but it had taken half the war to get there the ongoing shortage of torpedoes may persistent problem early in the war was remedied by the gradual introduction of the mark 18 electric torpedo beginning in mid 1943 although slower than the mark 14 and somewhat limited in range the mark 18 left no tell-tale wake that could give away his submarines position almost invariably after he fired torpedoes the escorts could see the torpedo tracks and they knew where the torpedoes came from and they just run down the trumpeter track expecting to find a submarine or two other end and they usually would and Japanese anti-submarine efforts were primarily passive or listening sonar rather than active sonar were you ping like our way SW efforts were largely and Pollock wasn't as fast as the new submarines but also she was very noisy if they were going to be listening the submarines had made the most noise for the ones that hear first that was us the primary anti-submarine weapon during World War 2 was the depth charge a canister of high explosives set to go off at a predetermined depth the object being to have the depth guard go under the submarine so the explosion came up we used various and sundry methods of evading them as possible and I'm living proof that we were rated right many the first time to go through that is really terrifying me you have actually hear two explosions and of course when the depth charge explodes there's a space that some voids its left and of course that comes back in as soon as the explosions completed and you just don't know when the next one's coming during the first part of the war the Japanese tended to sent their depth charges too shallow unaware that u.s. submarines could die below 150 feet early an award it was a fact-finding committee of congressmen sent out to the Pacific and when they got back one of them made the green mark that there are some readers didn't have anything to worry about the Japanese weren't setting their depth charges deep enough well Japanese can read too and I'd say in the next six months we lost ten submarines because they just are just that dumb deeper the tenacity of a depth charge attack was another important variable with a full battery charge a sub could remain submerged for over 36 hours but by that point it would be absolutely essential to surface and recharge if viewers are down for a prolonged period the battery gets very low you lose the benefit of the oxygen and the ship that you've been breathing up all day it's pretty foul below and sometimes you're held down to practically the full limit of the battery and possibly even some of our ships were lost because they could never get up in time to charge the battery and didn't have enough power to pull out of it more submarines were lost to depth charges during the war than any other cause but the vast majority escaped to fight another day although the submarine squadrons have both Fremantle and Brisbane maintained a steady level of activity throughout 1943 Brisbane lost importance as the war moved up the Solomons chain and westward into New Guinea by late in the year just eight boats were stationed there but an advanced base established at Milne Bay New Guinea put them 1,200 miles closer to their patrol areas between June and December 33 war patrols sent to monitor the supplied lines linking truck Raval and Palau resulted in 29 confirmed sinkings during that same period the 22 submarines stationed at Fremantle sank nearly 50 enemy ships a dozen of them oil tankers bound from Borneo and Sumatra the emphasis was switched pretty much to tankers and we sank an awful lot of the Japanese merchant marine and tankers and that's the thing the argument about we well we shouldn't have dropped the atom bombs because we'd sunk all the Japanese tankers and they were running out of fuel late in 1943 as MacArthur's forces hammered away at Japanese Garrison's in New Guinea and the northern suliman's and the Marines in the Central Pacific were regrouping after the brutal invasion of ha Lockwood began deploying small coordinated submarine wolf packs as tactical units with that kind of an operation we could cover a larger area of the ocean with three submarines out there we could talk to each other on secure radio and if one of the submarines picked up enemy convoy well they could tell the others and then the Commodore could order the others into a position to where he thought they might all have an opportunity to attack some of the ships in the convoy communications and coordination among Wolfpack members at sea was often difficult but during the last two years of the war wolf packing became increasingly common particularly for commerce rating north of Luzon were several Japanese north-south convoy routes from the conquered territories converged the people in Pearl Harbor had laid out a checkerboard like arrangement of areas and we were given a certain sequence of movement where we would move from one area to another area to another area and if we saw a convoy or some warships going through a part of our area that we didn't have time to get to we could call Pearl Harbor they could then notify other submarines in in the other squares along which that those ships are going to travel so that they could have an opportunity to attack them along with tactical innovations that continue to evolve throughout the war new boats arriving in the fleet added ever greater capabilities balao-class submarines the first of the thick-skinned boats that integrated higher strength steel in the pressure hull were introduced in 1943 almost identical in appearance to Gaydos the important difference was in design depth the Bulow class was rated to 400 feet a full 100 feet deeper than Gaydos could go tench class boats which began to appear in 1944 could exceed 600 feet they could go twice as we could and it took twice as long for the depth charges to get down there and the depth charges are only half as accurate or less on the new fleet boats as the old ones regardless of class fleet submarines underwent a constant program of modification much of which was carried out by submarine tenders auxilary ships specially equipped to perform maintenance and provide logistic support for submarines the advantage of putting submarine supplies spare parts service facilities and berthing on a surface ship was that it made them as portable as the submarines themselves setting up a new forward submarine base became almost as simple as dropping anchor when a submarine came alongside maybe it has a problem with their motors or something electric motors something and the machine shop could take care of those things and the torpedoes or whatever and then they also have food that they could take some food for them and they always have great oranges a fruit form right away on they take out to the submarine and we also had ice cream making machine there and this I mean the only tender for things like that so like more supplies and repairs small repairs main function of things tender fleet submarines back from the front often required little more than fuel and provisions but just as often major repairs were in order Diesel's were repaired or replaced leaking bulkheads made fast and electronic gear updated the conning tower was often replaced during a refit to reduce its silhouettes and make the boat harder to see on the surface and had the added benefit of decreasing the time it took to submerge 55 seconds to get the boat submerged that's what we were always striving for is to close that hatch and get the conning tower and the periscopes of the little surface and 55 seconds if you're on a surface but you kind of a sitting duck since individual commanders were allowed to arm their boats pretty much as they wished the original 3-inch 50 deck gun was generally replaced with something heavier at first four-inch 50s and later by a 5-inch 25 wet mount some boats carried a pair of 5-inch guns 20 millimeter guns were often replaced with 40-millimeter Bofors mounted either for or after the tower and in some cases both by war's end few fleet boats were equipped exactly alike with the reef it completes provisions and supplies were brought aboard and packed into any available space loading torpedoes was one of the most difficult parts of this process we would lift them from the dock or the ship or wherever it was supplying it and put them on the skids of the torpedo room and they were put down with chain Falls cables put on them to ease them down the skids in many many times the torpedo took a route of its own and continued down the skids went into the tubes went into the bilges and all different directions even though they were under some pretty tight control and it was a very laborious operation and it was a damn back-breaking operation was what it was with the bow tree provisioned the submarine once again set sail for the war zone days later after performing an endless series of drills that shaved precious seconds when submerging or surfacing standing watch manning battle stations and performing their normal duties the boat finally arrived at the patrol area early in the war this would have meant long days spent underwater hoping for enemy contact while waiting for nightfall to resurface in charge batteries but ongoing improvements to the submarines detection gear made that procedure a thing of the past though the electronic suite provided many benefits the single greatest advantage American fleet submarines possessed over the Japanese was radio detection and ranging or radar from the very first days of the war most American subs were equipped with a rather primitive setup called SD which was non directional and had a limited range of between six and ten miles SD was an air search system useful only in two enemy aircraft but it did allow boats to operate on the surface even in daylight the biggest scare had to be airplanes because I'm suckers they be they will be real high and then they would come down and you're look out you're watching horizon you're not looking straight up a new system type SJ first appeared in mid 1942 and was installed aboard all US submarines by early 1943 unlike SD SJ radar was directional and prevented the exact range and bearing of surface targets its reach was limited by the height of the retractable mast but even so targets could be electronically detected long before they were visually sighted ships that may otherwise have passed unnoticed were now exposed to submarine attack it's a great great advantage very great advantage because they they were quite McGinn of war they didn't know that we had radar so we had a big advantage over them and we could operate at night time and in during storms and all that and they did not have the advantage of knowing that we were there while the Japanese had superior night optics and excellent sound detection gear only their carriers and battleships possessed radar a fact that shifted the odds decisively in the direction of the Americans consequently with the new SJ sets aboard the submarine fleed developed a new method of attack known as the end-around we would pick up a Jap ship and we could plot their course and then go flank speed ahead get ahead of them and if we had to submerge into him in a day time why we would submerge and wait for him to come by and knock him off it was a night when we'd stay on the surface and fire from the surface at night if we saw an airplane or heard an airplane we would submerge but we would stay on the surface as much as we possibly can because we could maneuver better we had more speed to do what we needed to do to get around and take position to be able to fire to arpita's at the enemy ships fire control the process of tracking targets and Amy torpedoes required far more than simply looking through the periscope the immediate problem was determining the targets course and speed a painstaking procedure made vastly easier by the torpedo data computer a system that simultaneously attracted target and adjusted the aim of the torpedoes a series of periscope observations of the targets position course and speed were made and as the fire control problem developed the TDC provided increasingly accurate directional instructions to the torpedoes a proper solution was usually obtained after three or four observations regardless of whether the torpedoes found their target nearly every time a ship was attacked Japanese escorts responded with depth charges for the submarine the best response was to immediately dive and commence silent running a tactic that reduced the chances of detection by enemies sound listening gear by operating in a state of complete quiet our operating depth then for depth charge attack was depending on the water underneath it was about 300 feet and also depending on the cold Stratus if you if you were aware of a cold strata you'd get below that at a hundred feet their sonar wasn't any good it wouldn't pick you up it deflected the signal before it could get to you but if you weren't aware of that you just went to your test depth and stayed there sound men played a leading role in evading depth charges by determining the range and direction of pings sent by Japanese sonar emitters the submarine would maneuver to put the attackers astern then slowly withdraw from the area we evaded a lot of them and and I'm sure that that later on right many of the boats that got sunk or because they didn't they either didn't use that method of escape or they didn't they just weren't lucky enough to use it I think that we were lucky technical and tactical innovations combine to make 1943 a significantly better year for submarine errs the fleet was credited with sinking three thirty-five Japanese ships or roughly twice the corresponding figure for 1942 more importantly post-war analysis revealed that Japan's merchant fleet declined by 16 percent despite a vigorous shipbuilding program and importation of bulk commodities diminished to 81 percent of the pre-war level the loss of raw materials and petroleum and the inability to transport men and materiel to the frontlines significantly reduced Japan's ability to maintain effective military strength for Imperial Japan world war ii had become a battle of attrition and the worst was yet to come in 1944 the silent service finally hit its stride as the operational deployment of the submarine fleet was coordinated to match the strategic requirements of the war when combined with improved torpedoes better radar new tactics and an ever increasing number of newly commissioned boats it spelled doom for the Japanese merchant fleet by the time Admiral Nimitz's crossed specific thrust reached the Marshall Islands in January 1944 the Pacific submarine fleet numbered nearly 100 boats with 60 submarines assigned to Pearl Harbor and 36 to Australia boats of the Pacific and southwest Pacific Fleet were kept busy supporting both the Marshalls campaign and US carrier strikes against truck the most formidable enemy stronghold in the Pacific and forward Anchorage for the Japanese Imperial fleet we knew it was a strong fortified situation and a lot of us that had just heard about it studied it a little bit I'll have to admit I was a little apprehensive about truck not having any idea what we were gonna run into we just knew there was a lot of stuff there though concern regarding a strike on truck was certainly justified the operation turned into a rout in two days and one night of attacks the air groups of task force 58 sunk or incapacitated most of the ships and aircraft they found there though capital ships were absent thousands of tons of vital merchant shipping succumb to the torrent of bombs and torpedoes when the raids were over truck lay in ruins never again to pose a significant threat to the Allies in the aftermath of the all-out assault on truck in mid-february the Imperial Navy fell back on the Palau s-- by April under growing pressure from naval and land-based air attacks the fleet had dispersed to Davao and tawi-tawi in the southern Philippines Surabaya on Java and Singapore in Malaysia with Navy code breakers providing advance warning numerous attempts were organized to intercept these Japanese withdrawals although a number of Japanese freighters and auxilary Zoar son the only major warships destroyed during these patrols were three light cruisers increased pressure on the Empire East China Sea and Korea Island supply routes paid bigger dividends operating from advanced submarine bases in New Guinea and on Majuro and the Marshalls submarines of the Pacific and southwest Pacific fleets sank 183 ships or nearly three-quarters of a million tons of shipping in the first four months of 1944 with truck eliminated and the Marshall Islands secured Allied forces in the Central Pacific sent through sites on the Marianas Islands of Saipan Guam and Tinian from air bases on these islands long-range b-29 bombers could reach Japan beginning on June 11th carrier-based air groups mounted a series of powerful strikes on Saipan as a prelude to invasion submarines were deployed to introduce attempts to reinforce the island and to provide lifeguard services for downed Airmen a procedure introduced for all large-scale fleet offensives beginning with the invasion of the Gilbert Islands in 1943 and there was hardly an air strike that was made that didn't have submarines standing lifeguard duty then we ended up retreived six pilots at all anticipating an eventual move on the Marianas the Japanese have prepared a plan that would exploit the longer range of the aircraft pilots would shuttle between carriers at sea and air bases on Guam and Saipan hitting the Americans coming and going while allowing their carriers to operate beyond the range of an American Counter Strike in mid-june as the Marines fought their way ashore on Saipan the remaining elements of the Imperial fleet began to converge in the Philippine Sea for the decisive battle the Japanese had long sought but they were not alone American submarines detected and trailed the enemy forces all the while relaying critical information to the American fleet off Saipan when the Japanese launched their aircraft early on the morning of June 19th they were flying into a trap few of their pilots survived to even attempt an attack on the American task forces covering the landing by this point in the war American air superiority made any engagement with a u.s. Navy nearly suicidal all of a sudden my eyes partly bugged out I saw a group about 5060 enemy planes of all motley group no formation type thing at all well I started on down a wagon with wings and I come up started going down all of a sudden my eyes apparently were so big from seeing this grand opportunity that I saw another plane another of our planes was had designs on that same plane that I was going for and I'm sure we'd have collided if I hadn't if I had aborted that particular pass but anyway I pull back up again and then I started and you hear these stories of what the guys were doing go for the lead man diethylene them break him all up well there were just too many of them we had to work fast because we weren't far from our from our fleet and to me you pick him off the edges and pick them off he did during the Battle of the Philippine Sea subsequently dubbed the great Marianas turkey shoot Alex Varro sue knocked down six Japanese dive bombers in a span of eight minutes on his way to becoming one of America's leading aces all told the Japanese lost nearly 350 aircraft and three aircraft carriers including two tae ho and shikaku which were sunk by US submarines though a great success for naval aviation the battle marked a high point for the submarine force working in concert with the fleet effective scouting efficient communications and intelligent handling not to mention several smashing torpedo attacks combined to give the submarine force a leading role in a victory that permanently crippled Japanese naval aviation after the Battle of the Philippine Sea American submarines refocused their efforts on enemy supply lines with renewed intensity and devastating effect by late August Wolfpack's appeared and Luzon straits in the East China Sea from new Pacific Fleet submarine bases its Saipan and Guam by the end of the year they'd sent nearly 150 ships to the bottom meanwhile boats of the southwest Pacific Fleet patrolled the Japanese oil pipeline from Sumatra and Borneo from advanced bases at ma news in the Admiralty islands and at Mia swindie just east of Biak in July through October alone boats of the South West Pacific Fleet sank almost 100 enemy ships when combined with the growing toll from air attacks the effect on the Japanese effort was catastrophic occasionally the survivors of a submarine attack were taken prisoner but these instances were relatively rare like their counterparts on land most Japanese were reluctant to surrender in one case we picked up a survivor and brought him aboard and then he would they would set this enemy down at the table with maps and then start talking with these guys and at night having the watch in the in the galley I was able to watch all in his death in mid-september 1944 the business of rescue took a grim term for the crew of the USS pampanito shortly after surfacing late on the 15th the boat encountered a debris field the result of an attack made three days earlier by sea lion clinging to the wreckage was a large number of men covered with oil and filth they got out on the deck with machine guns and whatnot to sea they couldn't take a prisoner or get some intelligence and if they got very close to one of these rafts of men they heard one of the men yell out great first you bloody Yanks sink us and now you're gonna bloody shoot us and at that point they realized obviously they were speaking English they must be friends of ours and the story is that if you've ever heard of or seen the movie or the book bridge over the river kwai it talks about how the Japanese after capturing Singapore had taken those men in the army and actually used them as slave labor to build the Burma railroad well these men had actually been used for two and a half years as slaves to build the Burma railroad down in Southeast Asia and the Japanese were actually transporting about fourteen or fifteen hundred them back to the mainland Japan to use as slave labor in those factories they put them crammed them into one of the holds on one of the ships and one of the holds on a second ship we did not know they were in there and so of course encountering the convoy we went and sank the ships well that first ship that was sunk actually had about fourteen hundred and fifty men on it ALX prisoners of war and the Japanese effort was sunk picked up all their their seamen their naval officers and whatnot and they left and I left these men to die as the pampanito came through they realized that these were allies and immediately got on the radio any other submarine in the area to come by and help them rescue before they left pampanito picked up 73 men both Australian and British prisoners of war and 72 of them survived the trip back to Saipan and they were all repatriated join later by sea lion Queen fish and Barb the four submarines eventually rescued 159 survivors more than a thousand men were lost swelling the ranks of other Allied POWs who suffered a similar fate in late October 1944 as US Marines struggled to gain the upper hand on Peleliu and an Gower in the Palau group General MacArthur's troops stormed ashore on Leyte in the central Philippines supporting the landing was the u.s. 3rd and 7th fleets which in turn was screened by submarines deployed to introduce counter-attack naval planners believed a move against the Philippines would force the remnants of the Imperial fleet into battle and they were not disappointed within hours of the American landing the Japanese combined fleet launched a complex three-pronged attack that would sacrifice what remained of their carrier force in order to annihilate the American landing at Leyte but it was American submarines that drew first blood patrolling west of Palawan Island near midnight on October 22nd the SJ radar sets aboard American submarines darter and dace detected the Japanese center force bound for San Bernadino strict at a range of 30,000 yards darter and days pursuit on the surface at full power with the intention of making a submerged attack at first light darkness struck first sinking the heavy cruiser Otago and damaging her sister ship to kau minutes later days follow with a spread that sank Maya in a separate attack west of Luzon Bream disabled another Japanese Cruiser ba Oba it would get little better for the Japanese [Music] on the 24th US carrier aircraft badly mauled elements of the combined fleet in the Cebu E&C while a US force that included five salvaged battleships that had begun the war in the mud at Pearl Harbor annihilated the southern wing of the Japanese effort in sura gale straits it had been a routes but as the Japanese hoped Admiral Halsey then steamed off and pursued the carriers of the northern force leaving San Bernadino strayed completely unguarded so it was that early on the morning of October 25th the Japanese Center forest emerged from the Strait and steamed southward along the coast of some more toward the transport fleet at Leyte opposed only by 16 slow and lightly armored escort carriers and their screen of destroyers and destroyer escorts the Americans took a terrible beating as Japanese battleships sank to escort carriers to destroyers and a destroyer escort but such was the ferocity of the defense that the Japanese believed they were engaging major fleet units as the battle raged the Japanese attack hampered by a combination of poor communications lack of coordination and above all the lack of air strength wavered and then stalled although there was precious little to prevent it from blasting through to Leyte Gulf the center force turned and headed back where it came from [Music] far to the north palsy found the Japanese carriers and sank all four of them leaving what remained of the northern forests to run a gauntlet back to Japan through several scouting lines of submarines which succeeded in picking off a light cruiser and a destroyer the battle for Leyte Gulf was the greatest naval fight in history and when it was over the Imperial Japanese Navy had cease to exist as a fighting unit more than 30 boats from the Pacific and southwest Pacific fleets participated proving the viability of submarines operating with the fleet by not only providing crucial sighting reports but by sinking or heavily damaging six enemy combatants during 1944 more than 600 Japanese ships were credited to American submarines and for the first time since the war had begun the total included a significant number of enemy combatants the United States and her allies had gained undisputed control of the Pacific Ocean and the submarine force played a key role in the victory [Music] 19:44 anti-shipping campaign was so successful that by the beginning of 1945 few enemy targets of any consequence remained unable to replace losses to its merchant fleet with new production Japan was forced to employ small wooden fishing boats called Sam pants consequently submarine skippers began thinning out the sampan fleets toward the end of the war you know there were not as many steel ships out there but more or less wouldn't and sometimes we would take the deck tiles to those after we got the crew it off and sinking their deputies during the closing stages of the war submarines acted increasingly as submersible gunboats pursuing the remaining quarry up and down the Japanese coast lifeguard duty became more commonplace as well as air attacks on mainland targets grew in intensity the Navy at submarines spaced every hundred 200 miles above evil Jima and then below you would Jima then there'd be surface vessels and they were all plotted and you knew exactly where the word and yeah it flimsy to tell you that they're coordinates so if you had a problem the idea was to ditch near them so he get picked up otherwise it might be curtains of all the people that ditched and b-29s I was lucky enough to be one of those u.s. submarines rescued more than 500 downed Airmen during the war including a young TVM pilot who would later become the 41st president of the United States and while rescue missions were often routine they were not without risk the threat of air attack whether by enemy or friendly forces was a constant concern when these pilots ditch way their buddies were making runs on us to me they see a subsidy they were kind of careless and they didn't make a distinction of who it was that though we threatened those guys to say hey if you guys keep on doing this we're going to leave your buddies in the water although commerce rating was the most obvious contributions Marines made in the defeat of Japan secondary roles like lifeguard duty photo reconnaissance and mine clearing contributed greatly to the war effort by April 1945 120 us submarines were operating in the Pacific the southwest Pacific submarine force had established a new advanced base at Subic Bay west of Manila and the headquarters of the Pacific submarine force had moved from Pearl Harbor to Guam with eboo Jima in possession of the Americans and the campaign to secure Okinawa just beginning the outcome was no longer in doubt Japan was finished a war making ability all but eliminated by the predations of American submarines on her merchant fleet and an endless stream of air raids on the home islands that crippled the civil and industrial infrastructure the effectiveness of strategic bombing has to be laid against the the fact that most of those factories were not operating anywhere near their capacity because the supplies of raw materials coming in had been choked off and also the ability of the Japanese to move yeah completed goods aircraft tanks to the their overseas possessions was severely curtailed by the fact that the merchant fleet and virtually evaporated by that stage after three and a half years Japan which had begun the war with six million tons of merchant shipping could scrape together just 1 million two hundred thousand tons the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August marked the end of World War two the formal surrender instrument was signed on the deck of USS Missouri and Tokyo Bay on September 2nd appropriately Vice Admiral Lockwood participated in the ceremony with a dozen submarines and their tender anchored nearby the success of the submarines in World War two I think speaks for itself no military service can compare with what was accomplished with less than 2% of the Navy's personnel they sunk 65% of all the Japanese ships likes that was the entire Japanese maritime fleet plus one-third of its men of war including the largest ship ever built we thought we got our vengeance and with the number of ships Adria we sank and like I say the American submarine errs they carried a fight to Japan the nature of the ship itself being a stealth ship to handle easy to get out of a port and submerge and travel from one spot to another they could penetrate further probably not faster than the surface craft would but surface craft didn't have the privilege of diving when an airplane would come along on a bombing run or anything like that and therefore I think with the few submarines that we had we could manage to get further at sea near their ports and hit their shipping whether it be merchant ship or military and slowly cut them off from the things that were required the American submarine campaign during the Second World War was the most decisive victory of that war in spite of a flawed pre-war doctrine and serious torpedo defects that severely limited effectiveness well into 1943 the United States Navy's submarine force nevertheless wrecked Japan's merchant fleet and sank a sizeable chunk of the Imperial Navy the Pacific submarine fleet revolutionized naval warfare and strangled Japan's home economy with a blockade that established a new adage an island is a body of land surrounded by submarines


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