(Last updated on 2 November 2001)
Silent Hunter from SSI is a game recreating the submarine war against the Japanese during World War II. Command one of several classes of submarines as you try to sink Japanese merchant and capital ships...and evade the depth charges of their escorts.
Please read these before sending me mail. If you send me mail about one of these questions, I will not respond.
- Q:I can't get Silent Hunter to work under Win98, WinME, Win2000.
- A: Sorry, but I can't help you. I haven't tried to install it under those operating systems. Call SSI, if they're still in business. Or better yet, do what I do: Keep a Win95 machine/partition around. :) Good luck!
- Q:I can't get Silent Hunter to work on my machine from Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.
- A: Sorry, but I can't help you. Good luck!
- Q:Where can I get Silent Hunter I?
- A: I've heard rumors that it's available for free at www.theunderdogs.org, but I have not confirmed this.
If it's not there, you can try looking for it on-line. I haven't seen it in a store in years.
- Q:My hard drive crashed, I lost Silent Hunter, and I can't find my CD to re-install it. Can you send me a copy?
- A: No. See the answer to the previous question.
- Q:Where can I find patrol disk #1 or patrol disk #2? Can you send me a copy?
- A: No. See the answer to the previous question. (Yes, this FAQ is recursive. :) ) Both of these patrol disks are included in the commander's edition, so if you can find it you don't need them.
- Q: I can't complete a photo recon. How do I do it?
Many of these links are broken...but I'm leaving them here for historical purposes...i.e. I'm too lazy to remove them.
Silent Hunter page on the web is maintained by Jim Atkins.
There's lots of great info and pointers there, with several custom missions. Be sure to check out the Academy and the Message Board.
- SSI is where it all began. There are custom scenarios available from their Scenario Center. Broken! Alot of basic questions about playing the game are answered in their FAQ. Broken!
- Full Fathom Five is a history of American subs in the Pacific, with the complete patrol reports of Nautilus,
Wahoo, and Tang; and specifications of the major classes of WW II American subs.
- SUBNET: Cyberspace Association of U.S. Submariners (CAUSS) has a list of every submarine commissioned by the U.S. Navy, with short histories and photos of most.
- TORPEDO JUNCTION-Military Books has books on subs.
- Neal Stevens's Deep Domain
has good submarine info, reviews of many sub games, and submarine articles.
- The USS Gunnel page has patrol reports from several of her patrols and a map showing her assigned patrol areas.
- The USS Batfish page has patrol reports from several of her patrols, photos of the Batfish as she is today, and couple shots of her crew.
- Broken! The USS Menhaden (SS-377)
site has extensive information on Dace (SS-247) and Darter (SS-227) as well.
There are many photographs and excerpts from several patrol reports.
- There are subs around the U.S. that you can tour. Two that I know of are the USS Pampanito,
at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and the USS Requin, at the Carnegie Science Museum in Pittsburgh.
I prefer to play in career mode rather than playing the single missions. I keep meaning to play the single missions and never quite get around to it. What I've been trying to do is see how high a tonnage I can get in a single career lasting four to five patrols. (Most of the American sub commanders in WW II were allowed no more than four patrols, with a few exceptions.)
This means that I allow most ships to pass by and go after only large ships that sink with few torpedoes, mainly oil tankers. (See the book by Calvert about sub commanders being ordered to give a priority to oil tankers.) I also take on any carriers, battleships, and heavy cruisers that I encounter.
Waiting for big ships can take a fair amount of real time. But even waiting for big ships results in shorter patrols than is historically accurate: My longest time on patrol is about 10 days, not counting transit time, much less than most WW II sub patrols.
If I shot at every ship that passed my way, I could usually exhaust my torpedoes in less than a day.
My highest tonnage so far for a career where I retired is 70 ships for about 940,000 tons in 5 patrols at 115% realism, in mid-1944. I started in 1941 and am working my way through the war. Until recently, if I lived through five patrols, I retired and then started a new career at the retirement date of the previous career.
However, after some posts on Jim Atkins's site, I decided to try a few more patrols to see if I could win the Medal of Honor. I'm up to the middle of 1944 right now, starting over with a green crew after being destroyed by a patrol craft on my 8th patrol when I got too cocky.
Some playing tips
Jim Atkins's Academy Broken!
has in-depth tutorials on most aspects of the game. What follows are things that I've found in addition to what he has there. Think of it as sitting at the bar at the Royal Hawaiian swapping stories with another crew back from patrol.
- You can get an idea of how far away an escort is by listening to its pings. Escorts that are less than 4500 yards away have a sharper sounding ping than those that are more than 4500 yards away. The escorts' sonar seems to be able to pick you up only when you're within 3500-4000 yards. Consequently, if you're sneaking away from several escorts and some have sharp pings and some have fuzzy pings, you can ignore the escorts with fuzzy pings, i.e., keep a small profile to only the escorts with sharp pings. The escorts with fuzzy pings are too far away to detect you.
- At periscope depth with the periscope down, ships passing overhead will sometimes wreck your periscope. It's better to go down another 20 feet while the ship passes over and then come back to periscope depth than to take a chance on destroying your periscope. This can happen while working your way inside a convoy's escort screen, inside the convoy during the mad scramble after you sink a ship, or if you stay at periscope depth while evading the escorts. The hardest time to avoid this is while maneuvering around a harbor during a photo recon, because you'll have no sonar info on the ships at anchor and won't know when they're overhead if it's been awhile since you've looked around with the periscope.
- On a related note, destroyers have a hard time depth charging you if you are directly underneath a ship. I don't know if it's because they're smart enough not to drop DC's close to one of their own because it could be damaged or because they can't make a proper run on their sonar contact with the ship in the way. I hid underneath a heavy cruiser in Truk Harbor all day after a photo recon. When the destroyers gave up on me, I snuck out from underneath the cruiser, sank a juicy target nearby, then hide underneath the cruiser again.
In between sinkings, I put the TDC in manual mode to keep track of the location of the cruiser while I was under it. I've used this several times since then.
- Gone as deep as you can and can't find a thermal gradient to hide under? You might want to think about returning to periscope depth, so that you can see what the escorts are doing. (I find this especially true when playing at 115% realism.) Listen to the amount of time between when the depth charges splash and when they explode. A long time means the DC's are going deep before exploding, so you might as well be shallow. If you can keep the escorts from spotting your periscope, they might keep thinking you're deep.
- You can sometimes mislead escorts by having a torpedo explode away
from where you are. Torpedoes explode when they have travelled their maximum
distance. The escorts will investigate the explosion, which can buy you
time to get away. I found this out accidentally when trying to sink an
escort (one of 8) with a small angle-on-the-bow shot. The torpedo missed,
travelled its 3500 yards, and exploded. All of the escorts went chasing after it
at high speed. I took off in the other direction and escaped.
I've only used
this with Mark 18's, so I'm not sure if it will work with the Mark 14's,
since the escorts may see the wake and know where it was launched from.
It does cost you a torpedo, but if you don't have enough torpedoes to get
the escorts, or if you can't go deep because of damage or shallow waters,
this can be a good option.
- If you're evading on the surface, keep in mind that you can do a much better job of aiming your deck gun than the computer can, especially if the sea is rough or you're turning. I put the deck gun on "auto" for a second to let the computer find the target for me. (Make sure it picks the target you want, if there's more than one nearby.) Then I switch to manual and select the target to do the shooting myself.
For whatever reason, the Japanese destroyers don't usually shoot at you unless the range is less than 2000 yards. (This is not always true. I've been shelled at up to 5000 yards. I think it depends on the quality of the destroyer's crew.)
I can usually hit destroyers at a range of at least 4000 yards in moderate seas.
If two destroyers are chasing me with one nearly behind the other, I aim for the nearest one, hit him several times to slow him down, and then change course such that the undamaged destroyer has to go around the damaged one. Usually the undamaged destroyer slows down while going around the damaged one, so I can open up the distance and get away.
- Beware of the depths on the nautical charts. Several times I've been
in locations where the chart shows water deeper than my test depth, only
to run aground on my way down. (The dark blue area southwest of Manila comes to mind...only some of it is greater than 200 feet deep.) If you have time, submerge ahead of time
in questionable areas to find out if the water is shallow. If you're caught in shallow water and have to evade, pay attention to your speed gauge: It will drop suddenly to 0 a few seconds before the sub runs aground, which can give you a chance to react. Also, you'll run aground sooner if you have a down angle than if you're level.
Of course, if you play with the "depth under keel" gauge, you don't have to worry about the charts.
- If you've taken pressure hull damage, flooding seems to get worse as you go deeper. So stay as shallow as you can if you're having trouble with flooding.
- The test depth of the subs is conservative by about 50%. I've taken
Balao class sub (test depth of 400 ft.) to 627 feet before being crushed and
an undamaged Gato class (test depth of 300 ft.) to about 460 feet. I don't know
how much this varies from ship to ship. Note that in order to go below 600 feet, you have to control the dive manually. The depth gauge won't let you set the
depth below 600. Don't let the sub get too steep a down angle or else you
won't be able to level off before being crushed. To tell how deep you are when below 600 feet, you have
to go to the chart screen and put the cursor over the sub.
- Evading subs: If an enemy sub launches a torpedo at you, go to
flank speed and turn toward the torpedo so that your course is parallel
to the torpedo track. Turning toward allows you to bring your forward tubes
to bear on the enemy sub, and takes you closer to it for a counterattack.
- For guesstimating distances and intercept courses, I drew a set of concentric circles
(You can also download it as a JPG if your system doesn't like postscript...I'll try to make this file smaller. It's 52K now.)
with markings every 15 degrees in my favorite drawing program, printed it out and photocopied it onto a transparency. You can lay this over the chart screen to estimate where a convoy will be in a few hours and to plot an intercept course. It works best if you make the largest concentric circle equal to the length of the scale on the waypoint tool.
- O'Kane said (in Wahoo, I think) that putting the target at 90 or 270 degrees relative will guarantee interception if interception is possible. I use this only rarely, but it comes in handy when I get a long range radar contact without any course information from the game. This is called the normal approach course. (Normal here refers to the angle between your course and the target's bearing being 90 degrees.)
- The information box that pops up on the map screen when you put your mouse over a convoy gives different information based upon how zoomed in you are. If you are at the strategic level (25, 50, and 100 miles on the scale), the dialog box gives the convoy's course. If you are on the tactical level (scale less than 25 miles), the dialog box gives the convoy's bearing.
(Note that a convoy has to be sighted for it to show up on the tactical level.)
The course is the compass direction the convoy is moving in; the bearing is the angle between the front of your sub and a line drawn from the center of your sub to the convoy.
- As you are patrolling, watch the contact reports to find out the most
heavily travelled routes. Try to place yourself where two or more routes come together. You should also pay attention to whether the convoys are merchants or capital ships. Some routes seem to be more heavily used by one or the other. If you're running low on torpedoes, you might not want to be on a route which is mostly used by capital ships, as they require more torpedoes to sink and tend to have more escorts.
- If the seas are moderate or heavy, your sub will lose speed on the surface and submerged down to about 100 feet. Below 100 feet, the state of the sea
no longer affects your speed. There's a small difference in speed between
radar depth and periscope depth, and larger difference between periscope
depth and 100 feet. The extra speed can have a major impact in the distance
you travel between recharges while patrolling, and how close you can
approach a ship's track submerged.
- Dud torpedoes can be a real problem before the end of 1943. You can lower the number of duds by having the torpedoes strike obliquely rather than at right angles. I try to have torpedoes strike at an angle of 30-50 degrees. After 1943, duds no longer seem to be a problem.
- I leave at least 5 seconds between firings because of prematures:
The second torpedo will sometimes detonate in the wake of the first if they
are launched with not much time between them. Setting torpedoes too shallow
(less than 3 feet) seems to increase the number of premature detonations, too.
- The estimate of the distance to a ship is an overestimate by quite a bit
ship gets within a couple of thousand yards. Use the radar to get accurate
- The radar can also help you estimate a ship's speed. 100 yards a minute equals 3 knots. Be sure to account for your own movement...I'm working on a
scenario to help show how to use the radar for TDC inputs.
- The SD radar tells you how far away a plane is but not what direction. If
a plane is low enough, it will appear on the SJ. Watch for small blips away
from the convoy.
- Use the offset dial on the TDC for ships that are turning at the time you fire. The TDC assumes the target will be moving straight ahead on the course given at the time of firing. If the target is turning, it won't make as much progress in that direction and using a non-zero offset can account for that.
- A rule of thumb is that each degree of offset on the TDC gives you a spread of 17 yards for each 1000 yards to the target, assuming they will impact at 90 degrees. For example, if I launch two torpedos, one with a 0 degree offset and one with a 2 degree offset at a target 1000 yards away, the spread between them will be 34 yards. At 2000 yards, the spread will be 68 yards. There's a table at Jim Atkins's site with the exact values, but this rule of thumb will get you to within 10 yards of the table values for offsets of 5 degrees or less at a distance of 3000 yards.
(Note to the geometrically minded: This rule of thumb works because the limit of sin(x)/x [x in radians] goes to 1 for small x. The difference between the angle in radians and the sine of the angle is less than half a percent at 10 degrees, and less than half of a thousandth of a percent at 1 degree.
Most of the error in my rule of thumb comes from approximating 1 degree as 0.017 radians. But 17 yards per 1000 yards per degree is easier to figure in my head than 17.5 yards and is good enough for all but long range shots. )
- Been playing on 100% realism and feel like you can sink anything that comes your way? Change the combat setting to its highest setting (115% realism) and get your teeth kicked in. The escorts drop their depth charges much deeper at this setting. Simply going deep will not save you. If the escorts get you pinned down, you'll have to work alot harder to come out unscathed than you would at 100% realism.
- You can play the game without the CD if you do a full install and then copy the last movie to c:\whatever\silent\bud\10.smk. Be sure to modify the shpath.ini file to point to c:\whatever\silent\bud\. Be warned: 10.smk is about 17MB. With the CD player free, you can use it to listen to music, like the Das Boot soundtrack, for instance. :)
- To find the password of a custom scenario, examine the file with a hex editor. (I use "debug" under DOS and "od" under UNIX.) The password begins 50 bytes after the end of the word "WORLD-x.WLD". To decode the password, subtract the following hex values from the password's ASCII values: 0 2 1 e c 3 4 6 5 a d b 9 8, i.e. subtract 0 from byte 1, subtract 2 from byte 2, subtract 1 from byte 3, etc. For example, if the encoded bytes in the file are "cqn..etgh" (ASCII hex: 63 71 6e 81 81 65 74 67 68), then the password is "comsubpac": 63-0=63 71-2=6f 6e-1=6d 81-e=73 81-c=75 65-3=62 74-4=70 67-6=61 68-5=63.
- Bug: SH has locked up on me several times if I go to the chart
screen while at the periscope screen with the ship ID book pulled up. I've
never locked it up any other way. This bug cost me a shot at the Yamato and
a number of other ships. It's hard sometimes to remember to change back to the
gauges before leaving the periscope screen when you're closing a ship and
every second counts...
- Bug: If you select a torpedo on the torpedo screen and then
go to another screen, when you come back to the torpedo screen, the torpedo
you selected will have disappeared. (First noted by Bram Otto on the
Silent Hunter message board.)
- Bug: If you move a torpedo out of the tubes with "Auto-Load
Torpedoes" selected, the tube will reload properly, but the torpedo you took
out will never properly unload. It will remained grayed out for the remainder
of the patrol and you won't be able to use it. To prevent this, make sure you
de-select "Auto-Load Torpedoes" in the options screen.
- Possible bug: If you save a game in career mode when there is fog, when you load that saved game, the fog will be gone. This has happened to me several times. If you are on the surface near a convoy depending on the fog to keep you hidden, this bug can get you detected and killed.
- Bug in the Scenario Editor: I've had to turn off the "limit subs
by date" option in order to get the sub I wanted, even though it should have
been available at the time in question. With the option on, if you click on
Tench class, you get the Gato subs. I think it may be a problem with the
Narwhal or Barracuda class not being available at later dates, so that when
you select the classes listed after them, you get the subs of the class
before the one you select. (I didn't say this very well. I'll try to write it more clearly at some point.)
- Possible bug: Once when I returned to port, it said the year was
2370 or something crazy like that, well beyond this century, and wouldn't
let me go back on patrol because the war was over. I think what happened
was that I ignored the OOD's warning that we were low on fuel so that I could
attack one last convoy and the fuel needle dropped below the red mark.
I wonder if this didn't get translated into a negative amount of fuel when
I returned to port, which overwrote the year field in the save game.
This was in version 1.2 of SH, I think.
- I don't usually make patrol reports (it's only a game after all!),
but my one and only encounter with the Yamato was in my opinion a good
approach and initial attack, with a risky but well executed follow-up attack. Read the
report and see what you think.
To complete a photo mission, you must get close enough to the
requested point to take a picture (the periscope will have a
blinking red square on one side when the cross-hairs of the
requested point is visible) and it must be day time. Hit the
TAB button to take the picture.
Note that it is NOT necessary to have patrol disk #2 in order to play custom missions. Simply copy the missions into the same directory as the historical missions (c:\whatever\silent\scen). You may have to name them "histxx.scn" as well, where xx is 00-99, but be sure not to overwrite missions that are already there. You may have trouble if the missions take place in a patrol area
that you don't have, though.
I've found a couple of the "historical" missions from SSI to be quite different from the accounts of them by crew members of the subs involved.
For example, SSI's "Jack the Tanker Killer" takes place in the Strait of Malacca, while Calvert's map of that action shows it to be northwest of the Philippines. Similarly for the action by Fluckey which I have recreated below. I suppose some of the differences stem from some geographical areas not being available in the game. I've tried to keep my "historical" scenarios as faithful to the available accounts as possible. Keep in mind that this is just a game, not a simulator.
- A recreation of Fluckey's attack at Namkwan Harbor. While SSI included a version of this on their second patrol disk, they got the date wrong, the place wrong, and the outcome wrong.
So I did a little homework and tried to recreate it more faithfully using the account in Fluckey's book. This is the same scenario that I submitted to Jim Atkins's download area.
Added July 8, 1997.
- A beta version of the
patrol off the Philippines, where she sank three Japanese subs in three days. I'm still not happy with this one. Let me know if you can think of any way to improve it.
Added July 8, 1997.
- The latest version of a hypothetical mission pitting you against a top-notch patrol in the Bungo Suido.
Added April 25, 1998.
- Wahoo watches a big one go Over the Hill.
On her first patrol, Wahoo missed a chance at the CV Ryujo due to an approach that "lacked aggressiveness," according her captain, Lt. Cmdr. Kennedy.
Historical mission taken from Wahoo's report on her first patrol and O'Kane's book.
(Note: My scenario occurs at the longitude and latitude given in both references. However, from the description in the references, this encounter occurred northwest of Truk, not northeast. My only guess is that the latitudes and longitudes are incorrect on SH's map. Also, O'Kane claims that it was the Ryujo sighted, but the Ryujo had been sunk by this time. So I used the Ryuho instead.)
Added April 25, 1998.
- Flying Blind, a hypothetical mission based upon an incident in one of my careers. The Flier was patrolling in the South China Sea,
both her surface radar and radio out of commission from a heavy depth-charging several days earlier.
A heavy fog was on, so without her radar, she was patrolling blind when sonar reported a high-speed contact.
Try this at 115% realism.
Added April 25, 1998.
- Dust on the Sea, a hypothetical mission based upon Beach's Dust on the Sea. A convoy of experienced troops and their supplies is leaving Tsingtao to reinforce Japanese-held islands in the Pacific. ComSubPac has sent you an Ultra saying that the convoy, escorted by a crack anti-submarine group, will hug the Chinese coast before dashing across the Yellow Sea to Korea, where they will again hug the coast. Your job is to make sure that neither the troops nor their supplies arrive.
Added May 7, 1998.
- One Last Fish, a mission based upon an
incident in one of my careers. On February 5, 1944, Apogon was patrolling
with only one torpedo left when she had a radar contact. She went to
battle stations, wanting to make that last torpedo count.
Added July 13, 1998.
- Night Surface Attack, a mission based
upon an incident in one of my careers. After dark on August 14, 1944, Apogon
made radar contact with a large convoy with escorts off the coast of Japan.
With no moon, it was a perfect time for a night surface attack.
Added July 13, 1998.
(The following are a series of
historical missions involving the gathering of the Japanese
fleet at Tawi Tawi island in the spring
of 1944. Blair did not give the exact longitude and latitude of the
contacts, but I do have them located in the correct general area. I've
also taken liberties with initial contact distances to make the missions
more playable. I have them listed in chronological order.)
- Submariner's Dream, a historical mission
from Blair's Silent Victory. Lowell Stone
in Lapon was lying off the west coast of Borneo when he made contact with
a large group of capital ships steaming from Singapore to Tawi Tawi.
Added July 14, 1998.
- Fuel for Tawi Tawi, a historical mission
from Blair's Silent Victory.
captained by Tom Hogan, was ordered to Tawi Tawi island off the coast of
Borneo in order to confirm that the bulk of the Japanese Navy was
assembling there. On his way to Tawi Tawi, he encountered a convoy of
tankers with escorts carrying fuel for the fleet.
Added July 13, 1998.
- Surabaya Recon,
a semi-historical mission
from Blair's Silent Victory.
Surabaya was the target of an aircraft strike on May 17, 1944. Several
submarines were ordered nearby for lifeguard duty and to attack any
fleeing ships. However, no pilots were rescued nor were any of the fleeing
vessels attacked. The submarines would probably have been better deployed
several hundred miles away on the approaches to Tawi Tawi, where
the Japanese fleet was gathering at the time.
This semi-historical mission requires you to transit the heavily
patrolled Lombok Strait in order to perform a recon mission followed
by lifeguard duty at Surabaya.
Added July 29, 1998.
- Puffer's Disney Show, a historical
mission from Blair's Silent Victory.
Gordon Selby in Puffer
was patrolling near Tawi Tawi when he encountered
two aircraft carriers training pilots. "The general effect," he wrote, "was
similar to the dazzling speed with which participants in a Walt Disney
cartoon sizzle past and disappear in a cloud of vapor."
Added July 29, 1998.
The following list of books is not meant to be exhaustive, nor is it in any particular order. These are simply the books I've read since I started playing the game. Most are personal accounts of life on submarines and U-boats during World War II. Many of them explain tactics that I've tried in the game. (O'Kane's books are particularly good at explaining tactics.) Others, like Doenitz's memoirs and Blair's Silent Victory, give a broader view historically, which I happen to like but may not be for you if you're just looking to improve your game.
I have them listed in the order in which I read them, not by how good I thought
- Richard O'Kane, Clear the Bridge! and Wahoo: The Patrols of America's Most Famous WW II Submarine. Dick O'Kane was the executive officer of
Wahoo under both Marvin Kennedy and Dudley "Mush" Morton and later captain of
Tang, two of the leading subs in terms of tonnage and number of vessels sank. Tang was sunk by the circular run of one of her own torpedoes during an attack off the coast of Formosa. O'Kane and 8 others survived the sinking and were taken prisoner by the Japanese. O'Kane was awarded the Medal of Honor for the attack.
Wahoo was lost with all hands after O'Kane had moved on to Tang, but he pieces together what may have happened to her from her orders and from Japanese records which became available after the war.
I consider Clear the Bridge! to be the best of the first-hand accounts of World War II submarine actions in the Pacific that I've read.
- I.J. Galantin, Take Her Deep! (My wife loves the title of this book.) Galantin was the commander of the Halibut when she managed to limp home after a depth charging so severe that she never patrolled again.
- Herbert Werner, Iron Coffins. Werner's account of his life in the German U-boats during World War II, chronicling the U-boats' rapid change of fortunes from hunters to hunted.
- Clay Blair, Jr., Silent Victory. History of U.S. submarine operations in the Pacific. Very good reading, with good coverage of the "captain problem" as well as the torpedo difficulties.
- Edward L. Beach, Run Silent, Run Deep. Beach's top-notch novel of submarine warfare in the Pacific. I liked the movie, too, but the book is much better, with darker undercurrents and deeper characters than the movie could portray. Beach wrote a sequel in the early 70's, Dust on the Sea, which is not nearly as good. But it's worth reading if you've got nothing else around.
- Lothar-Gunther Bucheim, , Das Boot (The Boat). Excellent novel of a U-boat at the end of the "good time" early in the war. The
movie is also excellent, very claustrophobic and tense, with many visually stunning shots.
The director's cut has is an additional hour of footage, and fills in some of the gaps in the story. I'm not sure if I like it better than the original: The original seemed to have a better pace. But the director's cut definitely does a better job of showing the tension between characters, especially between the captain and the reporter. The folks on the U-boats didn't yell "Dive, dive!", but
hearing "Alarm!" will send a chill down your spine.
- Heinz Schaeffer, U-boat 977. U-977 travelled for over 60 days without surfacing at the end of World War II in order to reach Argentina. Schaeffer was later accused of carrying Hitler to a secret hideaway in South America. In U-977 he rebuts this accusation as well as describing life on the U-boats toward the end of the war.
- Karl Doenitz, Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days. Doenitz was Commander-in-Chief of the U-boats from the time of their rebuilding in the mid-30's until the end of the war. After Hitler's death, Doenitz was also in charge of Germany.
In Ten Years and Twenty Days, Doenitz details
the U-boat battle for the Atlantic, the wolfpack techniques he developed, and his battles with the rest of the Navy for resources and with Goering for air cover. After the war he was sentenced to 10 years in prison at the Nuremburg trials
for the actions of the U-boats, despite having his counterparts in the U.S. Navy testify in his defense that the German U-boats did nothing that the U.S. subs didn't do.
Also interesting is his denial, which I find hard to believe, of any knowledge of the Jews being exterminated in concentration camps.
- Terence Robertson, Night Raider of the Atlantic. Robertson interviewed German U-boat ace Otto Kretschmer as well as several of the British Navy officers who worked in anti-submarine warfare. The book recounts Kretschmer's successes in the early days of WWII, including his technique of attacking on the surface at night. It also describes how he spent the better part of the war in a Canadian POW camp trying to escape and secretly relaying information about the Allied war effort to Doenitz.
- Eugene Fluckey, Thunder Below! Fluckey describes the actions of the Barb while under his command, including the night surface raid at Namkwan harbor (which won him the Congressional Medal of Honor) and the landing of some of the Barb's crew on northern Japan to blow up a train. The end of the book recounts his visit to Namkwan harbor in the late 80's (early 90's?) in an effort to find witnesses to his attack.
- James Calvert, Silent Running. Calvert operated the TDC on the Jack under Tommy Dykers, and according to Edward L. Beach's foreword, was one
of the best TDC operators. Calvert can be a bit preachy at times, talking about how the other men smoked and drank and how glad he was that he didn't take up such habits himself, a bit odd considering he spends a good portion of the book describing his nearly cheating on his wife while on shore in Australia.
But his accounts of the patrols themselves are good reading. And when he mentioned at the end that he was 25 years old when the war was over, I could hardly believe that someone that young had been through so much.
- Joseph Enright with James Ryan, Shinano! The Sinking of Japan's Secret Supership
. Enright was captain of the Archer-Fish when she sank the aircraft carrier Shinano, sister to the battleship Yamato, on Shinano's maiden voyage. The book's a real page-turner.
The chapters alternate between the viewpoints of Enright and the Shinano's
captain, which makes for a great blow-by-blow account.
Be warned: The book is nearly fictional in some places. For example, there are many passages where the thoughts of the Shinano's captain are given. Because he went down with his ship, there's no way anyone could know what he was thinking or what bit of poetry he recited to himself. It's akin to those stories Reagan told that couldn't have happened because all the people in them died before they had a chance to tell anyone what happened. I suspect that Enright wrote the chapters that are from his viewpoint, and Ryan wrote those that are from the viewpoint of
Shinano's captain. In order to give them the same "feel," Ryan tried to give some idea of the captain's character by imagining what he thought.
- Theodore Roscoe, United States Submarine Operations in World War II.
Written right after WW II from material provided by Dick Voge and other
Navy personnel, this book was the basis for the book Pigboats.
It's a little
too gung ho to read straight through, with a writing style that reminds me of
a bad detective novel. But the photographs are great and short passages
on various subs and operations are worth reading. One of the appendices is
a sub by sub list of credited sinkings, with dates and locations.
- I have ASCII versions of the patrol reports of Wahoo and Tang. The site where I downloaded these, http://www.pagesz.net/~jbdavis/,
is no longer available. If you know who first transcribed them, please let me know so that I can give them proper credit.
- Excerpt from Barb's eleventh patrol report describing Gene
Fluckey's method of night surface attack.
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