Jack (SS-259) When the USS Jack springs a leak while deep in Japanese waters, an heroic engineer risks his life to save the sub. Enemy depth charges have badly damaged a main induction line and to surface for repairs would be fatal. The sub lies helpless deep under water until the Chief Petty Officer puts his finger in the dike. "The Jack at Tokyo" tells the story of the Jack's first mission, commanded by skipper Thomas M. Dykers.
Trout (SS-202) To get desperately needed supplies to our forces on Corregidor, the USS Trout jettisons her lead ballast and takes on as much ammunition as she can carry. After a perilous journey through off-shore mine fields, she delivers her cargo; but, unless the weight is made up, she will be unable to dive. So the sailors of the submarine USS Trout substitute 20 tons of gold and silver for ballast in order to submerge.
Thresher (SS-200) Her crew hears scraping noises along the bow as the USS Thresher gets hooked on a line and almost captured. Relieved when the "thing" didn't explode, the USS Thresher prepares to dive deeper to avoid depth charge attack. But the sub won't go down -- in fact, gauges show that she is rising in the water. Full speed ahead and quick maneuvering are needed to escape the giant hook.
Sculpin (SS-191) Rather than fall into enemy hands with knowledge of vital military secrets, a submarine captain elects to go down with his sub. In the fall of 1943, the USS Sculpin was assigned to patrol the waters north of Truk Island to prevent the Japanese from reinforcing their position there. When the Sculpin attacks a convoy, the sub is badly damaged and forced to surface. All hands except Captain John P. Cromwell, USN, abandon ship hoping to be picked up by nearby Japanese ships. The commander goes quietly to his death, retaining his information to the end. Captain Cromwell was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Spearfish (SS-190) Thirteen Army nurses and twelve Army officers are rescued from besieged Corregidor by the Navy submarine USS Spearfish. Under orders to take an important group of people off the island, the Spearfish slips past enemy patrol boats and both Japanese and American mine fields, and finally keeps its rendezvous, in darkness, with the small group of escaping Americans. How the young women weathered the exciting trip to Australia on the submarine is dramatized in the story.
Bergall (SS-320) With a five-foot hole in her starboard side, the USS Bergall tries to make it to port through a screen of Japanese patrol craft. After successfully torpedoing an enemy cruiser and destroyer, the submarine Bergall is hit by a gun from one of the sinking Japanese ships. Unable to submerge, she must make her way exposed to air and surface attack. How the Bergall slipped past three patrol boats is a harrowing tale.
Batfish (SS-310) With the Philippines almost entirely in American hands, the Japanese begin evacuating high ranking personnel by submarine. USS Batfish is dispatched to intercept and sets a record sinking three enemy subs in three days.
Tigrone (SS-419) U.S. Army fliers get a surprise taste of the life of a submariner when the USS Tigrone rescues 31 of them. After the bombing of Tokyo, the USS Tigrone, along with other subs, is stationed along the route that the B-29s fly back to Guam. The subs' mission is to rescue downed fliers.The crew of the Tigrone wins the respect and awe of the airmen as the sub attempts a daring recovery with Japanese destroyers closing in.
Gato (SS-212) Maneuvering to evade attacking escorts guarding an enemy convoy, the skipper of the USS Gato is unable to go deeper for fear of setting off a 600-pound depth charge, which is rolling around on the deck. Cool nerves and fast thinking pay off in a surprise climax to this spine-chilling story based on an actual happening.
Pampanito (SS-383) American subs roaming the Western Pacific sight a Japanese convoy and attack -- unaware that the convoy carries a human cargo of Allied prisons of war. The USS Pampanito, in the company of two other subs, does its work well and resumes its search for other game. Three days later she returns to the area where the men learn, with sinking hearts, what they have done.
Tirante (SS-420) A daring submarine commander chooses to fight on the surface rather than lose his prey in the shallow waters of the Yellow Sea. On her maiden combat patrol, the USS Tirante chases a Japanese patrol vessel along coastal waters and is led into harbor. There, the Tirante sinks three ships at anchor in addition to the patrol ship before she speeds out to sea and safety. Her skipper, LCDR George L. Street, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in this bold exploit.
Tang (SS-306) More than a score of flyers are rescued by a daring submarine patrol operating under heavy enemy gunfire. As U.S. planes hit the island of Truk, submarines are ordered close to the objective to save as many men as possible. USS Tang did its job and set a pattern to be followed by other submarines for the remainder of the war.
Wahoo (SS-238) This story tells the tragic end of the submarine, USS Wahoo. On her early war patrols, the Wahoo ran up an enviable record, sinking 16 ships and damaging two more. Then her luck ran out. Her torpedoes failed to go off, and she limped back to base. Refitted she put out again, eager for a killing. On an evening in early October 1943, the Wahoo entered the Sea of Japan -- never to return.
Dace (SS-247) Darter (SS-227) Two submarines engage some of Japan's heaviest fighting ships, challenging U.S. landings in the Philippines. The submarines, USS Dace and USS Darter, sink two Japanese cruisers. Then, in her eagerness to get a third cruiser, the Darter goes aground on a reef. The Dace tries to save her sister ship by dislodging her. Unable to do this, she takes the Darter's crew aboard just before a timed demolition charge destroys the Darter.
S-38 (SS-143) A broken propeller, an internal explosion and damaged instruments all plague the sub S-38 assigned to attack Japanese transports preparing for the invasion of the Philippines in December 1941. The S-38, already outmoded when World War II began, is surrounded in Lingayen Gulf by Japanese troop transports within easy torpedo range. But four defective "fish" miss their targets, and the enemy, now alerted to danger, strikes back. The S-38 and her weary crew limp home to safety in an exciting and surprising climax.
Seahorse (SS-304) Deaf, dumb, and blind, deep in enemy waters, the USS Seahorse is almost blown out of existence by Japanese depth charges. Returning to base with vital charts of enemy mine fields, the USS Seahorse is severely damaged, and her radio, radar and listening devices are knocked out. Helpless, she flounders at the bottom of the sea -- until the exciting true climax.
Salmon (SS-182) A sharpshooting sailor saves his submarine, USS Salmon, in true Daniel Boone fashion. Japanese depth charges damage the submarine diving gear and strip her of her gun sights. She is forced to surface and fight it out. Gunner "Tennessee" Jordan mans his post on deck and, with a few well-paced shots, holds the enemy off long enough for the USS Salmon to withdraw.
Crevalle (SS-291) During a battle in the Pacific, a baby is born aboard the submarine USS Crevalle. He is the son of a Filipino woman being evacuated from the besieged islands. Somewhere in the Philippines today, a young man answers to the name of Elma Walker Crevalle Talcaban. How he received his name provides an absorbing story of wartime heroism aboard a U.S. submarine.
Crevalle (SS-291) During one of its war patrols, the submarine USS Crevalle is forced to the bottom by depth charges. Seriously damaged, it lies quietly on the ocean floor, hoping to avoid detection. During the nerve-wracking hours of waiting, one man's true personality is revealed to his shipmates. Instead of the cringing cowardice with which some of the crew members had tagged him, he displays a kind of self-sacrificing heroism which is the true mark of a U.S. submariner.
Sailfish (SS-192) Squalus (SS-192) Sculpin (SS-191) On her test run, the submarine USS Squalus dives -- and then sinks to the bottom of the Atlantic. She is raised, re-commissioned and renamed, but the bad-luck omen stays with her. The history of the Squalus, renamed Sailfish and nicknamed Squailfish, is traced from the day she slips out of control beneath the Atlantic to a night in December 1943, when she sinks the Japanese escort carrier Chuyo. Even then her bad luck pursues her; among the victims aboard the Chuyo are 20 prisoners of war, survivors of the Sailfish's sister submarine, USS Sculpin.
Grouper (SS-214) After two years of Pacific combat, the submarine USS Grouper is finally ordered home. But her orders show a slight detour -- via Australia. Helping pave the way to ultimate invasion of the Solomon Islands, the sub transports Aussie raiders and their native guides to a hidden cove at the edge of the jungle. Understanding their Australian allies' jargon and the ‘pidgin’ English of the natives is one obstacle for the weary crew but, before the mission is complete, the enemy provides another.
Seawolf (SS-197) In the early tense days of World War II, American submarines in the Pacific were returning with a mysterious record of "misses". Why the torpedoes failed to go off is related in this episode of Silent Service. When his ship's repeated attempts to sink Japanese shipping fail, a young seaman with an interest in photography produces conclusive evidence of faulty design.
Seadragon (SS-194) Undersea in Japanese waters, the submarine captain's orders to his crew are, "Lie down, don't move, breathe as little as possible." With all oxygen tanks exhausted after being submerged for more than 16 hours, one of the USS Seadragon's last four torpedoes jams. Death by explosion, suffocation, or enemy fire seems inevitable. Stoic heroism and precision team play by the crew turns fate.
Narwhal (SS-167) Built in 1930, the USS Narwhal was one of the oldest submarines in service. Her loyal crew was proud of her although she was bulkier and slower than her more modern sisters. A quirk in her diving mechanism had given the Narwhal the reputation of being haunted. Under attack by Japanese bombers while engaged in a rescue operation, her skipper defied her shortcomings and put the sub through some agonizing paces. It plunged straight for the bottom. How the Narwhal managed to escape disaster is told in this episode of "The Silent Service".
Perch (SSP-313) "Without torpedoes what good is she?" The crew of the submarine USS Perch was puzzled. She had been a fleet type sub, but overhauling had converted her into a troop carrier. The dubious submarine began training. Drills and dives soon convinced them the Perch was not a dangerous freak. They determined to prove their ship's efficiency. After the outbreak of trouble in Korea, the Perch was ordered to Japan to transport Marine raiders into enemy waters. This episode of "Silent Service" reveals how the Perch proved a worthy unit of the Pacific Submarine force.
Barb (SS-220) Blowing up an enemy train hardly seems like an assignment for a submarine crew. But sailors aboard the USS Barb were accustomed to offbeat tasks and this video reveals how they engaged in "torpedoing" a train. At the end of her 12th war patrol, the USS Barb, which had a record of 15 sinkings, had launched all of her torpedoes and fired all her ammunition. All that remained were three 55-pound scuttling charges. Cmdr Eugene B. Fluckey, the skipper, decided to use one of these in a last nose-thumbing at the enemy. A beach party was organized and ordered to plant the explosives beneath the tracks of a coastwise railroad. Mission accomplished, the "Pirates of the China Sea" retired to their rubber boats to watch the demolition of the on-coming train. Fluckey was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Cochino (SS-345) Tusk (SS-426) Two of the Navy's latest snorkel-type subs, the USS Cochino and the USS Tusk, are ordered to Arctic waters for cold weather operations. For days, the USS Cochino conducts submerged operations, her snorkel tube breathing oxygen for the diesel engines and men below. Suddenly, unexpectedly the hydrogen gauges register rising pressure. The sub is shaken by a loud explosion. The Cochino is jolted by blast after blast that tears at her midsections. Heavy smoke and flames envelop her. The crew works desperately to locate and clear the danger area. Power is lost. The explosions continue. The USS Tusk is signaled for help and stands ready to receive the men of the ill-fated Cochino.
Gar (SS-206) After the USS Seawolf was lost in an attempt to fulfill the same mission, the USS Gar puts out from Australia in the fall of 1944 to ferry supplies to guerillas in the Philippines. When she reached her destination, the Gar's crew was virtually within sight of heavily-armed Japanese troops, but they went right ahead with their unloading. When the Gar put out to sea again, her crew had the gratifying experience of having made an important contribution to the assignment of the men who remained on the islands to gather information for the U.S. invaders later on.
Flier (SS-250) Narrowly escaping disaster from a barrage of depth charges, the USS Flier emerges with honors from her maiden war patrol. Having tasted success, the Flier's crew promise to do even better as they head for Indochina on their second mission. But the sub strikes a mine and the skipper and some of his crew are swept off the bridge as the Flier goes to the bottom. Their bravery and tenacity brings them through what some might consider an impossible situation.
Starfish (Fictitious Submarine) Lt. Steve Rand never knew the difference between true and foolhardy courage until he learned the meaning of fear. In this episode, he learns that a wife can make a lot of difference in the way a man thinks. When his sub is attacked by Japanese bombers, a hatch cover sticks when the sub attempts to submerge. Unable to halt its dive, the sub is certain to sink from the tons of water pouring down the open hatch. Rand voluntarily goes topside alone, releases the cover and is swept away by the sea.
Sealion (SS-315) The Kongo, only Japanese battleship sunk by a submarine during World War II, was sent to the bottom of the China Sea by the submarine Sealion II. The USS Sealion II was assigned a dangerous patrol in enemy waters September 1944. After a number of mishaps aboard, including an explosion in her torpedo room, she arrived in the patrol area, damaged but eager for action. Despite a screen of destroyers protecting the heavier ships, the Sealion II's skipper decided to attack on the surface. Sealion II scored three hits on the lead battleship. She pursued the injured craft and, minutes later, it blew up.
Nautilus (SS-168) USS Nautilus is brought in for close observation duty along the Tarawa shoreline, between the guns of the American attack force and the Japanese shore batteries. The Nautilus is hit by a shell from an American destroyer. The shell fails to explode and must be removed. Two brothers from rival services show courage and new-found understanding when they are forced to work together to prevent the shell from exploding.
Harder (SS-257) Assigned to keep a close watch on the enemy's mobile fleet anchored at Tawi Tawi, the USS Harder sank five destroyers in six days, leading the Japanese admiral to believe his anchorage was surrounded by a whole fleet of submarines. When he moved his ships out to sea, 24 hours ahead of his operational plan, the U.S. Fifth Fleet struck and, in the battle of the Philippine Sea, the Japanese Navy was dealt one of the most crippling blows of the war. The USS Harder's captain, Samuel D. Dealey, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for this action.
Seashark (Fictitious Submarine) A photographer's mate sent along on a war patrol to photograph submariners in action learns what it means to "belong" to the tiny, steel-encased world of the men who fight under the sea. Ernest Cooms is plainly frightened by his assignment aboard the Seashark. The sub's crew adds to this discomfiture by making him aware that simply being aboard a submarine does not make one a submariner. When the sub undergoes a five-hour attack, Cooms bears up well and continues with his duties. After that, he enjoys the privilege of "belonging".
Mines (9 Sub Wolf Pack) At the urging of Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, civilian scientists developed an electronic device that enabled submarines to detect floating and submerged mines. With this apparatus, a wolf-pack of nine subs entered the Sea of Japan in June 1945 and wreaked havoc with enemy shipping, contributing materially to the end of the war.
Searaven (SS-196) On her second war patrol, USS Searaven becomes a sitting duck to save a group of 33 Australian soldiers and aviators trapped on Timor after fighting the Japanese in a retreat action for eighty days.
Tang (SS-306) The Japanese could "never lay a glove" on the USS Tang. She was sunk by her own torpedo. After sinking one entire convoy and inflicting tremendous damage on another, the USS Tang moved into position to fire her last torpedo before heading home from her fifth war patrol. The torpedo began an erratic course and ended by completing a circle and striking the USS Tang. Escape was impossible. She sank, leaving nine survivors and a record of 24 enemy ships sunk. It was the second highest number sent to the bottom by any American submarine during World War II. The Tang's skipper, Richard H. O'Kane, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Perch (SS-176) In the entire history of underseas warfare, there is probably no more famous "hard luck" ship than the USS Perch. The story of this ship and the heroism of the crew that fought in vain to save her is related in this episode of "Silent Service".
Guardfish (SS-217) In the summer of 1942, the USS Guardfish made 77 enemy contacts in half that number of days, without the benefit of search radar. With incredible accuracy she made an outstanding record of 11 hits and eight sinkings. The Guardfish was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the patrol in which she set the record for number of enemy ships destroyed on a single patrol.
Archerfish (SS-311) The submarine force nearly lost the services of the skipper who later sank the biggest target in the world when Joe Enright asked to be relieved of his command of the USS Dace. He blamed himself for the USS Dace's lack of success on patrol. After 6 months of duty ashore, he was convinced by his fellow skippers that his troubles had been caused not by bad judgment but by bad luck that hit all of them from time to time. Returning to sea, Enright was in command of USS Archerfish when the sub's radar showed a large target moving at high speed. With luck backed by skill, he maneuvered the submarine into position and fired six torpedoes. All six hit the target, sending the Shinano, largest carrier ever built, to the bottom.
Sea Devil (SS-400) During the Korean War, the submarine, USS Sea Devil, tested our West Coast defenses by attempting an "attack" on Seattle. A division of destroyers prepared to "sink" the Sea Devil as it had every other sub in previous exercises. But they had not reckoned on the ingenuity of the sub's skipper. Bill Ruhe had a distinguished war record and was one of the most experienced submarine commanders in the Navy. By a masterpiece of strategy, he capitalized on an undiscovered weakness in the supposed airtight defenses.
Bergall (SS-320) American submarines had the job of ridding Lombok Strait of annoying Japanese patrol craft. With a homing-type torpedo that was effective against shallow draught boats, the USS Bergall was able to mete out punishment to the enemy patrols. But the new torpedo posed some problems for the submarine's skipper; it homed on noise and wasn't particular about whose noise it was. There was always the chance that the torpedo would make for the submarine instead of the enemy.
S-34 (SS-139) Hoping to harass enemy shipping in the newly-conquered Aleutians in June 1942, the S-34 entered the area but ran aground during her first attack. Discovered by an enemy destroyer, the S-34 jettisoned all reserve fuel, floated off the reef, then dived to avoid ramming by the destroyer. On the bottom, she was subjected to a harrowing depth charge attack that forced her to exceed her test depth and experienced an encounter with a giant octopus. Eight days later, she limped back to Dutch Harbor. Every ballast tank was punctured, her screws and rudder were bent on the reef, and depth charge fragments had to be pried from the conning tower fairing.
Aspro (SS-309) During the closing days of World War II, the USS Aspro rescued a downed airman from the sea, only a few miles from the beaches south of Tokyo. The Aspro was attacked repeatedly by enemy aircraft but the rescue was affected due to the indomitable will of the submarine's skipper, of the skill and efficiency of his crew and of the close liaison between airplane and submarine.
Thresher (SS-200) Despite a load of faulty torpedoes, the USS Thresher takes on enemy shipping, blasting at the transports with her deck gun. In this action, a young seaman learns that he cannot run from a personal problem by seeking transfer to another submarine. When the enemy is fully engaged, he earns new respect from his shipmates by manning the submarine's deck gun.
Peto (SS-265) For her tenth war patrol, the USS Peto was assigned to recover American airmen shot down during the closing phases of the war against Japan. One member of the submarine's crew, John Francis Laboon, Jr., changed the direction of his life as a result of the assignment. During the patrol, Laboon dove off the submarine to rescue a drowning flier. The experience left him with the decision to resign from the Navy following the war and enter the priesthood. Today, he is the Rev. Father John Laboon of the Society of Jesus. He appears at the close of this episode to discuss some of his experiences aboard the USS Peto.
S-38 (SS-143) Submarines don't usually serve as hospital ships but during the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies, the S-38 picked up survivors of the British destroyer Electra and transported them to safety. The rescue of the injured and dying, who were then crowded into the S-38's cramped quarters, and the narrow escapes from patrolling Japanese destroyers are dramatically presented in this episode.
Tarpon (SS-175) Early in World War II, many U.S. Navy ships were stymied on station for overhauling, among them the submarine Tarpon. It left Darwin, Australia, in January 1942, for duty in the vital Manipa Straits area, like a tiger without claws, limping northward toward the enemy. Shortly after arriving on station, the Tarpon's No.2 engine went out in enemy patrolled waters. Later, ordered to a new area, she ran aground on an uncharted reef. With low tide and daylight near, efforts were made to lighten the sub. Torpedoes were fired at the beach, reserve fuel and supplies jettisoned and preparations made to destroy the submarine. Then, hardworking machinist mates revived the ailing engine. As Japanese planes started a bombing run, the Tarpon pulled free and slipped into deep water to fight another day.
Trigger (SS-237) For her third war patrol, the USS Trigger had an unusual assignment: mine the coastal waters of Japan to drive enemy shipping into deep water. No one was happy with the assignment. For Ensign Thomas, mine-laying was a lowly chore. When the patrol takes an unusual turn, Thomas and the Trigger's crew find that even mine laying pays off.
Baya (SS-318) When it was decided to improve plane-sub liaison so that the two could function as a team, Commander Gordon Selby was designated as the officer to work out the new arrangement. After working closely with the fliers, he came up with a formula. Its effectiveness is demonstrated in this episode, when the USS Baya, with an assist from the planes, sank six out of six ships in a Japanese convoy.
Cod (SS-224) In the final days of World War II, American submarines had difficulty finding merchant ship targets. But the enemy junks that plied the coastal waters with cargoes of food for the beleaguered home islands were legitimate prey. The junks weren't worth a torpedo. Generally unarmed and with small crews, they were easy victims for boarding parties from submarines. In August 1945, the USS Cod surfaced alongside a junk and dispatched a board party. Everything went well until an enemy plane forced the submarine to submerge while the boarders were still on the junk. The USS Cod's boarders kept the enemy crew at bay and navigated the junk through a Japanese convoy to a final rendezvous with the submarine.
Triton (SS-201) In a change of pace from action-packed episodes, this episode presents a sentimental Christmas story that unfolds inside the slim, steel hull of USS Triton, 200 feet beneath the surface of the Pacific. The USS Triton's log for Dec. 25, 1942 reads: "0900, dived to 200 feet and held appropriate Christmas ceremonies." These included Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, a tree, passing out of Christmas gifts, and a Santa Claus. In the holiday spirit, one man learns that war sometimes unites families as well as divides them. The skipper of the Triton, Lt. Cdr. C. C. Kirkpatrick, is now a Rear Admiral and was Chief of Naval Information.
Hawkbill (SS-366) When the Japanese mine-layer Hatsutaka sank USS Lagarto, she signed her own death-warrant. Operating in an adjoining area, the USS Hawkbill learned of the Lagarto's fate. The skipper of the USS Hawkbill vowed revenge out of friendship for the Lagarto's captain. The USS Hawkbill gets her revenge and a young seaman learns to respect the problems of others.
Tigershark (Fictitious Submarine) For reasons that become obvious, the names of the submarine and its crew members have been changed for this episode of the "Silent Service". The story is one of personal heroism by a Chief Petty Officer who, when his submarine is badly damaged on the ocean floor, braves death by asphyxiation to get the engines running again.
Cavalla (SS-244) On her maiden patrol in July 1944, USS Cavalla made contact with heavy enemy surface craft, including a giant carrier, but, because of orders, could not fire a single torpedo. With the battle for the Marianas in full swing, the USS Cavalla was ordered to report contacts but not to engage the enemy. Sending information about the enemy's whereabouts provided scant satisfaction to the submarine's crew and officers until fleet headquarters advised them the contact reports had touched off the Marianas "Turkey Shoot" and near annihilation of the Japanese Navy's air force. To top things off, the Cavalla's patience was rewarded a few days later when with the "don't shoot" restriction lifted, she sank a large carrier.
Growler (SS-215) Quick thinking and unselfish devotion to duty on the part of her captain, Commander Howard W. Gilmore, saves the USS Growler from being rammed by an enemy gunboat. Although exposed to murderous machine gun fire, Commander Gilmore stayed on the bridge of the Growler to direct her moves against the enemy. He succeeded in driving the Growler's bow into the gunboat amidships and thereby averted loss of the submarine. He gave his life to save his ship, when, severely wounded and unable to make it to the hatch, he ordered an immediate dive with the command, "Take her down." He was the first submariner to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Tinosa (Submarine, SS-283) Penetrating Tsushima Strait to get at shipping in the Sea of Japan was a job that fell to a few specially equipped submarines in the closing months of World War II. The USS Tinosa was sent into the Emperor's "private lake", the Tsushima Strait. The Strait was guarded by thick mine fields. However, with the help of "frequency modulated sonar," the Tinosa finally slipped by without damage and reaped her harvest, convoys of unprotected enemy ships.
Grayling (SS-209) A US submarine was saved by a whale in October 1943. The USS Grayling was assigned to patrol duty off Corregidor. She found plenty of targets but plenty of opposition, too. When only two torpedoes remained in her tubes, she searched hopefully for a final objective. The one she picked turned out to be an enemy Q-ship, which escaped the torpedoes and proceeded to unload some well-placed depth charges. When a friendly whale ventured near the Grayling, the Japanese detection devices mistook it for the submarine and followed it while the Grayling escaped.
Pargo (SS-264) One of the little-known missions of U.S. submarines in World War II was the dropping of commandos on enemy-held islands. The USS Pargo executed this duty by taking two Australians to a small island occupied by the Japanese. The commandos are on reconnaissance but one member of the team gets unusual satisfaction out of the operation when he rescues his former fiancée who, along with her missionary father, had been held captive by the Japanese.
Crevalle (SS-291) Laying mines off the Japanese-held harbor of Saigon was a tough job at best; but, with one of your own mines stuck in the torpedo tube and an enemy destroyer closing fast, it was a downright nightmare. The USS Crevalle comes through on such a mission, demonstrating the cool daring that characterizes officers and men and the US Navy's undersea fleet.
Sunfish (SS-281) One of the severest drubbings ever given a submarine was handed out to the USS Sunfish by Japanese surface craft in the Sea of Okhotsk in the summer of 1944. By the time the enemy ceased the attack, the USS Sunfish had survived 186 depth charges, 86 of them close. The drain on physical reserves that goes along with sustained enemy action is described in this episode of the Silent service.
Sunfish (SS-281) A submarine's cook wins the Bronze Star Medal in this "Silent Service" episode. Fed up with his routine chores in the gallery, the cook of the USS Sunfish, Teddy Aldridge, requests an active combat station for the next engagement with the enemy. The ship's executive officer assigns him a Browning automatic rifle for use during surface action. When the USS Sunfish encounters a fleet of enemy trawlers, the cook goes to work and finally diverts a Japanese skipper from a suicidal attempt at ramming.
Nautilus (SS-168) Women are rarely passengers on United States submarines, but the USS Nautilus takes 14 aboard to the amazement of her crew. The women are nuns rescued from Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. The sub's crew, after being taken aback, give their guests a genuine, heart-felt welcome.
Sandshark (Fictitious submarine) Rescuing a missionary and his wife from a Japanese-held island turns out to be more of a chore than the submariners figured. When the missionary balks at being taken off the island, one member of the rescue party takes matters into his own hands and settles the issue with a well-aimed left hook. Later, aboard the submarine, he tells the missionary that an enemy mortar blast had knocked him unconscious. Submarine and crew members are not identified but the incident happened exactly as depicted.
Seadragon (SS-194) During World War II, a great human drama unfolded in one of the slim, steel ships that roamed beneath the seas. It had little to do with the enemy, yet life and death were involved as certainly as if the vessel were under attack. Days out of Freemantle, Australia, and just after sinking an enemy freighter, a member of the crew of the USS Seadragon was stricken with acute appendicitis. An operation was imperative. Rising to the emergency, Pharmacist's Mate Wheeler B. Lipes, who had qualified only as a lab technician, assembled makeshift surgical tools, ether and a supply of alcohol drained from the sub's torpedoes. Then, he undertook "the big gamble" with the other man's life. Two and one-half hours after he began operating, some of the time under depth charge attack, Lipes successfully completed his surgery.
Harder (SS-257) In the most daring submarine rescue of the war, three men from USS Harder swam with a rubber boat through knife-like coral and a hail of snipers' bullets to save a Navy pilot from an enemy-held island. The sub's skipper, posthumous Medal of Honor winner Samuel D. Dealey, put the USS Harder's bow on a coral reef and fought to keep her from swinging broadside onto the reef while the crew hauled in the rubber boat. The flyer, Lt. John Galvin from the carrier USS Bunker Hill, was awarded the Submarine Combat Insignia for his service aboard the USS Harder during the remainder of this patrol in which she began the rampage that won her the name "Destroyer Killer".
Tautog (SS-199) Waiting in vain for a report from USS Tautog, a hospitalized submariner has double reason to worry. The sub is his ship and this is the first patrol that he has missed. Also his younger brother is a crewman on her. During the long wait, he recalls for a fellow-patient the brilliant record of the USS Tautog and her gallant skipper, W. B. "Barney" Sieglaff, who commanded her on six fighting patrols. The USS Tautog, one of five submarines berthed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, repaid the enemy's treachery by sinking 26 Japanese ships, more than any submarine in the United States Navy.
Swordfish (SS-193) After Pearl Harbor, planes from Japan's advanced air bases were hitting us hard. USS Swordfish, under the command of Chester C. Smith, was ordered to locate and destroy the hidden anchorage where the enemy received supplies for these bases. This mission had been attempted by two other submarines without success. Playing a long shot, Smith combined imagination and skill with a large helping of courage and nosed the USS Swordfish into the narrow Lembeh Strait in the northern Celebes. The only available charts for the area, dated 1908, indicated "Possible coral reefs" throughout these waters. In this respect, the charts were dead right. The daring of the sub's captain paid off. The Swordfish sank two big supply ships found in the hidden harbor.
Gabilan (SS-252) Although warned away from an area to be patrolled by American destroyers, the U.S. submarine Gabilan risked attack by units of its own fleet to rescue a downed flier. Officers and men of the USS Gabilan went through some of the most agonizing hours ever passed in the undersea service. The USS Gabilan was nearly clear of the danger area when she was spotted by two American destroyers. Heavy fog prevented her identification signals from being recognized. With hardly any energy left in her batteries, she was forced to submerge to avoid shellfire. Then, with her electric power nearly gone and a strong current pushing her shoreward, she surfaced, only to find the destroyers still doggedly on her trail. She was saved when a clearing in the fog enabled her recognition signals to get through.
Gato (SS-212) Rescuing downed fliers from the Sea of Japan was one of the less-publicized, though frequently valiant, chores of U.S. submarines during World War II. The USS Gato braves repeated air attack to recover airmen from the sea. In the process, one of her crew members learns his true mission in the war.
Silversides (SS-236) On her third and fourth war patrols, the USS Silversides did more than sink enemy ships. The patrols had a profound effect on the life of one young torpedoman. Everything came easily to Torpedoman 3rd Class James P. Lane. From the moment he joined the Silversides crew, the submarine seemed to lead a charmed life. Her torpedoes ran hot and true. Enemy ship after ship went down without returning fire and Lane's cheery philosophy was reinforced. But things took an unexpected turn when the Silversides took on an enemy patrol boat in a surface battle. From then on, Lane knew that fighting a war was no snap.
Bowfin (SS-287) On the second war patrol of the USS Bowfish, a young lieutenant seriously questions his own ability to become a capable, courageous submarine officer. But, when the chips are down during surface action against enemy ships, he comes through, reinforcing a belief in himself and winning the respect of his shipmates.
Squalus (SS-192) When the USS Squalus sank in 240 feet of water in May 1939, the Navy had its first opportunity to test the rescue diving bell under actual emergency circumstances. The crew was trapped inside the stricken submarine at a depth that would have endangered their lives had they tried to escape by using Momsen lungs. The tragic sinking of the Squalus is seen, along with the valiant efforts that saved 33 men. At the end of the program, Vice Admiral Charles B. Momsen, inventor of the Momsen Lung and the supervisor of the Squalus rescue operation, is interviewed.
Seanettle (Fictitious Submarine) In the summer of 1944, the USS Seanettle (name changed) received an unusual assignment from COMSUBPAC: find and sink a German submarine known to be traversing the Pacific en route to Japan. The skipper plotted a course that he felt would intersect with the refueling needs of the German sub. The USS Seanettle caught up with the German sub off the Hong Kong harbor and was able to sink the German sub with her last three torpedoes.
U-47 (German Submarine) Early in World War II, the British Navy was dealt a humiliating blow by an intrepid and resourceful German U-boat commander who slipped into the anchorage at Scapa Flow and sank the battleship Royal Oak on October 13, 1939. Through the narrow Kirk Sound, in which the British had sunk block-ships as an anti-submarine measure, Gunther Prien, skipper of the U-47, steered his craft fully surfaced. Once inside Scapa Flow, he sent a salvo of torpedoes into the Royal Oak, sinking her within sight of British shore batteries. Undetected, the U-47 slipped back to sea, completing one of the most daring submarine patrols in sea warfare.