We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Japan started the war with six million tonnes of shipping and of course built more as the war went on. US submarines sank 1314 of their ships of more than 1000 tons each, plus 700,000 tons of naval ships including eight aircraft carriers, a battleship and 11 cruisers.
They did 416 patrols and fired 14,500 torpedoes. Out of a total of 52 subs lost, 48 were lost operating from the Fremantle base. American submariners made up only 1.6 per cent of the US naval manpower but they had the highest loss rate of US Armed Forces with 22 per cent killed.
8th AAF had similar percentages KIA throughout most of the war. 1943 and early '44 were even worse. My dad was one of 'em -- a B-17 pilot in late '43 and early '44 (he was shot down in Feb '44 and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp). i asked him once, when i was a kid, how he had the guts to keep flying when every mission was losing a quarter of the planes. he said something like (maybe word for word) "well, we just assumed we weren't gonna make it --when you're already kaput it gets much easier."
thanks, Barrett -- your girls'll be fine, i bet -- dad's got his values firmed up -- that's a big start!
this post got me wondering about that old Stalag Luft 1 website (www.merkki.com) i found years ago -- i went back and there's been lots more content added -- damned if i didn't find deeply buried in the links a picture of dad -- one none of has ever seen before (tho i just emailed it to a buncha the family) -- the internet is just beyond belief -- there he was, 15 minutes ago, 24 yrs old, in a German POW camp, skinny, staring back at me from the monitor. we lost him in 1986, so it was a moment, just now.
Thanks Buddy. I hadn't heard of VDH's story before. It's quite moving.
Okinawa was a slugging match and dad never really talked about it other than he hated caves. He brought home a .25 cal Japanese rifle he secured which I still have. I try to picture him in his late teens on that forsaken island halfway around the world from Montana.
The Herald article is not entirely accurate -- 48 is the total number of US subs lost in combat, with 4 more lost in rear areas, and not all of them sailed from Fremantle. Many sailed from Brisbane, Pearl Harbor, or Midway. Other than that, however, the article-writer got most of his facts right, and I couldn't agree more with his sentiments. US submariners rarely get all the credit they deserve. They were a special breed who filled a priceless role in the Pacific War.
if you ever want to read a really good book -- one which takes you into the enormous deep technical expertise those guys had -- try "Clear the Bridge!" by Wahoo exec and later Tang commander Richard O'Kane:
One of the finest WWII reminiscences you will ever read. Tang's story is incredible, too --
Folks assume that after Midway in mid-1942 that the Navy had the war won -- not so -- 1943 EOJ navy was still a match or more for USN in most of the Pacific and the US subs deep penetration missions were critical to spreading out the enemy initiative and holding the line until those Essex class carriers started really rolling out in 1944.
one of the best films ever -- tense -- wow -- i think THAT bunch -- the WWII german sub service -- lost three-quarters KIA -- i'd say what a waste but it's not my place to do so. let that surviving quarter say it.
BTW i tried to post the URL of that pic i found but the spam preventer won't allow -- wonder why --