SILENT VICTORY: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan by

SILENT VICTORY: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan

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The U.S. submarine command's real victory against Japan remained unrecognized following WW II. Although skippers were permitted to discuss their exploits freely, and many books appeared about submarine warfare, the complete story remained hidden, drowned, under a flood of postwar bulletins. Now it is known that the two percent of the Navy's manpower assigned to subs sank over 50 percent of all Japanese ships which went down. It was discovered, halfway through the war, that the destruction of glamorous warships was actually less important than the sinking of merchant ships -- and so the objectives of the sub service were changed drastically. What's more, the U.S. had a secret weapon: U.S. intelligence had broken the Japanese code and could ""read the Japanese mail"" (which the Japanese never knew) -- a contribution so enormous that it accounted for half their successful targets. By war's end the U.S. submarine blockade of Japan was so tight that ""many experts concluded that the invasions of Pelelui, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, and the dropping of fire bombs and atomic bombs on Japanese cities were unnecessary."" Silent Victory is quite likely the biggest, most thorough review of the Pacific sub campaign we'll get on a popular level. Completeness works against any long passages of narrative excitement -- there's just too much to cover. Caviar for military buffs, but of more limited appeal otherwise.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1975
Publisher: Lippincott