SUBMARINE COMMANDER: A Story of World War H and Korea by Paul R. Schratz

SUBMARINE COMMANDER: A Story of World War H and Korea

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An ebullient, consistently engrossing memoir of submarine service in WW II's Pacific theater and during the Korean conflict. An Annapolis grad (Class of '39), Schratz was a junior officer on the Iceland-based cruiser Wichita when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Transferring to the silent service, he won his golden dolphins and spent the rest of his war, from early 1943 on, mainly in hostile waters off Japan. All told, the subs on which he sailed sank or damaged over 63,000 tons of enemy shipping; on their combat patrols, the close-quarters craft also laid mines, helped rescue more than a half dozen American airmen, and even took one prisoner. After V-J Day, the author was among those assigned to the hairy job of demilitarizing (i.e., disarming and/or blowing up) submarines built by the Japanese for suicide missions. Schratz did not get a command of his own until after the guns fell silent. Ironically, his first was the I-203, a high-speed enemy vessel he skippered back to Hawaii. The author returned to subs as captain of the Pickerel; after a record-breaking underwater cruise from Hong Kong to Honolulu, it carried out a clandestine photoreconnaissance of Korea's eastern shoreline during the early phases of the so-called police action. A graceful writer, Schratz is as adept at conveying the ties that bind the gallant brotherhood of submariners as he is at recounting the hell-and-high-water realities of surface as well as underseas engagements. If the old salt were still on active duty, his vivid log would rate him an E (for excellence). The text is complemented by eight pages of combat and candid photos.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kentucky