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Submarine Commander

A Story of World War II and Korea

Paul R. Schratz

Publication Year: 2013

" A fascinating personal memoir of underwater combat in World War II, told by a man who played a major role in those dangerous operations. Frank and beautifully written, Submarine Commander's breezy style and irrepressible humor place it in a class by itself. This book will be of lasting value as a submarine history by an expert and as an enduring military and political analysis. In early 1943 the submarine USS Scorpion, with Paul R. Schratz as torpedo officer, slipped into the shallow waters east of Tokyo, laid a minefield, and made successful torpedo attacks on merchant shipping. Schratz participated in many more patrols in heavily mined Japanese waters as executive officer of the Sterlet and the Atule. At war's end he participated in the Japanese surrender, aided the release of American POWs, and had a key role in the disarming of enemy suicide submarines. He then took command of the revolutionary new Japanese submarine I-203 and returned it to Pearl Harbor. But this was far from the end of Schratz's submarine career. In 1949 he commissioned the ultramodern USS Pickerel, the most deadly submarine then afloat, and set a world's record in a 21-day, 5,200-mile submerged passage from Hong Kong to Honolulu. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Pickerel was immediately sent to Korea to participate in secret intelligence operations only recently declassified and never before revealed in print. Schratz's broad military experience makes this a far from ordinary memoir.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Quotes

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pp. 2-7


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p. 8-8

List of Maps

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p. viii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Submarine warfare is unique in many ways, different from our preconceptions of strife, different from all previous combat in American history, different even from the visions of war by American military planners at the opening of hostilities on 7 December 1941. And it may ...

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1. The USS Wichita: Naval War in the North Atlantic

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pp. 1-21

Hvalfjordur, Iceland, December 1941. A few minutes before midnight, as the sixth of December passed into history, I scaled the familiar six ladders from my stateroom to "sky forward," the weatherbeaten compartment housing the antiaircraft director ...

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2. The USS Mackerel: The Gold Dolphins

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pp. 22-38

The reunion with Henri and our families in Pittsburgh was deliriously happy. Then somebody asked where I was headed for duty. When I answered, "Submarines," Mother almost fainted. The morning news carried the story that my home town bud die ...

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3. The USS Scorpion: Tragedy in the Pacific

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pp. 39-80

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a charming old New England town of tree-shaded streets and stout frame houses topped by widows' walks suggesting long and close ties to the sea. Brief international fame came to the city and the prominent Rockingham Hotel in ...

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4. The USS Sterlet: Early Command?

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pp. 81-130

Reunion after seven months' separation fulfilled all our dreams. Henri and our parents met me at the airport, and I couldn't take my eyes off Gina, already quite a little lady at three months. The time at home fled swiftly. So much of my leave had frittered away waiting to be released by the board of investigation in Pearl that...

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5. The USS Atule: Minesweeper?

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pp. 131-175

I watched the sun rise over Tanapag Harbor on that early November day aboard Fulton. The morning air carried a tangy fragrance across the calm waters. Somewhere near the top of 1,554-foot Mount Tapotchau a Japanese flag flew unseen to any but the few surviving...

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6. The Demilitarization and Occupation of Japan

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pp. 176-204

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander of the Pacific Ocean Areas, had invited Admiral Lockwood to attend the surrender ceremonies on the deck of Admiral William F. Halsey's flagship, the USS Missouri, and to designate a dozen submarines and the submarine tender ...

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7. The Sorry Sasori

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pp. 205-221

I-203, a Sen-Taka or high-speed submarine, was similar to the German Type XXI, both designed as ultramodern attack submarines capable of very high bursts of speed to break contact with the enemy. Completed in May 1945, 1-203 was 259 feet long and...

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8. The USS Burrfish: Fast and Loose

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pp. 222-242

Shore duty is often a period of rejuvenation from the rigors of sea duty. In our case it gave us much needed time to live together as a family. I welcomed the horne life equally with the challenge of Washington duty. I felt stimulated by the opportunity to contribute ...

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9. The USS Pickerel: Dipsydoodling on Government Time

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pp. 243-282

Pappy Sims and I felt like old friends from the first meeting. Outgoing and always cheerful, he exuded both ability and strength. I quickly learned that behind a Georgia drawl lay the confident presence of a superior athlete and the rare gift to charm seniors ...

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10. War under the United Nations Command

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pp. 283-313

The first streaks of dawn were tinting the morning sky on the other side of the Pacific on Sunday morning, 25 June 1950. At four in the morning a thousand howitzers split the dawn stillness with a shat heavily armored Soviet T-34 tanks struck in a surprise assault along relaxed for a weekend of vacation. Many of the troops had been given ...


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pp. 315-322


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pp. 323-330

E-ISBN-13: 9780813143613
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813116617

Page Count: 340
Publication Year: 2013