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Silent Victory: the U.S Submarine Victory against Japan (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – 15 Jan 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1071 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (15 Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155750217X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557502179
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 378,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alex Diaz-Granados on 25 Nov 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the deadliest weapons used in naval warfare during the two World Wars was the submarine. In the Atlantic, Germany's U-boats did extensive damage to Allied shipping and twice threatened to starve Britain. In the Pacific, the Japanese submarine force, tied to a rigid doctrine of stalking enemy capital ships, scored a few outstanding kills of carriers and the USS Indianapolis but did little to harm Allied cargo ships.
In Clay Blair, Jr.'s Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War against Japan, reissued by the U.S. Naval Institute (the same publishing company to release a Tom Clancy novel) after several decades of being out of print, is a fascinating and detailed look at the officers, sailors and submarines of the Silent Service and their nearly four-year-long campaign against Japan's Imperial Navy and her Merchant Fleet.
Blair, himself a former submariner, pulls no punches and details the many difficulties faced by the American submarine force. Sub skippers who in peacetime were among the best often failed the test of battle. The S-class boats were too slow, had fewer torpedo tubes than the newer T and Gato-class fleet boats. Like Japan's submarine force, targeting priority was on capital fleet units (battleships, carriers and cruisers). Worst of all, the Mark XIV torpedo, the Navy's wonder weapon, proved to be less than wonderful until Admiral Charles Lockwood, Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet (ComSubPac) and other officers fixed several defects in the arming mechanism.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gisli Jokull Gislason VINE VOICE on 8 Dec 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Speak of submarines in world war 2 and 99.9% of all people will think of the German U-boats. Hardly anyone has heard of the great submarine war of the Pacific, the Allies vs. the Japanese. Based on the same theory that the best way to defeat an island nation is to cut it off from its maritime supplies the allies conducted a brutal and efficent submarine war on the Japanese which was in no way less horrific but far more successful. Maybe it is because history is written by the winner and submarine war holds such horrors that this part of the war is so forgotten.
As for the book itself it focuses on the American Navy Submarines and their part in the war. It is very detailed and I imagine unbiased. At its best you sometimes get the feel of the hard and dangerous life of a submariner, share their thrills and success, and get a glimpse of their darkest moments (such as resurfing and firing into the mass of survivors with machineguns and sinking all the lifeboats).
Among the most interesting parts of the book is to see how much the crews and captains where hampered by politics, mismanagement of resources and faulty equipment.
The author has good grips on the subject having been a submariner himself and the subject is most interesting especialy if you had no idea about this part of World War 2. On the downside the author knows his subject too well, and it is hard to summarise and see the big picture because of all the details and a few chapters are very hard too get through and I recommend them only as a tranquillizer.
Overall the book is a worth while buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Nov 2003
Format: Paperback
Though, as the previous reviewer indicates, this book does lack in giving details about the strategic decisions that were made concerning the submarine war with Japan, it is evident this was not the purpose of the author. This book is the best detailed account of the US submarine war against Japan in World War II. It is a central reference for any historian, amateur or professional, interested in the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darth Maciek TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Aug 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best military history books I ever read and probably one of the best ever published!

Now, before going further, an important notice: at 1072-pages long, this is a MASTODON - but do not let it dissuade you to give it a chance. "Silent Victory" is so well organised and clearly written that you will quickly realise how friendly and tame a beast it is and it will not take long before it starts taking peanuts from your hand with its hairy trunk.

American submarine campaign against the Japanese in the Pacific War (1941-1945) was not exactly the largest submarine campaign in the history of the world (this title goes to the WWII operations of German U-Boats) but it was without question the most successful. During WWII, from December 1941 to August 1945 US Navy deployed in the Pacific in all 260 submarines, both for fighting and training purposes - the remaining 54 ships were used in the Atlantic. In all, between 1941 and 1945 US Navy lost, in all theatres and for all causes a grand total of 52 subs, with 3505 crew members being killed or missing.

41 of them were lost due to enemy action in the Pacific: USS "Albacore", USS "Amberjack", USS "Argonaut", USS "Barbel", USS "Bonefish", USS "Bullhead", USS "Capelin", USS "Cisco", USS "Corvina", USS "Escolar", USS "Flier", USS "Golet", USS "Grampus", USS "Grayback", USS "Grayling", USS "Grenadier", USS "Growler", USS "Grunion", USS "Gudgeon", USS "Harder", USS "Herring", USS "Kete", USS "Lagarto", USS "Perch", USS "Pickerel", USS "Pompano", USS "Robalo", USS "Runner", USS "S-44", USS "Scamp", USS "Scorpion", USS "Sculpin", USS "Sealion", USS "Shark" (SS-174), USS "Shark" (SS-314), USS "Snook", USS "Swordfish", USS "Trigger", USS "Triton", USS "Trout", USS "Wahoo".
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