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To the Editor:

  • Congratulations! When is a Small Submarine a “What” is a stimulating piece of work. I would hope that the general reaction to it is sindlar to mine.

Perhaps it is deceptive in its humor. I have tried to synthesize its several points, but with no luck. Capt. Taussig has set up several targets, each of which has a unique state of mind, or an outlook, or a piece of turf to defend.

He has identified these targets as “hang-ups”. And each of these is characterized as a person, the GS 11, the allocator of funds to the operating forces, the scientist who wants to climb Mount Everest, the formulator of “Operational Requirements”, and the “naysayers” who remain unidentified but who are probably the ones who should have thought of the idea in the first place.

Or could it be that the “hang ups” are symptollS of a general cultural norm which prefers cake to bread and performance to capabilities? Which is to say there is an indifference to cost and consequences. Capt. Taussig implies that simplicity, or elegance, is a threat to those who control the development of concepts.

Could an indictment be drawn on any of those persons in the “hang up” roster for not having properly discharged the responsibilities inherent in his job? Or is it a matter of the current military ethic? In either case, what can be done about it?

“Do about what” one might well ask. But the author must have had something in mind or he wouldn’t have written the article. And I must have something in mind or I wouldn’t be writing this letter.

Is there a common problem which many of the Review article~ are attacking? I think that there is, but I can’t get a hand on it. And if there is, indeed, an identifiable problem common to each, what can be done about it? Or could it be that all of us are nothing more than the ‘naysayers’ which time and technology have long ago passed by?

If there are three or four or five of us who, in our different ways, would each launch an attack which focused on a common problem, I think the results might be significant. One of those who would join the attack with enthusiasm is

Frank Lynch

  • The discussion item in the October issue of the Review, Diversify?, is certainly consistent with Liddell Hart’s thoughts in his book, Strategy, the Indirect Approach. “Vitality springs from diversity”, be wrote, “which makes for real progress as long as there is mutual operation, based on the recognition that worse may come from an attempt to suppress differnces than from acceptance of them.”

The need for submariners to promote new concepts directed toward diversifying can be answered by using the Review as an open forum of discussion. I hope this direction of the Review will be well supported in the future.


  • The Musashi article in October Review took me back to my copy of Five Rings. One of the most important thoughts which Musashi leaves with the reader is the idea that a warrior (a submariner) should place strategy (bow to fight) at the top of his list of qualifications. Musashi says: “Strategy is the craft of the warrior.”

To master his craft Musashi stresses that the warrior should engage in a written dialogue on strategy. He says: “The warrior’s (craft) is the two fold way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both ways.”

It seems that the Submarine Review provides a good forum for writings which can suggest better strategies. Then these strategies can be argued to produce advanced concepts for flexible use of the submarine in battle.

A profound example from Musashi’s “notes” is that of an enemy samurai, the pride of his “school of the sword” and armed with a long sword of finest steel, who is “cut” by Musashi with a wooden sword which he fashioned from the blade of an oar. Musashi easily does the job of “killing” his opponent, since the other samurai fell into the narrow routine of his specific school of thought (inflexible doctrine). To Mus as hi, the enemy’s way of fighting was predictable and hence vulnerable to unorthodox maneuvers and improvised response.

Lt. Barnaby s. Rube

  • (from Karl Hensel) Your account of Old Swordfish pretty much agrees with my memory. Jasper Holmes said it well in his “Undersea Victory”. I had detested the idea of taking out a Wolfpack and had repeatedly asked for command of a boat. I was so grateful when a chance presented itself.

I have always felt that it was unfair to the crew to have a 4-striper come aboard in Command–it was just too much rank. And I was the 6th skipper inflicted on them in the first ten patrols. It took a couple of weeks at sea for them to regain confidence.

I think that my lllOSt difficult obstacle, in making those night attacks, was not having the TDC in the conning tower with me. We still had the old Mk I in the Control Room, at the other end of a telephone; only Jack Pye ‘s skill and intuition down there made things work out.

We all owed a debt to a young EM. As we lay on the surface without power unable to dive, I took a walk back to the maneuvering room and put the cards on the table “We’ve got to have one propeller in order to dive and control–JUST ONE! THAT’S ALL I ASK FORI THAT’S ENOUGH, and you lads have just five minutes to figure out how you are going to give me one propeller. START THINKING! •• I returned to the Control Room. An EM remembered that we could get one shaft by pulling a link. We dived to 200 feet on that one prop, stayed there all day, and had the second shaft ready by late afternoon, while chasing electrical grounds.

I have always been lucky in submarines. I think that about sixty of my Naval Academy class went through Sub School, and I was the only one of us fortunate enough to get command of a war patrol. It was a great experience.

RAdm. Karl G. Hensel, USN (Ret.)

  • I read with interest Joe Taussig’s article on the original Perry Cubmarine and thought you might like an update on some of our activities in the submarine world.

Over the last fifteen years the Cubmarine bas grown soaaewbat in complexity but has maintained the simple and maintainable design philosophies that Joe Taussig went into rather thoroughly. Where complexity and sophistication have been added to the submersibles, it bas been mainly in the sensors and endefectors.

Examples of where our equipment bas been put to use, in spite of the “nay sayers,” have been as follows:

–At Kwajalein Missile Test Firing Range a Cubaarine has been operating for well over 10 years recovering various items off the sea bottom floor. We got our first service call about two years ago for a new shaft seal. Those “unsafe” submarines have just been out there chugging away with no incidences to date.

–One of our earlier submarines has been used recently by the Royal (U.K.) Navy for quick access submarine rescue purposes. It was utilized in conjunction with the U.S. Navy DSRV on a simulated rescue exercise in the North Sea. The British discovered that they could take a relatively simple piece of gear such as the L-1 (built by us in 1972 and one of the first lock-out submarines in the North Sea) and by putting a DSRV mating ring on the botton could provide interim first aid and light rescue capability to distressed submarines. Recently, some extremely complex underwater construction and inspection activities in the North Sea have been carried on by our submersibles, mounted on a large semi-submersible multi-purpose support vessel (MSV), operating in oil fields.

–cubmarines laid explosive charges for bottom leveling operations and installed and operated subsea jacks to maintain the linear integrity of a pipeline across the Straits of Messina. One mission is noteworthy as it achieved a complicated task simply. A transponder was placed on the exterior of the observation/manipulator bell. The topside support ship’s dynamic. positioning system was then acoustically locked onto the transponder. The topside dynamic positioning system would then read the change in location of the submarine and adjust the location of the topside support vehicle accordingly. The observation/manipulator bell, in effect, was then actually driving the topside support ship in a dynamically positioned mode.

–One such manned system, the Mobile Diving Unit on the MSV THAROS, is operated from a tether and is capable of excursions up to 800 feet in either direction to allow the multi-purpose support vessel to stand off a reasonable distance from an oil platform so that operations can take place in extreme weather. Divers can exit out of the bottom of the MDV at mid-water depths to do a variety of inspection or repair tasks on an oil platform.

–Underwater work tasks are also being accomplished with increasing regularity by suabersibles that are completely unmanned. A RECON IV vehicle has been modified to install 60Q-lb. anodes onto a COGNAC Platform which is the world’s largest deep water platform and stands in over 1000 feet of water. This system, built for the Royal (U.K.) Navy called TUHS, has the capability to dive to 20,000 feet. The vehicle is completely micro-processor controlled and all power, communications and command links are achieved through a single coaxial cable. The system is designed mainly for search and recovery requirements of the Royal Navy and is capable of operating either in a straight towed mode or in a free swimming mode complete with a variety of sensors to achieve the mission objective.

As you can see from these preceding examples, the underwater world is alive and well and progressing on a successful basis so long as the key words are to “keep it simple” and only make those parts as complex as they need to be to undertake the task at hand.

John B. Perry, Jr.

Naval Submarine League

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