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An article on page 93 of the October 1987 SUBMARINE REVIEW reported that the Iranians were about to launch a mini-sub for use in the Persian Gulf in May. I would note that about the same time as the Bridgeton incident, the CNN cable news network broadcast a news story concerning the naval buildup in the Gulf. As part of that story, the network ran film which had apparently been supplied or obtained from Iranian sources which showed several types or Iranian naval craft. One rather interesting 3-5 second segment showed what appeared to be a very small submarine (perhaps 15 to 20 feet in length) moving on the surface with the casing barely showing on the surface. Two sailors (passengers might be a better term as neither looked to be in any sort of uniform) were standing on the casing near a very small sail and were holding on to a mast/periscope. The vessel was moving away from the camera and was not any sort of small boat.

David L. Kimble


William P. Gruner, in his article on intelligence information for submarines, (January 1988 SUBMARINE REVIEW) repeats the story that Winston Churchill decided not to defend Coventry against heavy German air attack rather than risk exposing the fact that the British were reading Luftwaffe ciphers. This story, which has been in circulation for some time now, seems to have been pretty well disposed of as false. The most comprehensive account of the Coventry raid from the intelligence standpoint is probably to be round in R. v. Jones, The Wizard War.

None of this, of course, detracts from the validity of Gruner’s main thesis: That the best intelligence is of no value if it does not reach the operator who needs it.

Maxwell P. Schoenfeld, Ph.D


Witp regard to Karl Hensel’s suggestion regarding the 87 FACT BOOK on WW II submarine sinkings, (p. 75, Jan 88 issue) I am nearing completion of a comparison tabulation of u.s. submarine attacks during WW II versus the Japanese records of losses, to be published by the u.s Naval Institute, probably late this year.

As a general comment, I have found the Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee report (JANAC) to be more reliable than I expected. I do not anticipate adding many sinkings to those already reported, although many errors will be corrected. The biggest advance over JANAC will be the addition of all reported cases of damage (JANAC listed only sinkings).

Unfortunately, in dealing with Japanese losses one does not have the advantage of the excellent records kept by the Allies (the winning side) on their losses. I am afraid we will never be able to find satisfactory answers to all problem cases at this late date.

John D. Alden


Relative to Bert Findly’s article in the January 1988 issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, JOTS requires frequent automated data entry into each unit’s computer to keep the tactical picture up to date.

But, Mr. Findly’s rationale leaves many questions unanswered. For instance, how would this automatic data transfer occur with submarines at speed and depth? While the author acknowledges the need for submarines to remain covert, he does not explain how the submarine would participate in a battle-group’s JOTS net without remaining at periscope depth with an antenna exposed.

He says JOTS could prevent mistaken attacks between friendly subs in the battle-group, but direct support SSNs generally possess the best ASW picture in the group. The author also postulates ” . . .  an antiair and outer air-battle role . . .  ” for the direct support SSN which is not possible today and not planned for the near future. And, Mr. Findly refers to dumping the tactical picture to the submarine”··· via the Shore Targeting Terminal (SST).” But the SST currently does not transmit JOTS data and is not planned for this purpose.

I am not questioning the benefit of outfitting submarines with JOTS, but what is a reasonable concept of operations for storing and relaying time-sensitive tactical data information to SSNs in direct support of a battle-group?

LT Steven A. Dudley, USNR-R


The January REVIEW carried an article, page 21, on the writer’s lack of intelligence information, prior to each of his WW II patrols — that skippers had little prior knowledge of what to expect.

I was far more fortunate, prior to the only patrol I made, beginning December 19~3. with one day’s notice to take command of a boat nearly ready to depart, the Force Staff in Pearl dug out for me every patrol report dealing with Area 4 for the first two years of the war. I was then able to plot on tracing cloth over a chart, the locations, courses and data for every ship (and plane) contact, some 52 major ship convoy and task force contacts; also conflicting currents encountered running between the islands (a major concern), 2 mine fields, 2 submarine near-groundings, intermittent beacons on islands, customary routes, etc. It was surprising how much easier it made planning how best to cover routes and change positions if detected. The only Ultra received was right on the nose!

Karl Hensel


The Submarine Radiomen Association is seeking those select personnel who earned their dolphins while wearing the sparks of the U.S. Navy Radioman rating. We currently have one formally organized chapter in the Washington DC area with national membership approaching 100. Chapters are being organized in New London, Charleston, San Diego, Vallejo, and Bangor. The goal of our organization is to promote excellence of submarine communications through group participation and recommendations to the force commanders, various systems commands and the submarine support community. Membership is open to active and retired RMSN (SS) through 0-10s that are qualified to wear dolphins and have served in the Radioman rating.

Contact: Don Basham – President  (703) 799-7777
Fred Bannon – Secretary  (301) 869-9612

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