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May 7, 1992

Editor, The Submarine Review

Regarding my request for history (April1992 Review) about submarine operations in the Soviet Far East during August of 1945, there is some new information. I got a letter from a CCCP-Vladivostok submariner the other day. And in that letter, on 23 August 1945 at 10:22 AM, CCCP submarine L-19 was escaping from an enemy submarine at the west-coast of Hokkaido near the Soya Straits.

Japanese submarines were completely off-campaign from 15 August. So I presume the enemy submarine of CCCP was the one of U.S.

We Japanese don’t know what occurred at the west-coast of Hokkaido (the Soviet-Far-East Sea) in August 1945.

Please give me good information.

I want to know the truth of history.

Sincerely yours

Hiroaki Shimizu
1 -chome   WEST Oh-Dori
Chuo-ku, SAPPORO


May 14, 1992

In the April issue of The Submarine Review, Captain Jack O’Connell commented on the appropriate credit for the first strategic missile patrols. For three years I have been research-ing the Regulus program for a book that I hope will be the definitive history for the system. Early on in this research I became aware of confusion on issue of the dates of initiation of the patrols and have since continued to seek out the answers. Interviews with crew members (including Captain O’Connell) of the five submarines involved, USS TUNNY (SSG-282), USS BARBERO {SSG-317), USS GRAYBACK (SSG-574), USS GROWLER (SSG-577), and USS HALIBUT (SSGN-587), as well as archival research, indicate that the record is still not clear. Requests for deck log information to settle the issue have been submitted and I await the answer. Meanwhile, several basic points can be made.

Two possible dates exist for the commencement of strategic missile deterrent patrols by the Regulus forces of COMSUBPAC, Submarine Division ONE. The GRAYBACK left on patrol21 September 1959 for what has been referred to as a strategic missile deterrent patrol. Three officers onboard at the time confirm this date as do two unofficial ship’s histor-ies. Simultaneously, officers from the TUNNY state that 23 October 1959 they began the first such patrol. As for Captain O’Connell’s reference to the BARBERO, the first strategic deterrent missile patrol of the BARBERO was indeed in the fall of 1960. The GROWLER had made her first deterrent patrol, the GRAYBACK two or three more and the TUNNY an additional two.

Captain O’Connell is correct in his overall premise that strategic missile deterrent patrols, albeit cruise missiles and not ballistic, were made well before the first such patrol by the GEORGE WASHINGTON. His reference to black and blue reflects that the Regulus boats did not have the blue and gold system of crew relief and were in fact instrumental in demon-strating the need for such a system. I can also confirm his count of 41 such patrols by the Regulus boats.

An interesting additional note is the deployment of both the TUNNY and the BARBERO during the Lebanon Crisis in 1958, the TUNNY to relieve a carrier in the Northern Pacific and the BARBERO to take up station above the Arctic Circle. TUNNY did actually conduct a patrol while the BARBERO was recalled 48 hours after deployment. If we don’t split hairs then perhaps these two patrols were really the first “missile deterrent patrols:

The Regulus program is all too often overlooked in its contribution to the strategic defense of our country. While its role was small in numbers, the thermonuclear warheads the Regulus missiles carried made them a force to be reckoned with in the northern Pacific from late 1959 to mid-1964.

I continue to seek information from personnel involved in the Regulus program. Please write to 630 La Cholla Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85745, or call (602) 624-3690.

Thank you
David K. Stumpf


Several years ago the Submarine Review issued a call for volunteers to donate blood for a young boy who was seriously ill with leukemia at Bethesda Naval HospitaL

The response was good and the follow-on news is wonderful.

Aaron Thomas, son of Senior Chief Thomas and Mrs. Teresa Thomas, has celebrated his thirteenth birthday by successfully completing his leukemia protocol. The medical staff at USNH Bethesda celebrated this event with a party in his honor on 27 May 1992. His parent wished to thank the NSL for its interest and support; and, asked that we continue to keep Aaron in our thoughts and prayers.

Mn. Ross N. Williams

June 6, 1992

Editor, The Submarine Review

On the advice of Mr. Norman Palmar, I am requesting that you place a note in your letters column for information regard-ing a possible submarine loss, which would have occurred on July 28, 1951. The location is 124-30 East, and 37-32 North, in the Yellow Sea, northwest of Inchon. The submarine would have been Soviet or Chinese (former Soviet).

The incident with the submarine involved screen units of Task Element 95-11. This action occurred following the retrieval of a MIG-15, in shallow water off the mouth of the Ch’ongch’on River.

Your assistance in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Donald C. McElfresh
9121 Summer Glen Lane
Dallas, Texas   75243
(215) 343-8337

June 8, 1992


Editor, The Submarine Review

I was wondering if you could help me locate any information on the German submarine U-662. It was depth-charged July 21, 1943 by USN aircraft somewhere in the vicinity 03-56N, 48-64W. Its commanders’ name was Muller, and the U-662 was of the VII FLOTILIE.

What I am looking for is a list of the crew. It appears that a long lost relative served aboard but under a different name (for reasons unknown).

If you could help me in any way or give me an address in Germany (War Museum, etc.), it would be deeply appreciated.

Thank you for your time.

Paul Snyder
P.O. Box 1368
Madison, CT  06443


I must take exception with Bud Kauderer’s statement “During the decades of the Cold War, a force of 100 nuclear attack submarines was accepted as an affordable goal” in the April 1992 SUBMARINE REVIEW.

There was no force level for SSNs during the first decade of the post-World War WCold War era. The first force level goals for SSNs appear to have been established in 1957. A long-range force posture produced by the Navy that year was signed out by Admiral Arleigh Burke as “The Navy of the 1970 Era” on 13 January 1958. This document set fleet objectives as 65 SSNs (plus 40 SSBNs and 12 SSGNs in the strategic role).

The paper is particularly significant because it called for no further construction of non-nuclear attack submarines. Only SSNs and nuclear-propelled missile submarines were to be built, the decision having been made less than two years after the NAUTILUS went to sea. (At that time H. G. Rickover was a rear admiral and surely too junior to overcome opposition from the Navy’s leadership, including Admiral Burke, if more diesel submarines were wanted by Navy leaders.)

From that point onward the force level goal for SSNs was a moving target The fiscal 1963 shipbuilding program, the first defense budget fully developed by the Kennedy-McNamara team, asked Congress for eight attack submarines – the most proposed by any administration in one year. The Congress voted funding for all eight SSNs. The next two McNamara budgets (FY 1964 and 1965) requested six SSNs each, which were also funded. With an expected submarine service life of at least 20 years, that meant that the Navy was building toward a force of 120 or more SSNs. However, this was not a formal goal and discussions with several senior Navy officials at the time indicated that few thought such numbers could be achieved, especially while maintaining 30 to 41 SSBNs.

Attack submarine procurement then declined because of Vietnam War costs. By 1970 the Department of Defense and Navy had agreed to a force goal of 125 attack submarines, of which 68 would be SSNs (the diesel boats being submarines already in existence). Subsequently, Admiral E. R. Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations from 1970 to 1974, proposed a goal of 90 SSNs (with a building rate of 31h submarines per year). This force goal was accepted, despite strong opposition from Rickover, who argued for 120-plus SSNs. The goal of 90 was approved by the Department of Defense.

Only after the Reagan Administration came into office in January 1981, and Secretary of the Navy John Lehman advanced his plan for a 600-ship fleet, was a goal of 100 SSNs established. That goal — which was never achieved — existed but one decade.

With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the force level goal for SSNs has declined precipitously. The most SSNs that can be expected to be in service in the year 2000 is 65 submarines — 1 SEAWOLF, 62 LOS ANGELES, and probably 2 special operations-configured SSNs. However, some estimates by knowledgeable persons have predicted force levels of half that number.

Nonnan Polmar

Naval Submarine League

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