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21 July 1997

The W asbington Post
Letters to the Editor
1150 1siii Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071

Dear Sir or Madam:
Please consider the following for either Letters to the Editor or Free for All.

As a means toward the end of more balanced reporting on naval matters, it would seem reasonable to seek the opinion of some other retired naval officers than Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll. This is particularly true of submarine related issues [Navy Floats $2.4 Billion Attack Sub, July 19].

While his background and credentials are impressive, as is bis current position with a liberal (your descriptor) think tank, his sense of history and the lessons it teaches, over and over again, is misguided at best. It is safe to say that more than 90 percent of his fell ow retired flag and general officers do not concur with bis opinions on military matters.

History is replete with instances wherein military strength, which deters aggression and preserves peace, was reduced to the point where it became profitable for a potential aggressor to become an actual one. I believe Rear Admiral Carroll remembers Pearl Harbor and Korea, but has completely forgotten their lesson, or chooses to disregard all such lessons. What crystal ball does he use to predict the “foreseeable future” and its military requirements so precisely?

Let us not forget that the peace dividend won during the long, Cold War is just that-peace. Maintaining a credible military to deter would-be aggressors, including capable front line submarines, is far less expensive, in dollars and lives, than the alternative.

Arlington F. Campbell


13 August 1997

On July 19111 of this year an article appeared in the Washington Post regarding the recent commissioning of SEA WOLF. I wrote a Letter to the Post Editor in response, which, much to my surprise, the Post published prominently on Tuesday, 29 July.

I have enclosed a copy of this letter in the event you find it worthy to print in a future issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW.

Jeffery L. Adelman

“New Weapons Keep Us a Superpower

The statement that “there’s no military requirement for new U.S. attack submarines in the foreseeable future” is a startling assertion from a former rear admiral of the U.S. Navy [statement of retired Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll, “Navy Floats $2.4 Billion Attack Sub,” front page, July 19].

How much of the future is “foreseeable?” A month? A year? Five years? Unless a war is on, emergent weapons platforms rarely are intended to counter urgent, present-day threats. This is because such platforms-whether they be planes, tanks or submarines-are extremely complex, highly detailed systems that cannot be conceived, funded, designed and built overnight.

In the case of SEA WOLF. this process-from initial conceptualization of the design, through launching of the ship-has taken more than a dozen years. The stealth, intelligence-gathering and weapons-delivery capabilities provided by weapons systems like SEA WOLF not only send a message to potential adversaries that deters confrontation, but guarantees that we will prevail should those adversaries decide to engage us.

Ultimately, what is it about the United States that allows us to maintain our status as a “superpower”? Other nations (such as China) may have larger populations, faster-growing economies, larger armies, and/or access to nuclear weapons. Notwithstanding the internal budgetary, economic or social considerations that we must face, it is beyond question-indeed, it is a fact of American life-that continuously improved weapons systems, including the introduction of vastly more capable and sophisticated ones such as SEAWOLF, do no less than telegraph to friend and foe alike that we intend to remain a superpower.

And given the degree to which the United States has evolved into the model of political, economic and military stability among all nations, for us to do anything that jeopardizes the security that accompanies superpower status would be terribly foolish, short-sighted and dangerous for the entire world.”


12 August 1997

Captain Tom Maloney’s letter printed in the July 1997 edition of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW asked if anyone could recall a Mk 14 torpedo firing with the low power setting after the Spring of 1965. Yes, Tom, regretfully I do.

About the time you were Weapons Officer in SWORDFISH (SSN 570), with Commander Frank Adams as your skipper, I had conducted a very successful Nuclear Weapons Inspection on that fine ship. As Chief Nuclear Weapons Inspector on the Staff of COMSUBPAC, and a former shipmate of Frank Adams’ in USS TIRU (SS 416), I bad considerable first band knowledge of Frank’s superior leadership, seamanship, and weapons acumen. Fortunately some of it had rubbed off on me by the time I became Commanding Officer of USS SEA ROBIN (SS 407) in the Atlantic Fleet. The result was that SEA ROBIN won the Fire Control E from SUBDIV 82 in FY 1967. We had launched over 100 torpedoes during that year, and obtained a very high percentage of hils. This leads me to your answer.

In mid-1967, SEA ROBIN was conducting the last of numerous torpedo firing exercises out of New London, CT, using an ASR as a target, as I recall. One of the Division or Staff officers was embarked in the target vessel as the observer, to ensure honest results. SEA ROBIN had fired every exercise torpedo onboard, with the exception of a unit in the forward room (which could later be used in next week’s exercise) and a lone unit nesting aft in Tube #7, (which had to be offloaded for other reasons). The student Approach Officer had regretfully let the target get by and it was time to return to port and commence the regular weekend routine. My thoughts turned to the extremely talented and hard working Torpedomen and Gunnery Officer in SEA ROBIN. as I thought of the hour or two drill that would be required to offload this single exercise torpedo upon return to port. I took the Conn, swung SEA ROBIN around to bring the after tube nest to bear, took a final bearing on the ASR at very long range, and fired the Tube #7 torpedo in low power.

The observer embarked in the target ship was astounded to observe the distant green firing flare. Much, much later, be reported an unbelievable MOT as the 31 knot fish, slowly cruised beneath the ASR. Range at impact 7 ,200 yards! SEA ROBIN surfaced, rigged for race, and headed for port-and liberty for the torpedomen-full on four engines. An astounded skipper tried to keep a straight face, but failed.

CAPT J. Denver McCune, USN(Ret.)


July 10, 1997

I have been a member of the Naval Submarine League for many years. In addition, I have been a member of the U.S. Naval Institute since I was 13 years of age and am also a member of the Navy League.

I am wondering what input if any, the Naval Submarine League has with the folks in Washington concerning the naming of the third ship of the Seawolf class (SSN 23).

The Navy got off to a great start with the naming of SEAWOLF. Politics entered into the naming of CONNECTICUT thereafter. I am wondering if we could have them consider naming the third ship after one of the famous World War II submarines such as TANG, WAHOO or any number of others. Unfortunately, fish don’t vote, whereas the people of Connecticut and other states are registered voters.

Is the Naval Submarine League doing anything at all concerning the naming of SSN 23?

Thank you for your courtesy and cooperation.

Gerald J. Mullaney


August 20, 1997

VADM Dan Cooper
Naval Submarine League

Dear Sir:

The community of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, is engaged in an effort to have the third Seawolf submarine currently under construction, named USS MANITOWOC. Our community leaders and local political representatives are exercising the obvious channels, but I thought it would be worthwhile to also solicit your support and that of the Navy Submarine League.

During wwn, the community of Manitowoc and Manitowoc Company produced 28 submarines. Twenty-five of these saw action in the Pacific Theater. They were credited sinking 132 enemy ships with a total tonnage of 489,000 tons. An excellent account of this proud segment of Manitowoc history is contained in the book “Fresh Water Submarines, The Manitowoc Story” by Rear Admiral William T. Nelson. I am enclosing a copy.

The city of Manitowoc and Manitowoc Company no longer produce submarines but we have never forgotten our proud heritage. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum attracts thousands of visitors each year. During the summer months, many WWII submarine veterans hold reunions here. I believe that it would be very appropriate to christen one of the newest submarines, USS MANITOWOC.

Jeffry D. Bust
2401 S. 3(/” Street
Manitowoc, WT 54220


September 11, 1997

I couldn’t agree more with the letters from Denver McCune in the April and John Barrett in the July SUBMARINE REVIEW.
I think we should follow our leaders (when they’re going in the correct direction). I am pleued to be a member of The Submarine League, United States Submarine Veterans, Inc., and the local chapter of the United States Submarine Veterans of WWII. In Hawaii we aJso get to support the USS BOWFIN (SS 287) Memorial Park and Museum.

All of these submarine veteran organizations stand for a strong United States Submarine Force, and work to keep alive the traditions that made it great.

There may be others but I suggest we follow the lead provided by these well known distinguished submariners: Barr, Barrett, Beshany, Carr, Ellis, Plucky, Galantin and Lacy. Join all the submarine veteran organizations.

I should point out that the Holland Club of USSVI includes those submariners who have been Qualified in Submarines for 50 plus years and members of USSVI for five years, and Rear Admiral Carr, Admiral Galantin, Vice Admiral Fluckey, Vice Admiral Beshany, Rear Admiral Barrett and Captain Sweitzer are among the 117 current members. (And we add 18 members to the Holland Club roster next year.)

As for the submarine stamp issue. Whoever is pushing the stamp should point out, to the shame of the USPS, that Russia issued a 1500 ruble stamp with the Podvodnaya UJdka S13 1939 proudly displayed. If the number two submarine force gets a commemorative stamp, why not the number one Submarine Force?

CAPT John D. Peten, USN(Ret.)
98-1547 Akaaka Street
Alea, HI 96701-3051


September 12, 1997

Please allow me to give you a small portion of history about myself. I served aboard USS CUTLASS (SS 478) under Commander Lewis Sykes and Commander Herbert Tibbetts in 1966-68 as a TM2(SS). At present I am a member of The Naval Submarine League, United States Submarine Veterans, Inc., and an associate member of United States Submarine Veterans of World War II. I am also the propulsion expert of the 17 feet scale model of USS SEAWOLF (SSN 21) which our Sub Vets group has built.

In the April 1997 issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW there is an article entitled “Silver Dolphins-Gold Dolphins” written by Captain J. Denver McCune. For the last two years I have wanted some type of vehicle with which we could bring the USS VI and the USSVWWII (there is no Naval Submarine League group) of the Houston area together for some type of joint meeting. Captain McCune’s article was the much needed explosive to move me off dead center. I wrote to Captain McCune and expressed my thanks for his most well written article. I expressed my suggestion to him that be also send bis article to both USSVI and USSVWWII for publication in their magazines. Captain McCune bas since done this. I also expressed to Captain McCune my desire to bring the two Houston area groups together.

On 6 September 1997, at 1100 hours the first every joint meeting of the San Jacinto Chapter of USSVWWD and Triton Base of USSVI was held. We had 28 men in total attendance. We had as our guest speaker, Captain Zep Alford. Captain Alford, a member of the Naval Submarine League, gave a 30 minute slide presentation. After the meeting was over, I bad over 10 men come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed this meeting. We are now planning a joint Christmas dinner meeting.

Please allow me to thank Captain McCune for originally writing his article, and also I would like to thank you for publishing it.

John Fndrids
3113 Village
Deer Park, TX 77536


With regard to the recent articles concerning the reliability of submarine torpedoes during WWII, and particularly the tables on pages 133-135 in the July 1997 issue, I believe the data are severely flawed and the percentages of hits reported are accordingly too high.

The data cited in the tables appear to have been developed from records compiled by the Submarine Operations Research Group (SORG) “based on task force commanders’ assessments”. A comparison of the SORG data with original patrol reports indicates that the patrol report claims were accepted almost 100 percent by the reviewing authorities (division, squadron, and force commanders) and by SORG. It is obvious that evidence obtained via highly classified Ultra intercepts was not used in compiling the SORG data.

Date Submarine Hits/Fired Ultra & Postwar Info
1 Triger (237) 2/3, 2 Ships S No evidence of any S or D
1 Haddock (231) 4/6, 2 ships S Ultra report no damage
2 Haddock (231) 1/4, S Ultra 3 torp asse, no D
4 Tautog (199) 2/4, 2 Ships S Ultra, no damage
4 Scamp (277) 1/6, D Ultra Corp tracks seen
5 Cero (225) 3/6, 2 Ships D Ultra, tracks reported
5 Tautog (199) 2/9, 2 ships D Ultra, track reported
6 Tautog (199) 1/2,D No postwar evidence
7 Dace (247) 1/6,D No postwar evidence
8 Bluefish(222) 8/9, 5 ships S/D Ultra, no damage
9 Ruuber (269) 1/4, D Ultra, 2 drop seen, 1 passed under w/o expl
9 Selwolf (197) 1/2, D Ukni, track seen, no D
10 Barb (220) 3/4, 2 Ships S/D Ultra, no damage
10 Crevalle (291) 1/10, D Ultra, track reported
11 Drum (221) 2/6, D Patrol report, 1st prematured Ultra, 3 exploded astern

There is no evidence that any of the above attacks sank or damaged a ship. In fact, in many cases Ultra actually identified the ships attacked. and their ultimate disposition is known. The possibility that hits were made but never reported is extremely remote.

Because Ultra did not make intercepts on all attacks, the records available today in the National Archives are incomplete. Therefore it is impossible to make a rigorous statistical comparison of Ultra records and postwar Japanese information versus patrol report and SORG data. However, the very small sample cited below will give some indication of the extent to which hits (and ships sunk or damaged) have been over claimed. The examples are from the first 11 days of November 1943, showing torpedoes fired, hits reported, and ships claimed sunk (S) or damaged (D).

The overall results of all torpedo attacks during the first 11 days of November 1943 (not all of which are listed on the previous page) are as follows:

  • 17 attacks resulted in confirmed sinkings or damage. in which 83 torpedoes were fired for 47 hits (65.6 percent)
  • 27 attacks claimed 36 hits from 90 torpedoes fired (40 percent). but no evidence of sinking or damage has been found for any of these.
  • 28 other attacks were made in which 85 torpedoes were fired with no bits claimed.

All told. 258 torpedoes were fired for 83 claimed hits (32.8 percent) but probably 36 of the claimed bits actually missed. leaving at best 47 hits (18.2 percent).

In any case. the claimed proportion of hits out of torpedoes fired cannot be used as a measure of torpedo reliability. because many of the misses were undoubtedly due to other causes than torpedo malfunction.

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