The Regulus program was in existence from 1957-1962. Regulus was a cruise missile with a strategic mission, which was replaced by the Polaris program. The decision was made in January 1956, but Regulus remained in service until 1963, when the Regulus boats became involved in other missions. Regulus was carried aboard the launching submarines TUNNY, BARBERO, and HALIBUT, and guided by other submarines with the radar suites P-lX/BPQ-1/BPQ-2. As Admiral Slade Cutter once said, 11TUNNY would take the ball, hand it to CUSK, and then it would be relayed to CARBONERO to take it over the goal line”-not surprisingly using the football metaphor.
The author has provided a useful service to the submarine community. He was handicapped by never having been in the military or in any technical field, let alone having served in submarines. So, in spite of these shortcomings, he undertook this effort, and produced the only real history of the Regulus, however flawed. This is a wholly commendable effort. But its limitations should be pointed out.
The author had significant help, only briefly acknowledged in the book. In the middle of his effort, Rear Admiral Russell E. Gorman, at the time the senior Naval Reserve flag officer, intervened and, after a considerable effort, obtained access to classified archives for the author. Without this access, the author, who had never previously held security clearances would have been severely limited. In the unclassified material available initially, only a small fraction of the history was generally known.
There are two flaws in the book. The first is the author’s preoccupation with Chance Vought airframes. This area is important to the program, of course, but the avionics propulsion and control systems existed previously on the F-80, and droning had been carried out on other airframes. Nevertheless, these details were important, and were thoroughly covered. On the other hand, the most innovative and creative elements of the overall system, ignored by the author, were the radar tracking and guidance. Off-skin tracking with an airborne beacon provided clutter elimination and a number of ECCM advantages; pulse spacing modulation provided guidance signals, and lobe switching gave a bearing accuracy far superior to the crude section scan capability. These technological innovations appeared time and time again in subsequent military systems.
The most troublesome shortcoming in the book, and one which makes it unsuitable for the general public is the failure to network and contact key personnel in the early and exciting stages of the program. Two of the key personnel never contacted were Rear Admiral J.B. Osborn and Lieutenant V.M. Dutch Klotzner. This reviewer was able to locate Lieutenant Klotzner in 48 hours and Admiral Osborn’s address has always been posted in the directory of the Naval Submarine League. Submariners are well aware of the accomplishments of Osborn, who was hand-picked by Admiral Rickover to be the first commanding officer of GEORGE WASHINGTON.
It is difficult to know what to make of these omissions. Perhaps it is just immaturity, or perhaps it is an inability to gain perspective on an important and interesting part of naval history. Or perhaps the author just didn’t want to take the trouble to track down the key individuals, and focused on various individuals who were part of the later (and less significant) part of the program.
The reviewer can recommend this book to submariners who were attached to the Regulus program and other interested submariners. One can only wish that Stumpf had arranged to co-author the book with Rear Admiral Osborn. That would have given his work imprimatur and authenticity.