The Editor’s review of our book Cold War Submarines contains two statements that we would question: First, the editor states that “there is an obvious anti-Rickover bias throughout that part of the Polmar Moore history which deals with the U.S. Navy’s submarine evolution.” We intentionally ensured a balanced approach to that issue. Portions of the manuscript were read by several submarine officers, and the entire manuscript by a few; they included several flag officers. None observed that the book contained an anti-Rickover bias.
Second, the editor states that Rickover “always won the argument.” That is certainly not correct. Rickover opposed single-screw nuclear submarines; he lost that argument. Rickover opposed the quieting effort of the THRESHER class; he lost that argument. Rickover opposed providing vertical-launch missile tubes in the LOS ANGELES class (he wanted to build a new, large-reactor SSGN); he lost that argument. Rickover wanted to build additional NR-1 type submersibles (not the hull designation one); he lost that argument.
The list continues and is quite long. And, the Submarine Force and the Navy might have been better at various points in time if he had lost more arguments. For example, Rickover’s steadfast refusal to believe that the Soviet Union was constructing titanium-hull submarines delayed the improvements to U.S. torpedoes to counter deep-diving submarines. This list also continues.
But the reader of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW is urged to read Cold War Submarines and to make his or her own conclusion.