Cover image for Silent victory : the U.S. submarine war against Japan
Silent victory : the U.S. submarine war against Japan
Blair, Clay, 1925-1998.
Personal Author:
First Naval Institute Press edition.
Publication Information:
Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, 2001.

Physical Description:
1071 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Philadelphia : Lippincott, 1975.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D783 .B58 1975C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



With the content of an authoritative reference and the excitement of a thriller, this history of the U.S. submarine war is one of the most informative and entertaining books written on the Pacific campaign. The author, a respected journalist and World War II submariner himself, is credited with providing a complete and unbiased account of what happened. When published in 1975, it was the first such account to detail controversial aspects of the American campaign, from the torpedo scandal to discrepancies between claimed and confirmed sinkings.

To get to the truth, Clay Blair interviewed scores of skippers, staff officers, and code breakers, and combed thousands of documents and personal papers. In addition, he thoroughly researched the development of the submarine and torpedo from pre-war to post-war times. As a result, he takes the reader into the submarine war at all levels--the highest strategy sessions in Washington, the terrifying moments in subs at the bottom of the ocean waiting out exploding depth charges, the zany efforts of a crew coaxing a chicken to lay an egg. He also exposes the reader to the jealous infighting of admirals vying for power and the problems between cautious older skippers and daring young commanders. Supplementing the text are nearly forty maps showing submarine activity in the context of every important naval engagement in the Pacific, more than thirty pages of photographs, multiple appendixes (including a calendar of submarine war patrols), and an index of over 2,000 entries. This is a work of great scholarship and scope that makes a timeless contribution to the history of World War II.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 17
Part I
1. Background for Warp. 23
Early Developments
Progress in Europe
Submarines in World War I
Submarines and Politics
Secret Enterprises
Submarines and Politics II
New Deal for the Navy
War in Europe
The Main Enemy
Plans in the Far East
Intercepted Mail
Part II
2. Pearl Harbor, December 1941p. 97
The Japanese Attacks on Pearl Harbor and Midway
First Patrols to Empire Waters
First Patrols to the Marshalls
The Sinking of I-173
Results of the First Patrols
The Japanese Attack on Wake Island
3. Manila, December 1941p. 127
The Japanese Attack on Clark Field
The Japanese Attacks on Cavite and Manila
The First Patrols from Manila
The "Battle" of Lingayen Gulf
The Loss of Manila
Part III
4. Java and Australia, January through April 1942p. 163
The Japanese Drive to the Malay Barrier
Special Submarine Missions
The "Defense" of Java
Retreat to Australia
Evaluation and Decision
5. Pearl Harbor, January through March 1942p. 204
January Departures
February Departures
March Departures
6. Brisbane, April and May 1942p. 217
Arrival of More S-Boats
The Battle of the Coral Sea
7. Pearl Harbor, April through June 1942p. 223
April Departures
The Hunt for "Wounded Bear"
The Battle of Midway
June Departures
8. Washington, June and July 1942p. 256
The Midway Security Leak
Changes in the Codebreaking Operation
H.O.R. Engine Problems
9. Alaska, 1942p. 267
Japanese Landings on Kiska and Attu
Submarine Patrols in Alaskan Waters
10. Fremantle, April through August 1942p. 273
Torpedo Tests and Experiments
Personnel Changes
Departing Patrols
11. Brisbane, May through September 1942p. 294
The Battle of Savo Island
May, June, and July Departures
Battle of the Eastern Solomons
August and September Departures
12. Pearl Harbor, July through December 1942p. 307
July, August, and September Patrols to Truk
Patrols to Empire, East China Sea, and Alaskan Waters, July through October
Subversive Literature
Battles of Esperance and Santa Cruz
October, November, and December Patrols to Truk
November and December Patrols to Empire and East China Sea Waters
13. Brisbane, October through December 1942p. 338
The Battle of Guadalcanal
Submarine Patrols
Changes in Personnel
14. Fremantle, September through December 1942p. 349
15. Summary, 1942p. 359
Part IV
16. Submarine Command, January 1943p. 365
17. Brisbane, January through May 1943p. 369
The Death of Admiral Yamamoto
"Playing Checkers" with Submarines
Wahoo's January Patrol
The Palau-Rabaul Convoy Route
18. Fremantle, January through July 1943p. 389
Experiment at Exmouth Gulf
Patrols and Losses
19. Pearl Harbor, January through March 1943p. 398
The Casablanca Conference
Submarine Command Credits and Debits
Departing Patrols
20. Alaska, 1943p. 416
The U.S. Invasions of Attu and Kiska
Patrols from Dutch Harbor
21. Pearl Harbor, April through August 1943p. 422
Additions to the Pacific Fleet
Ultra-directed Patrols
Final Isolation of the Mark XIV Torpedo Defects
The H.O.R. Boats
Some Good Patrols, and Some Bad Ones
First Forays into the Sea of Japan
22. Brisbane, June through December 1943p. 472
Surface-Force Engagements in the Solomons
More Boats for Australia
Single Patrols
Cooperative Efforts
23. Fremantle, August through December 1943p. 486
Tankers as Targets
More Cooperative Efforts
Crevalle's First Two Patrols
Mixed Bags and Special Missions
Puffer's First Patrol
Loss of Capelin and Cisco
Final Deactivation of the Mark VI Exploder
24. Pearl Harbor, September through December 1943p. 505
The U.S. Invasion of the Gilbert Islands
Improvements in Submarine Weapons and Strategies
Wahoo's Last Patrol
Ultra-directed Patrols
Davenport, Dornin, and Cutter
Special Missions
More Ultra Information
Patrols Good and Not So Good
The First Three Wolf Packs
Changes in Command
25. Summary, 1943p. 551
Part V
26. Pearl Harbor, January through April 1944p. 557
The U.S. Invasion of the Marshall Islands
Interceptions in the Marshalls and Other Missions
Action During the Palaus Air Strike
Transfers to Fremantle
Empire and East China Sea Patrols
The Polar Circuit
Wolf Packs Four and Five
Patrols to the Marianas
Patrols to Okinawa
27. Australia, January through March 1944p. 606
Codebreaking and the New Guinea Campaign
Patrols from Fremantle
28. Australia, April through June 1944p. 620
Showdown in the Marianas
The Joint Strike on Surabaya
Patrols to Tawi Tawi and Davao
The Japanese Reinforcement of Biak
29. Pearl Harbor, May and June 1944p. 642
Patrols to the Marianas
The Battle of the Philippine Sea
30. Pearl Harbor and Australia, June to July 1944p. 664
The Fight for Saipan
Patrols from Pearl Harbor
Search for the Nickel Ship
Wolf Packs in Luzon Strait
Patrols in the East and South China Seas
31. Washington, Summer 1944p. 689
32. Pearl Harbor and Australia, July and August 1944p. 693
Debate over Pacific Strategy
Patrols from Pearl Harbor
Four Wolf Packs in Luzon Strait
Patrols from Australia
The Loss of Harder
33. Pearl Harbor and Australia, September to October 1944p. 722
The U.S. Invasions of the Palaus and Morotai
Pearl Harbor Support of the Landings
Wolf Packs from Pearl Harbor
Single Patrols from Pearl Harbor
Australian Support of the Landings
34. Pearl Harbor and Australia, October to November 1944p. 744
Air Strikes on Formosa and the Philippines
The U.S. Invasion of Leyte
The Battle of Leyte Gulf
Patrols from Pearl Harbor
Patrols from Australia
35. Pearl Harbor and Australia, November and December 1944p. 787
New Inventions for U.S. Boats
Burt's Brooms
The U.S. Invasions of Mindoro and Luzon
Patrols from Australia
Patrols from Pearl Harbor
36. Submarine Command, December 1944p. 812
37. Summary, 1944p. 816
Part VI
38. Pearl Harbor and Guam, January through March 1945p. 823
The U.S. Invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa
Patrols from Guam
Attacks from the Air
Tirante's First Patrol
39. Fremantle and Subic Bay, January through August 1945p. 845
The Move to Subic Bay
Pursuit of Ise and Hyuga
The Remaining Targets: Isuzu, Haguro, Ashigara, and Takao
40. Pearl Harbor and Guam, April through August 1945p. 857
New Forays in the Sea of Japan
Rescues and Targets
The Japanese Surrender
Part VII
41. After the Warp. 877
A. World War II Submarine Squadron Commanders, Pacificp. 889
B. World War II Submarine Skippers Selected to Flag Rankp. 890
C. Postwar Commanders of Submarines Atlantic Fleetp. 892
D. Postwar Commanders of Submarines Pacific Fleetp. 892
E. Submarine War Patrols, Atlanticp. 893
F. Submarine War Patrols, Pacificp. 900
G. Top Skippers of World War IIp. 984
H. Best War Patrols by Numbers of Ships Sunkp. 988
I. Best War Patrols by Tonnage of Ships Sunkp. 988
J. Top Submarines by Number of Ships Sunkp. 989
K. Top Submarines by Tonnage of Ships Sunkp. 990
L. Submarine Losses in World War IIp. 991
Sourcesp. 993
Indexp. 1007