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Presumed Lost: The Incredible Ordeal of America's Submarine POWs of World War II

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When submarines failed to return to port from patrol, they were officially listed by the Navy as "overdue and presumed lost." Loved ones were notified by the War Department that their siblings, spouses, and sons were missing in action and presumed lost. While 52 U.S. submarines were sunk in the Pacific, the Japanese took prisoners of war from the survivors of only seven of these lost submarines. Presumed Lost is the compelling story of the final patrols of those seven submarines and the long captivity of the ...
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Overview


When submarines failed to return to port from patrol, they were officially listed by the Navy as "overdue and presumed lost." Loved ones were notified by the War Department that their siblings, spouses, and sons were missing in action and presumed lost. While 52 U.S. submarines were sunk in the Pacific, the Japanese took prisoners of war from the survivors of only seven of these lost submarines. Presumed Lost is the compelling story of the final patrols of those seven submarines and the long captivity of the survivors. Of the 196 sailors taken prisoner, 158 would survive the horrors of the POW camps, where torture, starvation, and slave labor were common. This is the most complete and accurate record of their captivity experiences ever compiled. Author Stephen L. Moore draws on personal interviews with the survivors, as well as on diaries, family archives, and POW statements to reveal new details and correct longstanding errors in previously published accounts. Moore's research brought to light the following facts: Most crewmen from USS Perch endured 1,298 days of captivity without their families ever being told that they were still alive. The Perch and USS Grenadier were so badly damaged by enemy depth-charge attacks that their crews were forced to scuttle their ships. USS Sculpin and USS S-44 went down fighting, with only forty-two men from the Sculpin being taken prisoner and half of them perishing on the way to Japan. USS Tang and USS Tullibee, victims of their own faulty, circling torpedoes, had few survivors, five of whom managed to escape from the sunken, burning Tang when it was 180 feet below the ocean surface. As many as six men survived the loss of USS Robalo after it struck a mine off Palawan, but none of those survived the prison camps. The book includes dozens of rare photos of the POWs, many of which have never before been published. Appendices include final muster rolls of the seven submarines and a complete list of the U.S. submariners who were held as POWs, with details of their various camps of internment
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591145301
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Pages: 351
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Stephen L. Moore, a sixth-generation Texan, is the author of eight previous books on World War II and Texas history, including the story of USS Seawolf and Torpedo Squadron Ten. A resident of Lantana, TX, he is a frequent speaker at Texas book events and conferences and writes for local magazines and historical journals.
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Table of Contents

1 Perch In Peril 1

2 "A Miracle Was Needed" 15

3 The First Months of Hell 29

4 "Hard Labor, Poor Conditions" 43

5 The Fight to Save Grenadier 51

6 "Where Hell Started" 67

7 "We Became Terrific Liars" 81

8 Hell Ships and Hard Times 91

9 "The Castle" at Fukuoka 101

10 S-44's Final Fight 113

11 Sculpin's Last Battle Surface 123

12 Ten Days on Truk 137

13 Chuyo's Sole Survivor 151

14 "No One Knows You're Alive" 157

15 Tullibee's Sole Survivor 167

16 Loss of Robalo 179

17 "All Hands Were on Edge" 193

18 Tang's Tragic Twenty-Fourth 201

19 Escape From 30 Fathoms 209

20 "God Help Us" 225

21 Omori's "Special Prisoners" 237

22 The Ashio Mining Camp 245

23 "They're Gonna Be Here Tomorrow" 259

24 Liberation of the Lost 271

25 Epilogue 291

App. A U.S. Submarine POWs of World War II 305

App. B The Lost Boat Rosters 310

Chapter Notes 317

Bibliography 337

Index 343

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