Submarine Commander: A Story of World War II and Korea

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More About This Textbook


A fascinating personal memoir of underwater combat in World War II, told by a man who played a major role in those dangerous operations. Frank and beautifully written, Submarine Commander's breezy style and irrepressible humor place it in a class by itself. This book will be of lasting value as a submarine history by an expert and as an enduring military and political analysis. In early 1943 the submarine USS Scorpion, with Paul R. Schratz as torpedo officer, slipped into the shallow waters east of Tokyo, laid a minefield, and made successful torpedo attacks on merchant shipping. Schratz participated in many more patrols in heavily mined Japanese waters as executive officer of the Sterlet and the Atule. At war's end he participated in the Japanese surrender, aided the release of American POWs, and had a key role in the disarming of enemy suicide submarines. He then took command of the revolutionary new Japanese submarine I-203 and returned it to Pearl Harbor. But this was far from the end of Schratz's submarine career. In 1949 he commissioned the ultramodern USS Pickerel, the most deadly submarine then afloat, and set a world's record in a 21-day, 5,200-mile submerged passage from Hong Kong to Honolulu. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Pickerel was immediately sent to Korea to participate in secret intelligence operations only recently declassified and never before revealed in print. Schratz's broad military experience makes this a far from ordinary memoir.

Here is an authentic, blow-by-blow account of battles in mine-seeded waters against enemy destroyers, submarines, and planes--and sometimes a cumbersome Navy bureaucracy. Schratz takes readers through the danger, bravery, and life-and-death decisions of World War II's submarine war and his secret mission in the Korean War. Reissue. (Military History)

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The U.S. Navy's most innovative, non-conforming, daring skipper tells in intimate detail a gripping and exciting story — unashamed in sorrow, proud in record-setting accomplishment, rich in humor. Great!" — Adm. I.J. Galantin, USN (Ret.), author of Take Her Deep

"An authoritative, useful, and interesting view of Pacific Ocean submarine operations." — American Historical Review

"Provides the layperson with an interesting, exciting, and ultimately satisfying account of submarine service, both during WWII and the Korean War." — Choice

"An extraordinary story... Schratz is a superb observer!" — Friday Review of Defense Literature

"An ebullient, consistently engrossing memoir of submarine service in WWII's Pacific theater and during the Korean conflict." — Kirkus Reviews

"An action-filled account of the wartime operations of the Navy submarine fleet." — McCormick (SC) Messenger

"Serves as a moving testimonial to the many brave men with whom he served." — Northern Mariner

"A commanding and well told tale.... Schratz succeeds in making wartime submarining come alive for nonsubmariners." — Shipmate

"Fascinating... A delight to read not only because it is well written but because it is so very real seen through the eyes of a completely involved observer." — Submarine Review

"Schratz's description of life aboard a submarine is one of the single best accounts of the "Silent Service" during World War II and the Korean War….The book is highly recommended." — Leo J. Daugherty III, World War Quarterly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Schratz served aboard three U.S. Navy subs during World War II, taking part in the sinking of several Japanese ships, rescuing downed pilots, laying minefields. From a natural, slightly off-center viewpoint, he conveys his fascination with submarine warfare and his deep respect for many of the men he served with, bringing them to life in scenes of combat and riotous shore leaves from Honolulu to Hong Kong. After the Japanese surrender, he was involved in the demolition of the former enemy's submarine fleet, and his comments on the attitudes and military way of life of his counterparts in the Imperial Japanese Navy are intriguing. The post-World War II section is less interesting but far from boring: In command of the U.S.S. Pickerel , Schratz set an undersea distance record in 1949 and a year later took part in photo-intelligence missions during the early months of the Korean War. Photos, maps. (Dec.)
While this author doesn't write with the style of Edward Beach or the flair of O'Kane, the action is interesting and the facts are clear. The real value of the book is the author's experience in submarine development post WWII. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813109886
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 9/4/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 1,454,741
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.77 (d)

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