The USS Flier: Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine

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The fate of the USS Flier is one of the most astonishing stories of the Second World War. On August 13, 1944, the submarine struck a mine and sank to the bottom of the Sulu Sea in less than one minute, leaving only fourteen of its crew of eighty-six hands alive. After enduring eighteen hours in the water, eight remaining survivors swam to a remote island controlled by the Japanese. Deep behind enemy lines and without food or drinking water, the crewmen realized that their struggle for survival had just begun. On its first war patrol, the unlucky Flier made it from Pearl Harbor to Midway where it ran aground on a reef. After extensive repairs and a formal military inquiry, the Flier set out once again, this time completing a distinguished patrol from Pearl Harbor to Fremantle, Western Australia. Though the Flier's next mission would be its final one, that mission is important for several reasons: the story of the Flier's sinking illuminates the nature of World War II underwater warfare and naval protocol and demonstrates the high degree of cooperation that existed among submariners, coast watchers, and guerrillas in the Philippines. The eight sailors who survived the disaster became the first Americans of the Pacific war to escape from a sunken submarine and return safely to the United States. Their story of persistence and survival has all the elements of a classic World War II tale: sudden disaster, physical deprivation, a ruthless enemy, and a dramatic escape from behind enemy lines. In The USS Flier: Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine, noted historian Michael Sturma vividly recounts a harrowing story of brave men who lived to return to the service of their country.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Michael Sturma has done an effective job conveying the dramatic story of the loss of the USS Flier." — Journal of America's Military Past" —

"The story of how eight men managed to survive the boat's loss, a look at guerrilla operations in the Philippines, and more, give us an engaging and valuable account that is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the undersea war in the Pacific." — NYMAS" —

"An interesting combination of an Australian historian writing about an ill-fated American submarine that was lost with most of its crew on its second long patrol.... The amazing aftermath is particularly well described in considerable detail. A fascinating story." — Work Boat World" —

"Sturma sheds light on the trauma and personal tragedies of the Pacific war, recounting the great sacrifice and heroism of these remarkable men."— Lone Star Book Review" —

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813192246
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 5/18/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 978,556
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Sturma is chair of the history program at Murdoch University in Australia. He is the author of several books, including Death at a Distance: The Loss of the Legendary USS Harder and South Sea Maidens: Western Fantasy and Sexual Politics in the South Pacific.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

1 The Aleutians 5

2 A New Boat 15

3 Midway 21

4 Grounded 27

5 USS Macaw 33

6 Board of Investigation 39

7 Resumed Patrol 47

8 Fremantle 57

9 Death in Thirty Seconds 65

10 Cause and Effect 73

11 Black Water 85

12 Castaways 91

13 Guerrillas 97

14 Brooke's Point 105

15 USS Redfin 111

16 Evacuees 117

17 On Board 123

18 Fallout 129

19 Bend of the Road 135

20 Inquiry 139

21 Report Incognito 147

22 Back in the USA 153

23 Next of Kin 157

Epilogue 163

Notes 167

Bibliography 191

Index 201

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013


    Good read

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