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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest submarine book ever written.
I could not put this book down. O'Kanes writing puts the reader inside the sub taking part in every detail of the Tang's patrols during WWII. I found myself refering to the maps every time he gave a description of the Tang's approach to enemy shipping and being able to see his detailed discriptions of the area thru the periscope. O'Kane's memories of details of...
Published on April 19, 1999

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SUBMARINE IN THE PACIFICWAR
This book should be mandatory reading for submarine officers. It shows in fulll details how to run a sub in wartime
and the responsabilities of the captain. The author, Richard O'Kane left nothing out, but as a result , it reads like a log, or rather a series of logs. The action is great, when there is action, but the periods in between, the waiting for the enemy...
Published on January 8, 2013 by tekkie


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest submarine book ever written., April 19, 1999
By A Customer
I could not put this book down. O'Kanes writing puts the reader inside the sub taking part in every detail of the Tang's patrols during WWII. I found myself refering to the maps every time he gave a description of the Tang's approach to enemy shipping and being able to see his detailed discriptions of the area thru the periscope. O'Kane's memories of details of shooting setups and the details of men at their stations in time of war is uncanny. This is truly a book that takes the reader to the dark days of WWII and the frustration of fighting with defective torpedos and equipment and the "jury-rigging" the crews had to do to make things work and in most cases make equipment better than what was issued. O'Kane was not only a great leader of men he is one of the great heros of WWII. It would be an honor to shake his hand.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Legend With Great Writing Skills 7 Stars, March 4, 2007
By 
Steve Dietrich (Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Monica CA, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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O'Kane's the real deal, sailor, warrior, leader, survivor and writer.

This is his story and that of the USS Tang, one of the most successful submarines operating in the Pacific. O'Kane was one of a new breed of submarine skippers who traded caution for results with great success, but at huge risks. One of the most effective tactics was to take the surfaced submarine into the middle of Japanese convoys at night, attacking multiple ships and then escaping to the depths.

The action is heart stopping and explains why the Navy pulled some of the more conservative older skippers out of their boats and replaced them with men like this. But the story is much more than simply tactics and bravery above all expectations, it is a story about true leadership.

Young MBA's would do better asking themselves what characteristics of leadership did O'Kane and his officers utilize to achieve so much with so very little in tangible rewards to offer their crews? There were few rewards for the truly outstanding sub crews, congratulations, awards, a sense of team and the dubious honor of being sent back out on patrol as soon as possible.

One of the secrets was that O'Kane and other sub commanders under the leadership of senior officers at Pearl Harbor were given huge patrol areas and largely left to their own devices to take advantage of what they found. To prevent detection the subs seldom transmitted messages on the high power needed to reach thousands of miles across the ocean, the subs received intelligence information from headquarters, but no tactical instructions. On occasion they had schedules to keep, often lifeguard duty just offshore of enemy facilities which were being attacked from the air. Many young pilots, including George Bush Sr were plucked from waters off the Japanese held islands.

The book is also a reminder of a can-do nation at work. Battered and worn out subs returning from patrol were overhauled, updated and ready to depart on the next patrol in only a few weeks.

The description of various engagements may seem a little dry and technical to someone who has not been out on the sea on a dark night trying to make sense of faint shadows and movement. For fans of surface warfare who think subs are like hunting with poison gas, the descriptions of night surface attacks in the middle of escorted convoys will fully dispel that image.

The book is a great reminder of the incredible courage of those who have gone to sea to defend our country for more than 220 years and those who continue to do so today.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of submarine Tang by her only CO., November 20, 1999
By A Customer
By the time of Tang's launch in 1944 most of the early war torpedo problems had been solved and better radar and tactics were in place. Submarine technology was state of the art. Bright, agressive officers like Dick O'Kane were the ramaining element to gain ultimate seccess.
"Clear The Bridge" privides a well written and consise chronology of the operations of Tang. O'Kane personalizes Tang's history by including some of the stories of the men who served on her.
We first met O'Kane in the pages of "Wahoo" commanded by "Mush Morton". O'Kane credits much of his success to the training he received serving under Morton as Executive Officer.
The book is a microcosm of the great conflict that was WW II. The Allies won the conflict through the courage and agressiveness of men like O'Kane and her crew.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benchmark book on submarine warfare, July 10, 2005
By 
I've read "Clear the Bridge" an estimated seventeen times. I first began reading it soon after its initial paperback printing about 1980. This is the book by which I judge all other books on WWII American submarine warfare. It is difficult to put down. One thing it contains, which I find lacking in many other fine submarine books, is the detail. Each attack is described thoroughly, so the reader can understand the circumstances and tactics being used. There is no hyperbole, yet this is one of the most exciting accounts you will ever read on the topic. Tang experienced firsthand to the nth degree the torpedo failures that plagued the silent service during the entire war, and you will read about it here. I generally consider O'Kane to be the top submarine commander of the war, but there were many fine ones, and it's a little bit like comparing apples with rocks. He seemed to have a sixth sense in rooting out enemy shipping. He trained his crew well and respected them. Yet despite the Tang's success, O'Kane does not come across as being overly risky. Each attack was carried out with the overall safety of his "ship" in the back of his mind. (He never calls the Tang a "boat".) The dedication of O'Kane and his crew to their war effort is awe inspiring. One in six submariners died in the war, yet submariners like Tang's continued to put their lives on the line patrol after patrol. I highly recommend this book not only to readers of WWII submarine warfare, but to anybody who likes to read period.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, September 26, 2005
By 
This is a great book. The fact that is was written by the Captain of the Submarine makes it that much more meaningful. I couldn't stop reading it, but my one complaint is that it is very technical and lacks some emotion. The author, being a "career navy man" uses abbreviations and phrases that don't mean much to the layperson (and the glossary doesn't help much in this regard) and there is an overall lack of "passion". There is very little discussion of his personal feelings or the mood on the ship. For example, he describes a depth charge attack (a crack and a boom and pressure through the hull) as something that made the men realize the training exercise did not approximate reality (or that the real thing was nothing like the Hollywood version). I thought a depth charge attack was one of the most terrifying ordeals in a submarine and as a result was very interested in reading what it was like by someone who was there first-hand, but it gets very little coverage.

However, knowing that the events were real and the people were real makes this book an excellent read. I recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping account of submarine warfare, July 24, 2001
"Clear the Bridge" is an outstanding look at WWII submarine warfare conducted by one of the greatest of combat crews. RADM Dick O'Kane constructs a scintillating look at combat thru the eyes of a veteran Navy skipper. The obvious love for Tang and her many fine sailors shines through, as well as the respect of and devotion to his former skipper on Wahoo, "Mush" Morton, and that fine boat. This book is a great read, and is a worthwhile addition to any library.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear the Bridge, August 8, 2003
By 
Rick Bernskoetter (Greensboro, NC USA) - See all my reviews
If Hollywood is looking for a new action-adventure subject, they need look no further than the war patrols of the USS Tang. Join Richard O'Kane aboard the Tang as he weaves a tale of suspense and action better than any work of fiction. Under his command, the Tang ranked fourth in the number of tons of Japanese shipping sunk. We get a rare "periscope liberty" look over the author's shoulder as he tracks his prey across the vast Pacific. Whether rescuing a record number of downed fliers or launching torpedoes from the very center of a confused and sinking Japanese convoy, his no-nonsense style and matter-of-fact delivery leave no doubt that this man was - in every respect - a true submarine commander. This book provides one of the truly great depictions of the kind of heroes who served in World War II, especially those in the "Silent Service."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story about life and warfare in a WWII sub., March 26, 1999
Comander O'Kane takes us through his life aboard the U.S.S. Tang from original construction to her untimely and needless destruction in the Gulf of Formosa. O'Kane's love of his ship, his shipmates and the record performances of the Tang are clearly evident in this story. To say that you can not put this one down is an understatement.
The puzzeling item here is the calm manner in which O'Kane discusses the poor performance of American made torpodoes during the war. From just duds to killing the sub who brought them, these torpodoes were a constant source of apprehension and even fear amoung crew members. O'Kane's frustration does not really surface in this book or in his first effort about his first sub the U.S.S. Wahoo.
To find that two of America's mot successful and famous subs were both sunk by our own poorly performing torpodoes is not only shocking to learn but criminal to know that it lasted almost through out the entire Pacific War.
It soon became evident in reading this story that it took more than just luck to become a successful sub commander. Just finding your position after being submerged the entire day is a major endeavour. Finding ships to sink is not just waiting for them to come to you. O'Kane shows the hard work involved in piloting a ship in three dimensions with only primitive sound gear. Your life and that of your ship dependens on your spatial ability.
Finally, Tang's death as written by O'Kane shows the emotion he had for his crew and that long piece of metal to whick he was so attached.
I wished I could have meet this ship Captain. To not only say thanks for a fine book, but to shake the hand of a real American hero.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, real submarine action, September 17, 1997
By A Customer
Rear Admiral O'Kane (Medal of Honor, three
Navy Crosses), has taken us along on the
exciting combat patrols of the hottest warship
under the sea, the U.S.S. Tang.

Tang was probably bureaucratically deprived of
the record for enemy ships sunk, but won two
Presidential Unit Citations and was possibly the
most decorated ship in the Navy.
When you read O'Kane's memoir it is easy to see why: this was as fine, highly skilled,
and motivated a group of men as ever sailed.

Their story is well told here, with a good narrative flow which keeps the action moving and respects the reader enough to expect him to follow closely and attentively. This attention is well rewarded; highly recommended for sub fans and students of naval action in World War II.

(The numerical rating above is a default setting
within Amazon's format. This reviewer does not
employ numerical ratings.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Kane and his Tang were the best!, August 4, 1999
By A Customer
A must read for any submarine enthusiast. This book will give any reader a better appreciation for the W.W.II submariner, as well as his contemporary counterpart. O'Kane writes primarily for the submariner (Litany only a submariner would understand in places),but not so much that his book will not be enjoyed by anyone. I had the priveledge to meet the author in 1988, and he is the same man you will come to love and respect through his book. The final chapter of the book will shock and sadden the reader who is unfamiliar with story. The officers and men of Tang: hero's all!
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Clear the Bridge! The War Patrols of the U.S.S. Tang
Clear the Bridge! The War Patrols of the U.S.S. Tang by Richard H. O'Kane (Hardcover - 1977)
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