on November 7, 2006
Hashimoto commanded a Japanese submarine throughout WWII and was one of the few who survived; but, although he covers all theaters of naval combat, his account is limited to his own patrols and a few stories that he heard from others. Like many Axis officers, he ascribes his country's defeat to leaders rather than their ideologies--in his case, their unwillingness to promote research in scientific warfare. Unlike most, he bucked higher command when their inertia, over installation of radar in submarines, compromised his mission. And he was the one who sunk the U. S. S. Indianapolis. But his book is more pedestrian than illustrious, lacking the comprehensiveness of Blair's "Silent Victory" or the intensity of "The Enemy Below." And because it was published in 1954, many of his reports have been superceded by subsequently available data and histories. He was aware that the Japanese order of battle for Midway was known to Nimitz, but seems unaware that the U.S. Navy had been reading Japanese Naval Code during the war. He's right about the major failure of his superiors, their lack of understanding about the role of submarines and their consequent misuse of their undersea boats; but he fails to lay responsibility for this at any admiral's flag. The general impression he leaves is that of an ordinary man with unusual luck, but that makes his book readable for that reason alone.