- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Paperback Edition edition (July 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0252066707
- ISBN-13: 978-0252066702
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 604 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II First Paperback Edition Edition
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A sprightly memoir by a young submarine captain in the Pacific war, written by an old man looking back as a retired admiral, perhaps a bit amazed at the feats of his reckless youth. -- Thomas E. Ricks, The Washington Post Book World Fluckey offers a grippingly detailed account of his command's hell-and-high-water feats, which won him the Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as four Navy Crosses... A standout in a field crowded with his first-rate entries. -- Kirkus Reviews
From the Back Cover
The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships - she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey. This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column. Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, "Luckey Fluckey" relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, video-game style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where the sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship untilit sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.
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Thank you, men of the Barb.
Fluckey took a new approach to commanding a submarine, spending more time above water than submerged so that his boat could be a more effective hunter. The result; the Barb is officially credited with sinking 17 enemy vessels, including a Japanese aircraft carrier. In her last war patrol Fluckey experimented with using rocket launchers to bombard factories and shipyards along the Japanese coast. On the same patrol, the Barb landed a force of crew members who blew up a railroad train and returned to the ship. This was the ONLY time the US launched a ground combat operation that took place on the Japanese home islands.
Those who know me well know that I love C. S. Forester’s Hornblower series. What Horatio Hornblower was to the British age of sail, Eugene Fluckey is to the US Submarine Force of World War 2. The only difference; Fluckey and his crew actually lived.
This story depicts honor and bravery in a barbaric and unimaginable theater of war.
The Barb and her exploits are truly inspiring. I have been so moved as to visit the USS Drum in Mobile AL to further grasp the experience of these brave men. It is regrettable that the Barb was not preserved as a museum ship! I highly recommend this story as well as the USS Drum and USS Alabama memorials.
God Bless America and Thank God for the USS Barb and her crew.
Eugene Fluckey must have been an inspired leader, to achieve such success as a submarine commander, After the war, he stayed with the navy and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. He admits at the beginning of the book that some of the conversations may have been 'reconstructed', as you couldn't remember exactly what was said 45 years ago ! But this doesn't detract from the story of the USS Barb. Eugene Fluckey, born 1913, has now died, and this book is a remarkable legacy.