Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Elie Wiesel. Romanian born Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, Holocaust survivor. 1928 - 2016.
Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. C.S. Lewis, 1898 - 1963.
Thunder Below -- Fluckey was a MOH winner. Late war. The USS Barb was a fighting boat. Did stuff like blow up trains and fire artillery off the deck. Captain a bit reckless in my view, but got away with it. One neat aspect of this book is how he weaves in the Japanese details in some of the engagements. I wish more were like this. Good read, even if I think Fluckey was a bit of glory hound.
Iron Coffins -- This is the submarine equivalent of Sajer's Forgotten Soldier. There's likely a lot of embellishment in this book. I've personally tried to verify some of the claims made, but unable to do so. It is a good read, but probably not a good historical reference. More like a novel probably. Still, it hits the right notes if you can look past the inaccuracy.
Wahoo and Clear the Bridge -- Two books from O'Kane, the first when he was Mush Morton's XO, and the second when he got command of his own boat. O'Kane's gung-ho, but a fine naval officer and he goes in to the sort of mundane operational details that I like so much.
Wake of the Wahoo -- Interesting book again about the Wahoo, told from the yeoman's perspective. Books that are from enlisted sailors have a different perspective. Good book to counter the rest from officers. Sterling got off the boat just in time too.
Silent Running -- Officer book, but covers Calvert's arrival as a greenhorn and as he climbs the ranks. Another book that has good detail about the boat's operation, details on plotting, the TDC, firing and maintaining torpedoes and that sort of thing.
Run Silent Run Deep -- A novel, a fictionalized account but written by a very successful submariner, Edward Beach. Good read, but not a historical reference. Sort of like Das Boot in that sense.
That's a start and I got more.
I don't want to finish this post without mentioning two more books (well three actually)
For anyone interested in WW2 submarine warfare you cannot miss Clay Blair's works.
Silent Victory -- The bible on US operations in the Pacific. Incredible work and a must-read for those interested in the Pacific sub war.
Hitler's U Boat War -- This is two volumes, The Hunters, and The Hunted. This is for the German boats in the Atlantic what Silent Victory is for American boats. Must-read for anyone interested in the details of the Atlantic submarine war.
But none of the Blair books are from a single sailor perspective, and therefore do not meet the thread requirements, but I didn't want to leave them out.
No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!
Of those I think Hitler's U Boar War is the most essential. Since you read Silent Victory you know just what to expect. And for those of us interested in the Atlantic submarine war from the German perspective I don't think there's a better work. I asked for it for Christmas many years ago, and my girlfriend got it for me. She said at the time she found it hard to find. But if you dig Silent Victory you'll dig these books too.
No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!
Alarm Starboard!: A Remarkable True Story of the War at Sea by Geoffrey Brooke
The author’s naval war experiences make the most exciting reading. After being mined on the battleship Nelson in 1939, he served on the Prince of Wales, during the Bismarck action, witnessing the sinking of the Hood and Churchill and Roosevelt’s historic meeting. He survived the disastrous sinking by Japanese dive-bombing in December 1941 but within two days of reaching Singapore, the Island fell. Evacuated in a coastal steamer, only to be sunk the next morning, he was stranded on a deserted island for a week before setting out for Ceylon in a native boat. His epic journey covered 1660 miles and took 37 days. Thereafter his adventures continued, with the North African landings, Russian convoys and, returning to the Far East. He was in the carrier Formidable when she was hit twice by Japanese Kamikazes before VJ Day August 1945.
Singapore's Dunkirk: The Aftermath of the Fall by Geoffrey Brooke
When Singapore fell so ignominiously to the Japanese in February 1942, many tens of thousands of men, women and children were left to their own devices. It was truly 'every man for himself'. To stay in Singapore meant certain captivity and every probability of barbarity at the hands of the Japanese, that many tried to escape. This book tells of some of the remarkable and shocking experiences that lay in store for those who chose this option. The only way out was by sea and every sort of craft was pressed into service. Ahead lay terrible dangers; storm, shipwreck, piracy, capture by a merciless enemy, starvation and death through lack of water, to name but some.
This is a shocking and inspiring book that embraces great courage, extraordinary endurance, appalling atrocities and even cannibalism. The author was one of those who made it to safety.
A little outside your parameters but an excellent two volume memoir.
The Ship With Two Captains - Terence Robertson. Tells the story of HMS Seraph, a British submarine that was involved in several special operations, and carried notable figures from WWII into and out of sometimes hostile territory. She was among other things involved in Operation Mincemeat.