A fascinating personal memoir of underwater combat in World War II, told by a man who played a major role in those dangerous operations. Frank and beautifully written, this book will be of lasting value as a submarine history by an expert and as an enduring military and political analysis.
In early 1943, the submarine USS Scorpion, with Paul R. Schratz as torpedo officer, slipped into the shallow waters east of Tokyo, laid a minefield, and made successful torpedo attacks on merchant shipping. Schratz participated in many more patrols in heavily mined Japanese waters as executive officer of the Sterlet and the Atule. At war's end, he participated in the Japanese surrender, aided the release of American POWs, and had a key role in the disarming of enemy suicide submarines. He then took command of the revolutionary new Japanese submarine I-203 and returned it to Pearl Harbor. But this was far from the end of Schratz's submarine career.
In 1949, he commissioned the ultramodern USS Pickerel, the most deadly submarine then afloat, and set a world's record in a 21-day, 5,200-mile submerged passage from Hong Kong to Honolulu. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Pickerel was immediately sent to Korea to participate in secret intelligence operations only recently declassified and never before revealed in print. Schratz's broad military experience makes this a far from ordinary memoir.
©1988 The University Press of Kentucky (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks
"An authoritative, useful, and interesting view of Pacific Ocean submarine operations." (American Historical Review)
"Fascinating... A delight to read not only because it is well written but because it is so very real seen through the eyes of a completely involved observer." (Submarine Review)
"A commanding and well told tale.... Schratz succeeds in making wartime submarining come alive for nonsubmariners." (Shipmate)
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I have toured a number of WWII Gato class WWII fleet boats and have been fascinated by them and the men that manned them. Captain Schratz provides the lay person with an interesting exciting view of life as a submariner. Schratz also provides a look at the life of a Navy family and how difficult it can be for a wife particularly during wartime.
The author provides lots of anecdotes and insights into the life of the men on board as well as Navy bureaucracy. I particularly enjoyed Schratz’ occasional forays into the strategic and overarching military concerns of the day most helpful in understanding more about WWII submarine warfare. Most of the book deals with WWII but I found the section about life after WWII in the navy most interesting particularly with the creation of the new Porpoise class of submarines. Schratz was the first commander of the USS Pickerel and set a number of world records with the boat.
The book is well written and easy to read. The back and forth between discussions of the men he served with and information of War patrols and the equipment kept the book moving. John N. Gully did an excellent job narrating the book. The book was moderately long at 15 and ½ hours. If you are interested in Submarines or the Navy this book will provided good insights.
"Story is Okay, Reader apparently sedated."
Probably not. The author doesn't really bring us in with the experience nearly as well as others have done on this same subject. It's more like a series of reports and personal experiences laced together.
I would not consider trying anything else by this reader, even for free. There was no change in tempo, voice or intonation whether fighting a surface battle or studying navigation.
Can't say. I'm returning it after four hours of tortured listening. Even tried skipping forward several times, but no joy. It may be okay in print version, but only if you have not read any others like Thunder Below or The Bravest Man which are much more interestingly written.
It either needs about a third of it edited out, or else a lot more technical detail and experience added.
One of the worst audio books I have ever tried.
"Could have been."
Not well written. Add to that a narrator that shows as much spark as a lobotomized person on ambien. Maybe the material wasn't that good. I don't know. Possibly it's because the author comes off pretty square as compared to Mush Morton, Dick Okane or Gene Fluckey. My advice spend your credit on "War below"
"Biography Through Sub Command"
Didn't read print version so can't say
I found the narrator's style a bit stoic for my taste. Also, being a retired Naval Officer (not subs) a found a few Navy vocabulary not the way a sailor would have said it.
Mentioned how a shipmate who had been home for one day after at 2-yr-ish absence made the mistake of disciplining his [tween-age?] child. Hey, the instant dad returned home all was not as though he never left.
This was the real story of a real Naval Officer basically from commissioning through relief in command. It's not all general quarters and action. It's a lot of long monotonous time too. Painted a decent picture of the family separation and it's impact.
"Starts a Bit Slow, But Patience Really Pays Off!"
It took me a little while to get fully sucked in, but I'm so glad I hung in there. This is a harrowing, well-written and very personal account of the submariner's life, full of interesting, very real people caught in unimaginable circumstances. The narration is down-to-earth and natural, almost like one of the participants is telling you the story in a living room next to a burning fire. If you enjoy books about submarines and their real-life crews, this is one of the better ones. I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Blast.
"Interesting, wished for more technical detail"
Interesting book, I wish the author had explained more of the physics and technology of submarines. Maybe this wasn't allowed.
Really enjoyed this book. As a former military spouse was able to relate to many events finding myself laughing at times. Good listening.
"Great story about WWII submarines"
Being a Navy Vet myself it brought back a lot of good memories from when I was in
Great job. He speaks clearly and quickly enough to cover the material while allowing the listener to absorb what is going on
I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBoom
"An OK Historical Record About One Man's Carrier"
The book is an autobiography about Paul Schratz's carrier in the Navy, and how he eventually became a commander of submarines. He did great things in the service of his country. The book was first published in 1988.
The reader was smooth. He didn't read fast, just a nice even pace, and spoke clearly. However, there were some words, namely geographic places mispronounced.
I have always been very interested in submarine warfare, especially that of World War II. Commander Schratz had some pretty tough assignments. He told it like it was, I am quite sure.
America can be grateful that we had men of great character serving in positions of authority. I served in the armed forces about the time this book was being written, but did not know of it until recently. I am thankful that I didn't have to endure what Paul Schratz was so committed to in serving his country.
The Naval Institute records his passing in 1993. He had four daughters. His decedents must be very proud of his fine record of service and sacrifice.
"Soldiers did so much from a cramped undersea world"
Entertaining submarine life
He speaks clearly and quickly enough to cover the material while allowing the listener to absorb what is going on.
Support from below the sea can make all the difference.
I love war biographies and have read several that include references to the contributions of submarines. I was excited to hear this book but I had low expectations for the entertainment value of men being crammed in small craft under the sea. The author does a wonderful job of throwing in small personal details of the life of the men both at sea and his family life which paints them as vivid people rather than just soldiers that went to war. I ended up fascinated at how these men supported those (like my grandfathers) who were up on boats and under attack. Until this book I hadn't considered the large roll of submarines in the Pacific long after the Atlantic Uboat fight had ended. The author describes hardships without fishing for pity and focuses on the good times in general. It is a world war II book that actually makes you feel positive about some of the experiences, not just the outcome. This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast. I am happy to have had the opportunity. I sincerely loved it.
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