Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine

10 thoughts on “Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II

  1. Mr. Matt Mr. Matt says:

    Thunder Below is the story of the USS Barb The Barb roamed the Eastern Pacific between 1943 and the end of the Second World War In her wake she left a slew of sunken broken Japanese ships including a carrier The Barb and her crew truly revolutionized submarine warfare Under the direction of her captain Gene Fluckey the Barb didn't merely lurk under the waves waiting for a hapless ship to pass slowly in front of her torpedo tubes Fluckey kept the Barb on the surface actively seeking out the Japanese and only submerging when needed to make a fast get away The success of the Barb and the other US subs is in hindsight painfully clear The tonnage sunk by the allied submarines was astronomical Unlike their German counterparts the Americans and English had the technology edge on the Japanese By the end of the war the Barb was fielding rockets and primitive homing torpedoes The Japanese by contrast didn't even have radar in many cases This edge gave the allies a huge advantage Combined with the mass of ships planes troops and subs pressuring Japan the conclusion of the war was a foregone conclusion regardless of the bomb Told by the captain the insight into the experience of a wartime submarine was good It was the strength of the book The detailed section by section recounting of daring raids cat and mouse games with Japanese frigates and destroyers and torpedo runs were excellent There were simply well a lot of them It was almost too much I wanted to see a little strategy or a little personal stories and they just weren't there The book felt a bit like a captain translating his after mission reports into a book It works it's just a little military ishOn a closing note one thing that blew my mind was to realize that the average age of the Barb's crew was 23 Twenty three I don't even want to think about what I was doing at 23 This entire generation of young men and women was engaged in a titanic struggle that is beyond anything that following generations have experienced I can't even really wrap my mind around this and how it affected and colored the generation and future generations I mean people today get outraged by the death of a handful of civilians due to any military action Yet in the 1940s the allies the good guys fire bombed German and Japanese cities and indiscriminately sank any German or Japanese ship they encountered And then they turned around disarmed and went about their lives Fluckey even writes about wanting to cause as much damage as possible so as to bring about a uick end to the warThree stars out of three Parts were two stars parts were four stars so I settled on three

  2. Sandy Sandy says:

    I would not have thought a naval history book could make me cry any than I would have expected it to inspire me as a reading teacher but cry and learn I did as I turned the pages of Thunder Below Admiral Eugene B Fluckey's history of the USS Barb's patrols in the Pacific under his command during World War IIIt is a book my mother's uncle our Uncle Bud drove to Alabama to buy copies of for himself and for his siblings in 1994 Admiral Fluckey's submarine had been part of a wolfpack that had included my mother's Uncle Laurence's boat the USS Herring Before his 21st birthday Uncle Laurence died in combat off the Kurile Islands All his life Uncle Bud sought information from veterans about his brother's service; this book was a part of it so Uncle Bud bought them from the author and veteran himself Admiral Fluckey gave him and his siblings this information in his inscription Herring was under my wolf pack command and sank a frigate the Ishigaki adn three other ships May 31 1 June 1944 Unfortunately I believe her demise was caused by a faulty torpedo compensating valve so that the bow brouched on her final firing and two shots from Matsuwa Island shore batteries holed her conning tower causing Herring to flood and sink in deep water From the resulting oil slick she was definitely sunk thereMy uncle gave me his copy of Thunder Below when he was living in a nursing home in Danbury; certain things belonged in certain places and he wanted to make sure they got there before he was gone So it was for me to read this intimidatingly large detailed military tome Five years later I accepted the challenge When I finished it five days later I wondered what took me so long to open up to it It is an hour by hour account of Fluckey's five patrols as skipper of the Barb in the Pacific This brilliant and fearless fighter and leader had the complete confidence of his men who were completely confident they could succeed Fluckey built a team and a family trusting in the know how and ability of each and every one of his men and using their feedback to modify his plans Together they sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II rescued Allied sailors adrift for days used rockets to take out factories and even blew up a train and a bridge Fluckey was as assertive as he was intelligent; he took chances but only after weighing the odds and keeping in mind the safety of his men and his boat His leadership of the Barb earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor and four Navy CrossesFluckey revolutionized submarine warfare by going after his targets rather than waiting for them to come by His understanding of navigation astronomy physics geometry human nature and need and bureacracy fed his boat's successes He never forgot the goal was to end a war but achieving that goal meant death and destruction and some of the victims were innocent people In short this book is a sensitive heart rending account of the cost of war by a humble leader driven by compassion in many forms love for his family his country and his crew and a respect for real peaceDeeply human moments are part of the fabric of this book about naval warfare and the price of war For example after his fourth patrol Fluckey was on leave for a month and he and his wife went out for dinner and dancing with a group of women whose husbands were submariners or who had died as submariners Five of the women knew they were widows As each snuggled close dancing with me myheart did flip flops I knew four others were widows but they had not yet been notified Damn the warThe horrors those women had yet to face brought tears to my eyes as they danced with their eyes closed dreaming of dancing with their husbandsDamn the war indeed But life insists on itselfAfter his fifth patrol Fluckey was relieved of his command of the Barb When the sub headed to Guam on August 21 1945 Fluckey released the last line holding her to the pier and waved her good bye Then I sat down on the bollard and kept waving until they were passing out of the channel all the while the crew waving backThe pier and dock areas were empty I sat there until my Barb was out of sight Finally standing up slowly I brushed the tears from my cheeks ready to face the future But how I loved that Barb girlThen it dawned on me that the men in the Barb who gave her life had taught me the most valuable philosophy for my life Regardless of all the dangers they accepted at my command and without all the knowledge that was available to me a reciprocal trust glowed I find it applies totally for success in life love marriage and business Simply put 'I believe in you'

  3. Bonnie_blu Bonnie_blu says:

    The history of the USS Barb in WWII and Cpt Fluckey is a non stop exciting tale of bravery strategy and daring This is the best WWII submarine book I have read to date The reader is taken into the heart of submarine warfare both in its nail biting battle seuences and in its calmer moments which allows the reader to experience the full life of the boatFluckey cares about his men and his proudest achievement is that none of the crew were awarded a purple heart even though he was awarded the Medal of Honor In addition he is very intelligent and imaginative He develops new strategies for submarine warfare and regularly finds ways to outwit the Japanese Many of his strategies were adopted by the Navy However Fluckey didn't stop at sinking ships He and his crew attacked land installations and even blew up a trainHighly recommended for readers interested in WWII history submarine history and naval history in general

  4. stormin stormin says:

    This year I've started working on near future science fiction and I decided to read about submarines as part of my research In some ways nuclear submarines are a better match because they can stay submerged basically indefinitely but I also wanted to get a feel for submarines when the technology was a little raw and untested so I'm interested in World War II that would be this book and World War I as well I tell you that just because perhaps spaceship research is not a typical scenario for picking up this bookThe narrative is very very straight forward Admiral Fluckey tells about his 6 tours with the USS Barb 5 as her commander during the closing years of World War II The Barb is credited with sinking a huge amount of Japanese shipping the exact figure is still disputed apparently but even interesting than that Admiral Flucky mounted a rocket launcher on her for her 12th patrol his last as her commander and also landed some of his sailors on one of the Japanese home islands to blow up a train Since modern submarines are used primarily as platforms for ballistic missiles and special forces the subtitle Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare is pretty darn accurateI primarily enjoyed the descriptions of the different tactics traditions and everyday life on board and I took lots of notes for my own story writing Mostly about the differences between submarine and hypothetical spaceship combat but that's still a useful place to start There wasn't really any great writing or stupendous moral to the story or anything and therefore only three stars I'm looking forward to Run Silent Run Deep next

  5. Michael Michael says:

    What a boat what a crew what a captain Was an outstanding read written as if the reader was there I remember seeing the original battle flag for the Barb while I attended Sub School but never delved into the history of the boat crew and captain rather the boats that are on Eternal Patrol Thresher Scorpion Harder Darter Growler Wahoo etc Fluckey and the crew of the USS BARB SS220 certainly revolutionized submarine warfare as the title states first to use rockets and conducting the only ground operation on the Japanese home islands credited with blowing up a train Overall an outstanding read for anyone interested in WWII submarine warfare or one that just wants to read an interesting book

  6. Anthony Anthony says:

    This memoir by Admiral Fluckey the most decorated naval officer of WWII gives a firsthand account of his three war patrols of the USS Barb Not content to rely upon his own memory and notes Fluckey contacted former shipmates and pored through their letters and diaries so the result isn't just a one sided recollection by the Skipper but insight into everyone's experiences from the CO to the mess cranks You really get a sense of what it was like on one of the old diesel boats so if you are a modern submariner I am not but I did do a mid cruise on SSN 724 you will really appreciate the advances made since I give Thunder Below two periscopes up

  7. David David says:

    Though the admiral has an interesting story to tell the writing is contrived and corny very stilted He should have considered a ghost writer He often resorts to conversation reconstructions that are painful to listen to I consumed this book via AudibleTwo books that describe the life of a sub captain during WWII that are way engrossing and much better written1 The Bravest Man The Story of Richard O'Kane US Submariners in the Pacific War by William Tuohy2 Silent Running My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine by James F CalvertI couldn't make it through 'Thunder Below'

  8. Aaron Meyer Aaron Meyer says:

    No doubt about it this is the absolute BEST American submarine account out there that I have read Usually I tell folks if you want an exciting submarine warfare book you need to read the German stuff but now I finally have an American account to recommend This guy had b^ls that clanked and knew when and how to push things to the brink Get it read it you will LOVE it

  9. William William says:

    Just finished this book I do not write many reviews and since the ones written varied so much I thought I would give it a shot Read it It is not a bad bookThe book basically takes the supposed most successful American submarine in WWII and describes the history of five combat patrols that made the success From the ship's log; after action reports both Japanese and American; and a crew member's unauthorized diary the book is presented in a fairly dry format But at least it doesn't read like a text book there are some personal interjections in the writingThe submarine is very successful It had to be The captain and author is a driven man He has to be the best at everything he does In any field in which he participates That is kind of the reason I feel some trepidation in giving the man and not the book somewhat less than five stars First of all he is a graduate of Annapolis He is very well educated I think in design engineering Everyone loves him just ask him That is the take away I got from the bookBut make no mistake he was a very successful captain Being a sub commander is perfect for his personality He can receive his accolades thru uantitative success the destruction of Japanese military and civilian assets He can count his admirals can count his crew can count He gets to measure every success Therein lies the problem for example on his last cruise he has told someone that he will destroy 15 enemy vessels He has a small wager on it In the end he is without weapons ammunition and has only destroyed 14 vessels So to get to 15 he decides to ram a Japanese trawler Did I mention he has already been ordered to return to base two times by the admiralty? That act alone tells you how driven he is risking his vessel and crew to achieve his 15th kill Oh by the way there is also a cameraman specially assigned to his sub to record his killsHis success is of course well documented He wouldn't have it any other way But back to the book It reads dry Rarely is anyone else uoted in the book unless it is to give him a big pat on the back His former classmates love him but somehow when he attempts radio contact they ignore him You know how when you go to a job interview and they ask you about your weaknesses? But you really don't tell them the truth? You game your answer? That is what reading this book feels likeI would like to hear from some crew member or read a diary or post WWII opinion from someone who was there I am talking crew member or better yet a junior officer on his sub and not a member of the ring knockers society So lacking any contrary evidence that his ship was the greatest ever his crew the best his combat patrols the most destructive and that he was the acme of sub commanders I'll buy off on his sales pitch

  10. GymGuy GymGuy says:

    I just could not get too excited about this book My biggest complaint is that it reads like a ship's log sprinkled with dialog Secondly there is do depth of character or reflection Fluckey primarily talks about himself The only other person in the book that me consistently mentions is Bob his Exec The rest just are names on the page In the end even with his great accomplishments I was left feeling emotionlessThere are several FAR better submarine books than this Battle Stations O God of Battles Run Silent Run Deep Silent Running to name just a few

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Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II [Ebook] ➠ Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II By Eugene B. Fluckey – The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb who freuently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's lock The thunderous The USS PDF/EPUB ç roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb who freuently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker   Under Thunder Below!: Epub / 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 than merely sink ships she Below!: The USS Epub â 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 Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes eBook ´ interviews and a recently discovered illegal Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes eBook ´ 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 uniue 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 videogame style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb where they sub out of ammunition actually rammed an enemy ship until it sank   Thunder Below is a first rate true life inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire  .