U.S.S. Wahoo pictured in July 1943 off Mare Island Navy Yard. Commanded by Dudley “Mush” Morton,Wahoo was one of the most successful American submarines of World War II. Four months after this picture was taken she was lost with all hands while attempting to exit the Sea of Japan after sinking four ships for a total of 13,000 tons. Her wartime total was 60,038 tons.
The American fleet submarine may arguably be called the most successful naval weapon of World War II. The aircraft carriers got all the publicity, but it was the submarine fleet that destroyed most of the Japanese merchant fleet, isolating the home islands, crippling Japanese industry, and preventing resupply and reinforcement of Japanese island garrisons.
From America’s entry into World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, until the Japanese surrender was signed on 2 September 1945, American submarines were responsible for sinking more than half of all Japanese tonnage. This, despite the fact that the submarine forces comprised less than 2% of the Navy, and spent the first 18 months of the war battling the Navy bureaucracy over defective torpedoes.
While we’re still a long way from achieving it, our goal at fleetsubmarine.com is to create the most comprehensive web resource on the American submarine forces in World War II. This will include an information page on every submarine that was active during the war—including the older boats restricted to training duty—a brief biography of every commander, technical information on the submarines and equipment, patrol lists, and so on. The discussion forum is up and running. We have a good start on a comprehensive Links collection, and are actively searching for related sites.
One of the consequences of a massive project such as this one is that there will, inevitably, be errors. If you run across something on one of our pages, please let us know by using the email link on the left. If you served in one of these boats, and would like to add something to her page, we’d welcome the contribution.