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.
If you plan to return frequently, we suggest bookmarking this page. If you don't want to do that, but also don't want to type the whole URL, "fleetsub.com" and "fleetboat.com" will also bring you here.
1/6/09: We have turned Forum posting back on for registered users, so you will no longer have to wait for posts to be approved. At the same time, we have stopped allowing self-registration in the forums, so new users will need to email the webmaster to request an account. It's a nuisance, but it should keep the spammers out.
8/17/08: Back at it at last. Added four new boat profiles and one new biography, as well as some minor tweaks on existing pages.
1/26/04: With Internet Explorer 6 now the dominant web browser for our visitors, we are starting to rewrite most of our pages as tables instead of pure CSS which, unfortunately, Microsoft's latest browser doesn't handle properly. Going back to an older format should keep the pages from extending beyond the right border of the browser screen. IE 6.0, it seems, can't figure out tables inside divisions, and wants to make them as wide as the entire window instead of only as wide as the available space.
Last week FleetSubmarine.com broke the 2,000 unique visitors per week barrier for the first time. We try to be modest about this and only claim visitors, not hits, and only count each visitor once during the week and not every time he/she comes back. (Our hit count for the same period was 32,387, so you can see why a lot of site claim hits instead of visitors.)
9/15/03: Added an article and a number of new pictures of the 5"/25-Caliber deck gun.
8/24/03: Added 35 new photos to the Cod profile, including some taken inside the conning tower on a visit in September 2001, and more taken last month. This is one of the most carefully restored fleet boats still in existence, as well as the lowest numbered, and is well worth the trip to Cleveland.
3/22/03: We are in the process of moving to a different hosting company, which should give faster, more reliable service. The downside of this is that it appears we will end up losing the forum content in the process. The main reasons for the move have to do with a faster server, with a somewhat better availability record, along with a lot more space, as we were already starting to push the limits on the old host. If you see this message, you're looking at the "new" site. If you don't, you're on the "old" site, which will be left up for a while as the DNS system progagates the new hosting information and starts sending everyone here.
11/29/02: Added highlights of Billfish's fourth through eighth war patrols, crew lists for those patrols, and a couple of photographs, provided by her former gunnery officer. This is the first time a former crew member has given us his personal recollections of World War II submarine service, and we hope this will be the start of a trend.
Last week was also the first time FleetSubmarine.com recorded over 1,000 unique visitors in a single week. Not at all bad for a site that's only been on line since May and has followed a strict no-spam, mostly word-of-mouth publicity policy from the beginning. We'll keep adding material as it becomes available, of course
9/23/02: Posted the updated Personalities page, which now lists all of the wartime commanding officers, including links to the pages for the submarine(s) they commanded. There are bios for some officers, but as yet we haven't been able to obtain this information for the majority of commanders. As we get it, we'll add the individual pages.
9/9/02: The complete patrol listings, by boat, have now been posted. Most dates are month/year only at this time, but we should be able to add the actual day of the month as we add the boat histories. The boats without active links should be those which did not conduct any war patrols, but were in commission during the war.
9/2/02: Added a large number of links to fleet/diesel submarine websites. We have added over 60 additional patrol abstracts since the previous progress report and should complete that part of the project very soon.
8/27/02: Patrol listings have now been posted for all Gato class and earlier boats. This includes about 2/3 of the patrols. We will start adding Balao and Tench class patrols tomorrow. Once those are done we'll update the "Personalities" page, linking each commander with the boat(s) he commanded, as well as adding the actual boat histories. We are also looking into getting full copies of every American submarine war patrol report, and once that's been accomplished we'll be posting those as well. (That part may take a little while, mind you.)