Submarine Commander

  • by Paul R. Schratz
  • Narrated by John N. Gully
  • 15 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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"
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- scott pedoto

Engrossing Memoir

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.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-04-2015
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks