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

Story is Okay, Reader apparently sedated.

Would you try another book from Paul R. Schratz and/or John N. Gully?

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.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

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.

Would you be willing to try another one of John N. Gully’s performances?


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Submarine Commander?

It either needs about a third of it edited out, or else a lot more technical detail and experience added.

Any additional comments?

One of the worst audio books I have ever tried.

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- R. Denton

Biography Through Sub Command

Would you consider the audio edition of Submarine Commander to be better than the print version?

Didn't read print version so can't say

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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- Kevin S.

Book Details

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