The USS Swordfish

The World War II Patrols of the First American Submarine to Sink a Japanese Ship


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SKU: 9781476677743 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Among the more than 260 American submarines that patrolled the Pacific during World War II, the USS Swordfish in 1941 was the first to sink a Japanese armed merchant ship, marking the beginning of the submarine’s colorful history. A series of seven commanders led Swordfish’s 13 war patrols. Each skipper had a distinct leadership style. Some were successful in sinking enemy ships; others returned to port empty-handed. Yet all patrols risked dangerously close encounters with the enemy and the unforgiving nature of the open sea.
Drawing on archival sources and interviews with veteran sailors, this first full-length history of the Swordfish provides detailed accounts of each patrol and covers the mysterious disappearance of the legendary submarine on its final mission.

About the Author(s)

In 2014 George J. Billy retired from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in New York, where he was chief librarian for 30 years. He has published books and articles in the fields of history and library science.

Bibliographic Details

George J. Billy
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 234
Bibliographic Info: 29 photos, maps, appendices, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7774-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3678-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

1. Chester Smith: The Quiet Hunter
2. Special Missions
3. Chester Smith Creates a Legend
4. Competing with a Legend
5. Hensel’s Finest Hour
6. New Commander—Old Submarine
7. The Thirteenth Patrol
Appendix A: USS Appendix B: USS (­SS-193) Crew List of the Thirteenth Patrol
Appendix C: USS —Ships Sunk or Damaged
Appendix D: U.S. Submarines SS 188–193—
Compartments and Tanks
Note Abbreviations
Chapter Notes

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Strongly researched and written…a well laid out history of the Swordfish…excellent…riveting and entertaining. [Billy’s] passion and extensive research definitely served him well. It elevates the overall quality of his work, and I am sure, this background researches why his book resonates so loudly. …Anyone who enjoys s good riveting sea tale will get right into the text. …highly recommended”—The Northern Mariner

• “Meticulous research…extremely readable…Billy attempts to record the war patrols of USS Swordfish and to honor both the submarine and the men who served aboard her…he has definitely succeeded”—Nautical Research Journal

• “The authenticity and detail obtained by George Billy genuinely captures the reality of undersea warfare in the Pacific by recounting the dangers that marked USS Swordfish’s many engagements with Japanese merchants and combatants, while also depicting the spirit of Americans at war. This is an enjoyable read for all.”—Naval Historical Foundation

• “Extensively detailed history…highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review