Book Review: The U.S.S. Flier: Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine


by Michael Sturma

Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 2008. Pp. ix, 209. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN:0813124816

Flier (SS-250), a Gato Class boat launched in 1943, had a brief wartime career.  On her first sortie into the war zone she grounded in rough seas at Midway, requiring extensive repairs.  A successful war patrol followed, but when the boat undertook her second war patrol she struck a mine and sank within minutes, with heavy loss of life; in two war patrols she had accounted for only 10,380 tons of Japanese shipping.

This would hardly seem to provide the makings for a good sea story, but that is exactly what the author has managed to give us. 

Prof. Sturma (Murdoch University, Australia), manages to weave together mini-biographies of the crew, a look at U.S. submarines and their operations in the Pacific, Navy politics, and more, including a memorable liberty in Fremantle, as well as the story of how eight men managed to survive the boat's loss, a look at guerrilla operations in the Philippines, and more, to give us engaging and valuable account that is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the undersea war in the Pacific.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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