At the beginning of World War II, submarine captains were notorious for their lack of initiative. Then a new generation of officers took command. These men and their crews championed a new kind of war, marked by daring risk-taking and methods that were brutal but highly effective. Leading the way in the Pacific was the United States submarine Wahoo, long recognised as the best at its harsh business. Based on extensive research - including newly declassified files, Japanese sources, and the author's long-time correspondence with veterans - Unrestricted Warfare chronicles how a group of junior officers catapulted a submarine force from an ineffective auxiliary body to one of the most lethal instruments of the war
At the outbreak of World War II, the performance of America's growing submarine fleet was handicapped by the conservative peacetime training of its commanders. Avoiding risk and evading detection by the enemy were emphasized over engagement in combat. A new type of aggressive, daring leadership was needed. Unrestricted Warfare dramatically documents the transformation of the "Silent Service" into the deadliest fighting force in the Pacific theater.The initial focus is on Dudley "Mush" Morton, who virtually seized command of the submarine Wahoo, breaking ingrained patterns of tentative leadership. Morton devised combat techniques so effective that they set the standard for every other sub patrolling in harm's way. Handicapped by torpedoes that frequently failed to detonate, Morton risked a down-the-throat shot at an oncoming destroyer and conducted slashing surface battles won by fire from Wahoo's deck guns. Following his furious attacks on a four-ship convoy, Morton returned to port with a broom affixed to the periscope shears: clean sweep. His motto, famous in the submariner's elite fraternity, was the terse "Shoot the Sunzabitches." Wahoo sank seven ships in ten days on her next patrol, and six ships on her last. Dubbed a "one-boat wolfpack" by navy brass, Wahoo sailed into the Sea of Japan on her seventh patrol, never to return. Yet, before the tragic loss, Morton had unleashed a final devastating salvo in the form of the officers who apprenticed under him. In an intriguing feat of investigation, author James DeRose traces the legacy of Wahoo through the officers who served under Morton. Many went on to their own commands on such subs as Flasher, Grayback, and Tang. They followed Morton's aggressive philosophy aboard their subs, while developing their own tactics. DeRose, in particular, follows the exploits of the absolutely fearless Medal of Honor--winner Dick O'Kane and the more prudent, often overlooked George Grider. Only Flasher would survive the war, and Tang's heartbreaking loss is poignantly told. In exploring the decisive impact of Wahoo's officers on submarine combat, Unrestricted Warfare vividly re-creates the daring deeds of this new breed of hunter/killer commanders. Readers will experience a bravado torpedo attack made in hull-scraping shallow water, and emergency dives to rivet-popping depths while evading a barrage of depth charges in "Ashcan Alley." By reconciling wartime combat reports, personal memoirs, and declassified postwar documents from both the United States and Japan, DeRose provides a definitive account of the undersea warriors who waged a new brand of warfare in the Pacific theater of World War II.