Croaker versus Tojo

This photo was taken in the summer of 1943 at the submarine building yards of the Electric Boat Company in New London/ Groton, CT.

The painted sign on the side of the crane shows a croaker fish chasing what appears to be a caricature of Japanese leader Tojo, hanged for crimes against humanity after the Japanese surrender. The croaker is the namesake of the Gato class submarine being built, USS Croaker. The boat was laid down April of 1943 and launched in December 1943. She compiled an outstanding war record in the Pacific, sailing on six war patrols against the Japanese.

After being de-commissioned and re-commissioned several times, she was finally struck from the US Navy list in 1971. You can tour the submarine at the Buffalo Naval Park.

[Image courtesy of Life Magazine.]

Sinks Japanese Battleship

One of the men at my talk in New Canaan last Friday was Nick Fellner, Lt. Commander, USNR (ret). During World War Two, Mr. Fellner was a US Navy dive bomber pilot and fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He was one of the handful of American dive bomber pilots who crippled and sank the Imperial Japanese battleship Musashi, a sister ship of the Yamato, these two battleships being the largest ever constructed. To give you an idea of her massive size, Musashi‘s main battery consisted of nine 18.1 in naval guns — these being the largest caliber of naval guns ever placed on a warship by any nation. I hope to interview Mr. Fellner for my blog at a later date.

(24 October 1944) Task Force 38 aircraft attack the Japanese battleship Musashi (foreground) and a destroyer in the Sibuyan Sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

[Source: The World’s Great Battleships by Robert C. Jackson. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.]

Thank you, New Canaan! To Everyone: I Am Available for Speaking

I spoke to the Senior Men’s Group of New Canaan, CT on Friday, 17 February. A friend arranged this and it was a lot of fun. There were at least one hundred men in attendance and a number of them had fought in World War Two. While I focused my talk on the Battle of the Atlantic, the questions from the audience covered the entire spectrum of the U-Boat war and it was quite an intellectual workout. The men asked questions for almost forty minutes before the presiding officer ended the question period. The audience was so interested in this subject I think they would have asked questions for another few hours and I would have been happy to have stayed. I sold a number of books afterwards and then the President of the group and several of the officers took me to lunch with my friend who set it all up, Connecticut State Representative John Hetherington. Thank you, John. All in all a wonderful experience and a most hospitable group.

If you would like me to speak to your organization please contact me at