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Drew Ballard ...
 Cmdr. Dick O'Kane (2001) (as Andrew Ballard)
Andy Schofield ...
 Navy Captain (as Andrew Schofield)
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tv mini series | non fiction | See All (2) »

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5 January 2001 (USA)  »

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Thorough Doc.
7 September 2013 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

I can't be sure but if this is the TV series presented by the Military History Channel, it's quite good. I'm assuming that "The Silent Service" referred to in this entry is the same as the boxed set of DVDs available under the title of "Submarines of World War II: The Silent Service." The two appear to have some personnel with the same names.

If this series is the one I watched, I recommend it rather highly. It covers not only the submarines of world war II but brings us up to date on modern boats of the American and Soviet navies.

It's informative too, even about subjects we don't often hear about. The war-time Japanese submarines were huge compared to those of the other navies of the period. The episode dealing with them, I think, is a skosh unfair. The Japanese are said by American talking heads as having misused their submarines as troop transports at places like Guadalcanal without explaining that the threat from American air was so dire that no other means of transport would have survived.

A more valid point is that the Japanese used submarines to attack American warships, which were considered honorable targets. One salvo of five torpedoes managed four hits on three American warships -- two on an aircraft carrier, one on a battleship, and one on a destroyer. The last two were accidental, having been aimed at the carrier. As the narrator observes, it was an extraordinary feat, and one that, had it involved an American submarine, would have been celebrated in the Western press.

At the same time, it's true that the shipping lanes between the West Coast and the ports of the Pacific provided many ripe targets that were not so much ignored as just not systematically attacked. The German U-boats in the Atlantic were much more effectively deployed.

I don't want to go on about this. I still wonder if I'm describing the same series as this entry describes. But if it's correct, it's certainly worth watching. The Russian perspective is especially interesting -- and sometimes hilarious.


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