This is the 43rd episode of the U.S. war series, "The Silent Service". The series was about the exploits of the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet. Each episode is a stand-alone tale of the actions of a particular submarine. Most of the stories are about actions against the Japanese Navy and merchant fleet in the Pacific. There is also the odd tale from the Korean conflict. The series ran for 78 episodes during 1957 and 1958. The stories were all based on actual events. Some pretty good attention to detail here with the U.S Navy allowing filming on several WW 2 era Gato class subs.
Each episode started and ended with retired Real Admiral Thomas M. Dykers giving a breakdown of the action. Dykers became a writer, producer and technical adviser after leaving the service. He worked on films such as, TORPEDO ALLEY, FLAT TOP, THE FROGMEN, HELL AND HIGH WATER and SUBMARINE COMMAND.
This episode is about the USS "S-34". This particular submarine was one of the oldest in service in the Navy, having been launched in 1919. By the time WW2 had arrived she was being used for training. After Pearl Harbor, she was refitted and assigned to Dutch Harbor in Alaska.
In early 1942 the Japanese landed troops on two of the Aleutian Islands, Kiska and Attu. "S-34" was sent out on her first patrol on April 15, 1942. This episode is about the 2nd patrol on June 17th, 1942.
The "S-34" is patrolling off Attu Island and sights a large tanker in the harbour. The tanker is topping up a Japanese destroyer. The submarine sneaks past a Japanese patrol boat at the harbour entrance and approaches the tanker. The "S-34" though has the bad luck to ground on an unseen reef.
The "S-34" manages to back off the reef as the Japanese destroyer come charging towards them. "S-34" fires a pair of torpedoes and dives. The tin fish miss and the destroyer is soon on the spot dispensing a less than friendly brace of depth charges. The submarine hits bottom and decides to stay put for a spell. They now hear a hell of a racket coming from the surface. It seems that the Japanese destroyer has grounded on the same reef the "S-34" had hit.
After a 10 hour stay on the bottom, the air in the submarine is starting to get foul. The Captain decides to surface and hotfoot it to the harbour exit. The submarine is successful in their escape and make for Dutch Harbor. The submarine was so badly damaged she was sent to the lower 48 for repairs.
The "S-34" would complete 7 wartime patrols sinking one small cargo ship and several fishing junks. She was taken off active service in July 1943 and used for training the rest of the war. She was sold for scrap in 1946.
The cast is made up of, Robert Knapp, Alan Reed Jr, Hal Smith and Norm Leavitt.
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