THE SILENT SERVICE "The Story of the U.S.S. Flier" 1957
This is the 29th 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 U.S.S. "Flier". The "Flier" was a late war commission and only went out on her first patrol May 1944. Her area of patrol was off the Island of Luzon. The ship managed to ravage a large Japanese convoy sinking at least 4 ships and damaging several more. It was then a quick trip to Australia for more fuel and torpedoes.
The "Flier" was sent out on her second patrol to an area off Indochina. While making passage through the Balabac Strait, the "Flier" hit a Japanese naval mine. The mine ripped a hole in the side causing the submarine to rapidly sink. Only 14 men survived the sinking including the Captain, John Archer and the XO, Chuck Connors.
The men spent 17 hours in the water before they reached land. Only 8 out of the 14 men made the island. The island turned out to be barren of food and fresh water. The men fashioned a raft out of driftwood etc and headed for the next island.
They lucked out and ran into several members of a Filipino underground group. They were then taken by boat to a radio the Filipinos had on another island. Contact is soon made with headquarters and a rescue sub is sent to retrieve the men. The pick-up is a success, and the men are soon back at base.
In Feb 2009 the wreck of the "Flier" was found at 300 feet in the Balabac Strait.
This one is an interesting take on how men can survive the elements.
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