This is the 76th 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 deals with the U.S.S. "Squalus". The episode follows the newly commissioned submarine as she is doing some running up tests off Portsmouth New Hampshire in May 1939. There is a mechanical failure and the submarine floods and settles on the bottom at 200 plus feet.
The flooding drowns 26 men immediately before watertight doors can be shut. Stuck in the forward torpedo room are 33 survivors including most of the ship's officers. They release a smoke buoy and another buoy containing a telephone link.
Another submarine running test nearby, the USS "Sculpin", responds to the distress smoke buoy. They make contact through the telephone line to the downed submarine. They call up headquarters with the news and the Navy sends out their new rescue ship, the USS "Falcon".
Using a diver, the "Falcon" sends down cables to attach to the "Squalus". They then send down the new and untested rescue bell. The men are rescued 6 at a time and returned to the surface.
The "Squalus" would be salvaged in July 1939 and would be recommissioned under the name "Sailfish" in May 1940. The "Sailfish" would have a long war and complete 12 patrols. (Check out episode 20 of the series for another tale of this same submarine)
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