This is the 20th 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. Squalus and Sailfish. The submarine "Squalus" was launched in 1938. During a test dive on 23rd May 1939 the submarine suffered a mechanical problem and dived straight down till she hit bottom. Most of the submarine flooded but 33 men survived in the forward torpedo room.
The "Squalus" released a smoke buoy and help in the form of another submarine, U.S.S. Sculpin arrived. A Navy rescue ship also arrives and using a diving bell, 32 of the men are quickly rescued. The "Squalus" was later raised, repaired and recommissioned under the name, "Sailfish".
The "Sailfish" was base in Manila at the time of the Japanese attack. After several failed attacks on Japanese shipping she headed for the Dutch East Indies. From there it was off to Australia.
The "Sailfish" had a long war with twelve long patrols on her record. The submarine was credited with sinking 7 Japanese ships for a total of 46,000 tons. Included in this total was the Japanese aircraft carrier, "Chuyo". In a cruel twist of fate, the "Chuyo" had been carrying 21 American submariner p.o.w.s. The prisoners, were from the U.S.S. Sculpin", the same ship that had been first on the scene when the "Squalis" sank in 1939.
The cast includes, Paul Wexler, William Tracey, Wright King and Frank Gerstle.
The "Sailfish" was decommissioned in 1945 and sold for scrap in 1948. The conning tower was saved and stands at the Portsmouth Naval Yard as a memorial to the men lost in the "Squalus".
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