Silent Running

Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine (1995) by James Calvert is a memoir about Calvert’s time as an officer on a US Navy submarine during WWII.

The book covers Calvert’s time about the USS Jack commanded by Tommy Dykers and later Elmer Krapf. The description of the training, attacks on and attacks by the submarine are fairly good, the tense, sometimes terrifying atmosphere on board a submarine is fairly well evoked. The stalking of convoys, taking shots and then the wait for torpedos to hit is engrossing to read about.

The problems of US submarines, in particular the faulty magnetic fuses and the furor this caused the submariners is also interesting to read about.

Calvert also writes about time ashore on Perth and how the submarine crew went with the local population. Calvert and some officers also snuck out into Japan before the surrender was signed and as well as potentially sparking an incident were also almost court martialed.

The book is an interesting contrast to Iron Coffins which is driven by the German loss in the war and the massive death toll in German submarines. Here while losses are written about there is not the sense that most submariners will die.

Silent Running is an interesting, well written book that describes what the war was like for US submarines in the Pacific.


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