Saturday, March 15, 2008


An American submarine, Balao-class USS Robalo (SS-273), is launched in May, 1943, at the Manitowoc Shipyard in Wisconsin. Most warships were launched stem first, but the shipyard was on a narrow river so they did it this way, which was pretty dramatic. The Robalo went down the Mississippi on a barge to the sea. It is still on eternal patrol having been lost, probably to a mine, in the South China Sea on July 26, 1944. Eighty-one men went down with her.

The Germans are famous for their U-Boat fleet in the Atlantic, and, indeed, the last model they built really was pretty impressive. However, except for that model, far too late, we built larger, better, faster, farther ranging, more deadly ones, like this one, and we built a lot of them. Between the subs below the waves and the planes above, by late 1944, the surface ships available to the Imperial Navy were few and very far between.


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