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Thunder Below!: The USS *Barb* Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II [Hardcover]

Eugene B. Fluckey
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 1992
The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships - she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey. This is a gripping adventure chock-full of you-are-there moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column. Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, Luckey Fluckey relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, video-game style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where the sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship untilit sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The USS Barb was the Navy's most successful submarine in WW II. Operating mainly in the South China Sea, the Formosa Strait and the forever mysterious Sea of Okhotsk, the Barb sank at least 29 Japanese ships and climaxed its final patrol with an audacious commando raid on land during which the crew destroyed a 16-car train. This was the sole U.S. military landing on Japanese soil during the war. Drawing on ship's logs, letters, interviews, diaries and his own memory, Fluckey, a retired rear admiral, reconstructs every attack by and against the sub from its eighth through its 12th and last patrol. This was the 15-month period when he served as the Barb's skipper, winning the Medal of Honor and four Navy Crosses for his daring exploits. Fluckey is a fine writer with a lively, colorful style. His book is packed with action and suspense and is rich in details about the day-today operation of a submarine in combat. Photos. Military Book Club main selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Medal of Honor holder Fluckey relates the story of his wartime command, U.S. submarine Barb , in a well-told and -researched narrative of undersea resourcefulness and courage. Barb set an unparalleled record of exploits in the naval war against Japan, and Fluckey has used both U.S. and Japanese naval records to re-create the vessel's story. The quality of his writing is far above the usual wartime memoir. This title will appeal to readers of both military history and Tom Clancy-style technothrillers. Highly recommended for World War II collections. Military Bk. Club main selection.-- Stanley Planton, Ohio Univ.
Chillicothe Lib.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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"Barb Ho-o-o-o!" The call echoed from the bridge of the submarine and dissipated, smothered in the icy fog. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book May 10 2004
By A Customer
I have just completed reading "Thunder Below" and "Clear the Bridge" back to back and being an ex-submariner the contrasts between the two commanding officers is remarkable. I couldn't put Thunder Below down until it was finished. Adm. Fluckey was a commanding officer every sailor dreams of serving under. I just missed serving under him when he was COMSUBPAC in 1966. The combination of the patrol reports and the illegal diary along with remembered conversations puts the reader in the middle of the action. The exploits of the Barb and her crew contains the ingredients of a great movie, and I understand Steven Spielberg has purchased the rights. This review is more of a salute to the Barb and her crew than a book review, and Adm. Fluckeys writing style is to be creditied. Thanks Admiral for a great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE! Feb. 6 2004
Written by the Barb's skipper, Rear Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey, recounting the Barb's 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th War Patrols. From the beggining to the end Fluckey's writing style grips you. This was the first Submarine novel that I have read and after reading his book I feel like I could talk the talk, but only Fluckey could walk the walk. His tactics were well thought and he wasn't afraid of testing new technologies, which is what the 12th (his Graduation) Patrol was all about. He added some great maps at the beginning of each chapter that give the reader a picture of where he is and where he sinks ships. The appendixes have great bare facts about the Patrols, the Barb's crew and a copy of the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC). You won't be sorry for buying this book; after you read it I think you would agree, the story of the Barb, her skipper and her couragious crew NEEDS to be made into a movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome everytime I read it! Jan. 18 2004
This is my favorite military history book! And the only submarine book that I can read from cover to cover. I've tried others but they just don't seem as captivating. I first read this book in 1996 and I've read it at least 8 times since then. I'm amazed by the story telling ability of Admiral Fluckey. The story is exciting but still conveys the dangers of being in a sub, especially during wartime. And Admiral Fluckey seems to be a truly modest man because instead of making a big deal out of his own achievments, he makes a simple statement of the crew's achievements. He writes well and the story definitely keeps a readers attention. A must read for everyone.
I hope that someone does make a movie out of this book! It would make an awesome movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars No Better Sept. 9 2003
By A Customer
As a fan of Dick O'Kane and submariner novels of all historical periods I have not read a tale as enjoyable as this one, a definite top pick on my shelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lucky Flucky! May 29 2003
As a NROTC midshipman, I confess to a certain bias. This book was a great read. Full of adventure, excitement, and good old-fashion story-telling, Adm. Flucky takes us through the 5 war patrols of the U.S.S. Barb with him in command. From his baptism of fire during his first patrol in command to the first ever launching of rockets by a submarine, his stories fill you with awe and make you wonder if they could be possibly true. I can say I was lucky enough to get a personalized copy from the author and will cherish it as I begin a career in the US Navy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As Advertised Aug. 20 2002
I bought this book from Amazon after reading the reviews here -- a big thank you to all you reviewers! Adm. Fluckey does a terrific job of recreating the tension and detailing the actions of his wonderful ship and crew; unlike more static narratives, this one comes alive with the voices of these heroes. Adm. Fluckey deserves special praise for the detailed research he did as well, tracking down even the Japanese radio messages to help illuminate his amazing story. A must-read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Take a case of beer out of the shower........ March 23 2002
By Mike
This is the best first person account of submarine operations in the Pacific I have read to date. Adm. Fluckey does a great job of taking the reader through each of the patrols and how the Barb truly does revolutionize submarine tactics as well as strategies. If you own just one book on the Silent Service operating in the Pacific, then but this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great story from a great man March 6 2002
From the Medal of Honor winning author, comes a tale of great heroics. The Barb was the most succesful WWII sub. She sunk more shipping than any other, all because of the leadership which drove this boat. You will be troubled to find a more compelling and realistic encounter of WWII Sub patrols out on the shelves. I am priviliged to have met Admiral Fluckey's crew when they visited the academy. All are truly great men.
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