*** World War II Pacific naval campaigns -- American submarine commerce campaign submarine campaign

American World War II Pacific Submarine Campaign: Pacific Commerce Campaign

American World War II submarine
Figure 1.--Here we see the 'USS Gar' (SS-206) which was commissioned just before Pearl Harbor. We think the photograph was taken after she returned from the Pacific and a distinguished service record. The captain may be giving his son a tour of the ship. Notice the insignias painted on the side, 31 Japanese vessels sunk--all merchant vessels. There are 23 large and 8 small flags. We believe that the 23 large flags were marus, Japanese merchant vessels. The smaller flags were presumably smaller boats sunk, like sampans.

American naval strategists saw the American submarine fleet as serving primarily as a part of fleet operations. The Imperial Navy had the same idea. Only slowly did the idea of commerce raiding become accepted. Like Britain, heavily populated and resource poor Japan was dependent on its sea lanes. The U.S. Navy submariners succeeded in the pacific while the Germans failed in the North Atlantic. Eventually the American submarines were used to target the Japanese merchant marine (maru) fleet. Tankers in particular were singled out. While the big fleet carriers got the headlines. The American submarines sunk over 50 percent of all vessels destroyed during the War. The Japanese merchant marine was almost completely destroying, cutting the country's war industries off from supplies and bringing the country close to starvation by 1945. The American submarines did to Japan what the German u-boats tried to do to Britain. The Japanese never develop the countermeasures needed to adequately deal with the American submarines. The Japanese failed to develop a convoy system until late in the War and then it was not well implemented. One problem was that the Japanese did not have the technology to conduct successful anti-submarine warfare. The success of the American campaign was greatly aided by the fact that the American Navy by 1943 began to establish air and sea superiority in the South Pacific which it gradually extended northward toward the Japanese home islands. The destruction of the Imperial fleet in 1943 and 44 greatly reduced the Japanese ability to protect sea commerce. Eventually 8.8 million tons of Japanese shipping was sunk in World War II. Over 60 percent of that total was lost to the American submarines. 【Mawn】


Mawn, Paul E. "Oil & War."


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Created: 2:46 AM 12/20/2023
Last updated: 2:46 AM 12/20/2023