Podcast; Submarine Rescue; The Race to Save Squalus

Another great multi-part podcast from Against The Odds/Wondery. (This version should be free.) Good background to the missing submarine news today, and the challenges of a possible rescue.

There have been only four successful submarine rescues. Squalus in 1939 was the second one.

The Against The Odds series are couched as adventure stories, and sometimes get small tech details wrong, but they stick with the facts.

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Squalus was raised and rechristened as Sailfish – her nickname in the fleet was Squailfish.

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This book was very good, hard to put down.


On the eve of World War II, America’s newest submarine plunged helplessly to the North Atlantic bottom during a test dive. Miraculously, thirty-three crew members still survived. While their wives and girlfriends waited in nearly unbearable tension on shore, their ultimate fate would depend on one man.

In this thrilling true narrative of terror, heroism and courage in the depths of a malevolent ocean, prizewinning author Peter Maas brings us in vivid detail a blow-by-blow account of the disaster and its uncertain outcome. The sub was the Squalus. The man was a U.S. Navy officer, Charles “Swede” Momsen,

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Thanks. I am a sucker for submarine books and movies. . . . .

Try this official history. As the child of a submariner I grew up with it in the '50s. Great stories. I bet not too many first graders were conversant with the teething troubles of the Mark 14 steam torpedo. :slight_smile: The first edition that I grew up with had gorgeous fold-out maps on tracing paper. I found them beautiful but frustratingly boring to my kid brain.


Oh, very cool. While one of my classmates opted for subs at graduation (and survived the Rickover interview) and also ended up skipper on a boomer for a bit, actually sailing on subs didn’t interest me at the time. When I was working on tugs in the 70s, I found quite a number of tug engineers that came from the diesel boats. Probably where the fascination began.


Coincidentally that was my route as well, diesel boats to tugs. It was a no brainer since the engines were the same but the view was better.


And yet, your handle is “Steamer”. I am old enough to have started on steam plants. A move to diesel was brought about because I need to eat. . . .

Sounds like you and your dad have had an interesting run.

My first steamboat was a Skinner Unaflow with scotch boilers, that’s where I learned to love vintage steam power! I retired from MEBA with a chief, steam, motor and gas turbine ticket but almost all sailing time on licenses was steam. I am not a big fan of motorboats, to me steam is a symphony while diesels are rap. Also understand the need to eat and kept up motor ticket to keep all my options open.

Now my world rotates around diesels again. I manufacture a diesel emissions control system that is used on large yachts to treat generator exhaust.

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I recall a few episodes of that series with the seaview submarine, I guess i could handle a nuke sub (maybe) but I don’t think i’d be on this lost one, even if i was paid $250K!