Paul R. Schratz

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A fascinating personal memoir of underwater combat in World War II, told by a man who played a major role in those dangerous operations. Frank and beautifully written, Submarine Commander’s breezy style and irrepressible humor place it in a class by itself. This book will be of lasting value as a submarine history by an expert and as an enduring military and political analysis. In early 1943 the submarine USS Scorpion, with Paul R. Schratz as torpedo officer, slipped into the shallow waters east of Tokyo, laid a minefield, and made successful torpedo attacks on merchant shipping. Schratz participated in many more patrols in heavily mined Japanese waters as executive officer of the Sterlet and the Atule. At war’s end he participated in the Japanese surrender, aided the release of American POWs, and had a key role in the disarming of enemy suicide submarines. He then took command of the revolutionary new Japanese submarine I-203 and returned it to Pearl Harbor. But this was far from the end of Schratz’s submarine career. In 1949 he commissioned the ultramodern USS Pickerel, the most deadly submarine then afloat, and set a world’s record in a 21-day, 5,200-mile submerged passage from Hong Kong to Honolulu. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Pickerel was immediately sent to Korea to participate in secret intelligence operations only recently declassified and never before revealed in print. Schratz’s broad military experience makes this a far from ordinary memoir.

The U.S. Navy's most innovative, non-conforming, daring skipper tells in intimate detail a gripping and exciting story—unashamed in sorrow, proud in record-setting accomplishment, rich in humor. Great! -- Adm. I.J. Galantin, USN (Ret.), author of Take Her Deep

An authoritative, useful, and interesting view of Pacific Ocean submarine operations. -- American Historical Review

Provides the layperson with an interesting, exciting, and ultimately satisfying account of submarine service, both during WWII and the Korean War. -- Choice

An extraordinary story . . . Schratz is a superb observer! -- Friday Review of Defense Literature

An ebullient, consistently engrossing memoir of submarine service in WWII's Pacific theater and during the Korean conflict. -- Kirkus Reviews

An action-filled account of the wartime operations of the Navy submarine fleet. -- McCormick (SC) Messenger

Serves as a moving testimonial to the many brave men with whom he served. -- Northern Mariner

A commanding and well told tale . . . . Schratz succeeds in making wartime submarining come alive for nonsubmariners. -- Shipmate

Fascinating . . . A delight to read not only because it is well written but because it is so very real seen through the eyes of a completely involved observer. -- Submarine Review

Schratz’s description of life aboard a submarine is one of the single best accounts of the 'Silent Service' during World War II and the Korean War….The book is highly recommended. -- Leo J. Daugherty III -- World War Quarterly

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Paul R. Schratz, World War II, Korean War, Naval operations, Submarine


Military History

Submarine Commander: A Story of World War II and Korea
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