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PIGBOAT 39: AN AMERICAN SUB GOES TO WAR. This old submarine, a veteran of 16 years on the China Station before Pearl Harbor, shows how an unprepared US navy fought WWII with what it had. --CLEARANCE SALE--
"Pigboat" is an old time submariner's name for their undersea craft. In the case of the S-39, the name Pigboat seems appropos as the cover photo of the ship shows one ugly vessel. S-39 was built in 1923 and was hardly up to the standard of submarine warfare when war commenced in the Pacific in December 1941. S-39 was based at the U.S. Navy Base at Cavite in the Philippines. When Ensign Larry Bernard reported aboard S-39 in 1940, S-39's 16 years of China Station service had aged her. Her submerged speed was only 9 knots (sustainable for limited periods), and her surface speed was only 12 knots. Her hull was designed for a maximum depth of no more than 200 feet. And her aging engines were crotchety and unreliable. But when Japanese aircraft began attacking the Philippines on December 8, S-39 was pressed into combat service and made a remarkable name for her and her crew. If you enjoy reading naval history, you will want to read this entire book without stopping. Softcover, 224 pages, b/w photos.