Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, February 13, 2016


I'm sad to report that Charleton Comics Submarine Attack #20 is weak tea.  The four stories are told quickly and dryly; every opportunity to make a story exciting or interesting seems to be studiously avoided.  Ah, well...

"The Square Peg" is Lt. Shorty Weaver, a recent Annapolis grad.  Shorty dislikes submarines and wants to be assigned to a destroyer  His admiral father has other ideas and asks Shorty to volunteer for submarine duty where Shorty's expertise would be invaluable.  So Shorty relunctantly finds himself serving on a sub under a captain who dislikes his attitude.  While attacking a Japanese ship in an atoll, the captain and the executive are knocked out of service, leaving Shorty in charge of the sub while other Japanese ships are closng in.  Shorty pulls a bluff and saves the sub.  Afterward, he decides he likes submarine service.  Wait. Uh.  How did that happen?  Dunno.

The scene shifts to the North Atlantic in 'The U.S.S. Ice Cube."  A sub is pursing a German tender and they both get locked in the ice, each out of range of the others' guns.  The Germans send men across the ice to blow up the American sub.  The Americans outflank them and send them scurrying back to their ship.  The Americans take the explosives the Germans so kindly left behind when they were fleeing and use them to blow a hole in the ice, allowing the sub to go underwater and get closer to the Germans.  The German boat goes kaboom.  A by-the-numbers plot with absolutely no suspense, sort of like the stories your boring Uncle Alex would drone on about during dreaded family get-togethers.

We move up some years to the present  time -- 1960.  A foreign (foreign being a code word for Russian) sub is lodged offshore in American territorial waters.  To lodge a diplomatic protest would be useless.  The foreign power would just deny everything while their sub goes back to international waters.  The American submarine captain sends frogmen to wrap cable around the lurking sub;s propeller, disabling the sub if it tries to move.  The foreign sub is forced to surface and the Americans have their proof that their territorial waters have been violated.  The foreign sub -- no longer "The Undetected!" -- sails off with their figurative tail between their legs.  That'll larn them!

Finally, in "The Admiral's Shadow," a Japanese admiral is leading a large convey not suspecting that a lone American sub is tagging along directly underneath the admiral's ship.  The sub shadows the convvoy until they have enough information about the strength, direction, and probable destination of the convoy.  The Americans then radio the information, surface, fire enough torpedoes to hobble the admiral's ship, then move back underneath it and wait for reinforcements to destroy the convoy.

It's amazing that -- throughout this issue -- the Americans are always able to fire their weapons just a split second before the enemy can.

All in all, I found this issue to be as boring as day to day llife on a submarine might be.  Perhaps you'll feel differently.  Let's see.

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