Subchaser in the South Pacific Book Review

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Subchaser in the South Pacific: A Saga of the USS SC-761 During World War II

By J. Henry Doscher, Jr.

Paperback, illustrated, 110 pages, indexed

Published by Ibooks, Inc. April 2006

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1596873329

ISBN-13: 978-1596873322

Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches

During the Second World War the U.S. Navy operated a large assortment of small combatants.  One of the most numerous were the SC-497 class submarine chasers.  A total of 438 were built.  These were of wooden construction, 110 feet long, and displaced about 100 tons.  Propulsion was provided by two Diesel engines.  Armament varied, but mainly consisted of light guns and anti-submarine weapons as the name implies.  Crew was twenty seven.

Written by one of her Officers this is the story of one such vessel, the USS SC-761 (most smaller vessels were not named, but commissioned only with their type designations and hull numbers).  Much of her war was spent on escort and patrol duties in the Solomons.  These boats were also used for liaison duties, SC-497 picked up Australian coastwatchers from submarines on two occasions.  Her journeys took her from construction at Ipswich Massachusetts across the Pacific as far south as New Zealand and back.

Having served on a large ship, I find life on the smaller ships interesting.  Even though they are small, they are still U.S. Navy warships and are expected to maintain the same core proficiencies as their larger compatriots.  When one factors in that the crew was almost exclusively comprised of Reservists who were only very recently untrained civilians, the fact that they sailed halfway around the world and went to war in small wooden ships is all the more impressive.

A short book, but a fun read.

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