The Second World War, even more than the World War I, saw submarines become a dominant force on the high seas. When one thinks of World War II submarines, they automatically think of mighty German U-boat fleets, silently stalking their merchant prey in the North Atlantic. What most people do not know, is the role of American subs in the war.

On December 8, 1941, America went to war with a shattered fleet, all pre-war doctrines concerning a war against Japan totally useless without the battleships. America had only four good points at the start of the war against Japan. The dry dock and ship repair facilities at Pearl Harbor had not been attacked, the oil storage facilities were still intact, and the submarine base was practically unscathed.

With the start of the war, Japan's mighty fleet ruled the surface, but American submarines could move about freely to ravage the Japanese merchant marine fleet. The result of this was a severe lack of ammunition and food for the massive Imperial Army. Following the Japanese
disaster at Midway, Americanm submarines began stalking warships too. Submarines began proving their worth as offensive weapons.

Following the American landings in North Africa in November of 1942, American submarines entered the Mediterranean Sea to slaughter German and Italian transports, laden with men and material for Rommel's Afrika Corps.

Working closely with the Maqui, or French underground, American and British submarines were used to smuggle downed Allied airmen from occupied France to Britain. Allied submarines were even used to patrol around German naval bases to prevent the Kriegsmarine from sortieing its mighty surface fleet.

As the war was nearing an end in late 1944, the Allied submarine fleets were used to stop all German naval movement and was even used to sink ships ferrying German troops to the Fatherland to hold back the Red Army's hordes.

Living beneath the ocean, the submariners were the silent soldiers of World War II, the lives they saved with their courage are beyond count.