The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey.
This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column. Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, "Luckey Fluckey" relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, video game style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where the sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship until it sank. Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.
©1992 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (P)2013 Tantor
"Fluckey is a fine writer with a lively, colorful style. His book is packed with action and suspense and is rich in details about the day-today operation of a submarine in combat." (Publishers Weekly)
Great read!! Fluckey did a great job putting you right in the action. Those who were there are the best at this. The book doesn't just tell you what happened, it lets you experince it first hand. You also get to know the men on the boat. I feel like I have a bunch of new friends. This book would be great for anyone interest in action, excitement, and history.
The production of the Audible portion was one of the best I have ever heard. The reader even pronounces the word " submariner" correctly. If you have ever spoken to an old submarine man he will be quick to tell you it's "submarine-er" not "sub-mariner."
This one of several titles that have needed to be on Audible for a long time. If everybody buys this title then maybe Audible will add other tiltes like: Richard Kane's "Wahoo" and "Clear the Bridge," and Edward L. Beech's, "Run Silent Run Deep," "Dust on the Sea," "Cold as the Sea," and "Submarine."
I want more!
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is a great story; it is one of those books that grab your attention immediately. Eugene B. Fluckey and the USS Bark sank 140,000 tons of Japanese shipping from April 1944 to the end of the War.
Admiral Fluckey takes his own memories and weaves it together with a crewman’s illegal diary, reports, letters, ship logs, and interviews as well as archival documents from the Japanese Navy to provide a detailed account of the U.S.S. Barb’s eight through twelfth War patrols. Apparently Fluckey was a brilliant, courageous, fair Captain most concerned about bringing his men home safe. Not a man was wounded onboard Barb while he was the Captain.
“Lucky Fluckey” pioneered new submarine tactics that are still used today. The high point in the book is a night surface attack through miles of shoal water to attack two Japanese convoys in a harbor in China. Fluckey won the Medal of Honor and the Barb was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Fluckey won the Navy Cross four times, the Navy Distinguish Service medal with one gold star and many more medals. Eugene B Fluckey was a 1935 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy. In 1989 the Navy honored him by naming the Nuclear Submarine Combat System Training Center after him. The only building named for a living person.
The narration is clear, concise and vivid. Admiral Fluckey is a good writer and the story is not just about him but all the crew of the Barb. The book is well researched. The hardcover book also has lots of photographs. The book is an excellent study of sub warfare tactics and naval leadership. If you are looking for an excellent book about submarines in World War II this is a book for you. I read somewhere that Steven Spielberg has purchased the movie rights to the story. Corey Snow narrated the book. Corey Snow does an excellent job narrating the book.
Yes. I enjoy military history. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was stunned at the bravery of the men that went out in submarines
The Bravest Man - another submariner's tale, Neptune's Inferno on the naval battles around Guadalcanal and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors of the heroic stand by destroyers against battleships in Leyte Gulf
I think the title sums it up: Thunder Below!
An above average tale well told
Yes - the book is well-read and it's an amazing account
The first book that came to mind was The Caine Mutiny - but TCM is about a destroyer minesweeper, is fiction, and largely hinges on poor command, while this book is nonfiction, is a sub, and is largely about good command. But in both books there's a lot of detail about the day-to-day concerns of the men aboard their respective commands.
For me, it's often the little things. Fluckey's point about not appreciating being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor because it stipulates actions taken without regard to ones personal safety implying he took them without regard to the safety of his crew is an excellent point and really sticks in my mind.
Mostly, I was amazed. Of course, there's always some sadness when the crew has to split up and the command is over, as with any story involving people who formed friendships under intense conditions and subsequently parted ways.
One of the best WWII books I've had the pleasure of experiencing.
I listened to this book twice. As soon as I finished it I listened to it a second time. Great job. I didn't know anything about the Barb until I listened to this book. Fantastic!!!! I felt like I was in the south pacific during WWII. So many leaders get to be leaders by not rocking the boat. Sounds like we owe Admiral Fluckey a tip of the hat for being one of those unusual leaders willing to take the step out of the box, By doing so he did a lot to save many of our brave young men during WWII. Thank you Admiral. I like to think of myself as a student of the war in the pacific. The more I read the more I admire the front line marines, the prisoners of Bataan, all of our young men who suffered at the hands of the Japanese during that conflict. The pain and suffering those men went through unimaginable to today's generations. Then to see McArthur pardon most of the Japanese for their war crimes. What our men must of thought about that. Almost 70 years later we are still looking for German war criminals. But not the Japanese. I knew many WWII veteran's and even some WWI vets. They just didn't talk about their war. They just didn't. What a shame, My father-in-law won 7 bronze stars. His family didn't have a clue until his passing. Even his brother didn't know. How or why these men took their deeds to the grave with them speaks volumes to me. They just did what they had to do and came home and lived a productive life. What a generation. Tom Brokaw labeled them the Greatest Generation. He was right on the money. Listen to this book it is excellent.
The story of the USS Barb and her service in World War II is truly inspiring. Her skipper on five of her war patrols, Gene Fluckey, it's a great storyteller telling us both the story of the ship, her patrols, and her men. Cory Stone did an absolutely outstanding job narrating the story! For anyone who wants to know the history of submarines in the Pacific in a World War II this book is for you!
Compelling, heartwarming well-written
Eric Haney's book on the Delta Force. They are both good reads and give me a chance to appreciate our service members.
Not that I remember
The Japanese they captured who wanted to part of the crew.
Right from the first chapter you are kept riveted by this incredible journey into the life of a WW2 Submarine Commander.
When Eugene Fluckey takes you to the point where they have to rescue the Australian and British troops on board Japanese ships that had just been torpedoed. Its a dramatic and incredible rescue, testament to the determination of the troops to help each other stay alive for as long as possible in order to be saved. Its also incredible just how far Eugene and his men strived to rescue them. A wonderful moment that lives in Fluckey's memory.
Corey Snow gets right into the naritive. At some points you can believe that this is the voice of Eugene Fluckey, he brings the Commander and his Submarine alive.
When the submariners start to pull the survivors aboard their Sub and Eugene says he shed tears as they thanked him. The description of the survivor's alone moves the listener.
A first class listen. Every chapter a story in its own right.
This is not the normal type of book that I would normally listen to, but I could not put my IPod down, Luck Fluckey was a true natural born leader who men followed and the reason the allied forces won the second world war, I highly recommend it to everyone to give it a go you won't be disappointed, believe me.
"Run Silent, Run Deep But Also Give 'Em Hell!"
This is a fascinating account of the various war patrols of the USS Barb under the command of Eugene Flucky. As someone with a keen interest in submarines, this was a book that gripped me from start to finish. However, I would hasten to add that you do not have to be a person with any particular interest in naval warfare to appreciate the amazing stories of daring deeds and near escapes at the hands of the Japanese during the second world war as skilfully detailed in this book. "Thunder Below" is a non stop series of incredible and sometimes funny stories under the most difficult of circumstances. What I found almost glib though, was how the author seemed to relish the dangerous missions and taking the fight right to the enemy. At times the flavour of the writing did appear to be lifted direct from a classic 50's Hollywood war time movie script that did make it seem that the enemy were pretty inept and left openings to those like Eugene Flucky to take full advantage of.
Although "Thunder Below" is a truly riveting read and shows the almost casual courage exhibited during combat, I did feel that the telling of this story lacked a certain visceral grit regarding the fear that any human must experience when being depth charged by a determined enemy. This is the only aspect of this otherwise superb book where I felt that something was lacking. In order to fully appreciate the bravery of the men living in this tin can for weeks on end, it would also have been interesting to have the author describe the terror experienced too. Only one minor incident with a junior crew member feeling the effects of being depth charged was alluded to. Other than this, it was almost as if undergoing such assaults by the enemy was more of a bother than a nightmare. Perhaps this mindset is partially driven by the fact that the U.S submariner generally had far better conditions and facilities onboard his boat than his German counterparts. In addition, the target rich environment of the Pacific prior to 1945 made for easier hunting I suspect. Given that the crew had cakes baked, ice cream on tap and cases of beer available in an air conditioned submarine is at odds with the much harsher environment of the U-Boats prowling the Atlantic in their much smaller and far less comfortable vessels. having toured the USS Pampanito myself, I can attest to the notion that if I were going to serve aboard a world war 2 submarine, then it would be aboard a U.S fleet boat such as these that I would do so. I would recommend "Steel Boat, Iron Heart" now available on Audible to read of somewhat more difficult conditions and the excellent "Iron Coffins" not yet on Audible to my knowledge which both tell the story of submarine warfare during the second world war from the German perspective.
At times it was difficult to visualize many of the locations mentioned in relation to land, inlets etc and I wonder if the paper version of this title has accompanying maps to better illustrate where things were taking place. Also, it would have been perhaps useful to give a little lesson to the reader in how firing solutions are gained for torpedo attacks. There's a bit of naval technical speak going on here which may lose some readers.
Apart from the minor caveats mentioned above, this is an overall excellent read and certainly a story worth a Hollywood movie. Narration was top notch too with Corey Snow's reading fluid and competent and as pacey as the book itself.
There is an interesting cross reference mentioned here with respect to the treatment of allied prisoners held by the Japanese. POW's were rescued by the Barb which were survivors from the USS Houston and HAMS Perth amongst others and an incident describing a short Japanese prison guard trying to strike a tall Australian is actually covered in the superb "Ship of Ghosts" book available on Audible which tells the harrowing story of these survivors and is abook amazing story you might want to consider.
Whether you have a particular interest in naval warfare or not, this book is an excellent and enthralling insight into the courage and fighting determination of an intelligent and very brave submarine commander.
"good narrative of submarine Barb's spoils in WW-II"
A good narrative of submarine Barb's spoils in WW-II. However, it sounds repetitive at times. Also, the narrative could be better enjoyed and appreciated by someone knowledgeable of naval warfare terminology and submarine rank and file structure and duties. It might help to introduce such details before beginning the narrative. Overall, salute to plucky Flucky for his great command during war... but not so much for the authorship of this book. Superlative achievements in one field don't necessarily have to be reflected in other fields also. Well tried Eugene !
"Exactly How It Should Be Done"
Yes- there is much factual and operational detail which is impossible to remember given the pace of the book, I would like to revisit it to get a fuller understanding of how warfare was conducted in this arena
Anything Patrick O'Brien, on the grounds of the realism (in this case non- fictional) and the descriptive quality.
no I haven't
there a re more than a few tense moments as you would expect, I laughed a few times and as saddened and touched by the way that war ruins families as described in the dancing with skeletons part. (no spoiler)
I don't review many so that should be testament enough. this is a great listen and the fact that it's "from the horses mouth" underpins it's core. I don't know many that had a "good war" and it must have been hell to have lived with the constant fear of death in the icy depths, given the goals for achievement stated by the author I think he had the right idea.
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