Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Boston, MA, USA (but still a Yorkshireman at heart - tha can allus tell a Yorkshireman...)
I just received a bunch of info from Wendy S. Gulley, the archivist at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT
about submarine training in WW2. She also told me of a book "He's in Submarines Now," by Henry Felsen which I'll try to lay my hands on. Here's all the stuff I've got so far that's relevant to the mod.
GENERAL INFORMATION – Page 202
The training of a Submarine crew is a never-ending process, starting when the crew of a new construction Submarine is first assembled at the building yard and continuing throughout the life of the boat. Probably there is no other type of ship in which the perfection of training of every officer and man is so important. There are no "spare parts" in a Submarine's organization. Each man has a vital function to perform, and the success or failure of every attack, or of every operation, is dependent upon each man performing his functions correctly.
While in the prewar days Submarine training had become fairly well stabilized along established lines, such static conditions did not continue during the war. Training had to keep pace with the new weapons being developed, with enemy anti-Submarine measures, with the lessons being learned in combat operations, with the new sciences of radar and sonar, and with a host of other things. New methods of training were devised and placed into effect, and the training practices, starting on the East Coast were continued throughout the Pacific and SouthWest Pacific.
New construction Submarines did not start their careers with green crews. In each case a nucleus of trained personnel from operating Submarines was assigned. Practically all Submarine personnel received their initial instruction in the science of Submarining at the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. For many years this school has been regarded as the Alma Mater of the Submarine service, and any discussion of Submarine training must naturally start with a description of the school.
THE SUBMARINE SCHOOL, NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT – Page 203
The Submarine School commenced a very rapid growth in 1939 and 1940, when a large expansion of the Submarine Force was authorized as a result of the world unrest. The school was originally organized in 1916, the first Submarine class graduating on 23 December of that year. Instruction was given by Commanding Officers of Submarines and members of the Staff of Commander Submarines Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet who were in New London at the time. The following year the Submarine School was formally set up at the Submarine Base which was then being organized.
The Submarine School, whose mission was to equip officers and enlisted men required for the Submarine Service with an adequate foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge of Submarines, is presided over by an Officer-in-Charge responsible to the Commanding Officer of the Submarine Base. Courses of study are given to three separate groups of students: enlisted men, officer students and Prospective Commanding Officers [PCO]. One Assistant Officer-in-Charge governs the school for enlisted men and another at the school for officer students. Because of the nature of the Prospective Commanding Officers [PCO] study, the officer administering this group, although directly responsible to the Officer-in-Charge [OIC] of the School, is not designated as an Assistant Officer-in-Charge.
The school is divided into the following departments: Submarine, Torpedo, Engineering, Electrical and Communications. Each department had its own staff of instructors and its own course of study, which is given to the three groups of students.
Along with the rapid expansion of the school in 1939 and 1940, instruction in modern Submarines was given more prominent attention. Before this time some instructions were given covering the later type Submarines, however, time spent on out-dated material seemed to predominate. Perhaps the reason for this was that up to this time a great many students upon graduation would be going to these older type Submarines. In addition to this, the "School Boats" were of the R [SS-78 Class] and S-class [SS-105 Class] and most of the school training aids were pieces of equipment, which had been taken from these boats.
When the R-Type [SS-78 Class] Submarines which had been serving as "School Boats" at New London were sent to Key West in the latter part of 1941 to serve with the Fleet Sound School. They were replaced by the re-commissioned O-Type Submarines [SS-62 Class] which were even of an older vintage. ComSubsLant made persistent pleas to the Chief of Naval Operations [CNO] for a division [DIV] of modern Submarines at New London for instruction but these requests were disapproved because of the demand for modern Submarines to be used against the Japanese in the Pacific. It was not until December 1942 when the CACHALOT and CUTTLEFISH [USS CACHALOT SS-170 and USS CUTTLEFISH SS-171] arrived at New London from the Pacific, that under-way instruction could be given in newer type boats. Periodically thereafter, more Submarines of newer types reported to ComSubsLant from the war areas.
The MACKEREL and the MARLIN [USS MACKEREL SS-204 and the USS MARLIN SS-205] experimental Submarines, were sent to New London for duty in February 1942 at the conclusion of their trials. Although smaller than the regular "Fleet Type Submarines", they carried all the modern Submarine equipment, and were made available to the school for instruction. When the Prospective Commanding Officers, PCO, class was formed it used the MACKEREL and MARLIN [USS MACKEREL SS-204 and USS MARLIN SS-205] exclusively until there was a sufficient number of the larger Submarines available so that they could use them without penalizing the other school groups.
Even though modern Submarines could not be spared for school duty, a great deal of late Submarine equipment was acquired and set up in the school as training aids. In addition to equipment, which could be obtained by the various departments directly from the manufacturers, a great many aids were furnished by the Training Aids Section of the Bureau of Aeronautics and constructed to school specifications by the Underwater Research Laboratory at Fort Trumbull, New London, Connecticut.
Contracts for revised textbooks on the new equipment were let to various civilian publishing houses. These textbooks were written according to the latest educational standards with the technical advice of the Submarine School Staff. A large educational film library was acquired. The Submarine School realizing the importance of movies as an aid to teaching and instigated the development of many of the films used in training personnel for Submarines.
In July 1944, the Officer-in-Charge of the School realizing his instructors should receive training in classroom procedure and teaching methods, requested that BuPers detail an officer to the School Staff to serve as an Instructor Training Officer. Up to this time the only training given a prospective instructor was what he could acquire by watching the person being relieved for a few days before taking over. In addition to this, the head of the instructors department would observe and advise, him when time permitted. On occasion, lectures were given by the Base Educational Officer who had been in the teaching profession as a civilian.
As soon as the Instructor Training Officer was assigned to the School a regular course of instruction was put into practice and almost immediately the effects of the training became evident. It proved highly successful not only in training instructors in the art of teaching but in other correlated ways. The Instructor Training Officer gave council and advice, he assisted individual department heads in the improvement of the type and methods of instruction, in the development of standard lesson plans and schedules and in the establishment of examination standards.
OFFICER STUDENTS CLASS – Page 209
The Officers Student class was normally of six months duration. However, as the demand for Submarine Officers increased with the acceleration Submarine building Program the course was condensed to three months. The first short class commenced in June 1940 and classes of this length continued until the last of 1944. At this time the demand for Submarine personnel dropped off somewhat and all during 1945 the classes were four months in length. This continued for one year and in 1946 the regular six months course will resumed.
In 1939, fifty-two officers graduated from the Submarine School. There after there was a steady increase in the number of students enrolled until the end of 1944. During that year there was a total of nine hundred ninety-five graduates. Two hundred and sixty students graduated in the April-June 1944 class. This was the largest student officer class in the history of the school. Thereafter, the classes dropped in size, about three hundred and thirty-four graduating in 1945.
[Photo not included – caption – Submarine School – Attack Trainer.]
The Conning Tower of an attack teacher at the Submarine School. Training Aids follow as closely as possible the blue prints of the subject they are to assist in teaching.
Until a few months before World War II all officers entering the School were of the Regular Navy. They were required to have completed two years of sea duty [3-BuPers Manual paragraph E1301.] and in addition to this qualification, top deck watch at sea qualification was usually required. As Submarine personnel requirements increased so did those of the other Forces within the fleet. Consequently, in order to obtain the required number of officer students for the Submarine School the entrance requirements were modified.
Reserve officers started entering school in July 1940. The early reserve officers were carefully selected for an engineering background. Soon, however, reserve officers, regardless of background were sent to the School directly from Reserve Midshipmen Schools. Many of these students had only two years of college before becoming reserve midshipmen and had had no technical experience whatsoever. Because they were not able to grasp the work at the School many were dropped. It immediately became apparent that more care would have to be taken in selecting candidates if high standards were to be maintained. The corrective measures, which were taken, are covered in detail in the Chapter on Submarine Personnel.
At this time BuPers adopted the policy of sending as many of the inexperienced officers as possible to the Submarines at New London, Key West and San Diego for a short tour of duty before ordering them to the Submarine School. This policy applied to recent graduates of the Naval Academy as well as to reserve officers. The indoctrination course proved very beneficial, for these students were much better prepared for the School course than newly appointed officers who had not had the benefit of previous Submarine experience.
Shortly after the Submarine Force adopted the policy of awarding temporary commissions to worthy enlisted men a number of these temporary officers were sent to the Submarine School. Some of the temporary officers stood well in the class, however, many had to be dropped because they were not able to meet the academic standards. On being dropped, these temporary officers who were enlisted men had served on Submarines, were sent back to Submarines or to a Submarine activity such as a tender or base for duty. Normally, an officer dropped from the school was sent to another activity. Because of this experience, thereafter, more care was taken in selecting those temporary officers sent to the school. Only those with a background which indicated that the academic work as well as the practical work could be mastered were sent. If an officer student did not indicate an aptitude for the Submarine Service academically, practically or in any other manner he was dropped from the School and sent to general service. From 1940 to 1945, an average of about eight percent of the officer students were dropped from among the reserve officers. However, several regular officers from the Naval Academy were dropped and as previously indicated temporary officers without sufficient academic background had difficulty in successfully completing the course.
The officer standing the highest in each class was presented an engraved watch, the Lawrence Y. Spear Foundation award. This foundation was established by Mr. L.Y. Spear, the President of the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut, in 1938. The first presentation was made to Lieutenant Junior Grade William W. Walker, USN, on 8 June 1938. [Review of the museum’s war patrol database shows a W. Walker as the CO of the USS Snapper SS-185 for the 9-11th war patrols in 1944. I’m interested to confirm this history and any other submarine history concerning Lieutenant Junior Grade W. W. Walker.]
In August 1944, when it became apparent that the Officers Class could be lengthened, ComSubsLant appointed a board of which Captain L.J. Huffman, USN, the Training Officer on his staff, was senior member. He was to recommend and submit a new curriculum for the officers course based on the premise that this course would be of seventeen weeks duration. The board was advised to obtain the views and recommendations of as many recently returned Submarine Officers from the combat area as possible. [4-ComSubsLant 2833 of 19 August 1944.]
After a careful investigation of the officer student’s curriculum and a comprehensive review of the opinions of officers who had served in command of Submarines on war patrol the board recommended. That the following curriculum be established as a four months course but that the officer students course lengthened to six months as soon as practicable. [5-Enclosure (A) to ComSubsLant 3726 of 25 October 1944.]
(1) Attack Teacher including use of all instruments
(2) Training Device, buoyancy and stability, compensation.
(3) Lectures (Approach Methods, T.D.C. duties of OOD, duties of Head of Department, ship instruction. )
(5) Underway for torpedo approaches.
(6) Lookout Training.
(7) Miscellaneous (telephone talker, first aid, commissary, supply, maneuvering board, school of the instructor.)
The schedule for the four months course held during 1945, included the subjects with the time allotted as recommended in, the report. In January 1946, when the course was increased to six months the same subjects were taught and the time allotted increased in the proper proportions to carry out the Board's recommendations.
COMMAND CLASS – Page 214
On 6 February 1941, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation [BuNav] directed the Commanding Officer of the Submarine Base to prepare a course of instruction for Submarine Prospective Commanding Officers, PCO, to cover a period of approximately one month and to incorporate it in the curriculum of the Submarine School. [6-BuNav ltr. 804 of 6 January 1941.]
The first class was convened on 15 March 1941, and the class has operated continuously since that time. Through 1 July 1945, there was a total off four hundred and thirty-four graduates. The normal Command Class consists of seven members. However, the number of members has ranged from four to ten. In the fall of 1943, it became necessary to increase the number of officers in the Command Class in order to have enough properly trained officers to command the large number of Submarines being built and to meet the attrition of Submarine Commanding Officers. At this time Executive Officers ordered to new construction Submarines were enrolled in this class when they were available. In order to be able to make the best use of the training facilities available in the School another separate class was formed. Its schedule staggered with the first class in such as manner that one class was assigned to underway work as the other was assigned to lectures and attack teacher periods. The first additional class was established 25 October 1943.
In 1945, when the demand for Prospective Commanding Officers [PCO] fell off because of the cutback in Submarine construction the PCO class was opened to third officers as well as Commanding Officers and second officers [XO]. This policy was adopted rather than to reduce the number of classes. Thus, as many officers as possible could have the benefits of this additional training.
The purpose of establishing the Command Class was in general to increase knowledge of approach and attack methods by study and discussion, and technique by actual practice by experienced Submarine officers who are slated to become Commanding Officers or to hold senior positions on board Submarines. The first and third weeks of the course consisted of lectures, evening reading, study assignments and attack teacher approach work. The second and forth weeks are devoted to underway practice approaches and firing, both day and night.
At the request of the Commanding Officer of the Submarine Base, [7-Sub Base ltr. 0256 of 19 May 1945.] the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel [BuPers] directed on August 1945 that the Submarine School Command Class [8-Formerly Prospective Commanding Officers Class.] curriculum be extended from four to five weeks. [9-Pers ltr. 423a-NC38 of 1 August 1945.] This change was desired in order to devote more time to such subjects as Torpedo Data Computer operation, Recognition and Identification, Special Weapons, Gun Attacks, Evasion Tactics, Special Missions and Mine Detection.
Past Officers-in-Charge of the Submarine School are as follows:
Lieutenant F.X. Gygax Jan 1917 Mar 1918
Lieutenant F.G. Marsh Mar 1918 Oct 1918
Commander L.D. Causey Oct 1918 Dec 1918
Lieutenant Commander S.O. Greig Dec 1918 Sep 1919
Lieutenant Commander F.S. Steinwachs Sep 1919 Oct 1922
Lieutenant Commander G.C. Logan Oct 1922 Jun 1924
Lieutenant Commander F.W. Scanland Jun 1924 Sep 1926
Lieutenant Commander E.B. Lapham Sep 1926 May 1928
Lieutenant Commander W.E. Doyle Aug 1928 May 1930
Commander E.C. Metz Aug 1930 Jun 1932
Commander J.L. Nielson Jul 1932 Jun 1933
Commander W.S. Haas Jun 1933 Jun 1934
Lieutenant Commander W.M. Percifield Jun 1934 Feb 1935
Lieutenant Commander S. Umsted Feb 1935 Jun 1936
Lieutenant Commander H.W. Ziroli Jun 1936 Jun 1938
Commander James Fife Jun 1938 Aug 1940
Lieutenant Commander George C. Crawford Aug 1940 Aug 1941
Lieutenant Commander K.G. Hensel Aug 1941 Dec 1942
Captain G.W. Patterson Jr. Dec 1942 Jan 1944
Captain Barton E. Bacon Jr. Jan 1944 Oct 1944
Captain Freddie R. Warder Oct 1944 ?
So mostly this is academic stuff, but there's a lot I can milk from it to give more authenticity to the training missions, especially in terms of the commanding officer's name and the stuff about the watch (an idea that comes to mind: the last training mission can be timed and if the mission is done fast enough the watch can be awarded). The main type of submarine, the O class, is interesting as it's not modelled in SH4, but I'll see if it's possible to work that in somehow. There are also some hints about types of training, but I'll have to get the book she recommends in order to get that stuff perfect.
Anyway, I thought I'd post this stuff. I find it interesting so maybe others will too.
"More mysterious. Yeah.
I'll just try to think, 'Where the hell's the whiskey?'"
- Bob Harris, Lost in Translation.
"Anyrooad up, ah'll si thi"