What Were the Top-Secret 'Special Missions' Of U.S. Submarines During World War II?

USS Seawolf (SS-197) - Periscope photograph of a sinking Japanese ship, torpedoed by Seawolf in the Philippines-East Indies area during the fall of 1942. U.S. Navy.

What Were the Top-Secret 'Special Missions' Of U.S. Submarines During World War II?

They undertook over 300 of them.

The Lifeguard League delivered 504 flyers from certain death or capture by the enemy. The record rescuer was Tigrone, which plucked 31 airmen from the Pacific. The valiant Harder, heroine to Ensign John Galvin, did not survive the war. She was lost with all hands on August 24, 1944, after a brutal depth charging in the South China Sea.

On hundreds of special missions throughout World War II, American submarines performed myriad tasks, always at enormous risk to the crews and their boats. In the process they played a manifest role in winning the war in the Pacific.

This article by Steven Trent Smith first appeared in the Warfare History Network on November 11, 2016.

Image: The U.S. Navy submarine N2 USS Nautilus (SS-168) underway in the early 1930s. U.S. Navy.