Lest We Forget: Gerald Farrier, U.S. Type XXI Submarines

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired), and A. D. Baker III

The Forrestal survived the fire, but it was a very near thing. McCain and the others who survived that terrible day on Yankee Station owe their lives to the men like Gerald Farrier who found in themselves the kind of courage and determination that sailors commemorate in that very old saying: DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP.

Today, the Firefighting School in Norfolk, Virginia, bears the name of that courageous chief who paid the ultimate price trying to save his ship and his shipmates.
 

—Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)

U.S. Type XXI Submarines

Although 119 Type XXI submarines had been commissioned for Hitler’s Reichsmarine, only one of them had begun a combat patrol by the end of World War II. Most of the several hundred Type XXIs completed and under construction were either scuttled or scrapped after the war, but nine were designated by the Allies for evaluation and trials; of those, the U-2513 and U-3008 were allocated to the U.S. Navy. Although the Allies had feared the formidable Type XXI, examination of the survivors showed many design and manufacturing deficiencies that would have made copying them impractical. The 17.2-knot submerged speed Type XXIs, however, proved very useful in tests of new tactics and weapons for use against high-performance submarines. The Russians, who eventually obtained four of the survivors by 1948, were predicted by Western intelligence services to put the design into mass production, but they never did, and subsequent Russian submarine designs showed very little German influence.

The U-2513 and U-3008 were obtained during June 1945 and given extensive refits and alterations before beginning their new careers as commissioned U.S. Navy submarines. The U-2513 retained most of her original sail structure, but the U-3008 had hers streamlined and reduced in size, while both boats had their two twin remote-controlled 20-mm antiaircraft gunmounts removed. The U-2513 , commissioned in German service on 12 October 1944 and recommissioned in U.S. Navy service in August 1946, underwent trials while operating out of Key West. When her battery life had expired, she was decommissioned on 8 July 1949 and sunk during Weapon Alfa antisubmarine rocket launching trials off Key West on 8 October 1951. The U-3008 , commissioned by the Germans on 19 October 1944 and in U.S. Navy service in July 1946, was laid up because of leakage in her after battery compartment during July 1949 at Portsmouth Navy Yard but was retained for future use as a target. Moved to Key West in August 1951, the 1,819-ton submerged displacement U-3008 was used in five tests with Weapon Alfa and Mark 43 torpedoes employing the new HBX-3 explosive before becoming so damaged that she no longer was watertight. The submarine was sold for scrap on 15 September 1955. The photograph shows the U-3008 on 25 July 1947 after alterations for U.S. Navy service.
 

—A. D. Baker III
 

Thomas J. Cutler is a retired lieutenant commander and former gunner's mate second class who served in patrol craft, cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. His varied assignments included an in-country Vietnam tour, small craft command, and nine years at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he served as Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Seamanship & Navigation Department and Associate Chairman of the History Department. While at the Academy, he was awarded the William P. Clements Award for Excellence in Education (military teacher of the year).

He is the founder and former Director of the Walbrook Maritime Academy in Baltimore. Currently he is Fleet Professor of Strategy and Policy with the Naval War College and is the Director of Professional Publishing at the U.S. Naval Institute.

Winner of the Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Naval Literature, the U.S. Naval Institute Press Author of the Year, and the U.S. Maritime Literature Award, his published works include NavCivGuide: A Handbook for Civilians in the U.S. Navy; A Sailor's History of the U.S. Navy [one of the books in the Chief of Naval Operations Reading Program]; The Battle of Leyte Gulf; Brown Water, Black Berets: Coastal & Riverine Warfare in Vietnam; and the 22nd, 23rd (Centennial), and 24th editions of The Bluejacket's Manual. His other works include revisions of Jack Sweetman's The Illustrated History of the U.S. Naval Academy and Dutton's Nautical Navigation. He and his wife, Deborah W. Cutler, are the co-editors of the Dictionary of Naval Terms and the Dictionary of Naval Abbreviations.

His books have been published in various forms, including paperback and audio, and have appeared as main and alternate selections of the History Book Club, Military Book Club, and Book of the Month Club. He has served as a panelist, commentator, and keynote speaker on military and writing topics at many events and for various organizations, including the Naval History and Heritage Command, Smithsonian Institution, the Navy Memorial, U.S. Naval Academy, MacArthur Memorial Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Naval Institute, Armed Forces Electronics Communications and Electronics Association, Naval War College, Civitan, and many veterans' organizations. His television appearances include the History Channel's Biography series, A&E's Our Century, Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, and CBS's 48 Hours.

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Guest Lecturer
12:30pm, “Shifley Lecture Series,” U.S. Naval Academy Museum, 118 Maryland Ave., Annapolis, MD /... Read More

 
 

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