Death at a Distance
The Loss of the Legendary USS Harder
Only seven U.S. submariners earned the Medal of Honor in World War II. Sam Dealey, the USS Harder's commander, was one of them. His honor was awarded posthumously after the entire crew was lost off Bataan during a depth-charge attack in August 1944 by a Japanese convoy. The Harder's fighting spirit is legendary, and its record of sinking a total of eighteen enemy ships (with a tonnage in excess of 55,000) made Dealey one of the top five submarine skippers in the war. During a single patrol his crew sank five enemy destroyers in five short-range torpedo attacks - an unprecedented feat. In addition, the Harder played important roles in rescue missions, extracting secret operatives deep in enemy territory and saving downed pilots. Drawing on previously untapped sources, Michael Sturma, an Australian teaching at Murdoch University, details several daring missions, one that involved the heroic Australian commando Bill Jinkins, and puts the Harder's action in the context of the overall Pacific campaign. In do so, the author adds not only significant information to the Harder's story but also provides a fresh perspective on the submarine war.