The World War ll Submarine is very intimidating machine. The thought of spending time under the surface of the ocean in a cramped steel tube is not appealing to most, but to the men who volunteered toserve aboard them, they were the most beautiful things in the world. They had names like Barb, Pintado, Batfish and Wahoo, and though they made up less than two percent of the entire American fleet, they were responsible for more than half of all Japanese shipping sunk. These boats were 312 feet long and powered by four diesel engines that generated 1,600-hp each. They had a top speed of 20 knots and could remain submerged for 48 hours. The armament included deck guns, and the sting from one their 24 torpedoes was a constant concern of the enemy.
A typical crew was 80 men, and they fit together tightly on patrols that would last for months at a time. The pay was good, the food was great and liberty was fun, but the job subjected you to some of the most hazardous situations of World War II. The young men that maneuvered these boats had to be well versed in their operation. Volunteering for the job was the easy part; the training that followed was severe and precise. The boats were an intricate maze of many valves, gears, pipes and switches, and each man had to know how to use them all. “We had to know what the guys next to us was doing,” Ed Dolinar talks about their training, “How to do it, when to do it, if to do it.” Teamwork was vital; you depended on your shipmate, and he depended on you. Mistakes on a submarine were feared and could cost not only your life but also the lives of all your shipmates. But despite all the dangers, there was no shortage of men wanting to sail. If you passed the physical, survived submarine school and qualified, you could wear the dolphins and be one of the few to be called a World War ll submariner.
"Dive: A Submariners Story" is a documentary about the brave young men who manned these deadly underwater boats, defending a country they loved. The film is a fascinating collection of stories told from many different perspectives that paint a humbling image of the war in the Pacific. Spanning the length of the boat, torpedo men, radio operators, electricians, cooks and many more all take part in illustrating this heroic tale. Each share their experiences and give first hand accounts of the dangerous life they volunteered to live - what they felt as they climbed onboard for the first time, the camaraderie between members of the crew and the terrifying emotions that gripped them as depth charges jolted their vessel.
More than 100 World War ll submarine Veterans were interviewed for the film, and many hours of footage were shot to capture them describing the war as seen through their eyes. In their own words they describe their experiences and provide in vivid detail their life while living, working and serving onboard. The film captures the essence of an actual World War ll patrol, placing you inside the conning tower as the captain prepares for an attack, listening as torpedo men load the tubes and wait to fire a spread or hanging out in the crews mess for a heated game of cards. Men who were there relive many accounts of some of the most exciting patrols during the war, the men that experienced it, lived it and loved it.
Over the past several years, I’ve traveled the country and interviewed many World War ll submarine Veterans. My mission was to cover the gamut of submarine life and discover what the war was actually like for those who served on those boats. It’s been a long and interesting road full of stories, lessons and surprises. What an honor it’s been meeting these brave men. I hope that you will enjoy watching one of the most rewarding journeys of my life.