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Happy Birthday Rear Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey 1913

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Eugene B. Fluckey and the USS Barb – One of the most effective US submarines in WWII

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The Barb was one of the most effective US submarines in WWII. Conservatively, the Barb is credited with sinking 17 ships with a total of 97,000 tons of shipping. Other estimates credit the Barb with considerably higher numbers.

In January 1945, Fluckey was on his fourth patrol as the Barb’s commander. He snuck into the shallow waters off Namakwan Harbor off the coast of China and torpedoed six boats before escaping. Fluckey was awarded the Medal of Honor for this action. On his fifth patrol, he found it much harder to find shipping targets, so he was very interested in being able to hit targets on land.

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The most famous attack by the Barb didn’t use either the rockets or the guns. Fluckey dispatched a landing party to blow up a passing train. On July 23, at midnight, the Barb moved to within a kilometer of the shore, and the landing party paddled to the beach. They used the charges intended to scuttle the ship in an emergency and rigged them to blow as a train passed over them, The National Interest reported.

The landing party was still rowing to the submarine when a train triggered the bomb. All sixteen train cars derailed, killing 150 passengers. The landing party successfully completed the only US ground operation on Japan’s home islands in WWII. The Barb continued attacking the coastline until July 26 when it returned safely to base on August 2.

 

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