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Through Hell And Deep Water by Charles A. Lockwood and Hans Christian Adamson


Sometime good things do indeed come in surprisingly small form. Such is the case with a Bantam war paperback bearing the title Through Hell And Deep Water. Within its 329 pages is the most complete history and biography of the USS Harder (SS-257) and her only captain, Samuel David Dealey. I use the superlative form to describe it because its principal author’s research comes from his memories and experiences. You will not find a lot of footnotes and a bibliography in this book. Charles A. Lockwood, Vice Admiral, USN, (ret.) did not need to do a lot of research when he teamed with Hans Christian Adamson to write it. He was in the forefront of the American submarine war against Japan, and he understood every captain and submarine thoroughly. The story told comes from his heart and soul. His deep respect for Sam Dealey and the Harder and their accomplishments is clear in the narrative. His sorrow at their loss is poignant.

The book begins during the first part of the Harder’s fifth war patrol, frequently referred to as patrol number 5A. Here we become acquainted with the Harder and learn why her skipper earned the titles “The Torpedo Totin’ Texan” and “The Destroyer Killer.” All her patrols are covered, from her maiden voyage from Groton to her final battle outside of Dasol Bay. Lockwood gives us a thorough biographical sketch of Sam Dealey, a man many never suspected would become a mathematical shark for whom operation of the torpedo director was an intricate puzzle, to be worked out using all information and means at his command. The Harder’s sixth patrol was to be Dealey’s last as her commanding officer. Freddie Warder was taking command of the Submarine School and Sam had accepted his offer to become one of his instructors. As he conned the Harder away from Fremantle for her sixth and final patrol, he looked forward to his return to the States and the time he would be able to spend with his wife and family. But fate had other plans.

This wonderful book can be purchased used quite cheaply at many online sources. I recommend the Bantam war paperback edition (1991) because of the unique cover art by Paul Sample and the pencil drawings within it (a hallmark of the series).