American submarine protest poetry


Doug Rhymes, the torpedo officer on Sargo, inspired by complaints he had heard about some skippers, wrote a poem in 1942:

The Fearless Skipper

The Captain is a rugged guy
With hair upon his chest.
O'er a glass of beer in peacetime
He's at his fighting best.
He scorns far distant danger
With a scornful, scornful leer
And never runs for cover
When everything is clear.
He swings around the periscope
With firm and steady hands;
When the ship is unescorted
He has no fear of cans.
In eyes so gray and piercing
There shines a reckless gleam
As he takes his sip of coffee
And adds a little cream.
With conversational courage
He talks a fearless fight.
He's a rough, tough hombre
When nothing is in sight.
All hazards of navigation
Cause him no loss of sleep.
He cruises along most calmly
In water one mile deep.
His nerves are surely made of steel,
His voice has a confident sound,
And he never gets excited
When danger's not around.

Art Taylor, the bright and aggressive skipper of Haddock, which had taken the first SJ radar into combat, was one submariner who could not contain his resentment of shore staff.. During his first war patrol, Taylor wrote a poem:

Squat Div One*

They're on their duff from morn till nite;
They're never wrong, they're always right;
To hear them talk they're in the fight—
Oh, yeah?
A boat comes in off a patrol,
The skipper tallies up his toll
And writes it up for all concerned.
He feels right proud of the job he's done,
But the staffies say he shoulda used his gun!
Three fish for a ship of two score ton?
Outrageous! He should have used but one!
A tanker sunk in smoke and flame—
But still he's open wide to blame.
His fish were set for twenty right—
That proves he didn't want to fight!
Oh, yeah?
The freighter he sunk settled by the stern—
With depth set right she'd split in two!
So tell me, what is the skipper to do?
He's on the spot and doing his best,
But that's not enough by the acid test.
The staff must analyze his case
And pick it apart to save their face.
Just because you sink some ships
Doesn't mean you win the chips
You've got to do it according to Plan;
Otherwise you're on the pan!
So here’s to the staff with work so tough
In writing their endorsement guff—
Whether the war is lost or won
Depends entirely on "Squat Div One."
Oh, yeah?

*“Squat div(ision) one” staff who sit at base on their duff and second guess patrol reports in their evaluation or "endorsements."

Old Fuds, Young Studs, and Lieutenant Commanders

Battleships are title B.
That's Lesson One in strategy.
They are the backbone of the Fleet.
Their fighting power can't be beat.
They dominate the raging Main
While swinging 'round the anchor chain,
And bravely guard your home and mine
While anchored out there all in line.
They fill the Japs with fear and hate
From well inside the Golden Gate.
Now Lesson Two in strategy—
Our subs and planes are title C.
Just send them out on any mission
And win your battles by attrition.
Where'er you send the subs or planes
They're bound to chalk up lots of gains--
And losses, too, but what the hell.
Who cares about their personnel?
For planes are chauffeured by young studs;
Lieutenant Commanders run the subs.

— Richard G. Voge, Lieutenant Commander, USN.

The first two are in Clay Blair, Jr., Silent Victory, v. 1, p. 177, p. 301