The Interior Of A WWII Submarine

by Lindsay Shapka in


On December 7, 1941 more than 350 Japanese ships attacked Pearl Harbor in Oahu, the home of the US Pacific Fleet. Over 2000 soldiers were killed during the two hour attack, 1177 of which died in the battle ship USS Arizona which took a direct hit and sank in less than 9 minutes. Twenty other US ships were sunk or damaged and over 300 airplanes were destroyed, an act that caused the US to officially join the Allies in the fight against Hitler. 

Moored in an inactive part of the harbor sits the USS Bowfin (above), a submarine that sank 44 ships before the end of the war, that has been preserved and is open to the public. 

I would not consider myself to be claustrophobic, but even with all of the hatches open to allow fresh air into the long, narrow boat I still felt a shudder go up my spine at the thought of having to spend any serious amount of time in it. The controls looked archaic and the living space miniature.

The men who signed up to be closed into the cold body of the sub and lowered thousands of feet into the ocean, with limited radar equipment were a lot braver than I had ever appreciated.

I got nervous on a twenty minute walk through the Bowfin while it was above the water.

Those men must have had nerves of steel.