Monday, February 23, 2009

Sub Archive Gold Mine

I just found the motherload of Submarine patrol reports from World War II all online in a relatively easy to view format. Maintained by the Historical Naval Ships Association, the archive contains a detailed day-to day record of all fleet boat actions.

Here's what the HNSA has to say about the archive: At the end of each war patrol of WW II, submarine commanders created a report on the patrol. These reports were used as the raw material to inform intelligence, improve tactics, evaluate commanders, etc. During WW II, over 1,550 patrol reports containing approximately 63,000 pages were generated. During the 1970s these were photographed and reproduced on microfilm to make them more easly accessible and easily reproduced (approx. 250 rolls). During 2008 a copy of this microfilm was scanned into digital format (110 GB), and in 2009 it was made available online here (14 GB).

While I am thrilled that these folks have made this huge amount of valuable information available, I am troubled by this hypersensitve statement at the begining of the archive:

"These war patrol reports were written during a deadly, bitterly fought war. Please note that there may be some references to enemy forces that may be offensive in today's context."

What are they afraid of? Did Mush Morton use the word "Jap?" Did Edward Beach call the enemy "slanteyes?" Did you want to win the damn war or did you want to make everybody feel good? I can tell you from reading Beach and Dick O'Kane that they didn't give a tinker's damn about offending the sensibilties of the Imperial Japanese Naval Forces.

Neverless, this site is priceless.

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