Vol. 14 No. 3, March 2018

Dean Travis sent a link to a recent article on WWI subchasers: World War I Splinter Fleet: The Sub Chasers that Challenged the U-Boat Menace, by James Mitchell Varnum.

I might take issue with a couple of little things -- the count of chasers that were sent overseas, for example: Varnum says 121, but it's 133 by my count. (The complete list of overseas chaser assignments is provided in Appendix I of Hunters of the Steel Sharks.) Also, I'm not sure it's accurate to state that the principal European base for chasers was Queenstown, since the chasers stationed there were at Plymouth first (Subchaser Detachment One), and weren't moved to Queenstown until late in August of 1918 (Subchaser Detachment Three). Just to round things out, note that the second detachment was at Corfu, Greece, well before chasers were at Queenstown.

But overall, I think the depiction is about right. I would chime in with the historians who don't credit chasers with any kills, by the way (since the contemporaneous documents are pretty clear on that), but I agree with the notion that "... they proved to be a deterring factor against enemy submarines." That was the big-picture impact of the chaser fleet in WWI.


Added this month to the crew photos page for subchaser SC 258 is a portrait shot of James Edward Flaherty, who served on SC 258, courtesy of his son, Capt. Walter P. Flaherty USN (Ret). SC 258 was assigned to Plymouth (Base 27), and was a wing boat in Unit 6 (SC 137, SC 258, SC 41).

-- Todd Woofenden, editor

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