The submarine USS Thunderfish successfully completes a secret mission to rescue a group of orphans on a remote Pacific island. On the way back to Honolulu they encounter a Japanese aircraft carrier but the torpedoes they fire explode about halfway to the target, a recurring problem that has plagued the submarine fleet for some time. The Thunderfish's XO, Duke Gifford runs into his ex-wife and Navy nurse Mary Stuart at the hospital. There's still a spark between them but the boat is sent out on another mission before anything is resolved. When Gifford's good friend and captain, Pop Perry, is killed Gifford believe it's his fault. A inquiry clears him and after he and his men solve the problem of the misfiring torpedoes, they set out to sea.Written by
The problems with submarine torpedoes shown in the movie are accurate. A poorly designed and tested firing pin could malfunction on a good hit (that is, a torpedo striking within about 45 degrees of perpendicular to the side of the target). Poor hits (at a very sharp angle to the side of the ship) could often produce more reliable explosions. Finding the problem, while not performed by the submarine crews as shown, actually did occur in a similar manner. See more »
Upon being told the forward torpedo room was flooding Lt Cmdr Gifford (John Wayne) orders, "Put air pressure in that compartment." This was redundant. To qualify in submarines all personnel are required to learn all systems and duty stations including fire fighting and damage control. The men in the forward torpedo room were trained to handle such situations and would have dealt the the problem and reported their actions, not report and wait for orders. The action or inaction of one man can save or sink a ship; this is especially true in submarines. See more »
In keeping with the submarine theme of the film: at the very start, we see a submarine periscope break the surface of the sea, then we see an officer looking into the view-port of the periscope, then we see the opening credits appear, as if being viewed through a periscope. See more »
West German version was edited by ca. 13 minutes. German DVD release contains this cut version and the original US version. See more »
"Take 'er down!" is a line from the movie and from a real life submarine commander in WWII.
I was stationed on the submarine tender, "U.S.S. Howard W. Gilmore" during the Viet Nam War. It was there that I learned about Cdr. Howard W. Gilmore and the "U.S.S. Growler." The "Growler," under the command of Cdr. Gilmore, was on patrol in early 1942 when she came under attack by a Japanese gunboat. Gilmore was mortally wounded and as he lay on the bridge of the sub gave the command to "Take 'er down!" just as "Pop" did in "Operation Pacific" and thus saved the crew further casualties. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his action. Also the "Growler" rammed the gunboat and bent the bow of the sub just as depicted in "Operation Pacific." I would be interested in knowing if the film used the Gilmore/"Growler" incident as its basis for the scene depicted with Ward Bond, and if there were other facts in the film based on real incidents.
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