Dust on the Sea (Bluejacket Books)
Edward L. Beach
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In 1972, following the huge success of Run Silent, Run Deep, Edward L. Beach's second novel of submarine warfare was published to great acclaim. Like its predecessor, Dust on the Sea was lauded for its authentic portrayal of what it meant to be a submariner during the desperate years of World War II. Tense, dramatic and rich in technical and tactical detail, the book draws on Beach's experience as a submariner in the US Navy to describe the commander and crew of the fictitious USS Eel as they battle overwhelming odds to destroy Japanese ships and save American lives. With no margin for error, the men withstand storms, depth charges and even hand-to-hand combat to defend their boat and themselves. Mistakes, as the title reminds us, result in the debris which serves as a brief grave maker for sunken ships: dust on the sea.
Periscope-eye view had returned to a more normal six feet. She had not wavered for several seconds, no doubt had ceased zigzagging, probably had increased speed. “Make her speed fifteen knots,” he said. “Bearing, mark!” “One-eight-oh-a-half.” “Cornelli”—he raised his voice so the helmsman could hear clearly—“steer two-seven-three-a-half.” He watched as his periscope cross hair drifted slowly to the right, until it was just clear of the escort’s port side. He brought it back until it lined up.
Start pumping. And remember, if you get too much air in number seven tank, the only way to get rid of it will be through the vent valve, and it will go right to the surface for them to see!” As Richardson swiftly made his way through the successive compartments, opening the watertight doors, seeing they were redogged behind him, he was acutely conscious of the haggard looks with which everyone regarded him. His was the responsibility for the situation, and it was to him alone they had to look.
Be subjected to the same pressure, with consequent danger of the bends if prolonged. But there was no longer any need for that worry. He picked up the handset. “Keith? . . . Go ahead. We’ll be coming up in a very few minutes, so hold it down to ten pounds’ pressure.” It must be quite dark topside. Eel would slow down and come to periscope depth immediately. This would greatly reduce the necessary air pressure in the after engineroom. The bubble in number seven tank would expand as the ship rose.
Directed to try to get some sleep. Richardson lay down at about 11 o’clock and actually dozed off, to awaken, momentarily confused, a couple of hours later. Keith, he noted, turned in the moment he knew his skipper was on his feet. Blunt remained virtually in the same place he had been, drinking cup after cup of coffee and incessantly smoking his pipe in the wardroom. At about two in the morning, first carefully adjusting his red goggles to protect his night vision from the white lights,.
Something. “There’s a prisoner in irons below. Get him out. And search this boat for any more like him.” “Right, Skipper, will do. Maybe some of these Japs will give us a hand,” responded Williams, indicating the prisoners crowded against the side of the deckhouse. The crowd of prisoners proved very willing indeed to assist with launching the boat and raft. One of them, who seemed to know what was needed, went below under guard and returned with a sack full of provisions. “A couple of these.