[Mail Call] 2017/04/02 – Sailfish edition

(Translated) “Why is Sailfish a bit of a prepper? I can see her being cautious and careful based on how you wrote her in vol. 2 but she seems really tight in terms of managing resources.”

Oh, that. This one is actually inspired quite a bit by what happened during the Squalus incident. Though even in her prototype states – as shown in the sketch below – we wanted to make her a contrast to her twin. Basically she’s a bit more humorless.

[Mail Call] 2017/04/02 - Sailfish edition

The air was getting heavy and foul. Forward, in the torpedo room, this condition already existed. Now Naquin gave the word to spread soda lime on available flat surfaces; also to bleed oxygen into the compartments from the boat’s dwindling supply. There were a few emergency rations, some crackers in the officer’s mess, but nothing more.

“We conserve everything,” Naquin said tightly. “It may be a long wait before anybody comes out, so don’t think about eating and don’t move around much.”

This is a tale from a survivor of that incident (my source comes from a dog-eared book about submarines published in the 1950s (based on the uh, advertisement in the last page) – I don’t know the title unfortunately because both the front and back cover fell off.)

This is not to say that she can’t be positive. Again, from the same source:

Few had more than shut their eyes since that first horrible moment of tragedy, for scuttlebutt had it that if a man dropped into a deep sleep, the chances were that he’d never wake up again. The air was heavy and the food had given out. Bleary-eyed, shivering sailors huddled in the near-darkness of red-glowing battle lamps, watching the overhead.

Meanwhile, in the bell-shaped chamber, along with Martin Sibitzky, were Torpedoman 1/c John Mikalowski and Gunner’s Mate 1/c Walter E. Harmon. With Sibitzky’s guidance, the bell was fitting onto the torpedo escape hatch and a signal tapped to the two sailors inside. Then the diver went up to report to an anxious Admiral Cole that the rescue chamber was now fitted to Squalus’ deck.

In the chamber, the two sweating specialists quickly brought their wrenches into play. The gasketed bottom of the compartment was now fitted to the escape trunk of the submarine and, at a signal to Falcon, a supply of air blew the bell dry. Mikalowski slithered down into the blown section, attaching toggle bars and pad-eyes on the sub’s hatch access. Now the torpedoman climbed into the chamber and tapped with his stilson wrench on the cover of the sub. Incredulous submariners heard the scraping of metal against metal – then the hatch cover bent forward!

Mikalowski shouted down into the chorus of wild shouts.

Hands reached eagerly to pump the hand of life, and then the torpedoman passed into the submarine hot coffee and smokes , after which the forward room was given a jolt of fresh air from the rescue chamber. In control, too, wildly cheering men knew the full story now. Miklowski’s work was half done. Nine of the crew in the worst condition came aboard the rescue chamber first, later nine more, and finally Naquin’s crew from the control room. 

The men were trapped inside for up to twenty-six hours. Imagine that. No light. Not much air. You can’t hear anything and you don’t know if anyone’s seen the flare or even know that you’re still here. You were tapping out morse code with a hammer for the better part of the day but now you have to stop because resources are literally running out. Everyone is more or less just trying to minimize their movements and you are just huddled together in a cold, wet, and increasingly grim darkness.

Then suddenly, help arrives. Imagine that! Just imagine that.

Remember that when we design our girls we want to basically make it so that you can believe that it’s her, so given that this was not only a majorly successful rescue (in contrast to what happened to the RN a bit later), but this was one of the few cases where a sank ship was “resurrected” and given a new opportunity. Thus, I feel like that particular event would contribute quite significantly to her personality.

See you next time. 🙂