On the western shore of Lake Michigan, about 80 miles north of Milwaukee, lies Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In 1940, the U.S. Navy Department, through its Bureau of Ships, contracted the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company for the construction of 10 U.S. Fleet subs of the Gato- class. After the outbreak of World War II, the contract was expanded to 41 submarines, of which 28 were completed before the end of the war. "Fresh Water Submarines" tells the unique story of the assembly of these historic subs and what they accomplished during World War II. The boats of Manitowoc were launched side-ways as noted on the book cover photo. Then carefully transported down the long Mississippi River to the ocean. Some of the more famous boats of Manitowac included: USS Rasher (SS-269), USS Redfin (SS-272), USS Hawkbill (SS-366), USS Kete (SS-369), USS Lagarto (SS-371) and USS Ray (SS-271). Several including Lagarto, Kete and Golet were tragically lost.

   First published in 1986, "Fresh Water Submarines" has recently returned to print. This new softbound book is loaded with information and technical data. 180 pages with 13 historic black and white photos. No maps or index.

Sorry, sold out!

   "A very interesting piece of Great Lakes history. This is the story of how a small shipyard in Manitowoc Wisconsin came to produce 28 submarines from 1942-1945. It was written by an admiral who commanded two Manitowoc submarines. After a brief history of shipbuilding in Manitowoc the author describes how submarines which had a minimum draft of 12 feet could be transported through a channel 9 feet deep by carrying the submarines in a floating dry dock. There are details of construction, sea (lake) trials and the hazards of taking the dry-docked boat down narrow stretches of the Mississippi. There are a number of photos including the cover which shows the sideways launching of a sub. Included is a table of ships sunk in combat which totaled about 500,000 tons. The company has evolved into making cranes, refrigeration equipment as well as shipbuilding and dry dock operations. I was fascinated by this story. It will appeal to those with an interest in Great Lakes shipbuilding, industrial history, and the US Navy."  Peter H. Cooke

About the Author

Rear Admiral William Nelson was born in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1908. After graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1930 he served for 20 years, primarily in submarines. During World War II, Commander Nelson was the skipper of two different Manitowoc-built boats. As captain of USS Peto (SS-265), Nelson sank two Japanese ships. Following the war, and until his retirement form the Navy in 1965, Nelson's duty was largely in the field of logistics. After retirement the admiral served for six years on the Military Advisory Board of the Logistic Management Institute. Nelson has also been a Trustee of the Fairfax County Public Library and is an Honorary Trustee of the Manitowoc Maritime Museum.

Note: Photos below appear in the book.

Above photo: USS Peto, commissions at Manitowoc on December 21, 1942. On the far left, Rear Admiral J. T. Nelson USNR (Ret.) father of the C.O., (center) Mrs. William Nelson wife of the C.O. and Lieutenant Commander William T. Nelson the Commanding Officer (far right).

Above photo: USS Peto on her first-day trip down river, December 27, 1942. Tug is Kansas City of Federal Barge Lines.




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The Manitowoc Story

by Rear Admiral William T. Nelson, USN (Ret.)

New Softbound edition

180 pages, 13 black and white photographs


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