Reviews and Reader Comments

Hunters of the Steel Sharks: The Submarine Chasers of WWI

Ships Monthly, May 2007:

"... Personal anecdotes, official reports, and well chosen photographs bring the story of these little anti-submarine ships to life. It is a fascinating account of early ASW warfare and is highly recommended."

Stars and Stripes
Book remembers sub searchers of WWI Sunday, February 11, 2007

Imagine dozens of small wooden boats frantically scouring the seas for German U-boats bent on starving England into submission. The U.S. Navy did as it entered World War I, and ordered the construction of what became a fleet of about 300 sub chasers. The 110-foot craft were equipped with depth charges, deck guns and rudimentary underwater listening devices. Their efforts are described in “Hunters of the Steel Sharks,” by Todd Woofenden. In describing the vessels’ design, construction and deployment, the account relies heavily on documents kept by Woofenden’s grand-uncle Lt. George Dole, who commanded one of the scrappy little craft during the war. While larger destroyers escorted freighter convoys between the United States and Europe, the sub chasers waited, watched and listened for their prey in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Adriatic. They also helped with mine-clearing and diplomatic duties, and even participated in the ill-fated Allied intervention in the young Soviet Union in 1919. Woofenden does a good job of weighing sub chasers’ value to the war effort. Some writers have doubted their effectiveness, citing a scarcity of evidence that they sank many U-boats. However, Woofenden points out that they were tools in the much larger effort to combat the German subs, and contributed greatly to the budding field of anti-submarine warfare. --Stripes

Captain Winn Price USNR ret.:

Meticulous research, attention to every interesting detail and a plethora of photographs from the private family collection combine to transport the reader from his armchair to the captain’s chair. After reading and reveling in Todd Woofenden’s book about World War I sub chasers you are nearly qualified to stand watch. You know the ship from keel to masthead lights. You feel the deprivations and exhilarations of crewing the last of the wooden warships. The reader sails from New London to Bermuda to Corfu at the mouth of the Adriatic. After performing duties assigned you deploy to the barren Kola Peninsula before de-mining the North Sea. Grab this book, swing into your rack, and standby for heavy rolls.

Lawrence B. Brennan, Capt. USN:

I just finished devouring your book. It is a great story presented brilliantly. I was sorry to see it come to an end. I now understand your devotion to your great uncle and his important contributions to our nation and Navy. His spirit and intellect are sadly in short supply today when the children of privilege avoid embracing military service. It is an important contribution and your advice to others to preserve, protect and publish their ancestors' stories is sage Congratulations on completing an important and impressive work. Simply stated, well done.

Robert W. Merriam, The New England Museum of Wireless and Steam, Inc.

It is an impressive book and the writing is of the quality of William Washburn Nutting and Alfred Loomis. It is unusually well documented.

This title is available for purchase from the Signal Light Books store.