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"TORPEDO" TAYLOR

Real Name: "Torpedo" Taylor (first name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Normal human (World War II era)

Occupation: Submarine officer (Chief Petty Officer? - see comments)

Group Membership: U.S. Navy, crew of the submarine USS Barracuda (SS-333) (seamen Bascombe, Carlson, Carson, Lt. Hardy, Harrison, Bulkhead Jones, Sparky (Sparks) Jones, Masters, Miller, Peters, Yardarm Yancy, Zawecki, others), Lt. Frazer, Griggs

Affiliations: U.S. Navy

Enemies: Imperial Japanese Navy

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile in the Pacific Ocean aboard the USS Barracuda (SS-333)

First Appearance: Navy Combat#1/1 (June, 1955)

Powers/Abilities: "Torpedo" Taylor has had basic and officer training in the US Navy. He is very familiar with WW II submarine technology and torpedoes, and is an accurate shot with a handgun. He can handle submarine deck gunnery, basic firearms and explosives. Taylor is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, using a mix of WW II US military fighting style and brawling. He has athlete-level fitness and is an accomplished long-distance swimmer. He has rudimentary training in underwater aqua-lung frogman gear. Taylor is focused (at times too focused) on his task fighting the enemy and is a lateral thinker in achieving objectives.

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Red

History:

(Navy Combat#1/1 (fb) - BTS) - Taylor joined the Navy, finding placement on the USS Barracuda (SS-333) in charge of the submarine's torpedo room. He maintained his intense fitness and had the respect of his fellow crew.

(Navy Combat#1/1) - In the Coral Sea, sailors on the surfaced submarine spotted two enemy ships and the sub went to periscope depth. "Torpedo" Taylor fired a torpedo at each Japanese tanker, exploding each midship, but two unseen enemy destroyers rushed to the Barracuda's position. The Americans dived and were pummeled by depth charges. A long wait and as the detonations became more distant, the captain ordered resurfacing; Taylor cheerfully backed his captain's decision to some of the surprised crew. Two more torpedoes sunk one destroyer, but new depth charges damaged the torpedo room; while the torpedo-men evacuated, Taylor defied orders and stayed to seal the rupture. The angered captain helped. The disabled sub later surfaced at night for repairs but the remaining hunting destroyer spotted the Barracuda. Taylor manned the guns, shattering the enemy spotlights. Asked to shoot a torpedo at the destroyer, Taylor quickly found the mark and hit the enemy midship.

(Navy Combat#2/1) - A sudden enemy airplane fighter attack caused the captain to initiate a a rapid dive. Given their distance from land, he determined a Japanese aircraft carrier was nearby. At periscope depth, they hunted and found an enemy tanker fueling a midget submarine. Once the mini sub had left, Taylor fired two torpedoes that smashed the tanker. They pursued the midget sub on the surface and damaged it with shells, forcing the crew's surrender. Taylor led the boarding party and from the logs, identified the location of the carrier. After quickly learning the basic controls, Taylor and Bulkhead volunteered to steer the midget sub to the enemy ship and found it near reefs. Getting close, the pair fired the four torpedoes onboard and, after jumping off, sent the mini sub with its fixed charge in its bow to hit the aircraft carrier. The two American seamen were picked up by the Barracuda as the enemy aircraft carrier blazed in the distance.

(Navy Combat#3/1) - The USS Barracuda lurked in the Japanese sea lanes, waiting silently for a next potential victim. The communications sailor alerted sub that officers that COMSOWESPAC (Commander, Southwest Pacific Area) had alerted COMSUBPAC (Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet) to an enemy radar contact. The Barracuda was nearest to the contact point and encountered a Japanese cruiser; Taylor fired three torpedoes but only one hit, disabling the ship's engines. Three torpedo bombers were dispatched to destroy the sub and successfully hit the Barracuda's engine, forcing it to surface but also unable to steer and out of torpedo-hit range. The sub's gun downed the planes while Taylor came up with a cunning plan, approved by the captain. At nightfall, Taylor straddled a torpedo with rope rigged to its steering fins and guided it in the direction of the cruiser before letting go, yielding a direct hit against the enemy. With the sub fixed, Taylor was soon picked up and they left.

(Navy Combat#4/1) - Roving blind on the surface sea, the Barracuda barely had time to react to an oncoming Japanese destroyer. Taylor kept up morale as the ram proved less damaging than anticipated and let loose two torpedoes that yielded direct hits. The sub dived as the crew assessed damage and later resurfaced with a towline to a tender ship for repairs; but once completed, a sudden attack by enemy fighters forced an emergency dive. Taylor and radioman Sparky Jones, still on the sub's deck, used axes to sever the towlines and allow the vessels to separate, but the sub dived before the duo could return inside. Informed of the missing pair, the captain chose to stay below surface and reckoned that the pair would swim to nearby Japanese-occupied Matsu Island (near China), where the captain hoped to rescue them. Taylor and Sparky swam to the island unobserved and spied a Japanese sub moored in a narrow channel. Quickly overcoming the two guards, Taylor and Sparky opened the Japanese sub's valves, causing it to sink. The two Americans swam back out to sea where they were picked up by the Barracuda.

(Navy Combat#5/1) - At night, Taylor and crew members cheered from the decks as a Japanese tanker blazed, sinking from Barracuda's torpedoes. But the sudden arrival of a Japanese submarine forced an emergency dive. Taylor was the last on deck as the sub lurched to avoid enemy attack and the Barracuda dived before he could get inside. Floating in the sea, the enemy sub rescued him. Taylor was belligerent when questioned by the Japanese; elsewhere the surprised Barracuda captain set about to find him. The Japanese sub commander had Taylor set adrift on a raft as bait for an American vessel so that it could be picked off by the sub. Taylor was spotted by an American cruiser, which steered to rescue him; the Japanese sub exposed its position and prepared to launch at their foe, but the Barracuda's quick-thinking captain found the enemy submarine and destroyed it.

(Navy Combat#5/1 (fb) - BTS) - Taylor was reunited with the Barracuda's crew.

(Navy Combat#5/6) - <June 13, 1944> Taylor kept watch for Barracuda's top secret mission as they quickly picked up demolitions expert Griggs. The sub then submerged and traveled to Subiya Bay where a small fleet of light Japanese naval ships were protected by an underwater barrier. Taylor was assigned to liaise with Griggs, who showed Taylor the basics of using frogman gear. The Barracuda slowly made its way to the wall and Griggs left underwater with a mine, but an air line problem forced him to return barely alive. Taylor took on the mission and successfully planted the mine underwater at the sea wall before returning to the Barracuda. With the sea wall, destroyed, the crew then watched from deck as American ships incinerated the Japanese harbor.

(Navy Combat#7/1) - On the sea surface with barely enough time to react, the Barracuda was suddenly rammed by a Japanese destroyer. Taylor commanded the deck gun as damage was quickly assessed and the sub dived. With just 20 minutes before having to resurface, the captain requested aircraft carrier support which (surprisingly) was quick to arrive. The sub resurfaced; Taylor took control of the deck cannon with his men and fired on the destroyer as the newly arrived American fighter planes (also fitted with torpedoes) also attacked. Continued small attacks eventually destroyed the ship but one fighter was hit and fell into the sea. Taylor suggested picking up the pilot. A charging enemy cruiser was obliterated by Taylor's torpedoes and the pilot rescued, which boosted morale.

(Navy Combat#7/6) - <July 27, 1944> - The Barracuda's crew endured a barrage of depth charges from three Japanese destroyers until a decoy oil slick fooled the enemy and left. The Americans continued their mission with Taylor and Yardarm Yancy assigned to sabotage a long mined net at Subaya Bay that protected a small Japanese fleet. The Barracuda sat at periscope depth, and Yancy and Taylor quietly swam to the underwater net with linked mines. Taylor affixed a grapple hook connected to the Barracuda, which slowly pulled away the net and repositioned it. Once the pair were back onboard, Taylor let loose a barrage of torpedoes at the exposed Japanese fleet. The flaming havoc forced the Japanese to flee to open waters, but they instead sailed into the repositioned mined net, resulting in more losses. On the Barracuda, the captain thanked the swimming saboteurs.

(Navy Combat#6/6) - <August, 1944> The Barracuda sat vulnerable on the sea surface as it refilled its tanks with air and recharged its batteries. Taylor spotted enemy Zero fighters, which quickly attacked. Only half restored, the Barracuda had to return fire until the sub could dive. They evaded a Japanese destroyer when they received orders to find a missing US tanker full of much-needed oil. Finding nothing but an oil slick at the tanker's last location, they followed the slick and found the tanker under tow by a Japanese destroyer. Not wishing to risk losing the tanker by torpedoing the destroyer, Taylor suggested cutting the ropes. At nightfall, Bulkhead Jones joined Taylor and made it (apparently by swimming) to the slowly towed tanker. Clambering aboard, the duo overcame the lazy guards. It took Taylor 20 minutes to cut through the dense thick rope but eventually the tanker was set free. The Barracuda let loose two torpedoes and destroyed the enemy boat. Returning to the sub, Taylor was miffed that he hadn't been the one at the torpedo controls.

(Navy Combat#8/1) - The Barracuda sank one Japanese destroyer, then sat silently on the seabed, the crew waiting for depth charges from the newly arrived enemy cruiser, but the cruiser left, leaving a lone survivor. Suspicious, the sub resurfaced and found the survivor; Taylor was sent to retrieve the sailor and rescued him from a menacing shark. Low on supplies and with just one torpedo left, the Barracuda went to a nearby secret supply dump at night where they found the Japanese cruiser moored. It was suggested that the last torpedo be fired point blank at the cruiser, but the Japanese prisoner sitting nearby interjected. Angry at the cruiser's captain's merciless treatment to let the destroyer's survivors perish, the prisoner revealed the cruiser's only vulnerable spot. Taylor fired the last torpedo and destroyed the cruiser. The Japanese prisoner voiced hope for a better Japan to go home to after the war.

(Navy Combat#8/6) - The Barracuda's captain responded to an SOS from an American tanker attacked by an enemy submarine. There they found only three survivors, who revealed the enemy's cruelty by setting aflame the oil slick that killed others in the water. Full of vengeance, the captain pursued the enemy sub and the crew immediately followed orders. Finding the enemy killer sub, Taylor let loose three torpedoes and the enemy sub was forced to surface immobile. Covered by the crew's guns, the Japanese on deck surrendered and Taylor went over to get the sub's commander. Climbing down the tower, he witnessed the Japanese commander, who refused to be captured, order the valves be opened and the submarine sank. Taylor managed to escape via the open hatch but all the enemy sub crew were lost.

(Navy Combat#9/1) - With just two torpedoes left but two enemy targets, the Barracuda's captain opted for the tanker. Taylor's torpedoes struck home and the sub dived. The destroyer dropped depth charges but the Barracuda escaped. Resurfacing later for air, they were soon attacked by enemy fighters. The sub's deck guns provided poor opposition and the Barracuda dived again. Taylor suggested replacing the deck guns with six flak guns as an element of surprise and two days later, the plan was implemented, but at the cost of torpedoes due to weight. A week later, the Barracuda departed fitted with flak guns but just four torpedoes. The Barracuda went into enemy waters and soon found a Japanese Zero fighter squadron. The Barracuda's flak gun quickly downed the overconfident pilots. The Americans then went after the nearby aircraft carrier; Taylor's well-placed torpedoes obliterated it.

(Navy Combat#9/6) - At the captain's command, Taylor fired torpedoes at a Japanese tanker convoy. Its escort destroyer retaliated with depth charges, which damaged the Barracuda. At nightfall, the sub surfaced so that damage could be assessed and repairs made; Taylor was put alone on deck for watch. The still-hunting destroyer attacked and the sub lurched into an emergency dive, causing Taylor to trip and be knocked unconscious. The Japanese retrieved his floating body; once awake, the destroyer's captain was angered by Taylor's silence and set him on a raft near Bewitok Atoll as a decoy to lure the Barracuda as a target. Refusing to leave Taylor behind, the captain resurfaced and saw Taylor but was suspicious of the makeshift raft and stayed distant. Seeing his crewmates, Taylor used his pocket knife's sun refection to message in Morse code the trap and enemy location. The captain found and sunk the destroyer, and Taylor swam back to the Barracuda.

(Navy Combat#10/1) - The Barracuda was sent on a mission to destroy a Japanese ship secretly holding a conclave of senior officers in Suribaya Bay. Taylor dispatched two torpedoes that hit the destroyer midship, yielding a massive explosion. Japanese rescue efforts were stopped in favor of an intensive search-and-destroy against the submarine. With increasing numbers of enemy ships approaching, the Barracuda dived to the seabed, confined to the bay. Depth charges gave way to sounding wires searching for the sub and the captain risked rising to periscope depth to see the number of enemy ships. He ordered Taylor be ready with torpedoes and made a successful dash out of the bay, narrowly missing two charging cruisers that tried to ram the sub (but instead crashed into each other).

(Navy Combat#10/6) - The Barracuda was caught by four enemy ships. Taylor launched two torpedoes that each knocked out two Japanese vessels. The sub dived as two enemy destroyers locked in on the Barracuda's position and dropped depth charges. Near hits damaged the stern torpedo room and engine room, causing significant leaks. A slow rise to the surface resulted in a ram that forced a quick dive again. The captain ordered a retreat to nearby island bay to effect repairs, but sending a signal flare to the supply PT boat would give away the sub's position. Having found an indigenous people's canoe, Taylor and Bulkhead Jones volunteered and paddled out the open sea. Stripped down to crumpled shorts, they put on a bizarre display when the Japanese arrived to investigate, shouting gibberish and doing handstands to distract the bemused enemy crew, who thought the duo to be indigenous people. But Jones saw the PT boat in the distance behind the Japanese ship and had Jones send the flare. Figuring out the situation, the PT boat launched two torpedoes at the enemy destroyer, which exploded, and picked up Taylor and Jones. Taylor directed the PT boat's captain to the Barracuda's position.

(Navy Combat#11/1) - In fog, the surfaced Barracuda had a very near miss with a Japanese destroyer, whose crew (on a secret mission) were oblivious to the near-ram. The sub's captain ordered two torpedoes fired at the destroyer, which damaged the ship and it began sinking. The enemy ship was carrying a high-ranking suited man ferrying Japanese naval fleet information, and he was prioritized with the case onto a lifeboat. Taylor monitored the survivors through binoculars and noted the out-of-place suit with his case, and the sub went and collected him. Taylor forced the case open and discovered the plans. A sudden enemy aircraft attack forced a quick dive and, once safe underwater, they contacted COMSUBPAC with the enemy information (from this, an American "marauding pack" sank many Japanese warships).

(Navy Combat#11/6) - As ordered, Taylor let loose torpedoes that hit a giant Japanese oil tanker, but its additional hull plating protected its cargo. The ship sped to ground itself on a reef near an island bay so that its cargo could be salvaged. The Barracuda pursued but enemy cruisers blocked the path and forced the sub to dive, bottling the sub into the bay after surviving a depth charge attack. The Barracuda surfaced at night, the captain still keen to destroy the tanker. But Taylor suggested a plan that surprised the captain and he had Lt. Hardy lead a small team to overpower the crew on the tanker. Once onboard, several Barracuda crew got the ship's engines working again while Hardy and Taylor laid charges at the oil tanks. The Americans managed to clear the ship away from the reef and steered the now-blazing tanker at the enemy ships blocking the bay. Hardy, Taylor and the others quickly escaped and rejoined the Barracuda, which submerged and followed the path that the fiery tanker had created as the enemy ships tried vainly to escape damage from the blaze.

(Navy Combat#12/1) -The Barracuda's crew had sunk the last of the Japanese supply tenders in the area (thereby impeding Japanese sub activity) and dived as enemy destroyers rushed to attack the sub. Taylor and available crew went to the Barracuda's prow to provide added weight so the submarine would nose down at a sharper angle. Escaping, the captain was later advised by COMSUBPAC that enemy subs were still operating, so the captain ordered the Barracuda go on 24-hour patrol to find out. Three days yielded nothing but Taylor spotted a seagull that couldn't fly because of an oil slick. Taylor found and and followed the oil slick back to a Japanese supply base hidden in a small island's cove. The Barracuda found the inlet and Taylor fired the two torpedoes that detonated the enemy oil dump and munitions.

(Navy Combat#12/6 (fb) - BTS) - A survivor of a downed Japanese submarine was taken aboard an American supply tender ship. With no apparent brig, the Japanese was free to roam, but he secretly sabotaged many torpedoes meant for the American submarine fleet. Later, the Barracuda picked up five of the sabotaged X211 torpedoes from the tender ship.

(Navy Combat#12/6) - At the Barracuda's captain's command, Taylor launched two torpedoes at a Japanese cargo ship and destroyer escort, but the torpedoes veered off mark and missed their targets. The Barracuda had to quickly dive to escape the enemy destroyer's depth charges. Taylor calmed his fellow confused torpedo-men. The next day, the Barracuda crew found a Japanese tanker and again let loose two torpedoes, but these also missed, despite the closer range. The captain and Taylor identified the four torpedoes used were from those recently picked up; the fifth one was dismantled and Taylor soon identified the drive cam had been sabotaged. The Barracuda quickly rendezvoused with the tender and the sub's command crew heard of the roaming Japanese prisoner. Taylor spotted the saboteur, who, realizing he had been discovered, intended to detonate the ship using a grenade amongst explosives, but Taylor shot the foe's hand and bound him up tight in rope. Reloaded with fully operational torpedoes, the Barracuda went hunting again.

Navy Combat#14/1 (fb) - BTS) - Taylor saw a fuel dump of high-octane gas go up in blue flames on Mindanao (Philippines).

(Navy Combat#13/1) - <April 3, 1945> - Having already sunk five Japanese naval vessels earlier, the Barracuda sank an enemy oil tanker while its destroyer escort, ablaze and sinking, tried to do a last-ditch ram at the American sub, but two more torpedoes destroyed that ship. The Japanese gave their location as the boat sank so that the enemy sub could be located and destroyed. Having lost control of the area near Mindanao due to the Barracuda's interference, Japanese naval command dispatched their most modern submarine, equipped with various electronic devices, to specifically sink the Barracuda.

(Navy Combat#13/1) - <April 6, 1945> - The Barracuda floated on the sea surface recharging its batteries when Taylor saw an incoming torpedo from the Japanese sub, which had jammed the Barracuda's detectors. An emergency dive saved the Barracuda and the captain soon realized that the Japanese pursuer had advanced equipment that let it follow them. Taylor and his men rigged a torpedo that would zigzag at a sub's speed, fooling enemy radar. The Barracuda cut its engines and the Japanese sub chased the jigsawing torpedo instead. With the enemy now in its sights, the captain and Taylor accurately fired two torpedoes that demolished their foe.

(Navy Combat#13/6) - Having sunk a ship already, the Barracuda was alone against three other enemy warships. The sub was forced to the surface, its crew working hard to repair its diving gear while Taylor led a gunnery crew against the ships. Temporary repairs effected, the gun crew rushed inside for the dive but Taylor was focused on his task, and lost in the smoke and noise to notice until the water rushed up him as the sub submerged and he was left floating alone in the sea. A sharp-eyed Japanese captain spotted Taylor and had him hauled onboard. Taylor resisted interrogation but secretly intended to trick his foes. Meanwhile, the Barracuda's crew took Taylor's disappearance badly and the senior crew focused on finding him. On the Japanese boat, Taylor fooled an engineer into letting him use oil pump valves and covertly let loose a Morse code S.O.S. in oil slicks. The Barracuda's captain soon identified this and unleashed a torpedo to disable the Japanese ship. The explosion provided a diversion for Taylor to leap overboard and swim for the Barracuda while the sub finished off the ship. Taylor was happily welcomed back onboard the Barracuda while the enemy vessel blazed.

(Navy Combat#6/1) - <May, 1945> The captain targeted a Japanese destroyer that had sunk a PT (patrol torpedo) boat and taken five survivors with important battle information for Task Force 90. Taylor fired two torpedoes and smashed the destroyer. They picked up two survivors, including the Japanese captain. Taylor took them below deck and watched the interrogation as the two Japanese were coerced to reveal the location of the prisoners. The sub headed to Karaki Island, and Taylor and Bulkhead Jones were assigned the rescue mission. The pair made their way to shore by rubber dinghy and quickly overcame the guards, freeing the four sailors and Lt. Frazer, who knew the secret code of the captured battle orders. The seven quickly fled back to the submarine by dinghy and escaped. Taylor watched on as radioman Sparky Jones advised command of success.

(Navy Combat#14/1) - The Barracuda's captain spotted an enemy tanker and escort; he had Taylor let loose torpedoes that hit the tanker. Blue flame (from 100 octane gas) erupted that surprised the captain before they quickly dived to escape the escort's depth charges. Taylor told the captain what the colored flame was from and the captain identified a nearby "uncharted" island as a potential enemy base for the fuel. Taylor helped guide the Barracuda into the shallow waters before taking a landing party to scout around. Taylor soon found a squadron of bomb-laden Japanese seaplanes waiting for the high-octane fuel. Back on the sub, Taylor readied every available torpedo and, on command, unleashed them and incinerated the base, although one small boat survived.

(Navy Combat#16/6) - With the Barracuda charging its batteries on the surface, Taylor spotted an incoming small enemy bomber and commanded the 3" gun as defense. Although hit, the plane's bombs impacted and damaged the sub. Taylor went below and the sub escaped a pursuing Japanese destroyer. However, they needed to clear Japanese shipping lanes to effect repairs and Taylor suggested heading near land, using fog for cover. The captain chose to go near Rabaul (New Guinea) for its many small inlets. Once there at nightfall, the crew worked while Taylor monitored the nearby cliffs with binoculars and spotted a Japanese truck convoy. The captain ordered the sub go closer to the cliffs and had the deck guns open fire on the convoy. Japanese truck-mounted searchlights inadvertently made them easier targets and the Barracuda's crew obliterated the convoy. The Barracuda then fled before any Japanese naval retaliation could arrive. The captain congratulated Taylor for his hunch.

(Navy Combat#19/1) - While Taylor and his torpedo-men waited, the Barracuda's torpedoes hurtled toward an enemy cruiser and destroyer; each found their mark. They surfaced to inspect the damage but a Japanese dive bomber was ready and hit the sub with moderate damage. The Americans dived but the sub was leaking oil. Hours later, they evaded detection and found sanctuary in a hidden island cove. COMSUBPAC advised a three-day wait for a tender but after scouting the island, Taylor spotted a nearby Japanese oil tanker fortuitously unguarded. Taylor suggested raiding that ship for its oil and come nightfall, he led a raiding party, quickly overcoming opposition on the tanker. Two hours later, the Barracuda had enough fuel. Taylor was ordered to get the Japanese crew onto lifeboats and the Americans then departed. The Barracuda then launched one torpedo at close range at the crewless tanker, which exploded. Taylor was happy to see the sight.

Comments: Created by uncredited writer & Don Heck.

Jeepers, Torpy! Take a hint! Abandoned THREE times on the deck as the sub dives! Either the crew doesn't like you or the crew isn't that great -- whichever, but get yourself transferred! (Although two stories, #5/1 and #9/6, are pretty much duplicates).

His rank is never given in-story, but as near as I can determine, it's Chief Petty Officer, as he's the most senior among the torpedo-men and has the officer cap -- please correct me if I'm wrong!

The introductory story for "Torpedo" Taylor begins with the heading "Another thrilling combat navy adventure starring "Torpedo" Taylor"... it's not "another" if it's the first time you "meet" him (as per the introductory story box).

I'm sticking with the stories as they were published for Taylor's chronology unless stories indicate otherwise, although #4/1 has him on Matsu Island, which was very deep in enemy territory (contrasting to #1/1 in the Coral Sea, the outer limit of Japanese naval activity at its height in 1942). I guess it's still a possibility, so I'll leave it as is. I can't find a Subiya Bay (#5/6), Subaya Bay (#7/6) , Suribaya Bay (#10/1) (maybe a reference to Surabaya in Indonesia?), Karaki Island (#6/1) or Bewitok Atoll (#9/6) in the Pacific Ocean. However, #6/1 refers to Task Force 90, which began operations in May 1945. Although the Japanese Navy had been pushed back markedly by 1945 since the major Coral Sea battle of 1942, the Japanese still occupied parts of New Guinea in 1945, with Rabaul (see #16/6) freed only in August 1945 by Australians.

Stories #5/6 and #7/6 are very similar, both to do with secret missions, a protective wall guarding a Japanese fleet, mines, underwater action for Taylor, and set in very similar-sounding bays (Subiya vs. Subaya) and two of the few stories given specific dates (6.13.1944 vs. 7.27.1944).

The cover to Navy Combat#13 takes artistic liberty showing Taylor getting left topside as the sub dives; he's up against a Soviet torpedo boat and the sub's considerably shorter conning tower has the number 4 (the Barracuda is SS-333).

Taylor & company sometimes used the derogatory term "skibbie" for their Japanese opponents; this was American army slang for a female prostitute (usually spelled "skibby").

In Navy Combat#2/1, the Barracuda's captain mistakenly refers to an attacking Japanese fighter as a "Betty"--but that's a twin-engine bomber (Mitsubishi G4M). Seen only from the front, the single-engine attacking fighter is most likely a Mitsubishi Zero fighter. The same error is repeated in #3/1 and #6/6. It's evident that the writer's specialization is navy, not air force, given the terminology used in-story, and I don't consider it a big issue given the setting of the stories vs. the time of writing; it's just a minor and simple error. Later, although not pictured clearly, the seaplanes in #14/1 look likely to have been the long-range single-engine Aichi E13A "Jake", which could carry bombs and depth charges.

Navy Combat (and with it "Torpedo" Taylor) was a casualty of the 1957 Atlas retrenchments, which included artist Don Heck, but then there was also no more call for such purely war titles in the revamped Atlas-Marvel that followed soon after. Nevertheless, it would be great to see a cameo of "Torpedo" Taylor in a WWII flashback for Captain America or Nick Fury or any other such storyline.

By coincidence(?), an (aging) American sub named "Barracuda" (SS-163) operated in WWII in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans on patrol and cargo duties, but apparently without enemy contact.

There are several reasons I consider the USS to be a Gato class submarine, rather than the later (and most common in WWII) Balao class. While the stories seem to be mostly set around 1944-1945, the Barracuda saw action against the Japanese around the Coral Sea, which could place it around 1942-early 1943) and the Balao class entered service in mid-1943. The two classes were very similar in appearance, but the Gato class had a smaller crew complement (60) closer to the Barracuda's complement of 50, while the Balao class had a complement of 80. Although Balao class submarines developed considerable variations in gun layouts, the Balao class came with a 5" deck gun and two cannon as standard, while the Gato class came with a 3" deck gun plus two cannon as standard, and the Barracuda had a 3" deck cannon (nevertheless, the Barracuda briefly changed its deck armament to flak guns in #6/1 and also changed to two deck cannons, so this could be moot); torpedo armament was the same between the two classes. One possible extra consideration is that Balao class subs had a more robust hull and the Barracuda certainly endured a few hard whacks. Any extra expertise is welcome.

Profile by Grendel Prime.

CLARIFICATIONS :
Torpedo Taylor has no known connections to:


Lt. Frazer

Lieutenant Frazer (first name unrevealed) of the American Navy held crucial coded battle orders for Task Force 90. Frazer was aboard a torpedo boat that was sunk by a Japanese destroyer; he and four other survivors were captured, along with the documents, and taken to Karaki Island. In turn, the American submarine USS Barracuda hunted and destroyed the enemy ship, capturing the Japanese captain, who revealed Frazer's location. "Torpedo" Taylor and Bulkhead Jones were sent to the island and rescued Frazer, along with the four other sailors. The uncompromised battle orders were also retrieved and the Americans all quickly escaped to the submarine and fled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--Navy Combat#6/1


Griggs

Griggs (first name and rank unrevealed) was an American naval demolitions expert. He was a trained underwater frogman and specialist in covert operations. He was part of a secret mission to destroy a sea wall that protected a harbor in Subiya Bay holding a small Japanese navy fleet. He was brought onboard the USS Barracuda, which would take him there. "Torpedo" Taylor liaised with Griggs while on the sub and Griggs showed him the basics of using frogman gear and the aqua-lung. However, problems arose when Griggs set out to plant the first mine and he returned barely alive. Taylor continued the mission, resulting in resounding success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--Navy Combat#5/6


USS Barracuda

The diesel-powered submarine USS Barracuda (SS-333) had a complement of 50 crew members. It was most likely Gato class (but possibly the later Balao class given its robust performance - see comments). Manufactured in the USA, the Barracuda saw heavy action in the Pacific theater of war in WWII, notably the Coral Sea and near New Guinea, the Philippines, Indonesia and at least one mission deep into Japanese territory. Evidently, there was at least one crew member who was fluent in Japanese (e.g., having been able to translate Japanese fleet position from enemy information in #11/1). It survived numerous depth-charge attacks and several rams with enemy ships. At one point, the Barracuda's deck armaments were briefly changed to flak guns to surprise Japanese aerial attackers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--Navy Combat#1/1 (2/1,3/1,4/1,5/1,5/6,6/1,6/6,7/1,7/6,8/1,8/6,9/1,9/6,10/1,10/6,11/1,11/6,12/1,12/6,13/1,13/6,14/1,16/5,19/1


images: (without ads)
Navy Combat#6/6, p1, pan2 (main image)
Navy Combat#7/1, p, pan (headshot)
Navy Combat#3/1, p6, pan1 (riding torpedo)
Navy Combat#5/6, p5, pan1 (in frogman gear)
Navy Combat#6/6, p5, pan7 (bare-chested on deck)
Navy Combat#7/1, p4, pan1 (shooting deck gun)
Navy Combat#19/1, p4,pan7 (punching)
Navy Combat#6/1, p5, pan2 (Frazer)
Navy Combat#5/6, p3, pan1 (Griggs, headshot)
Navy Combat#5/6, p3, pan7 (Griggs, in frogman gear)
Navy Combat#6/6, p1, pan2 (Barracuda, surfaced)
Navy Combat#7/6, p1, pan3 (Barracuda, side view, submerged)
Navy Combat#6/1, p3, pan6 (Barracuda, near overhead view, submerged)
Navy Combat#3/1, p1, pan3 (Barracuda's seamen busy below decks)


Appearances:
Navy Combat#1/1 (June, 1955) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#2/1 (August, 1955) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#3/1 (October, 1955) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#4/1 (December, 1955) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#5/1 & 5/6 (February, 1956) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#6/1 & 6/6 (April, 1956) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#7/1 & 7/6 (June, 1956) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#8/1 & 8/6 (August, 1956) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#9/1 & 9/6 (October, 1956) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#10/1 & 10/6 (December, 1956) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#11/1 & 11/6 (February, 1957) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#12/1 & 12/6 (April, 1957) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#13/1 & 13/6 (June, 1957) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#14/1 (August, 1957) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#16/6 (February, 1958) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Navy Combat#19/1 (August 1958) - uncredited writer, Don Heck & Joe Maneely (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)


First posted: 08/24/2023
Last updated: 08/24/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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