If memory serves (check me on this) there were:
- A couple of boats out near Midway or Wake, putting them at least 1500 miles to the west.
- Thresher was south of Oahu with USS Litchfield, inbound for Pearl.
- Gudgeon was at Lahaina Roads helping some PBY's conduct training.
- Plunger, Pollack, and Pompano were about 125 miles to the northeast on their way inbound to Pearl from California.
That's off the top of my head, so someone may want to verify that. Clay Blair's "Silent Victory" is probably the best source, but I don't have my copy handy.
As far as who could have had an impact on the battle -
Gudgeon was over 200 miles south of the Japanese TF, and the three inbound boats from California were almost 150 miles from the TF when the positions are calculated.
They would have had to know at least 24 hours in advance to make a surface run at 10 knots just to get in position to submerge and wait for the Japanese TF to approach. It's difficult to imagine them being able to do so unless the Japanese were sighted on 5 December, and then we are assuming the torpedoes would work even if the boats got into a firing position. [Submarine torpedoes were more of a hazard to the submarines firing them than to the enemy in the early days of the war.]
Perhaps a submarine historian can look at this one for you.
(Edited by Ken Hackler at 4:58 am on Mar. 12, 2001)
Edited by David Aiken on --