“Compelling and visionary. DiMercurio’s characters run as deep as his submarines themselves!”
--Joe Buff, author of Crush Depth and Thunder in the Deep

"DiMercurio really knows his subs...his characters step right off the sub deck and onto his pages."
--Larry Bond

"A Master Rivaling Tom Clancy."
--Publishers Weekly

--San Francisco Examiner

--Associated Press

"Superb storytelling."
--Virginia-Pilot/Ledger Star


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Ladder -- -- A marine ladder is usually a very steep staircase. On a submarine it could be a steep staircase or an actual ladder. The former are in the forward spaces, the latter are in the engineering spaces.

Layer, Layer Depth -- -- The top 100 to 250 feet of the ocean, stirred by waves and heated by the sun, is warm, while deeper there is little motion and little heating. The warm water forms a layer over thee deep cold. Often the transition is an immediate one, going from 28 degrees when deep to 60 degrees shallow. This will channel sound near the surface and allow a submarine to hide when deep. It also makes an approach to periscope depth hazardous, because sonar may not be able to hear close contacts until the ship is above the layer.

Leg -- -- The straight line travel of a submarine during passive sonar Target Motion Analysis (TMA) between maneuvers. During a leg the crew attempts to establish a steady bearing rate to the target and establish speed across the line-of-sight to the target. Two legs determine a firecontrol solution. Three legs confirm the solution. Four legs indicate the captain is afraid to shoot. A large sign at Prospective Commanding Officer School reads, “You don’t need another goddamned leg!”

Line-of-Sight -- -- (1) The firecontrol diagram’s main branch, which shows the bearing to the target, the target at the top and own ship at the bottom; (2) a mode of the firecontrol system used to simplify matters for the captain or to set up for a snapshot, in which the target is depicted as a rowboat at the top of the display, own ship is another rowboat at the bottom of the display so that the headings of both ships are easily seen; (3) description of the travel of UHF, EHF and VHF radio waves, which do not bend, so that if you can see the other platform you can talk to him, but if he’s over the horizon you are out of luck unless you are using a relay satellite.

List -- -- Tilt of a ship to the side.

Littoral Operations -- -- A submarine operation in water shallower than 100 fathoms, usually requiring the use of the secure three-dimensional high frequency (underice) sonar system and a lot of balls. In the Barents Sea, the Russians think nothing of dropping live ammunition on a suspected intruder, so don’t get caught. (Want to know what happens if you do? Read Attack of the Seawolf by Michael DiMercurio).

Locking In / Locking Out -- -- Entering or leaving a submerged submarine through the escape trunk (airlock).

Lookaround -- -- (1) A periscope observation; (2) A warning by the OOD or captain to the ship control party that the periscope is about to be raised. The diving officer and helmsman report ship’s speed and depth as a reminder, since high speeds can rip the periscope off and flood the ship through the periscope hole.

Lose the Bubble -- -- To cave in under pressure. When you say, “I’ve got the bubble,” you mean that everything is under control. The term comes from the old fashioned liquid-filled inclinometers that used a bubble in a water-filled tube, much like a level in the garage. When the diving officer “has the bubble,” he has the ship’s depth control well in hand. When he’s lost the bubble, depth control is lost and the ship either broaches or penetrates a deeper depth limit.

Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey

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