Operation Petticoat is a 1959 American World War II submarine comedy film in Eastmancolor from Universal-International, produced by Robert Arthur, directed by Blake Edwards, that stars Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.
The film tells in flashback the misadventures of the fictional U. S. Navy submarine, USS Sea Tiger, during the opening days of the United States involvement in World War II. Some elements of the screenplay were taken from actual incidents that happened with some of the Pacific Fleet’s submarines during the war.
The evacuation of one Navy nurse and several Army nurses from Corregidor to Australia by the submarine USS Spearfish
On the night of 3 May, the submarine slipped into Manila Bay and picked up 27 passengers from Corregidor to be evacuated to Fremantle. She was the last American submarine to visit that beleaguered fortress before it surrendered. Navy nurse and Legion of Merit recipient Ann A. Bernatitus was among the 27 rescued by Spearfish.
The sinking of the submarine USS Sealion at the pier at Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines.
The torpedoing of a bus by the USS Bowfin.
Captain Sherman’s letter to the supply department at Cavite on the inexplicable lack of toilet paper (based on an actual letter to the supply department of Mare Island Naval Shipyard by Lieutenant Commander James Wiggins “Red” Coe of the submarine USS Skipjack.
The need to paint a submarine pink due to the lack of enough red or white lead undercoat paint. The heat from the burning Sealion also scorched off the black paint of the nearby USS Seadragon and for a time this submarine fought with only her red lead undercoat visible. This led Tokyo Rose to disparage American “red pirate submarines.
USS Balao starred as the “pink submarine” in the film Operation Petticoat.