Submarine Trivia

Some Interesting Submarine Trivia

LITTLE KNOWN SUB FACTS

by Bill Wolfe, Editor of Polaris

The first Japanese casualty to American arms during WW-II was an aircraft shot down on Dec. 7th, 1941 by the USS Tautog (SS-199).

The first submarine force casualty suffered in WW-II was G. A. Myers, Seaman 2, shot through the right lung when USS Cachalot (SS-170) was strafed during the Pearl Harbor raid.

The first “live” torpedoes to be fired by a Pearl Harbor submarine were fired by the USS Triton (SS-201), 4 stern tubes fired on the night of Dec. 10, 1941.

The first Pearl Harbor boat to be depth charged was the USS Plunger (SS-179) on Jan. 4, 1942,  24 charges.

The first “down the throat” shot was fired by USS Pompano (SS-181) on Jan. 17, 1942.

The first Japanese warship to be sunk was torpedoed by USS Gudgeon (SS-211) at 9 AM on Jan. 27, 1942, the IJN I-173 (SS).

The first major Japanese warship lost to submarines during WW-II was the heavy cruiser Kako which fell victim to USS S-44 (SS-155) on Aug. 10, 1942.

The first submarine to fire on a battleship was USS Flying Fish (SS-229) Sept. 1942, damaging a Kongo class BB.

The first submarine to fire on an aircraft carrier was USS Trout (SS-202), damaging Taiyo, August 28, 1942.

The first Japanese ship to be sunk by gunfire was by USS Triton (SS-201), near Marcus Island on Feb. 17, 1942. At the time, Kirkpatrick was the youngest skipper to get command at Pearl.

The first man to die in submarine gun action was Michael Harbin, on USS Silversides (SS-236), May 1942.

The first rest camp for submarine crews was established at a military encampment at Malang, in the mountains of Java, 89 miles from Surabaya. Three days were allotted to submarine crews there in January 1942.

The first TDC (Mark 1) was installed in the USS Cachalot (SS-170).

The USS Plunger (SS-179) was the first boat to sustain an “arduous” depth charge attack and survive.

In September 1936, Cdr. C. A. Lockwood Jr., assumed command of SubDiv 13 composed of the new boats USS Pike (SS-173), USS Porpoise (SS-172), USS Shark (SS-174) and USS Tarpon (SS-175).

On December 31, 1941, Captain Wilkes evacuated Corrigidor on board the USS Seawolf (SS-197) to establish a new base at Surabaya, Java. Simultaneously Capt. Fife boarded USS Swordfish (SS-193) and sailed to Darwin, Australia.

Expressing the view that Japan could not hope to be victorious in a war with the U.S., Admiral Yamamoto was “shanghaied” to the post of Commander of the Combined Fleet (from the Naval Ministry) to thwart a possible assassination at the hands of his many dissenters.

A survivor of the Japanese carrier Kaga, at the Battle of Midway, told how some of his shipmates saved themselves by clinging to the air flask of a torpedo fired from USS Nautilus (SS-168) which hit the carrier and failed to explode, the concussion separating the warhead from the airflask.

LCDR. Francis White was the only skipper who lost two submarines in combat, the USS S-39 (SS-144) and the USS S-44 (SS-155).

The IJN I-176 (Cdr. Kosaburo Yamaguchi) was the only Japanese boat to sink an American submarine (USS Corvina (SS-226)) during the war.

The last Japanese submarine to be sunk in the Pacific, the I-373, was torpedoed by USS Spikefish (SS-404)) on the morning of 13 Aug. 1945, in the East China Sea.

As late as July 1945 Japanese guns on the cliffs of Lombok Strait shelled the Loggerhead as she proceeded through the strait on the surface

In July 1945 the USS Bugara (SS-331) operating in the Gulf of Siam, sank 12 junks, 24 schooners, 16 coasters, 3 sea trucks and one naval auxiliary, all by gunfire.

In the early morning hours of June 22, 1945, USS Barb, (SS-220) fired a dozen 5-inch rockets into the town of Hokkaido from 5000 yards off shore.

A Japanese prisoner, recovered from a wrecked aircraft by USS Atule (SS-403) had the following items in his pockets: 7 packs of Japanese cigarettes, 1 pack of British cigarettes, calling cards, ration books, club tickets, diary, note book, flight record and two magnetic detector tracers, with notes concerning them, a thick wad of money, a vial of perfume and a number of other personal items.

On the night of 8-9 December 1944, in a coordinated attack with USS Sea Devil (SS-400), USS Redfish (SS-395) heavily damaged the aircraft carrier Hayataka; ten days later she sank the newly built carrier Unryo.

When USS Robalo (SS-273) was sunk, presumably by a mine, on 26 July 1944, five of her crew swam ashore and were captured by Japanese military police and jailed for guerrilla activity. They were evacuated by a Jap destroyer on 15 August and never heard from again.

On 27 Oct. 1944 Rock fired 9 torpedoes at USS Darter (SS-227), stranded on Bombay Shoal. In Feb. 1943 USS Tautog (SS-199) laid mines off Balikpapan, Borneo. In April 1944, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri struck one of these mines and sank. This was the same destroyer which rammed the PT-109, commanded by J.F. Kennedy.

The first boat to be equipped with QLA sonar for locating mines, was USS Tinosa (SS-283).

When Admiral Nimitz assumed command of the Pacific Fleet in Jan. 1942, he raised his flag on the submarine Grayling. Relinquishing command nearly four years later, he lowered his flag on the submarine USS Menhaden (SS-377).

America’s first Japanese POW was Sub-Lieutenant Sakamaki, captured when his midget submarine, launched from the I-18, struck a reef in Kaneohe Bay and he swam ashore and surrendered. The second Japanese submarine sunk, a midget caught inside Pearl Harbor and sunk by the seaplane tender Curtiss, was later raised. Too badly damaged for intricate examination, it was used as fill-in material in the construction of a new pier at the submarine base.

During 520 war patrols in 1944, submarines fired 6,092 torpedoes, more than in 1942-43 combined (5,379). Statistically it took 8 torpedoes to sink a ship in 1942, 11.7 in1943, 10 in 1944.

During 1944, 117 navy and air force personnel were rescued by U.S. Subs; The USS Tang (SS-306) picked up 22 for the leader in this category.

During 1944 Japan lost 56 submarines, 7 to U.S. Submarines.

On Nov. 21, 1944, USS Sealion II (SS-315) fired a salvo of fish at each of two BB’s, the Kongo and Haruna. The Kongo was hit and sunk, but the DD Urakazi intercepted the fish meant for Haruna and was instantly sunk.

Message to all submarines on 13 April 1944: “Until further notice give fleet destroyers priority over Maru types as targets for submarine attacks.

During 1944 U. S. submarines sank 1 BB, 7 CVL’s, 2 CA’s, 7 CL’s, 3 DD’s and 7 SS’s of the Japanese navy.

So numerous were submarine attacks on the Singapore-to-Empire trade routes in 1944 that a common saying in Singapore was that “one could walk from Singapore to Tokyo on American periscopes.

Emperor Hirohito, upon learning of the Bataan death march at the conclusion of the war, stripped General Homma, the responsible commander, of his medals and decorations.

When the loss of Saipan was announced to the Japanese people on July 18, 1944, Prime Minister Tojo and his entire cabinet resigned.

On Feb. 22, 1945 the USS Flounder (SS-251) fired four fish at a Japanese patrol boat. Two of the fish ran in a circle, causing USS Flounder (SS-251) to maneuver frantically to avoid disaster. On the following day she collided with USS Hoe (SS-258).

The USS Flounder (SS-251) sank the only German U-boat that was credited to U.S. Submarines in the Pacific.

The last of the German commerce raiders, the Michael, was sunk by Tarpon (Wogan) on Oct. 18, 1943 while enroute  to a Japanese port.

On December 28th the USS Dace (SS-247) torpedoed the Japanese collier Nozaki, the last ship to be sunk in 1944.

The last large merchantman to be sunk by submarine during WW-II was the Hokozaki Maru, sunk March 19, 1945 by USS Balao (SS-285).

The last Japanese warship afloat in the South Pacific, the light cruiser Isuzu, was sunk by USS Charr (SS-328) after she was previously hit and badly damaged by USS Gabilan (SS-252)

The USS Flasher (SS-249) sank more tankers than any other submarine.

The largest merchant ship sunk by submarines during WWII, the Tonan Maru #2 was sunk by USS Pintado (SS-387) on 22 August 1944.

Except for those officers who received the Congressional Medal of Honor, Commander Davenport was the most decorated man of the war.

During 1944, 14% of the CO’s were relieved for non-productivity, 30% in 1942 and 14% in 1943.

A total of 7 reserve officers achieved command of a fleet submarine in WW-II.