Submarine Warfare – July 1945

Submarine tender, USS Anthedon, Australia 1945

From: the true story of America’s “wolf packs” and “life guard” teams –  “Sink ’em All”. by Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood Jr., USN.   “Uncle Charlie” spent 39 years in submersibles.

My long-delayed visit to Admiral Fife’s command finally got underway in a PBM from Saipan, 20 July 1945.  Cavite and Manila were pitiful to behold.  These once beautiful and picturesque Spanish-built cities lay in ruins.

On the north shore of Subic Bay, 60 miles up the coast, I found Jimmie Fife building a submarine base and rest camp in jungles where, in bygone days, we hunted wild pig and deer.  Two pile-built piers extended into the bay, while 2 American and 2 British tenders with submarines alongside, lay at anchor farther out.

Aboard the tender Anthedon, anchored off the Base, I found Cmdr. Dick Hawes, an old friend from earlier submarine days.  Even this fine, new tender command was not big enough to absorb Dick’s energies, so he had salvaged a small Japanese freighter and had it moored alongside.  Repair crews worked elbow to elbow on the decks and in machinery spaces preparing her to run rations and materials up from the Fleet Base at Leyte Gulf.

Welcome sign for Subic bay, estab. July 1945

That afternoon, I went aboard the British tender Bonaventure with Captain Fell in order to take a dive in one of the XE midget submarines.  The midgets were training for a break into Singapore Harbor to lay mines and limpets under the heavy cruisers, IJN Myoko and Takao, which had taken refuge there after being heavily damaged by USS Darter and Bergall.  They also intended to cut the Hong Kong-Singapore cable off Saigon.

When I arrived on Guam, Admiral Nimitz sent for me and again warned me to be prepared to divide up the Sea of Japan with Russia, as she was coming into the picture on 15 August.  I took a poor view of the impending situation.  We had skimmed the cream off the Sea of Japan and there would not be much of a job for anyone in those waters except to pick up dunked *zoomies, smuggle in commando troops and land secret agents.  Already an OSS officer had approached me with a proposition to put agents ashore on the west coast of Korea.

British XE-Midget submarine

Cmdr. “Tiny” Lynch, during a patrol in June and July, played a dangerous game of ‘Hide and Seek’ with 2 Japanese frigates.  On 1 July, on the west coast of Korea, in dense fog about noon, an enemy convoy headed for Japan headed straight for his submarine.  He distributed 8 torpedoes among the 4 leading ships.  The frigate passed firing “full battle practice” and somehow missed the sub.

While Tiny dove for deeper water, all 8 torpedoes were heard to hit and high periscope reported mushrooms of smoke.  But the situation was far from being in hand.  He had only 2 torpedoes left, and one of them was a new hush-hush weapon, this seemed an excellent opportunity to test it.  It was sent on it’s way.

Time dragged by and nothing happened.  Tiny was ready to head for more shallow waters, when back from the fog, came the sound of a heavy explosion, followed by depth charge explosions.  The torpedo had missed the first target, but hit the second and as she sank, all her depth charges exploded.  Two freighters and a frigate – not bad for 15 minutes work.  The mine-detecting gear worked!

Japanese midget subs in dry dock, 1945

*zoomies – Aviator. Usually applied to USAF pilots. Stems from the USAF Academy – the “blue zoo” where civilians observe formations march to lunch daily from the chapel wall

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

‘I joined the navy to see the world and I spent four years on a submarine!’

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Herbert Walker Bush – CT, ME, W.TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, youngest pilot, USS San Jacinto  Avengers, D.F.C. / CIA / 41st President of the United States of America

Dominic Calabrese – Bronxville, NY; US Army, 1st Lt.

Herbert Davidson – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, corpsman

Troy Fultz – Green Forrest, AR; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star

Hub Gray – CAN; RC Army, Korea, LT., 6/C Co./ 2nd Batt./Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

James Harvey – New Haven, CT; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea

Carl King – Norwalk, OH; US Merchant Marines / US Army, WWII

Thomas (Bucky) O’Brien – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Scott Stearney – Chicago, IL; US Navy, Middle East, Vice Admiral, Commander of Naval Forces Central Command

Edward Vetting – Manitowoc, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 3, 2018, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 96 Comments.

  1. RIP, #41. You will always be a hero to me. I pray you are now with Barbara and your daughter taken from you at such a young age. I also pray you are now free from the nightmares from combat you endured for almost 75 years…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the important details shared from the writings. Submarine warfare is so interesting in that their strategies are so marginal and so elementallly destructive to sea life ,plus. Another interesting post GP. This one gets me to wonder much. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see John has beaten me to it with more details of the midget subs. I don’t think I’d like to be in one, even a big one. Our neighbour told me about being trapped on the seabed in a sub in the Indian Ocean, it made me cringe just to hear the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Going way off topic here, GP, and I crave your indulgence – plus any assistance that you or your readers may be able to provide.
    A friend here in Australia has asked:
    “Was wondering if you are able, with your contacts, to find an address in the USA to send cards for xmas for vets in hospital or hospice? I found one but with no names they won’t accept the cards.”
    Any suggestions will be received as gratefully as I’m sure the cards would be by those faraway warriors.
    I am curious though as to why unaddressed cards would be refused.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mooie ;spannende verhalen maar mij krijg je voor geen geld van de wereld in zo’n duikboot

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another very informative post! Thank you for mentioning Bush 41.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoyed the history and old pics (as usual)and love the “sir – are we lost”
    Wishing you a good day

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yikes! That ended with a bang. (No pun intended…. Okay… so, I sort of intended the pun.) I don’t remember learning about the mini subs. This was a fascinating post, GP. You know I liked it, since the real life Cornelis Drebbel invented the first navigable submarine in the 1600s! 😀 Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Like you, GP, I was surprised George H.W. Bush was a one term president. He was better qualified for the job than virtually any others in my lkifetime, and I especially appreciated his restraint after the coalition’s liberation of Kuwait. The temptation of take Baghdad and rid the world of Saddam surely passed through many minds at the time, yet he stopped where the UN mandate called for a stop.

    On top of it, his successor alrteady had a reputation for philandering (Remember HRC’s “Stand By My Man”: reference when asked about Bill’s dalliances?) and for avoiding serving in the military, something people of my generation who did serve feel was disqualification enough for someone who would be commander in chief as president. (I still prefer the candidate who did serve over the one who didn’t if that choice has to be made.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My claustrophobia would never allow for a tour on a submarine, G. And that’s the big ones! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great posting. Noticed 41 listed, nice call. Where do you get your info on the passings and for your blog summaries? Learned a lot from reading these entries.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I would never have been suited for working in a submarine. These are great posts GP. Keep them coming!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It is comforting to see Farewell Salutes include President Bush in the same font as for our other losses. First only, because the list is alphabetical. Consistent with his humble nature.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Doubly brave, I’ve only been on a sub once and in harbour, and that was more than enough, met some crew – take my hat off to anyone who brave a tin can under pressure, and be vulnerable inside and out.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I was very interested in the midget subs – I’d never seen these before.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m a submarine junkie and devour books on undersea warfare. Thanks for this write-up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I got to see a midget submarine once, and all I could think was “Good grief.” I was caught by the reference to a ‘limpet.’ I’d only known limpets as sea creatures, but I learned that “A limpet mine is a type of naval mine attached to a target by magnets. It is so named because of its superficial similarity to the limpet, a type of sea snail that clings tightly to rocks or other hard surfaces.” Interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great post! I always love it when you feature the Navy stories. Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Another excellent post

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Another excellent post GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Great report, GP. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This reminds me to watch “Hunt for Red October” again.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Hmmm… In salutes; Bush was not a fighter pilot.
    He chose to fly Avenger torpedo bombers. This item doesn’t reflect his choice, but does tell of his being shot down and rescued by a sub.

    “On June 12, 1942, Bush turned 18 and graduated from Andover.
    After commencement, he left for Boston to be sworn into the Navy.
    Nearly one year later, Bush became an officer of the U.S. Naval Reserve and earned his wings as a naval aviator.
    Meacham speculates that Bush was likely the Navy’s youngest flying officer, just days shy of his 19th birthday.
    He was assigned to fly torpedo bombers off aircraft carriers in the Pacific theater.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2018/12/01/george-hw-bush-pearl-harbor-changed-everything-world-war-ii-made-him-hero/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9adc726d2af3

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Amazingly brave adventure. I’m always amazed how large these ships and how much waiting and planning goes into these missions which seem to be over in minutes. Excellent post ⭐️🌟💫✨

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Admiral Lockwood is buried alongside Admirals Chester Nimitz, Raymond Spruance and Richmond Kelly Turner and their wives in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, CA on the peninsula south of San Francisco. The four Admirals shunned burial at Arlington, specifying that they be buried among the ranks who served with them in the war and that they have the same grave markers as the ranks.

    Anyone brave enough to visit the formerly beautiful city of San Francisco can see what a WWII-era sub was like by visiting U.S.S. Pampanito, SS 383, at Pier 45. Pampanito is a Balao-class sub. She sank 6 Japanese vessels, including 2 who were (unknown to her) carrying some 2,000 British and ANZAC POWs. The rescue of some of those POWs by Pampanito and sister ships in the wolf pack she was operating in is one of the great (if little known) stories of the war. https://maritime.org/pamphist/davis.htm

    Liked by 2 people

  26. A wonderful outcome of his “Hide and Seek” game. He must be a special kind of guy to be able to live underwater for so long. I went on a tour of a sub and it was so cramped even for a small person like me. I was claustrophobic.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. There are so many great examples of self-less courage and bravery in American military history. But I must say that my utmost respect has to go out to anyone brave enough to volunteer to go to war in a midget submarine. That took guts! Plain and simple!

    Liked by 3 people

  28. A very encouraged service fighting inside a can, in former days driven by diesel. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Our company has a number of engineers who were in the submarine service. Modern boats, but still a dangerous and vital mission.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. I have never been claustrophobic, but then I’ve never been in a submarine.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. There is something really unnerving to me about being in a fighting ship under the sea. I think that took a certain kind of courage. One I doubt I could ever have mustered.
    Well done to those brave sailors, on all sides.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Thank you for a very interesting account. The midget submarines were really midget and just plain scary as regards size. A Victoria Cross was won in one of them. The account here is quite scary too, especially when the submarine gets jammed under the Japanese cruiser as the tide falls.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Joseph_Magennis

    Liked by 2 people

  33. That’s a very long time underwater

    Liked by 2 people

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