Category Archives: The Silent Service

Silent Service: Hit ‘Em Again, Harder / ‘Harder at Woleai’

Two episodes of this sub’s exploits, with a record of sinking over five Japanese destroyers before being lost with all hands on a later patrol.

Published on Apr 22, 2014

USS Harder (SS-257) was a Gato-class submarine. One of the most famous submarines of World War II, she received the Presidential Unit Citation. Her skipper, the resolute and resourceful Commander (Cmdr) Samuel D. Dealey (1906–1944), “a submariner’s submariner”, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

USS Bowfin – Balao class submarine, Her story

Courtesy of Weapon Documentaries Channel

Third Update 2-26-17; YouTube deleted original source channel.

 

Published on Jul 5, 2015  Apr 3, 2016   Nov 8,2015 on  2600 warwar YT channel

The submarine USS Bowfin made nine patrol runs during WWII, all packed with hair-raising adventures. In the course of sinking some 175,000 tons of Japanese shipping, the Bowfin faced an increasingly sophisticated Japanese anti-submarine campaign and endured vicious depth bomb and surface attacks. The boat aided guerrillas in the Philippines, hunted in wolfpacks, rescued downed flyers, and scourged the Japanese throughout the war under command of various colorful skippers. The Bowfin has been gorgeously restored and is berthed next to the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor. This is her glorious story.  Below video, a tour of U.S.S. Bowfin:

 

 

USS Sealion (SS-195) The Sealion Story

USS Sealion (SS-195) was a Sargo-class submarine.
Her keel was laid down on 20 June 1938 by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 25 May 1939 sponsored by Mrs. Claude C. Bloch, and commissioned on 27 November 1939, Lieutenant J. K. Morrison Jr. in command

For those unfamiliar with the Kongo; courtesy of World War II Database:

Kongo, first of a class of four 26,230 ton battlecruisers, was built at Barrow-in-Furness, England. The last major Japanese warship to be constructed abroad, she was completed in August 1913. She was active during World War I and afterwards as one of the fastest units of Japan’s battle fleet. In 1929-31, Kongo was modernized at Yokosuka Dockyard, and was thereafter rated as a battleship. She was again modernized at Yokosuka in 1936-37, receiving new machinery and a lengthened hull to increase her speed to over thirty knots. This high speed, plus their heavy guns, made Kongo and her sisters uniquely valuable warships, and they were heavily used in World War II combat operations.

At the outbreak of hostilities between Japan and the Western Allies in December 1941, Kongo supported the landings on the Malayan Peninsula. As Japan’s great southern offensive progressed, she covered the invasion of Java, fired her 14-inch guns in a bombardment of Christmas Island, and was part of the raid against British shipping in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. In the Battle of Midway in early June 1942, Kongo was part of Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo’s Covering Group.

During the fiercely contested campaign over Guadalcanal that began in August 1942 Kongo helped deliver an intense and effective bombardment of Henderson Field on 14 October 1942, took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands later in that month and was part of the Japanese aircraft carrier force during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November. She was not in combat during 1943 and the first part of 1944, but participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in mid-June 1944 as part of the Japanese vanguard carrier division.

After the 20 October 1944 invasion of Leyte, Kongo sortied with the rest of the Japanese fleet to make a counter-attack. This resulted in the great Battle of Leyte Gulf, an action that essentially destroyed Japan’s Navy as a major fighting force. As part of the Center Force, Kongo survived a submarine attack on 23 October, carrier air attacks in the Sibuyan Sea the next day, the Battle off Samar against U.S. escort carriers and destroyers on 25 October and an Air Force high-level bombing attack as she withdrew from the battle area on the 26th. However, her luck ran out a month later. On 21 Nov 1944, soon after passing through the Taiwan Strait en route to Japan, she was torpedoed by the U.S. submarine Sealion. The resulting fires apparently were uncontrollable, as Kongo blew up and quickly sank a few hours after she was hit. The veteran of the Battle off Samar was the only battleship sunk by submarine attack during the Pacific War.

USS Perch (SS-176) Loss of the Perch

Note – This and other videos on the subject from YouTube.  www.olgoat.com. contains an almost complete record of the 1957-58 TV series called “The Silent Service”; factual stories of our submarine fleet with real footage from WWII, which can be downloaded, however, WP doesn’t accept MP4 format. You will note a very young Jack Lord (Hawaii 5 O) portraying the skipper of the Perch.

Background courtesy of Wikipedia:

At the outbreak of hostilities, Perch – commanded by David A. Hurt – was in Cavite Navy Yard. She took part in the rush to clear the Navy Yard on 10 December and watched, at close range, the destruction of Cavite by bombers. That night, Perch slipped through the Corregidor minefields and scouted between Luzon and Formosa (Taiwan) in search of targets. Failing to detect any, she shifted to an area off Hong Kong, and on Christmas night, launched four torpedoes at a large merchantman, all missing. A few days later, she torpedoed a merchantman. Enemy escorts prevented Perch from observing the kill.

Perch sailed south to Darwin, Australia, to repair damage, making several unsuccessful attacks en route. She next made a patrol to Kendari, Celebes (Sulawesi), where she scouted the harbor and made several attempts to get through the narrow entrance to an attack position.

After a week of close contact with the enemy, obtaining information, Perch headed south searching for targets. In a night attack on a large merchantman off the eastern coast of Celebes, Perch was hit in the superstructure, forward of the pressure hull of the conning tower, by a high explosive round which blew away the bridge deck, punctured the antenna trunk and temporarily put her radio out of commission. Her crew, by very courageous effort, made repairs on deck at night in waters heavily patrolled by the enemy, and Perch headed for the Java Sea.

On the evening of 1 March 1942, Perch surfaced 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Surabaya, Java, and started in for an attack on an enemy convoy landing troops to the west of Surabaya. Two enemy destroyers (Amatsukaze and Hatsukaze) attacked and drove her down with a string of depth charges which caused her to bottom at 135 feet (41 m). Several more depth charge attacks caused extensive damage, putting the starboard motors out of commission and causing extensive flooding throughout the boat. After repairs, Perch surfaced at two o’clock in the morning, only to be again driven down by destroyers. The loss of oil, and air from damaged ballast tanks, convinced the enemy that Perch was breaking up and they went on to look for other kills, allowing her to escape.

With decks awash and only one engine in commission, the crew made all possible repairs. During the early morning of 3 March, a test dive was made with almost fatal results. Expert handling and good luck enabled her to surface, and she began making repairs. Then, as if this was not enough, two Japanese cruisers and three destroyers hove into view and began firing.[11] As shells straddled the boat, her skipper ordered, “Abandon ship, scuttle the boat.” With all hull openings open, Perch made her last dive. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register 24 June 1942.

The entire crew was captured by a Japanese destroyer. Of the fifty-four men and five officers, all but five — who died of malnutrition in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps — were able to return to the United States after V-J Day.