As noted in the accounts of the earlier GUNNEL war patrols, the daily narrative that follows is a verbatim excerpt from the Captain's original official patrol report with date and time of entry in bold face, underlined (time alone in bold face). Additional comments have now been added to the original report by the former Commanding Officer, Capt. Guy O'Neil, USN (Ret), and by former members of the crew, many of whose names are noted in this narrative. These new comments and recollections are printed in bold face Italics to distinguish them from the earlier report narrative. The complete original wartime patrol report, with the higher command comments submitted at the end of this patrol, August 8, 1945 is now unclassified, and it can be found in the official files of the U.S. Navy. In preparing and presenting this history, extensive research of the historical records has been made to insure the faithfulness of GUNNEL's story. However we take full responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies and will welcome your comments. This work continues in progress.
The EIGHTH war patrol of the USS GUNNEL was conducted close off the southern coast of JAPAN in the BUNGO SUIDO, the area in the North Pacific Ocean lying at the entrance between the islands of SHIKOKU and KYUSHU into the Inland Sea. The US submarines assigned this area were under the operational control of CTF-17. The duration of the patrol was 53 days, 32 of which were spent in the area. The primary mission assigned was lifeguard duty close inshore in support of the B-29 bombing raids being conducted against the industrial cities and population centers of Japan. Offensive patrol against targets of opportunity was authorized within the assigned area when not otherwise engaged in lifeguard duty.
The official report follows:
28 December, 1944. Arrived Pearl Harbor completing the Seventh War Patrol
(O'Neil)" As I remember now, we had been scheduled for normal refit in Saipan when we arrived at the end of the Seventh Patrol. After the preliminary inspection by the tender and seeing our list of work considered necessary before heading out on patrol again the decision was made to send us on to Pearl where better facilities were available. By the time we reached Pearl Harbor it had been decided to send us on to the States for a regular Naval Yard overhaul where outdated and worn out equipment could be better repaired or replaced with new and updated designs. Thus our stay in Pearl was to be brief, and only the time needed to remove equipment and supplies for the boats operating out of Pearl, and providing provisions and fuel for our passage home was required. Needless to say we were all delighted at the prospect of soon being with home, family and friends. We set to work making out leave schedules and plans so as to be ready when we passed under the Golden Gate. For the record there were a number of transfers of personnel to be made before sailing:
On the 29th the following transfers were made:
To SubDiv Forty Five for duty and further assignment to other boats:
Walter E. Bowen, TM1/c USN
Carl DelSignore, TM2/c USNR
Leo A. Kain, FC2/c USN
Reported aboard as passenger for transfer to Commander Submarines (Admin) Pacific Fleet, Mare Island:
Allyn R. Capellen, SC2/c USNR
On the 30th, by verbal orders of ComSubPacFlt
N.S. Hamlin, CEM (AA) USN was transferred to USS BLOWER for duty.
By orders of ComSubRon 4 the following men reported aboard for passage to San Francisco, CA.
R.T. Shaw, CRM (SS) USN
M.O.Walkup, CMoMM (T) (SS) USN
T.L. Ulman MoMM1/c, (SS) USNR
W.R. Nicoll, TM2/c (SS) USNR
M.L. McKeone, TM2/c (SS) USNR
H.T. Simpson, TM2/c (SS) USN
31 December, 1944. 0900: Underway for the Golden Gate and San Francisco.
in accordance with orders from CTF 17.
(O'Neil)"Just before casting off the lines, an additional group of submariners came aboard for passage to San Franciso. They were L.A. Berkey, EM2/c (T) (SS) USNR, W.E. Garner, MoMM3/c (SS) USNR, L.W. Hamilton, S1/c (TM) USN, and D.E. Jewell, S1/c USNR."
"After leaving the mooring, we had first to stop by East Loch, Pearl harbor for exercise torpedo tests. Six were fired. After passing through the harbor entrance net, we made a trim dive, then submerged again in the sound measuring range for sound tests. We completed sound tests at 1428, and joined a surface ship escort along with another submarine for passage to the departure point north of Oahu. At 1900 we released the escort, and proceeded independently in the assigned safe zone enroute the Golden Gate and home. It was a happy ship."
"During the voyage we remained on the surface, steering a steady course at night and a constant helm zig zag during daylight hours. We maintained black out conditions in darkness and a vigilant lookout and radar watch at all times. These were friendly waters but there could be unfriendly submarines in our path. We could relax, plan for the future, and complete preparations for the coming overhaul. Work lists and known parts required had to be prepared and leave schedules refined. Extra people off watch were allowed topside on the cigarette deck to enjoy the fresh air and meals could be served on time without emergencies interrupting the routine"
"The day before arrival, 6 January we made a trim dive and later that day made contact with a surface ship and an airplane. Neither came near nor saw us."
"In the early morning of 7 January we sighted the Blimp assigned to meet us and guide us to the surface escort. Visibility was good and range was 2000 yards, yet he would not answer our radio calls nor did he appear to have seen us. I tried everything, full rudder and changes in speed to create white water, and signal lamp. My confidence in Blimps for anti-submarine patrol was shaken. One hour thirty minutes later he saw us and answered our calls. We had to fire flares finally to get his attention."
"At 0319 we made contact and took station on the beam of the USS Lawrence, our escort, and at 0816 we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. As soon as we were in smooth water I allowed people off watch as well as the maneuvering watch on deck to admire the view-which was spectacular."
7 January, 1945. 0932: Moored starboard side to in berth 59, Hunters Point Naval Dockyard. Doubled all lines, secured the engines, secured the maneuvering watch and set the deck watch. All passengers left the ship.
“The following day, Monday, 8 January, all ammunition, stores and fuel oil were offloaded and the overhaul commenced, with the shipyard now providing power and lights from the pier. On Tuesday, 9 January the first leave party of 38 men jubilantly left the ship for 30 days leave, and a few days later four of the officers;, Sandy Knotts, Ed Murphy, Jim Thornton and the Exec,. Jim Zurcher departed on leave. I happily started my leave on the 31st of January leaving the ship in the capable hands of the Commanding Officer and men of Relief Crew #3. It had been a long while since most of us had been in the States, and San Francisco had never looked as beautiful.”
“The overhaul was completed 4 May, 1945. The work was extensive and thorough. All the latest approved alterations were completed with outdated equipment replaced with the latest design and electrical and hydraulic systems altered to provide greater reliability and protection against shock and flooding. The outer hull which had been damaged by a bomb during the sixth patrol was further strengthened by stiffeners and intermediate frames in #2 and #3 auxiliary and safety tank. The conning tower instrumentation was rearranged placing all fire control equipment in one location. The latest design attack periscope was installed in the #1 position and hydraulic lifts provided for both periscopes and SD radar mast. The SD mast was placed in a new fairwater aft and the SJ installed in its place at the after end of the shears. Additional cooling coils were added to hopefully provide adequate cooling in tropical waters. Surface armament was upgraded with the installation of a new 5”-25 wet mount deck gun replacing the 4”-50, and a new 40mm placed on the cigarette deck aft and a new twin 20mm mount placed forward with ammunition lockers altered to match. Overall we were now better equipped to carry out our job. I later found that I had a problem with the periscopes however. The attack scope was longer than the radar scope, and this made it difficult, particularly during a submerged attack with time of the essence to handily use the radar scope, particularly if the sea was rough. The upper end of the radar scope was much thicker and more apt to be seen and the shallower depth much harder to hold. Switching between the two scopes, for example to get a quick range or to search for targets alternately with both scopes, required changing depth about four or five feet. This was hard to accomplish quickly in any kind of sea without using speed to avoid broaching and showing too much periscope or going too deep to see.”
“During the overhaul period there were changes made in the Ships Company. Lieut. Walter P. Robinson, Jr. USN and Lieut. (jg) James M. Thornton USNR were detached for duty in a new Submarine, and Lieut Geoffrey C. Wood, USNR and Lieut (jg) Allan E. Douglas, Jr. USN reported aboard for duty in Gunnel as their replacement.”
“On 3 February, four men reported aboard to become part of the permanent crew to take the GUNNEL on the 8th (final) patrol and as it turned out the trip home with the wars end. They were R.A. (Ray) Clark, EM2/c, L.M. Estabrooks, F1/c, D.V. (Don) Kane, S1/c, and V.A. Knauff, S2/c. Garrison, R.E. Y3/c (SS) was transferred to Advanced Training and Relief Crew #3.”
“In March R.D. Weaver, CTM, USN reported aboard for duty as Chief of the Boat as relief for CMoMM Hansen USN who headed east to place a new submarine in commission. I hated to see Hanson go, but I found Weaver was experienced, well liked, and did a fine job on this last patrol.”
“In April the engineering department adopted a tiny, lively and extremely affectionate member of the crew when “Joey,” MoMM (Canine) 3/c came aboard. I was not supposed to know about it, but I saw no harm and Joey certainly was a boost to morale and a friend to all. As I remember his battle station was the After Battery Room with the damage control party.”
4 May, 1945 to 11 May, 1945: Enroute San Francisco to Pearl Harbor in company with USS APOGON.
A.L. (Art) Schelling, RT1/c recalled this moment. “ I do remember going under the Golden Gate on our way out for the 8th war patrol. I was hoping we were going back to Fremantle. No such luck. I had served on the HARDER and got off before she made her last patrol. When I was assigned to the GUNNEL I found the difference between the two boats was great. I just felt so much at ease on the GUNNEL and that I belonged there. Maybe I had a premonition when I was on the HARDER? The only time that I was not at ease was later when we were running around the Bungo Suido area with all those mines floating around.”
Note by O’Neil “HARDER (SS 257) was lost with all hands on 24 August, 1944 a few miles off the coast of Southern Luzon, sunk by depth charges dropped during an attack by two destroyers. Art had been transferred from HARDER to the relief crew in Perth, Australia while GUNNEL was on the 6th patrol. . By coincidence GUNNEL was close by in the same area as HARDER on 24 August, but we were not aware of her loss on that day until we returned to port at the end of that patrol. Art Schelling came aboard on our return, and subsequently made our 7th and 8th Patrol”
Donald V. Kane, then S1/c newly assigned to duty in the GUNNEL, had this to say in his recollections of his first Navy sea duty. “In the early part of 1945, I was assigned to a Naval Base chart pool correcting nautical charts at Hunter’s Point, San Francisco, CA. My brother, SGT Thomas J. O’Kane, (my parents dropped the “O” on my name), USAAF was killed while a member of the aircrew of a B-24 Liberator Bomber over Karlsruhe, Germany. I wanted to see action so I went down to a few submarines docked at Hunter’s Point and asked who could use me. I was interviewed by Lt. Geoffrey Wood and finally by the GUNNEL Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Zurcher, who approved my transfer. I was advised that I would have the duties as a lookout, helmsman, radar operator, bow and stern planesman, telephone talker and forward torpedo room underwater sound device operator. I was Quartermaster striker (i.e. a Seaman 1/c but seeking promotion to the rating of Quartermaster).”
“ I reported and was given quarters with the rest of the crew in a Navy Barge used as Barracks during the overhaul. The first person I met (whom I never forgot) was Mike Cannemella from New London. Mike was a strong, short barrel chested Torpedomen 3/c. who had made several war patrols in the GUNNEL. He was loud but basically a very sweet man. While in the barracks, I was introduced to a riotous fun-loving group of mischievous men. Some had made a home brew out of torpedo alcohol and fruit juice they called “Gilley”. I tasted it once but that was enough. One day there was an “animal house” food fight. I made a quick exit. I liked fun and was not what one might call a “Goody-goody two shoes”, but I didn’t drink any Gilley.”
Note by O’Neil “Torpedo alcohol was poisonous, and every effort was made to keep it locked and unavailable for use other than fuel for the torpedoes, but at times such as this overhaul, somebody would always be able to obtain it in the shipyard. , and filtering it through bread made it safe to drink. In the years I spent in command of submarines, I was never able to consistently prevent some pilferage. No matter how many locks one put on the spigot, in plain sight in the Control Room, someone always managed to draw a few drams.”
Don Kane continues “We had shakedown drills in San Francisco Harbor and at sea. This was my first introduction to being seasick. Much to my surprise, there was no one else available to clean up the mess when I vomited. One of the Chiefs had the nerve to make me clean the mess I made in the crew’s wash sink near the shower! I soon learned that Navy custom in Submarines required those susceptible to seasickness to come on duty and stand his watch with a mop and bucket in hand and assume responsibility to clean up ones own mess.”
“These shakedown trials were very interesting to this neophyte, I was slowly being introduced to my work. I had been a V-12 College Student, Naval Officer Training Program at Brown Universityy, Naval Officer Training Program, but flunking physics, I was sent to Boot Camp. From there, I went to Quartermaster Service School and scored very high.”
Note by O’Neil “Donald Kane is currently,(year 2003), a practicing Attorney at Law, a member of the New York and U.S. Virgin Island Bar, with offices in Hempstead, New York.) He is currently National First Vice President of the US Submarine Veterans World War II, and is anticipating being elected President of this organization at their annual convention to be held in Reno, Nevada summer, 2003.”
(O’Neil) “On 12 May Lieut.(jg) S.L.(Sandy) Knotts became ill and was transferred to Aiea hospital for treatment. It was not serious, but he would have to miss this patrol. I was concerned losing him at this last moment before departure, because he was our experienced battle station Torpedo Data Computer (TDC) operator. To my relief I found there was a young officer awaiting assignment, Ensign Caspar W. Hiatt III USNR who had been trained on the Torpedo Data Computer and was available, so I made sure he was assigned as Sandy’s relief. Upon graduation from Submarine School, Ensign Hiatt he had taken an intensive course on the TDC with Chester Nimitz, Jr. as his instructor, and in my mind that gave him top rating as a relief for Sandy. He did not let me down. I knew Chester to be an outstanding submariner. Chester was a Submarine School classmate of mine. Subsequently the year after our graduation we went out together on the same boat and passed the examination for qualification in submarines together the same day in the same boat. I knew Chester to be an outstanding submariner.”
“Since our last war patrol and overhaul considerable advance had been made in Navigation equipment and methods. The dummy log system was a labor saving gadget we were happy to get. It was installed in a worktable in the control room. It had a glass cover and under the glass cover a mechanically geared tiny spotlight which moved under control of the ships gyro compass (ships course) and log (ships speed in knots). The moving spot of light projected up through the glass and paper chart indicated the ship position at any moment on a chart placed upon the glass tabletop. The light source movement could be changed to reflect the scale of the chart used so that once initially set the Quartermaster need only mark at intervals the ships position with a pencil and no longer have to laboriously plot each little change of course and speed. It was invaluable to the plotting party during a torpedo or gun attack and for the Navigator doing his days work. Another change in the practice of navigation at sea was the introduction of Loran. At this time Loran was of limited use because our operating area was not fully covered by the radio broadcasting stations required for its use. The Loran system required coverage of all ocean areas by transmitters which ships received as coded numbers, and had navigational charts printed with numbered lines to match so that it was only necessary to locate where the numbered lines crossed to plot ones position on the chart. Simple and easy, no mathematical computations or plotting lines of position. Unfortunately on this patrol the Bungo Suido area was not yet covered. Once on station Jim Zurcher was going to have to use the old sextant, chronometer, and watch and pray that the stars would be visible and we could be on the surface to take star sights in morning and evening twilight. Today, year 2001, as I write this, all one needs is a little hand held receiver, and a satellite station overhead will give ones position within inches over, on, or under the surface at any moment and any where around the world.”
16 May, 1945 through 28 May, 1945: Post overhaul, training period, and loading. Other submarines have made the same remark, but it is repeated here that it was the best training period experienced by this commanding officer and was much appreciated. It was long and rugged, but a world of good was received by all hands. Six exercise torpedoes were fired plus two exercise Mark 28 and three exercise Mark 27. On completion of this period took on board 22 Mark 18-2 and two Mark 28 torpedoes for a full load.
(O’Neil) “On the 23rd of May, our wardroom steward Johnie B. Williams ST3/c was transferred to the Tender USS FULTON, and Molina Florentino Molino ST2/c reported aboard as his replacement. He would remain until the GUNNEL was decommissioned.”
“During this training period it became evident the new officers, Geoffrey Wood, Jim Thornton, and now Cas Hiatt, as well as the new men in the crew since the last patrol, were fitting in very well and upon completion of training I felt we could handle anything the Japanese could throw our way. I still intended to hold frequent drills enroute our station. We would have plenty of time to rest when we got home again.”
Cas Hiatt, the new junior officer in the Mess recalls those times. “When I reported for duty aboard the GUNNEL in Pearl Harbor, I had been overseas for many months. After graduation from Sub School in New London, Conn. I had taken an intensive course in operation of the Torpedo Data Computer (TDC). After graduation, I felt very comfortable with the TDC and was eager to get to work. My first assignment was to report to Perth, Australia for duty on one or another of the boats that were operating from that port. Unfortunately, en route to Perth on the Lurline troop ship, I contracted a serious case of Scarlet Fever and would have died, were it not for the miracle of penicillin. I was set ashore on Manus, in the Admiralty Islands, and eventually recovered in the Navy Hospital unit there.”
“By the time I finally arrived in Perth, the action had shifted to other regions. Several boats to which I might have been assigned are “still on patrol”. After a few weeks as a relief crew member, I rode the tender “EURALE’ back to Pearl and to the GUNNEL.”
“I was ready for some kind of action. Accordingly, when we engaged in practice torpedo firing off Pearl Harbor, I was really thrilled by the success of our efforts. As I recall, we fired 3 exercise fish at a small patrol craft simulating a 600-foot target vessel. After each shot, the target vessel signaled to us their observation of the bubble track. Any signal between 300MOT (300 feet ahead of the middle of the target) and MOT300 (300 feet abaft) was considered a “hit”. The first shot, as I recall, was reported as “MOT”, with no number attached. We had, in fact, made a perfect shot. Of course I knew that this successful attack drill required the efforts of a number of people: the Skipper, for executing the attack, the “plotters”, the torpedomen, and the TDC. But you can imagine the gratification I felt at having executed the TDC part of the operation successfully.”
28 May 1945 to 9 June 1945: Enroute Pearl to Guam independently as Task Unit 17.3.44. Omitted June 1, 1945 upon crossing the International Date Line. Made three or four training dives plus one simulated battle problem and miscellaneous drills each day underway. Practiced Battle Surface and fired all deck guns several times.
9 June 1945 to 13 June 1945: Undergoing voyage repairs alongside USS HOLLAND in Apra Harbor, Guam. Spent one day in floating drydock ARD-24. Removed several nicks in the port propeller and removed 26,000 tons of lead ballast from topside and bottom of #2 Main Ballast Tank.
(O’Neil) “A lot of changes were made during our overhaul in Hunters Point, including a heavier gun and ammunition load. This called for a closer look at our ballasting and resulted in making this change. I don’t remember any problems but our trim dives and quantity of water carried in our trim tanks since leaving the shipyard must have indicated the need. Our displacement surfaced was 1250 tons, but that was weight of water displaced by the hull and has no connection with the dead weight tonnage of the boat.”
Wednesday, 13 June 1945. 1342 (K): Departed Guam in accordance with CTF 17 operation order 124-45 of 12 June, 1945 for patrol in Lifeguard League in the Tokyo Bay, Northern NANPO SHOTO Island Waters. Proceeding in company with DE 14 and U.S.S. STEELHEAD, routing via Short Cut, Adam Apple and Neck.
“ The first use of a Submarine as lifeguard was in December 1942 in connection to support Carrier strikes at Midway. This became a permanent feature of Carrier strikes after a particularly successful lifeguard patrol by SKATE in early October 1943 off Wake Island under the captaincy of my old skipper in the SALMON, Commander E.B. McKinney. 6 pilots shot down were picked out of the sea but not without loss as one of his officers on the bridge, Lieut. (jg) W.E. Maxon, USN was fatally wounded when a Japanese airplane got through the fighter cover and strafed the SKATE’s bridge on the first day. No important Carrier strike was made thereafter without one or more submarines at the scene. A total of 504 rescues by submarines were made by wars end by submarines, with 3272 submarine days on lifeguard station.”
1755(K): Released escort, proceeding in company with STEELHEAD.
2350(K): (AC#1) SD radar contact 7 miles, showing IFF
Thursday,14 June 1945. 0232(K): (AC#2) SD radar contact 7 miles, showing IFF
0415(K): Made SJ radar contact with ANATAHAN Island bearing 085 T, range 70,000 yards.
0559(K): Submerged for a trim.
0618(K): Surfaced. Commenced holding daily school of the boat plus various drills for each section.
0640(K): (AC#3) Sighted B-29 bearing 005 T, 6 miles.
0642(K): (SC#1) Made SJ radar contact followed by sight contact on a convoy of four liberty ships heading south escorted by two friendly DD's bearing 339 T range 26,500 yards. Altered course to pass clear, not detected. Position: 16-34 N, Longitude 144-24 E.
0801(K): (AC#4-11) second of nine aircraft contacts during day, radar and visual, identified as B-29's, all showing IFF.
O’Neil “IFF is Identification, Friend or Foe. All friendly aircraft as well as we on the ocean below had this feature as part of our radar signal. Without IFF we wouldn’t have been able to stay on the surface as lifeguard as there were the occasional Japanese aircraft about, and the B-29’s in trouble would not have been able to find us. When single friendly aircraft approached as they sometimes did without showing IFF and we couldn’t visually identify them as friendly, or the CAP assigned coming in fast forgot to turn his on, it added a bit of excitement to our lives. We normally had friendly relations and interesting conversations with our assigned CAP in the course of an early morning raid, but we got a little tired of one Airdale we had over a period of several days who insisted on calling us “Sewerpipe” in our radio conversations."
1114(K): Submerged for training.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 17-23.5 N, Longitude 143-54 E.
Friday, 15 June 1945. 0642(K): Submerged for a trim.
0622(K): (AC#12) SD radar contact 6 miles, sighted and identified as B-29.
0910(K): (AC#13) Sight contact on B-24 bearing 055 T, range 10 miles.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 21-03 N, Longitude 139-43 E.
1439(K): Submerged for practice approach on STEELHEAD as target.
1507(K): Surfaced. During evening exercised tracking party with STEELHEAD as target. On completion steered zig zag as target for STEELHEAD to track.
Saturday, 16 June 1945. 0310(K): (SC#2) Picked up friendly radar interference on the SJ radar bearing 130 T. Attempted to exchange recognition signals and calls but signal strength too weak to establish communication. Lost contact astern. Position: Latitude 26-53 N, Longitude 139-36 E.
0527(K): (AC#14) Sighted B-24 bearing 035 T, range 8 miles.
0618(K): Submerged for a trim.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 26-16 N, Longitude 139-33 E.
1303(K): Submerged for practice approach with STEELHEAD as target.
1327(K): Surfaced, opened range, and acted as target for submerged approach by STEELHEAD.
1527(K): (SC #3). Sighted a submarine identified as U.S.S. TORO bearing 063 T, range about 20,000 yards on a parallel and opposite course. Position: Latitude 26-53 N, Longitude 139-32 E.
1800(K): Received ComSubPac 160759 directing us to proceed to Position: Latitude 29-50 N, Longitude 134-00 E for lifeguard duty. Informed STEELHEAD we were proceeding independently, and set new course at fifteen knots which would get us in position by midnight the 17th.
(O’Neil) “The map following shows the area in which this Lifeguard patrol was conducted. Our original orders specified the area assigned to be Tokyo Bay, Northern Nanpo Shoto Island waters but this message changed those orders. It stated our area, to be shared with DEVILFISH, STEELHEAD, and QUEENFISH was now to be Bungo Suido, further west. As can be seen Bungo Suido is the southern entrance into the Inland Sea of Japan, between the Japanese home Islands of Shikoku and Kyushu. There were several major Japanese Naval Bases in the Inland Sea, and there had been much Naval and merchant traffic using this entrance in the early years of the war. Now only submarines and some small craft operated in and out of this channel. Ship traffic was now notably absent south of the Japanese mainland.”
“After the war I learned for the first time of the development and increasing use of the Kaiten one man Kamikaze submarine by Japan, and that their principle training and operating base was in the Inland Sea not far from where we made this patrol. One or more of the periscopes we sighted could have been attempted Kamikaze attacks on us by a Kaiten submarine launched by a mother submarine close by. Our presence must have been known with all the shore-based radar they had near by. If so they had no better luck getting us than we did getting them in our failed attack on the I-36, which incidentally was one of the mother submarines they used to carry the Kaiten to the intended scene of action.
“The map covers the area from 29 degrees North Latitude to 34 degrees North Latitude, and between 130-30 degrees East longitude to 135 degrees East longitude. I have indicated the location of the lifeguard stations we were assigned with the dates of coverage to cover during this patrol, and a few of the navigational positions we occupied at the time and date noted showing the limits of coverage of the area. I have included two additional sketches in a smaller scale you will find as you read further in this account that show in greater detail the area just off Okino Shima Island where we encountered and attacked the Japanese Submarine I-36 on 9 July.”
“Navigation was a problem the whole time on station. There was a lot of fog making celestial navigation often impossible. There were very few landmarks on shore we could use to fix our position with radar. I tried to keep outside of water depths of less than 100 fathoms (600 feet) near land because of the danger of mines, Japanese and American. Even so we found ourselves several times inside the 100 fathom curve while off the west Bungo entrance due to the particularly strong prevailing northeasterly current and the dense off shore fog. A week after return to Pearl Harbor from this patrol, I was accosted by a staff officer on ComSubPac staff who having just read this report asked me “Did you know you had been in an American laid mine field.” That was a shock. He was referring to the Western entrance to Bungo where he pointed out our positions (marked on this map dated 6/22,6/30, and 7/5). I knew we had been set into the shallower water several times while there, but no one had told me U.S. aircraft had mined that area. It is possible the strong current may have swept the mines away, or pulled them too deep to be effective or they were inaccurately dropped. We encountered a lot of drifting mines broken loose of their moorings that were still live- an uncomfortable feeling each night cruising about knowing there were drifting mines we never saw, and fortunately never hit.”
2006(K): (SC#4). Made SJ radar contact bearing 060 T, range 13,000 yards on a single ship and then sighted it from the bridge. It appeared to be a destroyer. Notified STEELHEAD of our contact and commenced tracking. Shortly thereafter the vessel sighted made contact with the STEELHEAD and by observing the exchange of signals we identified it as the U.S.S. LARSON (DD 367).
2250(K): Sent message #1 to ComSubPac acknowledging instructions for lifeguard duty.
“On this patrol unlike previous patrols, we were instructed to acknowledge receipt of orders received assigning us a lifeguard position. On combat anti-shipping patrols we always remained silent in our assigned patrol area and did not acknowledge messages. We used short wave radio, and we could also key our radar, to talk to other submarines encountered as that equipment had a limited range and the Japanese could not pick it up but we didn’t transmit to our home base. I felt uneasy about opening up on our long-range radio frequencies. It probably made little difference in this case however, as we were frequently near shore and within range of their shore based radar, so they were well aware of our presence and why we were there. Fortunately they no longer had the ships and planes available to hunt us down. Planes showed up occasionally, and they apparently sent a few submarines after us, but it certainly wasn’t like it used to be.”
Sunday, 17 June 1945. 0425(K): No stars this morning and seas picking up to force 4. Began taking much water into control room so had to slow to 12 knots. At this rate we will be late.
0645(K): Submerged for a trim.
0727(K): Surfaced. Trim pump going out of commission delayed surfacing.
1200(K): Position Latitude 29-30 N, Longitude 136-04 E.
2245(K): (AC#15). SJ radar contact on a group of B-29's heading for JAPAN bearing 160 T, 9,000 yards. Nothing on SD radar. Bridge sighted planes running lights at same time through the overcast. Position: Latitude 29-41 N, Longitude 135-26 E. By DR we will arrive on station about 0200, but having had no sights since last night our position is doubtful.
Monday, 18 June 1945. 0119(K): (AC#16). Made contact by SJ radar bearing 250 T and SD radar at 5 miles on another group of B-29's heading for JAPAN. Most of them were showing IFF. Position: Latitude 29-41 N, Longitude 134.29 E. Had many SJ and IFF contacts on planes during rest of night.
0120(K): Established communication with our CAP by VHF and 4475 kcs voice. Apparently he ceased guarding 4475 for when he got outside VHF range, we lost communication with him. During the night we asked three different planes plus several unidentified stations to help but no one was able to raise him for us.
0218(K): Received word of one B-29 down in Position: Latitude 30-18 N, Longitude 133-36 E. It was seen going in after one engine and wing exploded. Overheard U.S.S DEVILFISH saying she was also heading for this position. Our Loran gear refused to work so commenced search going only by a two day old DR position. Visibility was very poor and the sea was now pretty heavy.
(O’Neil) “See map of area. By Dead Reckoning (DR) (our plotted position since last fix resulting from changes in course and speed over time) we were very close to the position of the downed aircraft at the start of our search., but we hadn’t been able to get a good fix lately and were probably several miles off. Later when we got a fix, we found that we had actually covered the area very well. With the high wind and sea at the time of the crash, survivors, if any would have had a bad time. We hoped for the best however and at daylight began keeping continuos watch on the high periscope, fired flares and kept lookouts fresh by frequent relief. By early afternoon we made contact with our CAP, and coordinated our search with the other two submarines now in the area. None of us found any sign of the downed aircraft, no oil or gasoline slick, no bits and pieces on the surface, although the basketball we saw floating possibly came from that airplane. The single ping our sonarman reported at 1430 Monday afternoon was probably only a fish noise. It didn’t come from either of our companions. It scared us at the time because it sounded like a common tactic used by submarines during a submerged approach to get a range check just before firing.”
0222(K): Picked up emergency IFF signals at 5 miles which opened and finally disappeared at 42 miles. Could learn nothing from VHF or voice about this so assumed he got home all right.
0500(K): Commenced firing a green very pistol star every 15 minutes until daylight. Now very close to position of ditched plane. Slowed and commenced a box search of area opening each leg about 3 miles. The seas were beginning to improve but sky still overcast and no sights obtainable. No word from our CAP yet but in this visibility his help would be negligible.
0803(K): (SC#5). Picked up radar interference on SJ radar bearing 293 T. Too weak to exchange signals. Assumed it was DEVILFISH searching same area. Position: Latitude 30-17 N, Longitude 133-22 E.
0830(K): Established communication finally with our CAP, but before we could exchange dope the OOD sighted a plane coming through the overcast and not showing IFF, so,
0844(K): Submerged with no contact on SD, SJ, or IFF.
0855(K): Identified plane as a B-29 through periscope so surfaced and found it was our CAP. Gave him our DR position so he could find his way home and he departed telling us his relief would be out shortly.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 30-02 N, Longitude 133-57 E.
1309(K): (AC#18). Established VHF and 4475 kc's voice communication with relief CAP, and found IFF response at 13 miles closing.
1314(K): Sighted above B-29 at 2 miles and obtained his best navigational position to check ours. His position put us about 20 miles southeast of our DR so we headed north to continue searching for survivors. The sea had moderated considerably and sky was clearing. The CAP was instructed to cover the area between the DEVILFISH and us, the DEVILFISH at that time being due west of the lost planes position.
1430(K): Sound operator reported a possible single ping echo range on our starboard bow. Gave area a wide berth just in case. Helmsman thereafter put all his heart into following our course clock on its zig plan. Position: Latitude 30-12 N, Longitude 133-41 E.
1539(K): Exchanged recognition signals and calls with U.S.S. DEVILFISH to the west of us. Notified her we were searching on North and South courses moving gradually to the eastward, and that we had covered area to the south already.
1601(K): (SC#6). Exchanged recognition signals and calls with the U.S.S. QUEENFISH and then sighted her through the haze and rain at 9,000 yards bearing 310 T. Notified her of our search plan and found they had been searching this area too. Position: Latitude 30-23 N, Longitude 133-30 E.
1653(K): Sighted one basketball floating in water.
1815(K): The U.S.S. QUEENFISH having worked to the east of us, we commenced moving our search line to the west.
2000(K): Obtained good Loran fix which showed us to be only 6 miles to the northeast of our DR as corrected by our cover plane so area must have been pretty thoroughly covered. During night went ahead five knots and covered the most likely positions of the liferaft after 24 hours drift, with and without a drogue. Fired a green very star every half-hour.
Tuesday, 19 June 1945. 0700(K): Set course for new lifeguard station assigned during night by ComSubPac's 180925. DEVILFISH and QUEENFISH continuing search. Sea had abated during night but began picking up again. Maintained continuous high periscope watch until clear of possible area of survivors. Obtained fair Loran fix, no stars out.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 30-32 n, Longitude 133-25 E.
2200(K): (AC#19). Sighted, and made SJ radar contact at 6,000 yards, on first of many B-29's of tonight's raid which continued passing over us until 0400.
Wednesday, 20 June 1945. 0204(K): On station, established VHF and 4475 Kc voice communication with our CAP. Position: Latitude 29-30 N, Longitude 136-00 E.
0444(K): CAP departed with no planes reported down for tonight.
0916(K): (AC#21). SD radar contact at 9 miles showing IFF, opening.
1606(K): submerged for a trim.
2230(K): Put four engines on the line and set course for Western Exit BUNGO SUIDO as directed by ComSubPac 200604 to patrol as directed by U.S.S. QUILLBACK.
Thursday, 21 June 1945. 0202(K): (SC#7). Picked up SJ radar interference identified as another SJ radar, bearing 270 T. Signal too weak to establish identification. Position: Latitude30-41 N, Longitude 134-00 E.
(O’Neil) “This was the USS QUILLBACK to whom we were to report upon arrival on station.”
1050(K): Picked up land bearing 000 T, range about 60,000 yards on the SJ radar, identified as southern coast of SHIKOKU.
1106(K): Submerged for remainder of day, in order to kill time and arrive on station after dark and undetected.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-12 N, Longitude 132-53 E.
1500(K): Sighted land by periscope very dimly through fog along coast, but unable to determine our position. Soundings showed we were being rapidly set to the north into shoal water so altered course to pull clear.
2127(K): Surfaced and found we had had a 3 knot northeasterly current. Visibility is excellent except along coastline which remained hidden in fog.
2132(K): Picked up the following APR contacts which stayed with us all night, most of them becoming saturated at one time or another and several staying steady in strength for long periods: 77/450/22; 94/450/17; 96/450/15; 99/400/5.5; 100/500/10; 159/600/10; 160/400/5.
2155(K): (SC#8). Picked up SJ radar interference bearing 305 T and at
2205(K): Established identification with U.S.S. QUILLBACK, and obtained dope on Japanese radar in this area.
2237(K): Set course for patrol station off Western entrance BUNGO SUIDO as assigned by U.S.S. QUILLBACK message 201536.
2247(K): (AC#22). SJ radar contact 14,000 yards closing, bearing 072 T, showing IFF. Picked up with SD radar at 6 miles after locating IFF pip at 7 miles. Plane spent several minutes circling us at 3 miles, and finally shoved off after we gave him a long look at our ABK. Could not raise him on VHF. Position: Latitude 32-24 N, Longitude 132-40 E.
Friday, 22 June 1945. 0100(K): (AC#23). Contact on the SD radar at 2 1/2 miles and 6 miles, no IFF. Submerged. Lookouts heard the nearest plane go over us.
0206(K): All clear, surfaced. Same APR contacts as before.
0345(K): (AC#24) Contact on SD radar at 4 miles closing. IFF check showed a response at 14 miles closing so figured both were friendly. Nothing on VHF. Second plane picked up on SD when it had closed to 4 miles.
0520(K): Submerged for days patrol off western entrance to BUNGO SUIDO. The day was fairly clear but the land was for the most part hidden in fog, making navigation a problem.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-19 N, Longitude 131-57 E.
1235(K): Having lost sight of land a check with the fathometer showed us to be well inside the hundred fathom curve and apparently getting set into the beach. Changed course to the Southwest and pulled clear. Land was not sighted again through the fog along the beach.
(O’Neil) “This was the first of several times we inadvertently wandered inside the 100 fathom curve along the East Coast of KYUSHU. Visibility was lousy. Loran wasn’t usable in this area, and there was no recognizable feature of the shoreline we could use for a radar fix North of Toi misaki. The ocean current was strong and variable. I didn’t want to use the Fathometer frequently because it could be heard at a distance and the enemy could home in on us. I had no certain knowledge of these waters being mined but I was aware that mines could be laid in waters up to 600 feet deep and I intended to stay clear. This area close along the coast was the most likely route for Japanese submarines using the Western Bungo channel and I wanted to be close to shore, the best position to attack if they passed by. During the remaining days of June that we spent off Kyushu and the Western Bungo entrance with QUILLBACK, our only enemy contacts were two close periscope sightings that we evaded but couldn’t find again. I now believe these were attempted attacks on us by a Kaiten submarine with the mother sub probably close by. Luckily for us they were poorly executed. The third close periscope sighted in July off Shikoku looked different and could have been a submarine, not a Kaiten, maneuvering to get in a torpedo firing position on us. Later the QUILLBACK told us a submarine had fired torpedoes at them in about that position, but fortunately missed.”
2200(K): (AC#25) Contact on the SD radar at 4 miles, closing, no IFF. Submerged suspecting it to be one of our own aircraft.
2218(K): All clear, surfaced. In addition to the previous nights APR contacts we had three new ones at 138/450/5; 79/500/10; and 153/400/3. All were sweeping with some occasionally steady and saturated again.
Saturday, 23 June 1945. 0238(K): (AC#26) Contact on the SD at 4 miles closing showing IFF.
0300(K): (SC#9) Made contact with U.S.S. QUILLBACK via SJ radar and received orders to patrol Western entrance to BUNGO SUIDO remaining north of 32-20 N, while they would remain south of that Latitude.
0530(K): Submerged in same position as yesterday for days patrol.
1200(K): Position undetermined.
1321(K): Surfaced to try and get a fix on land by radar and to air out the boat. A light rain had started and visibility was very poor. The coast was still completely covered by fog with no land visible. Found we were set to the Northwest again towards the beach. On surfacing we found Japanese radar signals at 78/600/8; 100/500/10; 152/400/5; 158/500/7 and brief flashes at 109/---/25. All were sweeping and none were above strength 5.
1535(K): Submerged for the remainder of the day. Visibility was improving though the fog along the coast remained unchanged. As we had a lifeguard station close to the beach in the morning decided to get under before we were sighted by planes or picked up by the many radars in operation and an investigation made.
2113(K): Surfaced. Seas picking up and wind increasing from the South. We hit the jackpot on the APR with the following on the screen all night. 76/450/02; 78/250/80; 94/500/10; 97/450/15; 99/400/11; 100/250/12; 113/60/10; (probably QUILLBACKS SD) 137/300/17; 152/500/10; 159/400/7; 161/400/5. Signal strength varied from 5 to saturation. Set course for lifeguard station Latitude 32-30 N, Longitude 132-30 E assigned by ComSubPac 220844.
Sunday, 24 June 1945. 0128(K): (AC#27) IFF response seen at 22 miles closing.
0144(K): Established voice communication with tonight's CAP.
0340(K): CAP departed, no planes down.
0520(K): Passed close aboard what might have been a mine, but visibility too poor to see it again and verify. Position: Latitude 32-33 N, Longitude 132-12 E.
0655(K): Submerged for day's patrol off BUNGO SUIDO.
1200(K): Position latitude 32-13 N, longitude 132-22 E.
1522(K): Surfaced. The coastline was hidden by fog all day, and in the afternoon the sky clouded over and visibility became poor so there was no sense in remaining submerged. Our position was uncertain as usual. Our APR soon picked up signals on 76/400/25; 94/400/10; 99/400/11; 152/500/10 and 159/400/75 which stayed with us all night. Mostly they were strength 5-8 and sweeping, but occasionally some became saturated and steady.
Monday, 25 June 1945. 0135(K): Picked up two additional radar signals at 74/6000/30 and 142/---/10 apparently shore based also.
0210(K): (SC#10) Contacted U.S.S. QUILLBACK and exchanged dope by SJ radar. As I read that sentence today-year 2000-I am startled to see the word "dope". That word in those days was common slang for 'information' or 'data' and did not have the connotation imposed by today's lifestyle. I told him we intended moving south off TOI MISAKI for next day's patrol due to fog and currents off BUNGO SUIDO.
0218(K): Picked up another shore based radar at 79/500/30 and sweeping.
0350(K): As we moved south of Latitude 32 N along eastern shore off KYUSHU, five more APR contacts were made, all sweeping and apparently shore based, 138/600/16; 160/450/10; 160/1000/8; 137/400/17 and 141/400/10. None of them seemed to be steady on us so decided to remain on surface skirting the 100 fathom curve as long as visibility remained poor.
0908(K): (SC#11) Two lookouts and OOD sighted a periscope about 600 yards on port quarter. Turned away and pulled the plug hitting 150 feet in record time. Position: Latitude 31-31 N, Longitude 131-48 E. Apparently our course clock zig fouled him up 'cause he was right off our wake and too close to shoot. Visibility was improving so decided to remain in vicinity and maybe find him when he surfaced tonight. Nothing could be heard on sound.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 31-28 N, Longitude 131-42 E.
1350(K): Land still hidden by fog and fathometer shows us getting set into shoal water so changed course to open the coast.
2109(K): Surfaced and set course for lifeguard station in position Latitude 32-00 N, Longitude 132-30 E assigned by ComSubPac 241007. APR out of commission, our friend of this morning not in vicinity.
2235(K): Spoke to U.S.S. QUILLBACK by SJ radar and told him about contact this morning.
Tuesday, 26 June 1945. 0057(K): APR back in commission, only contact at 114 MC, which was QUILLBACK's SD radar, being keyed.
0120(K): (AC#28) Contacted tonight's cap by VHF and made various IFF contacts on the raid going over. Made APR contact at 160/500/5, strength 5 and later at 170/150/14 being keyed, the later being identified as a Mk III IFF.
01_0(K): APR now had contacts at 79/750/30; 95/450/16; 96/750/20; 98/750/25; 100/750/30; 152/500/10; 159/500/9; 160/500/5. All were slowly sweeping and remained with us all night. The 95mc signal became saturated about 0300.
0300(K): Additional APR contacts were picked up at this time at 74/450/30; 75/750/20 and 99/45/14. All were sweeping slowly.
0335(K): CAP departed, no planes down. Set course for morning patrol off Western entrance BUNGO SUIDO.
0336(k): (SC#12) picked up SJ radar interference bearing 076 T but could not establish communication. The U.S.S. STEELHEAD was supposed to be about 250 miles in that direction so assume that is who it was as QUILLBACK was to the Southwest of us.
0525(K): Submerged for day's patrol. For first time in area both KYUSHU and SHIKOKO were visible through the haze.
0821)K): Fog and haze set in again completely obscuring all land so headed south to avoid being set up into BUNGO entrance.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-19 N, Longitude 132-09 E.
1913(K): Surfaced in rainsquall with visibility very poor. Set course to run down the coast trying to get a fix and pick up anything that might try to move in the fog and rain unobserved. By midnight the following APR contacts were made, some fading out as we moved south. 99/500/20; 138/450/16; 152/500/8 and 159/500/9.
1926(K): Sighted wing tank of the type used by P-51's floating high out of the water so manned 20mm guns and sank it for practice.
2335(K): Picked up APR signal 155/455/8 strength 4. Commenced circling to DF it in hopes it was a nip submarine, but as it seemed to be sweeping could not get a good bearing. Commenced closing the coast in hopes it was heading south, but finally decided it was another shore station. We had it all evening up until we dove in the morning. Commenced patrolling up and down 100-fathom curve off TOI MISAKI.
Wednesday, 27 June 1945. 0035(K): Commenced picking up radar signals at 79/950/30; and 158/500/13, about strength 5 and sweeping.
0145(K): Radar signals heard now were 79/950/30; 155/455/8; 158/500/13; and 159/500/9. All were remaining steady and saturated for long periods of time and then sweeping again. Don't believe any of them were aircraft.
0355(K): (AC#29) SD radar contact 4 miles and closing not showing IFF. Submerged and went deep. Looks like the shore stations plotted us in and sent out a plane but more likely is was one of our own early morning MARINER patrols which so far have never given us an IFF response nor answered VHF. Position: latitude 31-38 N, Longitude 131-49 E. Decided to remain submerged off coast and surface early in afternoon.
0830(K): Coast line still hidden by fog and soundings show us being set in, so headed to eastward to remain clear.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 31-36 N, Longitude 132-02 E.
1821(K): Surfaced. Raining and fog still along coast line.
2145(K): (SC#13) Made SJ radar contact with U.S.S. QUILLBACK bearing 045 T, range 11,500 yards. Exchanged dope by VHF and found we had missed another WOPACO message from her. No harm done as we had been patrolling as she directed.
2200(K): First of many APR contacts of the night on 95/450/16, sweeping slowly. Position: Latitude 32-02 N, Longitude 132-32 E. The remainder were all shore stations, some being saturated as they swept by us, frequencies were as follows: 74/900/30; 78/450/25; 99/750/25; 159/500/4; 160/500/4; 152/450/9.
Thursday, 28 June 1945, 0033(K): (AC#30) Contact on the SD radar at nine miles, closing. Not showing IFF. Position: Latitude 32-15 N, Longitude 132-25 E.
0037(K): IFF response seen at 20 miles closing so assumed first aircraft friendly also.
0044(K): First aircraft passed overhead headed northwest, heard but not seen in overcast. Could not establish communication on VHF.
0100(K): (AC#31) Contact on the SJ radar at 15,000 yards bearing 000 T opening rapidly and identified as a plane. No IFF. Again could get no answer to our calls on VHF.
0114(K): While checking for IFF response picked up an emergency IFF signal at 10 miles and opening. Offered assistance on VHF and 4475 kcs voice, but got no answer. Pip finally lost at 50 miles. Wish these people would at least say hello.
0132(K): An unidentified aircraft finally broke through on VHF and told us everything okeh.
0203(K): (SC#14) The OOD and two lookouts sighted a periscope about 200 yards on our starboard bow. Maneuvered on the surface to pull clear. Position: Latitude 32-22 N, Longitude 132-30 E. The sky was overcast but the moon was full and bright so we got a good look each of three times we saw it raised for an observation of us. Apparently our course clock zig-zag fouled him up again for the feather showed he was opening the track at high speed trying to get enough range to shoot. It was about the size of our ST scope and looked like the night periscope installed in some Dutch Submarines. This was about the same position the QUILLBACK said she was fired at a couple of weeks ago.
(O’Neil) “The patrol report does not indicate our actions after pulling clear of the sighted periscope. I was not on the bridge at the time but after talking to the OOD and the lookouts, I felt sure it was in fact an enemy periscope. Once clear, we watched our radar closely to catch them if they should surface, and we searched with our sonar, listening carefully. The other boats were some distance from us, so it wasn’t a friend. Unfortunately we had no weapons to use on a submerged submarine and sonar in those days was not really that good. Today submarines have weapons that can deal with a submerged target. Then we had no way of determining the target depth nor did we have torpedoes that could home in on a target noise. The enemy of course was similarly limited so luck played a big part in the game. In the end we both went our own way.
0717(K): Submerged for day's patrol.
0951(K): (AC#32) Sighted two U.S. Mariner patrol planes bearing 281 T about 10 miles heading north up coast of KYUSHU.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-04 N, Longitude 132-19 E.
2110(K): Surfaced. Set course for nights lifeguard station Latitude 32-00 N, Longitude 132-00 E assigned by ComSubPac 270616. By 2300 we had the following APR contacts, all slowly sweeping and identified as shore based. 79/450/60; 95/450/18; 138/450/18; 152/500/10; 154/450/10; 156/450/7; 159/450/10 and 159/1000/9. Later we picked up additional signals on 99/450/18; 77/400/24; 159/500/13 and 164/750/10. During the air raid later the signals at 95,156, and 159 went off the air.
Friday, 29 June 1945, 0035(K): (AC#33) SD radar contact at 7 miles showing IFF. Bearing 000 T by SJ radar. Apparently first planes heading for target. Screen soon was full of IFF pips.
0053(K): (SC#15) SJ radar contact on U.S.S. QUILLBACK bearing 320 T range 10,700 yards. Identified by VHF radio. This was one of a few times our SJ radar picked a submarine up outside of 7,000 yards.
0158(K): Made contact by VHF with both our cover planes for the night and shortly afterwards saw them from the bridge.
0250(K): Observed first results of raid bearing 320 T as the sky bloomed red and photo flash bombs began bursting over the target. It was certainly a beautiful sight as each load of bombs hit and the clouds of red tinted smoke began rising. By 0330 it looked like the Japs were throwing everything in the book up at our planes-the sky seemed full of flak.
0400(K): Last burst of AA fire noted with fires burning brightly.
0430(K): Both cover planes departed with no one reported down.
0732(K): Submerged for day's patrol heading for KYUSHU coast.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 31-59 N, Longitude 132-13 E.
2127(K): Surfaced. Found ourselves 30 miles east of DR. No wonder we never saw KYUSHO coast all day. Same APR contacts as encountered previously.
Saturday, 30 June 1945, 0038(K): (AC#34) Heard and saw one B-29 pass overhead. No SD, SJ or IFF contact.
0055(K): Picked up emergency IFF signal at 14 miles, closing. Attempted to communicate via VHF but contact finally disappeared with no answer.
0237(K): Another emergency IFF signal at 24 miles, closing. Still no acknowledgement to our offer to help on VHF and 4475 kcs. Closed to four miles then opened and disappeared at extreme range.
0555(K): In position off 100 fathom curve, western entrance BUNGO SUIDO, submerged for days patrol with land in sight for first time.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-33 N, Longitude 131-59 E.
1600(K): Fog closed in again obscuring our landmarks so headed south to remain clear. Visibility otherwise excellent.
2111(K): Surfaced. APR contacts at 98/350/45; 100/450/17; 152/500/10; 158/500/8. All were identified as shore based and were sweeping slowly.
Sunday, 1 July 1945, 0208(K): Lost all APR contacts.
0218(K): (AC#35) SD radar crashed through with a contact at 2 miles, no IFF. Picked it up again momentarily at 6 miles opening. Could not get an answer on VHF but assume it was friendly. Position: Latitude 32-12 N, Longitude 132-09 E.
0324(K): Picked up APR contacts again at 96 mc, 100 mc, 152 mc and 160 mc. They must have all secured for some reason at 0200.
0535(K): Submerged in same position as yesterday for days patrol.
0542(K): Broad daylight and fog thick along coast so headed south to stay clear.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-17 N, Longitude 132-13 E.
2017(K): Surfaced. Found ourselves 20 miles north of DR position. Set course for lifeguard station. Latitude 32-00 N, longitude 132-00 E assigned by ComSubPac 300648. APR contacts for the night were 96 mc, 99 mc, 77 mc, 79 mc, and 152 mc. All were identified as shore based and were slowly sweeping.
2237(K): (AC#36) Aircraft contact on the SJ radar at 12,500 yards bearing 278 T, no IFF. Identified as friendly by VHF.
Monday, 2 July 1945, 0016(K): Commenced picking up IFF contacts at various ranges.
0112(K): (AC#37) Contacted the nights CAB by VHF, picked him up by SD radar at 5 miles. Overheard one of the two planes tell QUILLBACK he had a Nip plane following him.
0124(K): Sighted photoflash bombs bursting over the target bearing 315 T.
0145(K): Sighted bursts of AA fire bearing 315 T.
0239(K): Both cover planes departed. No planes reported down.
0401(K): (AC#38) SD radar contact at 8 miles, closing. No IFF. No answer on VHF. Contact closed rapidly to 3 1/2 miles so OOD ordered dive. Position: Latitude 31-56 N, Longitude 131-54 E.
0412(K): Surfaced and resumed calling on the VHF. Contact still at 8 miles on our SD radar, no IFF and no answer on VHF. APR now picked up a signal on 1070/350/2.5 about strength 5. Wish we hadn't heard our cover say he had a nip plane near him this evening.
0424(K): Lost pip on radar, opening at 9 miles, and lost 1070 mc signal.
0555(K): Submerged for day's patrol off TOI MISAKI. Land in sight for a change.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 31-36 N, Longitude 131-46 E.
2042(K): Surfaced. APR contacts 96 mc, 98 mc, 99 mc, 139 mc, 152 mc, 159/500/5, and 159/1000/9 all shore based and sweeping.
2201(K): (AC#39) Momentary SD radar contact at 8 miles, no IFF, no answer on VHF but assume it was friendly.
2307(K): Momentary APR contact at 1070/350/2.5 very weak.
Tuesday, 3 July 1945, 0540(K): Submerged for day's patrol off Western entrance BUNGO SUIDO.
0800(k): No land in sight again due to fog along coast so headed south to remain clear.
1200(K): Position Latitude 32-22 N, longitude 132-05 E.
2039(K): Surfaced. Set course for lifeguard station in position Latitude 32-15 N, Longitude 132-15 E assigned by ComSubPac 020751. APR contacts remaining with us all night at 79 mc, 96 mc, 98 mc, 99 mc, 152 mc, 158 mc, and 160 mc all identified as shore based.
2209(K): SC#16) Contacted the U.S.S. QUILLBACK by SJ radar at 10,500 yards, bearing 125 T and exchanged dope by VHF. QUILLBACK informed us she ran across and sank a small suicide boat south of ASHIZURI SAKI, and the aircraft we encountered last night with 1070 mc radar is friendly.
(O’Neil) “I was glad to hear of the QUILLBACK success in sinking the suicide boat. We haven’t seen or heard a thing Japanese stirring on or in the water with the exception of the two periscope sightings since arrival here. I passed the word to all hands regarding the QUILLBACK report. I wanted to be sure our sonar operators and lookouts were ready and alert.”
Wednesday, 4 July 1945, 0034(K): (AC#40) Sighted running lights of aircraft overhead and shortly thereafter made contact on SD radar at 3 miles opening. Identified as friendly by VHF.
0149(K): (AC#41) Contacted tonight's CAP by VHF and shortly thereafter saw his IFF at 8 miles closing.
0300(K): Sighted flashes of bombs bearing 035 T.
0330(K): CAP departed, no planes reported down.
0521(K): (AC#42) SD radar contact at 3 miles closing to 2, no IFF. No answer on VHF. Lost contact opening at 6 miles. Assume it was friendly.
0735(K): Submerged for days patrol.
1200(K): Position Latitude 32-11 N, longitude 132-22 E.
2030(K): Surfaced. Set course for TOI MISAKI to obtain radar fix, then search north up SHIKOKU coast to BUNGO SUIDO entrance. APR contacts identified as shore based at 77 mc, 98 mc, 100 mc, 138 mc, 155 mc, and 161 mc.
Thursday, 5 July 1945, 0028(K): Additional APR contacts, shore based, at 201 mc (momentary flash then gone), and 97 mc.
0140(K): Additional APR contacts, shore based, at 95 mc, 151 mc, and 159 mc.
0557(K): Submerged for day's patrol off Western entrance BUNGO SUIDO.
0820(k): No land in sight yet due to fog along coast, so headed south to stay clear of shoal water. Fathometer is getting overworked this trip.
1200(K): Position Latitude 32-29 N, Longitude 132-08 E.
2030(K): Surfaced, set course for TOI MISAKI to obtain radar fix. Sky has been overcast for last several days. APR contacts, all shore based and sweeping at 77 mc, 98 mc, 99 mc, 154 mc, 138 mc, and 160 mc.
2355(K): Obtained fix and found we had been fooled today with no current. Headed north up coast along 100-fathom curve towards BUNGO entrance.
Friday, 6 July 1945, 0230(K): Additional APR contacts at 72 mc, 79 mc, 96 mc, and 158 mc. All shore based.
0557(K): Submerged for patrol off Western entrance BUNGO SUIDO. For a change it was clear so remained close to 100 fathom curve pushing into a 2.5 knot current.
1200(K): Position Latitude 32-35 N, Longitude 132-03 E.
1232(K): Took a look at a small rowboat adrift, but found it empty and harmless. A good souvenir but too big for our hatch.
2025(K): Surfaced. APR contacts were at 99 mc,154 mc, and 158 mc. All were identified as shore based, sometimes saturated as they swept over us.
2130(K): Additional APR contacts, shore based, at 95 mc, 98 mc, and 158 mc.
2330(K): More APR contacts picked up at 95 mc and 96 mc. Shore based and sweeping.
Saturday, 7 July 1945, 0548(K): Submerged for patrol. Received message 060647 directing U.S.S. LIONFISH to relieve U.S.S. QUILLBACK and patrol as directed by GUNNEL. Decided to open coast tonight and transmit directing LIONFISH to take western approaches; while we take eastern side for a change. Although we could probably contact LIONFISH on arrival to give her orders, we were now missing three serials so transmission was necessary.
1124(K): (AC#43): Sighted a plane identified as a Japanese NORM or JAKE bearing 104 T range 6 miles on a course of about 080 T.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-33 N, Longitude 132-03 E.
1945(K): Surfaced. Picked up APR contacts at 98 mc, 99 mc, and 153 mc, all shore based which we lost when about 30 miles from coast.
2321(K): Opened up to transmit message #2 but before we could get a go ahead from NPN, two U.S. destroyers broke in and completely drowned us out. Continued trying to get our weak little signal in edgewise.
2357(K): (AC#44) Picked up a sudden APR contact at 153/850/9, being keyed and saturated. It lasted about three minutes, being keyed at very short intervals, and then faded to strength 3 and disappeared. No SJ or SD radar contact, no IFF, and no answer on VHF. It might have been a Japanese aircraft.
Sunday, 8 July 1945, 0130(K): Still no answer to our calls, so sent our message three times blind and secured. Three or four of our destroyers were still going strong and a couple of Japs had joined in.
0420(K): As we approached the coast we picked up shore based radar again on the usual frequencies.
0545(K): Submerged for patrol.
(O’Neil) “We were now about 20 miles south of Okino Shima patrolling North and South and would be bound to intercept the LIONFISH coming in to join our little group. We would be able to communicate when he got closer and make sure he received our message.”
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-22 N, Longitude 132-37 E.
2059(K): Surfaced. APR contacts were all shore based and sweeping at 95 mc, 100 mc, 138 mc, and 158 mc. All were saturated as they passed over us.
2151(K): (SC#17) Picked up SJ radar interference bearing 090 T, so headed in that direction hoping it was LIONFISH. The antenna was rotating faster than was the QUILLBACK habit. No answer to challenge.
2202(K): (AC#45) Contacted a friendly search plane by VHF and shortly thereafter picked up his IFF on the SD radar. Notified the plane of the probable presence of a third submarine and asked him to help us find it. The plane had already located the QUILLBACK.
2326(K): Our zoomie friend found a third target bearing 060 T, six miles from us so we headed over to investigate. The plane could not raise him by VHF and with 4 miles to go the target disappeared, apparently diving for the plane. Released the plane to continue his patrol and slowed down waiting for the unknown sub to surface.
(O’Neil) “This contact was LIONFISH. I never had a chance to talk at any length with the skipper, but I recently checked her patrol report and it states that at this time a sudden SJ radar contact, 8 miles closing forced her to dive. She reported subsequently picking up GUNNEL on her sound gear and with her ST periscope radar tracked us heading north. LIONFISH recorded in her patrol report that she received our message on their SJ but made no mention of our radio transmission. LIONFISH then proceeded west and took station on the 100-fathom curve off the KYUSHU coast about the position we had been patrolling for the last couple of weeks. In reading her patrol report I noticed the skipper used his ST periscope radar often with good ranges obtained. I had trouble with our ST radar scope, which had been installed during the proceeding overhaul. Besides being too short and difficult to use because it required frequently changing depth 4 to 5 feet between looks it was limited in range capability despite our efforts to make it work better. In hindsight despite its faults I should have used it more.”
(Ens. Cas Hiatt remembers this occasion as he was manning the TDC at his battle station and recently wrote to me). “I remember one time near BUNGO SUIDO we picked up a sonar target which appeared to be another sub and maneuvered setting up an attack. I distinctly remember the impression (from the TDC data) that the target vessel was also setting up a run on us. I remember communicating that impression to you and that you had already considered the possibility that our target was a US Sub. We had confirmed sonar contact by keying the active sonar.”
Monday, 9 July 1945, 0021(K): (SC#18) Picked up friendly radar interference ahead and exchanged identification and calls with U.S.S. LIONFISH. Position: Latitude 32-09 N, Longitude 132-21 E.
0100(K): LIONFISH surfaced. Gave him instructions to patrol Western approaches BUNGO but could not get receipt nor communicate further so set course for own patrol station in order to make it before daylight. Broadcast same instructions by WOPACO on area frequency while he was at 8,000 yards but got no receipt. He apparently couldn't hear our VHF.
0102(K): Picked up additional radar at 97mc, 98mc, and 99mc, shore based and sweeping.
0445(K): Shore based radar at 98/230/35 and one at 99/400/15 now steady and saturated. We were about fifteen miles south of OKINO SHIMA but do not believe they had us.
0518(K): Submerged for patrol south of the end of BUNGO eastern swept channel, about 10-11 miles south of OKINO SHIMA
1027(K): (SC#19) Sighted the conning tower of an RO60 class Japanese submarine approaching with a small angle on the bow bearing 065 T, range about 6,000 yards. Commanding Officer had made last few observations and cannot understand why it wasn't sighted sooner, except that it came out of the land haze and glare of the rising sun.
(O’Neil) “Referring to the Map above, it can be seen the courses we steered after turning west at 0927 this Monday morning, 9 July placed the rapidly approaching Japanese sub astern, and kept her in our baffles. We therefore regrettably had no sonar contact prior to my sighting her in the morning haze through the periscope. Looking at this picture today I can see all sorts of “what ifs.” Had I not turned west at 0927 but remained on a northerly course just another half hour, or turned easterly, we would have been just about exactly on his track at first contact. We would have made contact by sonar first at a greater range and would have had more time to react. It would have been a turkey shoot with a perfect firing position. My greatest regret is that earlier, upon submerging, we should have placed the navigational chart showing Okino Shima and other land on the plotting table that morning rather than the standard blank plotting paper. The fire control plotting party seeing our position relative to the Island as the situation developed, would have realized the target was bound to make a turn to the right to enter port and would have advised a better firing solution. In the event despite all the mistakes I made, we came amazingly close to making a hit.
1028(K): Battle stations submerged, started making tubes ready forward and aft, came to course 000 T for a bow tube shot and went ahead full to close range before the sub turned into the swept channel.
1036(K): Four tubes ready forward, sub now at 3,500 yards bearing 038 T, TDC course 297 T, speed 12 knots. Crew were lined up on deck at quarters in whites forward and aft of conning tower. Huge meatball painted on conning tower. Own speed 3.5 kts course 000 T, and in position: Latitude 32-40 N, Longitude 132-34.5 E, at
1037-00: Fired #1 tube.
1037-07: Fired #2 tube.
1037-16: Fired #3 tube.
1037-26: Fired #4 tube.
Torpedo run was excessive but had to fire then or never before he turned north to enter the swept channel. Later it could be seen, by plotting the situation and using a fix of our position obtained right after firing, that the submarine must have turned just before we fired so that we missed his course over fifty degrees. The problem had checked good until then.
1042-30: Two very loud explosions. At the time we were turning to get an after tube lined up and in doing so broached, finally catching the boat at 70 feet. Thinking the explosions were aircraft bombs and not being able to see, we went deep and headed away. In retrospect it is believed the explosions were two of our four torpedoes hitting the rocks at the southeast end of OKINO SHIMA Island. The torpedo run (5 min.), torpedo course, and our position at time of firing bear this out.
(O’Neil) “In 1999, Don Kane sent a letter to me concerning a book he had found entitled SUICIDE SUBMARINE! The Author was Yutaka Yokota, a former petty officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy in cooperation with Joseph D. Harrington, a former U.S. Naval Officer. Ballentine Books published this book originally in 1961. In July 1945, Don Kane was a Seaman 1/C and our battle station sonar operator and remembered well our attack on the I-36 as it was entering the Bungo east channel.”
His letter to me was as follows: “Here is the book I found. It is the story of Japan’s Submarine Kamikaze of Manned Torpedoes, the Kaiten weapon. Mr. Yokota was a suicide pilot aboard the Japanese submarine I-36, the submarine the GUNNEL fired upon and he describes the occasion of our attack in his book. The I-36 could carry six of the Kaiten torpedoes mounted on their deck, each of which could be entered by the suicide pilots who would guide the torpedo to the target when released. The I-36 on that July day in 1945 was returning from a mission during which all the Kaiten bad been expended at US Naval Surface forces, not all successfully. Fortunately for Mr. Yokota he had not been chosen on that voyage to pilot one of the Kaiten and was returning to port to await another call.” (O’Neil) In his book, Mr. Yokota describes our attack as he observed it; "In the early hours of (Sic) July 6 ((O’Neil),Mr.Yokota’s his memory was faulty, the date was July 9) we were in Bungo Strait, running on the surface. Kyushu Island’s silhouette rose darkly on the left and Shikoku could be made out on the right.” “- - - I thought things were not so bad after all, and lapsed into happy reverie. It was broken by a loud shout and four great explosions. The bridge was cleared, and I-36’s engines turned up to top speed. In the wardroom I exchanged many puzzled questions with others, for none of us had any idea of what had happened. I-36’s chief engineer came into the wardroom in a little while. “It is unbelievable!” he said. “After all we have been through, we are almost home when an American submarine tried to get us.” “An American submarine? Here in Bungo Strait?” We knew the enemy submarines often patrolled off the southern end of the Strait and had such ships there, but we were well into the passage when those explosions came. “It’s true” said the officer. “He fired four torpedoes at us. The nearest one passed only fifty feet behind our stern. The explosions you heard were when they detonated against the shoreline. How fortunate can one group of men be?”
(O’Neil) “After reading this account I was intrigued by the authors statement the torpedoes had passed very close to the I-36. I had always thought we missed our target by a wide margin, so I plotted the attack as accurately as possible using data in our patrol report and the ships log. I obtained a copy of the Defense Mapping Agency Loran C chart number 97021 for this area and plotted the Islands and shoals to an appropriate scale. I assumed the swept channel east of Okino Shima had a width of 450 yards and would run 011 degrees T in order to clear the shoals and rocks. I plotted the targets last known position at 1037-00, course 297 degrees T, at the time we fired the first torpedo, and I plotted the position of GUNNEL at that time. I then laid out the track of each torpedo, and a target course (after we fired) to reach the channel entrance, and found that at their relative speeds, #1 torpedo and the target would reach the entrance to the channel at 1041-30 as shown. Between 1041-30 and 1042-30 #1 and #2 torpedo would slowly overtake and pass the target within 50 feet to port. Torpedoes #3 and #4 would be further off the targets quarter and passing the target would hit the southeast corner of Okino Shima and explode at 1042-50 off the port bow of the target, the time we had heard and noted. When I first read Yokota’s account I wondered how the Chief Engineer and others knew four torpedoes had been fired and in fact how they could estimate the distance the torpedoes missed because we fired electric Mk 18 torpedoes and they leave no wake. If the water was clear, and it was, the answer is clear. At least half of the crew was topside on deck and bridge. For two minutes four torpdoes cruised slowly up the port side in view of everybody on deck culminating in at least two tremendous explosions right off the port bow. Someone had to have been looking down into the water, seen the torpedoes and given the alarm before the torpedoes exploded in their faces.”
1145(K): 60 feet, all clear. Rigged for normal running.
(Donald Kane, in the forward torpedo room manning the sonar, remembers this occasion): “After the firing of the four torpedoes, my memory is that the Captain had us dive to 400 feet. The boat’s maximum test depth was 350 feet. We went into Silent Running and crept away. The boat was exceedingly humid; the air conditioning had been shut off, the heat in the boat rose and water vapor was dripping from the overhead. We walked in “squishy” puddles. I felt extremely lucky since we had broached, our periscope shears breaking the surface, and we were not certain that the explosions were not in fact from bombing by unseen airplane escorts who saw us. In 1961 or 1962, I wrote to Mr. Yokota, in care of Balletine Books in an effort to exchange information about our mutual experiences. However, I received neither an acknowledgement to my letter nor a response from him. I was disappointed and did not pursue it further.”
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-22 N, longitude 132-32 E.
1344(K): (AC#46) Sighted a lone MARINER patrol plane bearing 331 T range about 8 miles on course 150 T.
1350(K): Came to 40 feet and tried to raise him by VHF but although he answered us once and gave us his call, we couldn't get him to talk. Intended to have him take a look back in BUNGO for our target and also check to see if anyone was being sent out to look for us but he disappeared without answering us further.
2047(K): Surfaced. Steering various courses so as to arrive on our lifeguard station assigned by ComSubPac 081233 in position: Latitude 32-30 N, Longitude 132-30 E at 0130 in the morning. APR contacts, identified as shore based, picked up as they swept over us at 98mc, 99mc, 158mc, and 160mc.
2200(K): Additional APR contacts now heard at 95mc, 96mc, and 154mc.
2303(K): (AC#47) Contacted a friendly aircraft on VHF, and a few minutes later saw his IFF at 11 miles closing. No SD or SJ radar contact.
2324(K): (SC#20) Picked up radar interference on SJ radar bearing 150 T. Headed that way and exchanged recognition and calls with U.S.S. LIONFISH. Found they had received our message by radar last night.
Tuesday, 10 July 1945, 0017(K): Made radar contact on LIONFISH bearing 130 T, range 8,750 yards. They appeared to be following us north.
0036(K): (AC#48) Contacted our cover plane by VHF, and saw his IFF at 22 miles. Notified plane of presence of LIONFISH behind us about four miles but he could not raise them by VHF.
0130(K): LIONFISH still 8,000 yards to south of us so notified them our cover was overhead and knew they were friendly. Found out LIONFISH had been tracking us.
0258(K): Our CAP departed, no planes reported down. Set course to southeast to transmit dope on yesterday's attack and the fact we were missing three serials, as I felt sure our last message didn't get through.
0318(K): Opened up to transmit #3, but could not raise anyone! Three Jap stations were sending very fast right on our frequency.
0603(K): Finally got our message through to Leyte. Jap stations still very strong. Decided to stay on surface today to the Southeast of ASKIZURI SAKI on the route our Jap sub took yesterday. Received a Roger for our message on Fox schedule later in morning.
0618(K): Sighted drifting mine in position: Latitude 32-17.5 N, Longitude 133-14.5 E. Mine very discouragingly exploded when 20mm hit one horn. It was spherical, about four feet diameter, and had four horns on top, the whole being very rusty and covered with barnacles.
0800(K): only APR contact now 158/400/35 sweeping.
0803(K): Sighted floating wing tank jettisoned from fighter plane. Sank it with carbine fire.
0840(K): New APR contact, also shore based, 96/550/22.
1110(K): (AC#49) Sighted two Mariner patrol planes bearing 309 T, range 10 miles on a course of 040 T. No IFF or answer to our calls on VHR.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-25 N, Longitude 133-38 E.
1304(K): (AC#50) Sighted same two Mariner patrol planes returning on course 230 T.
1403(K): Sighted and sank another wing tank. The ocean seems littered with them and lookouts call them everything from Torpedo wake to floating mines.
2105(K): New APR contact at 97/550/25, shore based and sweeping. We were still in about same area so they must have been setting the watch for the night. Set course for area just south of OKINO SHIMA again. Sea picking up and sky now overcast and raining.
2236(K): (AC#51) SD radar contact at 5 miles, closing, showing IFF. No answer on VHF. Plane circled us at three miles, then flew over us and dropped a brilliant white flare, so
2246(K): Submerged and went deep. A nasty, nasty trick. We were giving him our ABK, and calling steadily by VHF, but apparently made no impression. His IFF pip looked normal. Position: Latitude 32-29 N, Longitude 133-08 E.
2337(K): All clear, surfaced. Sky beginning to clear with stars out, wind still picking up. Same APR contacts, all shore based, as before.
Wednesday, 11 July 1945, 0112(K): APR contact at 158/500/8. Very weak and sweeping. Identified as shore based.
0250(K): (AC#52) Contact on SD radar at 10 miles closing. No IFF. No answer on VHF. The contact closed to 2 miles, then opened to 8 and was lost. The plane was apparently friendly. Continuous work on the SD radar the last few weeks and change of frequency from 111 to 116 is beginning to pay dividends. A week ago we wouldn't have picked the plane up outside of 4 miles.
(O’Neil) “ This was a good illustration of the caliber and initiative of the men who made up the crews of our submarines. The SD radar we had was a new technology and the operators were trained in its use but at this point had little if any instruction in its design. Our Chief Radioman A.C.“Art” Schelling a radio technician 1/c at that time was able to change the frequency from its designed 111mc to 116 and we now were picking up aircraft at 10 to 14 miles, where before were lucky to see a contact at 4 miles.”
0310(K): (AC#53) Contact on SD radar at 10 miles, no IFF. Contact opened to 12 miles and lost and a second contact came in at 11, no IFF. No answer on VHF. Probably a Mariner Patrol-they seldom answer up on VHF.
0533(K): Submerged for patrol off OKINO. No land in sight in fog along coast.
0822(K): Heard series of underwater explosions. Later learned LIONFISH made attack at unknown time on Jap submarine, which missed, and this may have been end of run explosions.
1200(K): Position: latitude 32-16 N, Longitude 132-28 E.
2103(K): Surfaced. APR contacts were few: 95 mc, 99mc, and 149mc. All were shore based and sweeping.
2216(K): (AC#54) SJ radar contact at 179 T range 7,000 yards opening rapidly, followed by SD contact at 3.5 miles opening, and showing IFF. We identified ourselves by VHF.
2230(K): Additional APR contacts picked up at 149mc and 152mc. The 152mc may have been a plane or submarine but we couldn't get a bearing on it and it remained about constant strength and sweeping.
Thursday, 12 July 1945 0135(K): (AC#55) SD radar contacts at 18 and 22 miles, showing IFF. U.S.S. LIONFISH has lifeguard duty tonight. Last contact on these planes in raid lost at 0428.
0614(K): Submerged for patrol. Sea picking up but visibility, except along coast, is fair.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-08 N, Longitude 132-32 E.
2028(K): Surfaced. Set course for lifeguard station assigned by ComSubPac 110918 at position: Latitude 32-35 N, Longitude 132-32 E. Shore based radar picked up on APR at 98mc, and 96mc. Both sweeping.
2333(K): (AC#56) First of many SD radar contacts of the night at 6 miles showing IFF.
Friday, 13 July 1945, 0020(K): (AC#57) Made contact with CAP on VHR and coached him towards us by watching his IFF. Picked up APR contact at 72mc and 155mc, apparently shore based as very weak and sweeping rest of night.
0225(K): Cover plane departed, no planes down.
0733(K): (SC#21) Had decided to stay on surface during day and patrol approaches to BUNGO southwest of ASHIZURI SAKI off 100 fathom curve, but at this moment one lookout sighted a periscope bearing 105 T (port beam) about 200 yards range so OOD submerged immediately. Lookout stated the periscope raised and lowered twice, and was painted light gray with black splotches. Nothing could be heard on sound. Sea was very rough now, so decided to remain submerged until torpedoes could be pulled and a charge started. Position: Latitude 32-27 N, Longitude 133-16 E.
1146(K): (AC#58) Sighted usual daily Mariner two plane patrol bearing 003 T, range 8 miles on course 040 T.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-21 N, Longitude 133-14 E.
1318(K): Surfaced and resumed patrol intending to approach area of our periscope contact shortly after dark and catch it on the surface in case it was a Nip sub heading for BUNGO.
1342(k): Sighted wing tank from a P-51 and sank it with carbine fire. APR contacts were now at 72mc, 94mc, 95mc, 96mc, 99mc, and two weaker signals at 158/375/10 and 158/400/11. All were shore based and slowly sweeping.
2030(K): Sighted and sunk two more wing tanks. Beginning to suspect the periscope this morning was a wing tank bobbing in the water with pointed end upward. Lookout was very reliable however and insisted it had a definite feather each time it was raised and it was so close it would be very hard to mistake it.
2253(K): New APR contact at 151/400/10. Slowly sweeping and identified as shore based.
2308(K): (AC#59) Contact on SD radar at 4 miles, no IFF. Confirmed by SJ radar at 180 T opening. Exchanged calls by VHF and found was friendly patrol.
2325(K): Another APR contact, shore based, at 152/200/25.
Saturday, 14 July 1945, 0043(K): (AC#60) SD radar contact at 8 miles closing to 5. No IFF, no answer on VHF. Opened to 10 than returned and lost at 6 miles. Lost all contacts at 0200(K).
0234(K): (AC#62) SD radar contact at 10 miles, closing, no IFF. In trying to raise by VHF to establish identity, "Airdale 10" answered and informed us to our surprise he was our cover. Obtained our assigned station by Shackle Code and finding we were about 20 miles northeast of that position headed that way. Cover plane told us he would stay until 0600(K). Don't understand why we didn't receive message about this but it must have come in while we were submerged during the morning or the day before.
0600(K): Cover departed, no planes down. As it was already broad daylight, decided to remain on surface and work around to the southeast of ASHIZURI SAKI again.
1040(K): Only APR contacts now 76mc, 78mc, and 96mc, all shore based and slowly sweeping.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-05 N, Longitude 133-23 E.
1420(K): New APR contact 98mc. Lost contacts at 76 and 78.
1452(K): (AC#63) SD radar contact at 18 miles. No IFF. Not seen but suspect friendly patrol.
1530(K): New APR contact, shore based, at 72/350/40.
1555(K): Sighted a floating mine. Position: Latitude 32-29 N, Longitude 133-10 E. Same area as last one. Fired at it with 40mm and finally sunk it after knocking several big holes in the case.
1713(K): (AC#64) SD radar contact at 10 miles closing to 7 then out with no IFF. Interrupted target practice for a few minutes.
1800(K): SJ radar went out of commission.
1820(K): Master gyro compass out of commission. Decided to submerge until repairs affected, so
1830(K): Submerged and commenced work. Steering by magnetic until auxiliary gyro up to speed.
2330(K): SJ radar back in commission. Made preparations to surface.
2355(K): All clear. Surfaced. Usual APR contacts.,
Sunday, 15 July 1945, 0108(K): Master gyro compass in commission.
0600(K): Submerged for patrol south of OKINO SHIMA Island.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-11 N, Longitude 132-43 E.
2040(K): Surfaced. Set course for lifeguard station assigned by ComSubPac message 141117 in position Latitude 32-30 N, Longitude 132-30 E. Two missions tonight. A mining mission followed by a bombing raid. APR contacts at 72mc, 95mc, 98/240/25 and 98/550/18, 138mc, and 160mc. All were slowly sweeping and identified as land based.
Monday, 16 July 1945, 0038(K): (AC#65) SD radar contact at 15 miles opening to 16 and lost. No IFF. Called on VHF and established communication with our first cover- "Playmate 21". Picked up IFF of other planes on raid.
0122(K): Observed AA fire bearing 320 T.
0150(K): (AC#66) Raised Airdale 11 by VHF, our other cover for the night. Picked up new APR contacts at 175mc and 160mc. Both were slowly sweeping but could not be identified. Nothing on surface in this area.
0219(K): Playmate 21 departed, no planes down. Informed Airdale 11.
0240(K): (AC#67) A plane called 52V225 called us and passed a message from LIONFISH informing us LIONFISH had reported making an attack on a Japanese submarine an hour before and missed. Now empty of torpedoes. Judging from our position the Jap must have gone right by us without our picking him up on the radar.
0255(K): (SC#22) Contacted U.S.S. LIONFISH by SJ radar at 7,600 yards bearing 225 T. Listened on ship shore frequency and copied her message 151616 to ComSubPac information GUNNEL.
0425(K): Airdale 11 departed, no planes down.
0430(K): (AC#68) SD radar contact at 10 miles, closing, no IFF. Airdale 11 answered VHF saying it wasn't them and they knew of no friendly planes in vicinity. We held our breath while unknown passed overhead and finally disappeared at 12 miles.
0555(K): Submerged for patrol.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-22 N, Longitude 132-45 E.
2043(K): Surfaced. LIONFISH has lifeguard station tonight. Received ComSubs 160635 directing U.S.S. WHALE to relieve LIONFISH and patrol as directed by GUNNEL. LIONFISH was directed to depart station sunset of the 18th. APR contacts all shore based at 72mc, 95mc, 98mc, 99mc, 158mc, and 160mc.
2231(K): (SC#23) Contact on SJ radar at 7,500 yards, bearing 275 T, identified as LIONFISH.
2334(K): (AC#69) SD radar contact at 6 miles, no IFF. Identified as friendly by VHF. This was the first of many contacts on planes in the raid tonight.
Tuesday, 17 July 1945, 0030(K): New APR contact at 100/325/20. Shore based and sweeping.
0130(K): Sighted glow from fires and flashes as bombs burst on tonight's target bearing 350 T.
0155(K): New APR contact at 178/150/8. Suspect it to be one of our own aircraft.
0205(K): Heavy bursts of AA fire and increased fires over target bearing 350 T.
0222(K): Commenced transmitting message #4 directing U.S.S. WHALE to cover Eastern entrance BUNGO while we take Western entrance for a change and also asking about our missing serials as no answer yet from our last message. No trouble this time as NPN answered right up.
0604(K): Submerged for patrol off Western entrance BUNGO. Clear for a change, we could see land and keep cut in all day.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-31 N, longitude 132-45 E.
1543(K): (AC#70) Sighted two type "JAKE II" planes making an anti-submarine search over us, covering an area about 30 miles off the Western entrance. They flew back and forth on North and South courses for about two hours. Hoped it meant something was coming out, but the search was probably the result of our radio transmission last night. Position: latitude 32-31 N, Longitude 132-00 E.
1830(K): (AC#71) Sighted a group of eight aircraft tentatively identified as type "JUDY" bearing 210 T, flying south over the KYUSHU coastal mountain range. Position: Latitude 32-29 N, Longitude 131-59 E.
2106(K): Surfaced. Headed south along Longitude 132 E hoping to find anything we might have missed while submerged.
2120(K): (AC#72) SD radar contact at 7 miles. No IFF. No answer to calls. Contact opened and was lost. Assume it was friendly. APR contacts as usual on 95mc, 98mc, 99mc, 154mc, and 160mc. All shore based and slowly sweeping. This was supposed to be first moonlight night but clouds made it comfortably dark.
Wednesday, 18 July 1945, 0006(K): New APR contact 79/350/55, very weak and sweeping.
0143(K): (AC#73) Momentary SD radar contact at 21 miles, no IFF. Calls on VHF were answered by U.S.S. WHALE'S cover for tonight. We Let him know we were friendly. Various IFF contacts were soon seen.
0558(K): Submerged for patrol at Western entrance to BUNGO. Again land was visible most of the day.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 32-26 N, longitude 132-10 E.
2059(K): Surfaced. APR contacts at 152mc and 155mc. Medium strength and slowly sweeping. Was wondering if they were Jap subs when
2118(K): (AC#74) APR contact being keyed and saturated at 156/750/8. Slowed to reduce our wake. Check on SD radar finally showed a pip at 8 miles, which stayed steady a bit, then opened, and was lost at 12 miles. At same time the 156mc signal grew weaker and dropped to strength five. Position: Latitude 32-18 N, Longitude 132-01 E.
2152(K): Sudden SD radar contact at 4 1/2 miles closing. No IFF. 156mc signal now getting stronger but no longer saturated. Plane closed to 3 miles and circled us. Then SJ radar picked him up directly down moon - closing again - so
2155(K): Submerged. Still had no IFF and he wouldn't answer our VHF.
2200(K): All clear, surfaced.
2225(K): Same 156mc radar again - weak and being keyed.
2242(K): (AC#75) Sighted a two engine plane with zero angle on bow coming at us very close and very low off the water from down moon, so submerged and went deep. One lookout and the OOD stated he turned on four evenly spaced white lights along the leading edge of his wing just before they cleared the bridge. It might be a Jap recognition system. Position: Latitude 32-13 N, Longitude 132-00 E. APR reported the 156mc signal getting louder as we submerged.
Thursday, 19 July 1945, 0004(K): (AC#76) Surfaced. Just as we passed 35 feet coming up: the APR picked up the 156mc radar getting louder again and SJ radar reported a contact at 2500 yards moving up our starboard side and opening rapidly. FLOOD NEGATIVE - TAKE HER DOWN! A FINE WAY TO SPEND OUR LAST NIGHT ON STATION. Decided if he could stick that close the last hour and a half he must be following us with a magnetic detector so went to 350 feet and headed magnetic East. Position: Latitude 32-09 N, Longitude 132-04 E.
0217(K): All clear, surfaced. Resumed our much needed battery charge and headed south down coast.
0540(K): Sighted floating mine but visibility too poor to shoot at it.
0612(K): Sighted another floating mine. Opened fire with 40MM and held reveille for the crew when it exploded with much noise. Same type as others encountered. Position: Latitude 31-39 N, Longitude 132-09 E.
0632(K): Sighted and sank another wing tank.
0658(K): Submerged for patrol off TOI MISAKI.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 31-25 N, Longitude 131-56 E.
2029(K): Surfaced. Set course for joint zone leaving station in accordance with ComSubs 170903. APR contacts at 77mc, 138mc, 164mc and 159mc. All strong and sweeping slowly.
2138(K): (AC#77) Picked up our contact at 156/750/8 being keyed again but very weak. No SD or SJ contact and it soon faded out. Position: Latitude 31-26 N, Longitude 132-09 E.
2304(K): (AC#78) SD radar contact at 14 miles showing IFF. Closed to 3 and lost at 12. Position: Latitude 31-26 N, Longitude 132-41 E.
Friday, 20 July 1945, 0015(K): Picked up weak APR contacts at 76mc and 98mc.
0249(K): Transmitted message #5 acknowledging orders and giving time of entry into joint zone lane and rendezvous at Guam. Lost all APR contacts.
0627(K): (AC#79) SD radar contact at 4 miles, no IFF. It moved out and was lost at 8. Another picked up at 16 showing IFF and closing to 7, lost at 9. Position: Latitude 31-31 N, Longitude 135-01 E.
1105(K): (AC#80) SD radar contacts at 19 miles and 23 miles, showing IFF. One plane called us and at his request we gave him our position in shackle code. Sighted and identified him as a Liberator. Position: Latitude 30-56 N, Longitude 136-17 E. Remainder of aircraft types all friendly B-29's.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 30-47 N, longitude 136-35 E.
1252(K): Sighted what might have been a mine, but couldn't find it again. Position: Latitude 30-41 N, Longitude 136-50 E.
2348(K): APR contact, very weak and sweeping, at 149/160/6. Might be located on NANPO SHOTO Islands. Position: Latitude 29-35 N, Longitude 139-17 E.
Saturday, 21 July 1945, 0835(K): (SC#24) Sighted two friendly submarines approaching, bearing 170 T, range about 10,000 yards. Exchanged calls and identified them as U.S.S. SENNET and U.S.S. POGY. Position: Latitude 28-06 N, Longitude 139-10 E.
0925(K): Sighted another friendly submarine approaching, bearing 180 T, range 15,000 yards, identified as the U.S.S. ATULE. Position: Latitude 27-51 N, Longitude 139-12 E.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 27-25 N, Longitude 139-21 E.
1810(K): Sighted a drifting mine similar to previous mines seen, spherical with four horns. Manned 40mm and destroyed it. This one blew up with a tremendous bang, scaring hell out of one curious bird apparently coming in to rest on it or attracted by the splashes in the water which he apparently thought was a school of fish. Position: Latitude 25-51 N, Longitude 139-39 E.
Sunday, 22 July 1945, 1200 (K): Position Latitude 22-00 N, Longitude 139-43 E.
2311(K): Made radar contact with and exchanged calls with U.S.S. HADDOCK northward bound.
Monday, 23 July 1945, 0048(K): Exchanged recognition with U.S.S. QUILLBACK by SJ radar and soon sighted her ahead on a parallel course. We continued our constant helm zig-zag on base course for Guam in company with QUILLBACK also steering a constant helm zig-zag.
1200(K): Position: Latitude 17-23.8 N, Longitude 143-40.5 E.
1718(K): Lookouts sighted friendly submarine surfacing bearing 060 T range 10,000 yards.
1758(K): Exchanged calls and identified ourselves with the U.S.S. RUNNER who was on a parallel course and constant helm zig.
1812(K): Sighted ANATAHAN ISLAND bearing 090 T, 43 miles.
Tuesday, 24 July 1945, 0446(K): Sighted white light on land, bearing 140 T. Identified as GUAM ISLAND.
0631(K): Sighted escort vessel SC 1317, and at
0655(K): Took position in formation with escort vessel, U.S.S. RUNNER, and U.S.S. QUILLBACK, all using constant helm zig-zag proceeding to port on base course 150 T.
1038(K): Entered nets to APRA HARBOR, GUAM.
1116(K): Moored starboard side to in nest alongside U.S.S. PROTEUS. Commenced inspection by relief crew personnel in preparation for refit under ComSubDiv 201 administration.
1430(K): SubDiv 201 relief crew relieved GUNNEL crew temporarily. Ship officers and crew moved to accommodations ashore.
(O’Neil) “The rest camp for officers and crew was up in the hills some distance away from Apra Harbor. The terrain was heavily wooded, and there were still many Japanese hiding out, so as we traveled the road to the camp there were several portions of the route we were advised to lie on the floor of the vehicle. It was quiet and safe in the camp however, with ample good food, a bar and we all enjoyed our stay, brief as it was. As far as we knew we weren’t shot at going or returning to the ship.”
Wednesday, 25 July 1945: Moored as before.
The inspection of the machinery in the engine rooms revealed both #1 and #4 main engines had stress member failures beyond the capabilities of facilities in GUAM to repair. It was decided the refit should be accomplished at Pearl Harbor, the crew was to remain for the moment in the rest camp until final decisions were made.
Orders were received this date detaching the Executive Officer, Clarence J. Zurcher, Lieut.(DE) USNR for transfer to duty in a new submarine under construction in the States and to place her in commission as Executive Officer. Upon his departure, Lt. G. C. Wood, USNR, assumed the duties of Executive Officer and Navigator.
Thursday, 26 July 1945: Moored as before.
Ships crew returned aboard, relieving SubDiv 201 relief crew. By orders of ComSubDiv 201 administration, the Chief of the Boat, R.D. Weaver, CTM, USN was detached and remained for temporary duty with the relief crew. Bos'n E. M. Leidholdt, USN assumed the duties of Chief of the Boat.
Fueled ship, taking on board 29,685 gallons diesel fuel from PROTEUS.
Friday, 27 July 1945: Moored as before.
0900(K): Stationed maneuvering watch.
0933(K): Underway on the battery to shift berths.
0950(K): Moored starboard side to in submarine nest alongside U.S.S. FULTON. The 5"-25 deck gun, 5" ready locker, and one 40mm ready locker were removed for reinstallation on the U.S.S. DENTUDA as authorized by ComSubPac Administration.
Saturday, 28 July 1945: Moored as before.
1200(K): Commenced preparations for getting underway.
The following men reported aboard for transportation to Pearl Harbor and for further transfer: Nobles, Douglas (n) Ck1/c, USN, and Sarellano, Crisanto Soniao, Ck2/c, USNR.
1500(K): Underway for PEARL HARBOR. as task unit 17.10.14 in accordance with ComTaskGroup 17.10 operation order 12-45, routing via Bridgespan, Footpath, Shuttleway, and Filter. Passage uneventful. Conducted trim dives and various emergency drills enroute.
(Cas Hiatt remembers this) “After the R&R period we returned to the Gunnel to prepare for the voyage back to Honolulu. You asked me to go back to the rest camp with cash to pay our “bar bill”. (As the junior officer aboard (in rank, not age) I usually got this kind of assignment, and did not really object). I took the scheduled bus back to the camp, paid our bill, and then realized that the bus would not get me back to the ship in time for our departure for Pearl Harbor. In a state of desperation, I noticed a weapons carrier, with engine running, loaded with laundry and ready to return to Apra with no driver in sight. I jumped in and raced back to the harbor alone, arriving breathlessly just in time for our departure. As we moved away, I looked back at the vehicle, parked on the dock, engine still running.”
Repeated Saturday, 4 August 1945 on crossing the International Date Line.
Monday, 6 August 1945, 1840K: Under way as before enroute Pearl Harbor. Weather and sea conditions approaching typhoon conditions. Quartermaster and Navigator were on the bridge in the process of getting evening stars to fix the ships position. We took a wave over the bridge knocking the quartermaster off his feet and sweeping the comparing watch out of the hand and over the side.
(Cas Hiatt who had the deck watch as OOD remembers this occasion.) “ I have vivid memories of the typhoon we experienced on the way home. By that time I was standing watches as O.O.D. When I came onto the bridge, you told me to “take her down if it gets too bad”, then went below. The next few minutes were scary. We were headed into the steep swells and the rise and fall of the bow was spectacular. I began to wonder how I could possibly know if the conditions were “too bad”. After all, I had never been in such a storm before. Before long I decided that it was time to submerge. We did, and my recollection is that you were not disappointed with that decision.”
2100K: Received the news on Fox schedule in message to all Submarines at sea, that an Atom Bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
(O’Neil) "This news didn’t really register with us. We had not been aware of the work and testing preparing this weapon and at this time had no conception of the damage done and the effect this would have on history. I was looking forward to the stay in rest camp and expecting to sail on another war patrol in this never-ending war."
Wednesday, 8 August 1945: Arrived Pearl Harbor for refit under ComSubDiv 101, completing Eighth War Patrol.
The Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet made these comments in his official evaluation of GUNNEL's eighth patrol:
"This patrol was devoted to both lifeguard duties and offensive patrol. Despite thorough area coverage no opportunity to effect rescue was afforded the GUNNEL. One torpedo attack was made on an RO-60 class submarine, but an unfavorable firing position had to be accepted and unfortunately the attack was unsuccessful. The Force Commander wishes the GUNNEL better luck next patrol."
The Commander Submarine Division One Hundred One, in his endorsement of this patrol report made these comments:
"It's possible that the plane which dropped a flare on the night of 10 July over the GUNNEL was enemy. It's hard to believe that a friendly plane would drop a flare in a submarine zone.
The GUNNEL returned from patrol very clean and shipshape. The condition of the engines is serious and will probably require an extended refit to be repaired.
Commander Submarine Division One Hundred One congratulates the Commanding Officer, officers, and crew on the completion of this long monotonous patrol and wishes them better hunting next time."
The Commanding Officer noted in his report:
"HEALTH, FOOD, AND HABITABILITY.
Satisfactory in all respects. There were no sick days.
Conduct of all hands was up to the fine standard found normally in the submarine service.
A new officer was obtained in Pearl Harbor at the start of the training period to replace the regular TDC operator who became sick. Although just out of submarine school and inexperienced in submarines, his special training on the TDC under Comdr. C. W. NIMITZ, Jr. and his sound submarine school training allowed him to quickly take over his duties and fit into the battle organization like an old hand. This reference was to Ensign C.W. Hiatt Jr., USNR (Former C.O.)
|Number of men detached after previous patrol||25|
|Number of men on board during patrol||75|
|Number of men qualified at start of patrol||54|
|Number of men qualified at end of patrol||67|
|Number of men unqualified making first patrol||12|
|Sign Logbook||View Logbook|