Albacore SS-218 - History

Albacore SS-218 - History

Albacore

II

(SS-218: dp. 1,526 (surf.), 2,424 (subm.), 1. 311'9", b. 27'3", dr. 19'3"; s. 20.25 k. (surf.), 8.75 k. (subm.); cpl. 60; a. 1 3", 4 ma. 10 21" tt.; cl. Gato)

The second Albacore (SS-218) was laid down on 21 April 1941 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; launched on 17 February 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Elwin F. Cutts, the wife of Capt. Cutts; and commissioned on 1 June 1942, Lt. Comdr. Richard Cross Lake in command.

Following shakedown, the submarine proceeded via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor and, from that base on 28 August began her first war patrol which took her to waters of the north
and northeast pass through the coral reef which surrounds the Truk Islands. On 13 September, Albacore sighted two cargo, vessels sailing in a column formation and prepared for her first combat action. Lake made a submerged approach and fired three torpedoes at the leading ship and two at the second. OneÑor possibly twoÑtorpedoes hit on the first ship; but none struck the second. Aloacore claimed to have damaged the leading vessel.

Her next enemy contact came on 1 October when the submarine made a night surface attack on a Japanese tanker. She expended seven torpedoes and scored two hits. Although the tanker appeared to be low in the water, she was still able to leave the scene under her own power. On 9 October, Albacore spotted a Zuikaku-class carrier escorted by a heavy cruiser and a destroyer but was depth charged by the escorts and forced to break off her pursuit. The next day, she attacked a freighter. One torpedo hit the mark; and, 12 mmutes after firing, the sound of two heavy explosions caused the submarine's crew to presume that they had downed the vessel.

Beginning at mid-morning on 11 October, Aloacore underwent a series of depth chargings all of which expIoded close aboard. At 1548, the conning of ficer finally spotted the Japanese attackers, two submarine chasers and an airplane. A third ship equipped with sound gear joined the group and continued the hunt. The ships crisscrossed over Albacore close enough for propeller noise to reverberate throughout the submarine and compelled her to proceed under her most silent running conditions. All auxiliary systems were secured, off-duty men remained in their bunks, and all watch personnel were barefoot. After a chase of nearly seven hours, the Japanese ships disappeared astern, and Albacore then surfaced to clear the immediate area. On 12 October, Aloacore headed for Midway. Although she had had several opportunities to score during the patrol, Albacore was not credited with any damage to Japanese shipping. The submarine arrived at Midway on 20 October and commenced a refit.

With her refurbishing completed and a new 20-millimeter gun installed, Albacore sailed on 11 November for her second patrol. Her assigned areas were the Roger St. George's Channel, New Britain; along the east coast of New Guinea to Vitiaz Strait, and the Dallman Pass off Madang harbor, New Guinea. On 24 November, the submarine spotted a convoy of two cargo vessels and their escorts. Albacore maneuvered into position and fired two stern tubes but neither torpedo found its target. Two days later, on 26 November, Albacore herseff became the quarry. Two Japanese destroyers depth charged her, and the explosions caused numerous small leaks around the cable packing glands in the pressure hull. After a two-hour chase, the Japanese retired, and Albacore shifted her patrol area to Vitiaz Strait. Another golden opportunity arose on 13 December, when Albacore found three Japanese destroyers. She released a three-torpedo spread but again was unsuccessful On 18 December, Albacore was sta- in the area of Madang, New Guinea. The submarine discovered what seemed to be a transport and a destroyer.

Albacore torpedoed the "transport," and it exploded in a mass of flames and sank. Albacore had in fact downed the light cruiser Tenryu, a 3,300-ton vessel and the second Japanese cruiser sunk by an American submarine in World War II. Albacore put into port at Brisbane, Australia, on 30 December 1942.

After an overhaul of her engines, Albacore got underway on 20 January 1943 to begin her third patrol. Off the north coast of New Guinea, she spotted 11 targets in as many days. The first group, encountered on 20 February, consisted of a destroyer and a frigate escorting a minelayer. Albacore fired 10 torpedoes and believed she had downed the destroyer and damaged the frigate. In the following days, Albacore attacked one tanker, several freighters, and another destroyer. Of eight torpedoes expended during these actions, all missed their targets. When Albacore ended her patrol at Brisbane on 11 March, she was credited with sinking one destroyer and a frigate for a total of 2,250 tons lost.

Albacore was briefly drydocked for repairs and underwent refresher training before sailing for a fourth patrol on 6 April. This time, her area was around the Solomon and Bismarck Islands and off the north coast of New Guinea. While she sighted several convoys, she recorded no hits. Albacore returned to Brisbane on 26 May. While Albacore was being refitted at that port, Lt. Oscar E. Hagberg relieved Lt. Lake in command of the submarine.

On 16 June, Albacore was underway for her fifth patrol and waters surrounding the Bismarck and Solomon Islands. During this patrol, she sighted three separate convoys and attacked two. Albacore claimed to have damaged a transport on 19 July, but the submarine failed to sink any vessels. Albacore arrived back at Brisbane and began a refit alongside Fulton (AS-11).

On 23 August, Albacore left to patrol roughly the same area as on her previous assignment. She spotted a Japanese submarine on 31 August but was unable to press home an attack. On 4 September, she encountered a two-ship convoy protected by two escorts and sank one of the ships, Heijo Maru, with three torpedo hits made shortly after the initial contact. The submarine then pursued the other vessel for the next two days but was able only to inflict minor hull damage on her target. She terminated her patrol at Brisbane on 26 September.

Albacore's seventh patrol began on 12 October. She fired six torpedoes at a large merchant ship on 25 October but recorded no hits. On 6 November, she received a report of a convoy which had been spotted by Steelhead (SS-280), and began to search for it. On the 8th, the submarine found the convoy and started to track it. However, a plane from the 5th Air Force bombed her and caused her to lose contact with the Japanese ships. The submarine sustained no damage from this attack. Albacore was again bombed by an American aircraft on 10 November. This time, the submarine suffered considerable damage. All auxiliary power was knocked out, and the submarine was plunged into total darkness. The main induction valve went under before it was shut and began filling up with water. Albacore plunged to a depth of 450 feet before her dive was checked. For the next two and one-half hours, she bounced between 30 feet and 400 feet while at various attitudes. She finally managed to return to the surface with her trim almost restored. The submarine resubmerged, and it was decided to continue the patrol while simultaneously making necessary repairs.

Following this ordeal, Albacore received orders to locate and attack the light cruiser Agano, which had been hit and damaged by Scamp (SS-277). Albacore found Agano on 12 November and tried to attack, but Japanese destroyers held the submarine down with a four-hour depth charge barrage. On her return to Brisbane on 5 December, Lt. James W. Blanchard relieved Hagberg of command.

Albacore departed Australia on the day after Christmas 1943 to patrol north of the Bismareks. She spotted her first target on 12 January 1944 and sank cargo vessel Choko Maru with two separate torpedo attacks. Two days later, she blew up the destroyer Sazanami with four shots from her stern tubes. Following more than a fortnight of uneventful patrolling, the submarine headed home. She made brief fuel stops at Tulagi and Midway before reaching Pearl Harbor on 22 February. After three days of voyage repairs, Albacore continued on to the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif., for overhaul.

Albacore left Mare Island on 5 May and held training exercises with Shad (SS-235) en route to Hawaii. The submarine reached Pearl Harbor on 13 May and spent the next two weeks on final reoairs and training. Albacore began her ninth patrol on 29 May and was assigned waters west of the Marianas and around the Palaus. During the next few days, she made only one contact a Japanese convoy which she encountered on 11 June. However before the submarine could maneuver into attack position, a Japanese aircraft forced her to dive and lose contact

On the morning of the 18thÑtwo days after American forces began landing on SaipanÑAlbacore shifted from her position west of the Marianas to a new location 100 miles further south. Admiral Nimitz had ordered this move in the hope of enabling the submarine to intercept a Japanese task force under Admiral Ozawa reportedly steaming from Tawi Tawi toward Saipan. At about 0800 the next morning, 19 June, Albacore raised her periscope and found herself in the midst of Ozawa's main carrier group. Blanchard allowed one Japanese carrier to pass unharmed and selected a second one for his target. He fired six bow tubes. Three Japanese destroyers immediately charged Al bacore. While the submarine was diving to escape, her crew heard one solid torpedo explosion. About that same time, 25 depth charges began raining down on the submarine. Then Blanchard heard ra distant and persistent explosion of great force" followed by another.

One of the torpedoes had hit Ozawa's flagship, the 31 000-ton carrier Taiho the newest and largest floating air base in the Japanese fleet. The explosion jammed the enemy ship's forward aircraft elevator, and filled its pit with gasoline, water, and aviation fuel. However, no fire erupted, and the flight deck was unharmed. Ozawa was unconcerned by the hit and launched two more waves of aircraft. Meanwhile, a novice took over the damage control responsibilities. He believed that the best way to handle gasoline fumes was to open up the ship's ventilation system and let them disperse throughout the ship. This action turned the ship into a floating time bomb. At 1330, a tremendous explosion jolted Taiho and blew out the sides of the carrier. Taiho began to settle in the water and was clearly doomed. Although Admiral Ozawa wanted to go down with the ship, his staff persuaded him to transfer to the cruiser Haguro. After Ozawa left Taiho was torn by a second explosion and sank stern first, carrying down 1,650 officers and men.

No one on Albacore thought Taiho had sunk. Blanchard was angry for "missing a golden opportunity." After this action Albacore was assigned lifeguard duty for planes striking Yap and Ulithi. On 2 July, Albacore shifted over to intercept traffic between Yap and the Palaus. The submarine spotted a wooden inter-island steamer loaded with Japanese civilians. Blanchard decided to stage a surface gun attack. After insuring the ship was afire, Albacore dived to avoid an airplane. The submarine surfaced soon thereafter and picked up five survivors.

Albacore put in to Majuro on 15 July. She was praised for an aggressive patrol and received credit for damaging a Shokaku- ass carrier. American codebreakers lost track of Taiho after the Battle of the Philippine Sea and, while puzzled, did not realize that she had gone down. "Months and months went by," Blanchard recalled. "Then they picked up a POW someplace who said Taiho went down in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Even then,intelligence was doubtful. So I said, 'Keep him alive until he convinces them."'After confirmation finally had been obtained, Blanchard was awarded a Navy Cross.

After a refit alongside Bushnell (AS-15), the submarine began her 10th patrol on 8 August. Her assignment was the Bungo Suido-Kii Suido area; and, during this period, Albacore was credited with sinking two Japanese vessels, a cargo ship and a submarine chaser. The patrol ended at Pearl Harbor on 25 September.

Albacore left Pearl Harbor on 24 October, topped off her fuel tanks at Midway on 28 October, and was never heard from again. According to Japanese records captured after the war, a submarine assumed to be Albacore struck a mine very close to the shore off northeastern Hokkaido on 7 November. A Japanese patrol boat witnessed the explosion of a submerged submarine and saw a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, and food supplies rise to the surface. On 21 December, Albacore was assumed to have been lost. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 30 March 1945

Albacore won the Presidential Unit Citation for her second third, eighth, and ninth patrols and nine battle stars for her service during World War II.


USS Albacore (SS-218)

USS Albacore (SS-218) was a Gato-class submarine which served in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II, winning the Presidential Unit Citation and nine battle stars for her service. During the war, she was credited with sinking 13 Japanese ships (including two destroyers, a light cruiser, and the aircraft carrier Taihō) and damaging another five not all of these credits were confirmed by postwar JANAC accounting. She also holds the distinction of sinking the most warship tonnage of any U.S. submarine. She was lost in 1944, probably sunk by a mine off of northern Hokkaidō on 7 November 1944. [2]

Albacore was the second vessel of the United States Navy to be named for the albacore. Her keel was laid on 21 April 1941 by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 17 February 1942 (sponsored by Mrs. Elwin F. Cutts, the wife of Captain Cutts), and commissioned on 1 June 1942, Lieutenant Commander Richard C. Lake (Class of 1929) in command. [ citation needed ]


World War II

Following shakedown, the submarine proceeded via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor and, from that base on 28 August 1942, began her first war patrol, to waters of the north and northeast pass through the coral reef which surrounds Truk. On 13 September, Albacore sighted two cargo vessels in column and prepared for her first combat action. She made a submerged approach and fired three torpedoes at the leading ship and two at the second. One or two torpedoes hit on the first ship none struck the second. Albacore claimed to have damaged the leading vessel.

Her next enemy contact came on 1 October when she made a night surface attack on a Japanese tanker. She expended seven torpedoes and scored two hits. Although the tanker appeared to be low in the water, she was still able to leave the scene under her own power. On 9 October, Albacore spotted a Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier escorted by a heavy cruiser and a destroyer, but the submarine was depth charged by the escorts and forced to break off her pursuit. The next day, she attacked a freighter. One torpedo hit the mark, and 12 minutes after firing, the sound of two heavy explosions caused the submarine's crew to presume they had downed the vessel.

Beginning on the mid-morning of 11 October, Albacore was depth charged numerous times. At 1548, the conning officer finally spotted the Japanese attackers, two submarine chasers and an airplane. A third ship equipped with sound gear joined the group and continued the hunt. The ships crisscrossed over Albacore, close enough for propeller noise to reverberate throughout her hull and compelled her to proceed at silent running, with her ventilator fans shut down. After a chase of nearly seven hours, the Japanese ships disappeared astern, and Albacore then surfaced to clear the immediate area. The next day, Albacore headed for Midway Island. Although she had had several opportunities to score during the patrol, Albacore was not credited with any damage to Japanese shipping. The submarine arrived at Midway Island on 20 October and commenced a refit.

With her refurbishing completed and a new New Britain, along the east coast of New Guinea to Vitiaz Strait, and the Dallman Pass off Madang harbor. On 24 November, the submarine spotted a convoy of two cargo vessels. Albacore maneuvered into position and fired two stern tubes, but neither torpedo found its target. Two days later, on 26 November, Albacore herself became the quarry. Two Japanese destroyers depth charged her and the explosions caused numerous small leaks around the cable packing glands in the pressure hull. After a two-hour chase, the Japanese retired, and Albacore shifted her patrol area to Vitiaz Strait. Another golden opportunity arose on 13 December, when Albacore found three Japanese destroyers. She released a three-torpedo spread but again was unsuccessful. On 18 December, Albacore was stationed off Madang. The submarine discovered what seemed to be a transport and a destroyer.

Albacore torpedoed the "transport," and it exploded in a mass of flames and sank. Albacore had in fact downed Tenryū, and the second Japanese cruiser sunk by an American submarine in World War II. Albacore put into port at Brisbane, Australia, on 30 December.

After an overhaul of her engines, Albacore got underway on 20 January 1943 to begin her third patrol. Off the north coast of New Guinea, she spotted 11 targets in as many days. The first group, encountered on 20 February, consisted of a destroyer and a frigate escorting a minelayer. Albacore fired ten torpedoes and believed she had sunk the destroyer and damaged the frigate. In the following days, Albacore attacked one tanker, several freighters, and another destroyer. Of eight torpedoes expended during these actions, all missed their targets. When Albacore ended her patrol at Brisbane on 11 March, she was credited with sinking one destroyer and a frigate for a total of 2,250 tons.

Albacore was briefly dry-docked for repairs and underwent refresher training before sailing for a fourth patrol on 6 April. This time, her area was around the Solomon Islands and Bismarck Islands and off the north coast of New Guinea. While she sighted several convoys, she recorded no hits. Albacore returned to Brisbane on 26 May. While Albacore was being refitted at that port, Lieutenant Commander Oscar E. Hagberg relieved Lieutenant Commander Lake in command of the submarine.

On 16 June, Albacore was underway for her fifth patrol and waters surrounding the Bismarcks and the Solomons. During this patrol, she sighted three separate convoys and attacked two. Albacore claimed to have damaged a transport on 19 July but the submarine failed to sink any vessels. Albacore arrived back at Brisbane and began a refit alongside Fulton.

On 23 August, Albacore left to patrol roughly the same area as on her previous assignment. She spotted a Japanese submarine on 31 August but was unable to press home an attack. On 4 September, she encountered a two-ship convoy protected by two escorts and sank one of the ships, Heijo Maru, with three torpedo hits made shortly after the initial contact. The submarine then pursued the other vessel for the next two days but was able to inflict only minor hull damage on her target. She terminated her patrol at Brisbane on 26 September.

Albacore‍ '​s seventh patrol began on 12 October 1943. She fired six torpedoes at a large merchant ship on 25 October but recorded no hits. On 6 November, she received a report of a convoy which had been spotted by Steelhead, and began to search for it. On 8 November, the submarine found the convoy and started to track it. However, a plane from the Fifth Army Air Force bombed her and caused her to lose contact with the Japanese ships. The submarine sustained no damage.

Albacore was again bombed by American aircraft on 10 November. This time, the submarine suffered considerable damage. All auxiliary power was knocked out, and the submarine was plunged into total darkness. The main induction valve went under water before it was shut, and it began filling up with water. Albacore plunged to a depth of 450 feet (140 m) before her dive was checked. For the next two and one-half hours, she bounced between 30 feet (10 m) and 400 feet (120 m) while at various attitudes. She finally managed to return to the surface with her trim almost restored. The submarine re-submerged, and it was decided to continue the patrol while simultaneously making necessary repairs.

Following this ordeal, Albacore received orders to locate and attack Agano, which had been hit and damaged by Scamp. Albacore found Agano on 12 November and tried to attack, but Japanese destroyers held the submarine down with a four-hour depth charge barrage.

On 25 November, Albacore sank Japanese army transport Kenzan Maru. [5]

On her return to Brisbane on 5 December, Lieutenant Commander James W. Blanchard replaced Hagberg in command.

Albacore departed Australia on 26 December to patrol north of the Bismarck Islands. She spotted her first target on 12 January 1944 and sank Choko Maru with two separate torpedo attacks. Two days later, in company with Scamp and Guardfish, she blew up Sazanami (flushed by Guardfish) [6] with four shots from Albacore‍ '​s stern tubes. Another destroyer pinned Albacore down and delivered fifty-nine depth charges, leaving Scamp and Guardfish free to pursue the three tankers they succeeded in sinking one each. [7] Following more than a fortnight of uneventful patrolling, the submarine headed home. She made brief fuel stops at Tulagi and Midway Island before reaching Pearl Harbor on 22 February. After three days of repairs to get her ready for the voyage, Albacore continued on to the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California for overhaul.

Albacore left Mare Island on 5 May 1944 and held training exercises with Shad (SS-235) en route to Hawaii. Albacore reached Pearl Harbor on 13 May and spent the next two weeks on final repairs and training. Albacore began her ninth patrol on 29 May, and was assigned waters west of the Mariana Islands and around the Palau Islands. In the next few days, she made only one contact, a Japanese convoy which she encountered on 11 June. But before the submarine could maneuver into attack position, a Japanese aircraft forced her to dive and lose contact.

The Sinking of Taihō

On the morning of 18 June, two days after American forces began landing on Saipan, Albacore shifted from her position west of the Mariana Islands to a new location 100 miles (160 km) further south. Admiral Charles Andrews Lockwood (ComSubPac) [8] ordered this move in the hope of enabling the submarine to intercept a Japanese task force (under command of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa) reportedly steaming from Tawi Tawi toward Saipan. At about 0800 the next morning, Albacore raised her periscope and found herself in the midst of Ozawa's main carrier group. Blanchard allowed one Japanese carrier to pass unharmed and selected a second one for his target. Once inside 5,300 yards (4,800 m), the submarine's Torpedo Data Computer started giving false information. To maximize the odds of a hit, Blanchard fired all six bow tubes. The carrier was in the process of launching an air strike, and one of the pilots (Sakio Komatsu) intentionally dove his plane into a torpedo, setting it off early. Three Japanese destroyers immediately charged Albacore. While the submarine was diving to escape, her crew heard one solid torpedo explosion. About that same time, 25 depth charges began raining down on the submarine. Then Blanchard heard "a distant and persistent explosion of great force" followed by another. [9]

No one on Albacore thought Taihō had sunk, and her skipper was angry for "missing a golden opportunity." After this action, Albacore was assigned lifeguard duty for planes striking Yap and Ulithi. On 2 July, Albacore shifted over to intercept traffic between Yap and the Palau Islands. The submarine spotted a wooden inter-island steamer loaded with Japanese civilians. Albacore decided to stage a surface gun attack. After ensuring the ship was afire, Albacore dived to avoid an airplane. The submarine surfaced soon thereafter and picked up five survivors.

Albacore put in to Majuro on 15 July. She was praised for an aggressive patrol and received credit for damaging a Shōkaku-class carrier. American codebreakers lost track of Taihō after the Battle of the Philippine Sea and, while puzzled, did not realize she had gone down. Only months later did a prisoner of war reveal her sinking.

After a refit alongside Bushnell, the submarine began her tenth patrol on 8 August. Her assignment was the Bungo Suido-Kii Suido area, and, during this period, Albacore was credited with sinking two Japanese vessels, a cargo ship and a submarine chaser. The patrol ended at Pearl Harbor on 25 September.

Albacore left Pearl Harbor on 24 October 1944 (with Hugh Raynor Rimmer, Class of 1937, [11] in command), topped off her fuel tanks at Midway Island on 28 October, and was never heard from again. According to Japanese records captured after the war, a submarine (presumed to be Albacore) struck a naval mine very close to the shore off northeastern Hokkaidō on 7 November 1944. A Japanese patrol boat witnessed the explosion of a submerged submarine and saw a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, and food supplies rise to the surface. On 21 December, Albacore was presumed lost. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 March 1945.


Contents

World War II Edit

1942 Edit

Following shakedown, the submarine proceeded via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor and, from that base on 28 August 1942, began her first war patrol, to waters of the north and northeast pass through the coral reef which surrounds Truk. On 13 September, Albacore sighted two cargo vessels in column and prepared for her first combat action. She made a submerged approach and fired three torpedoes at the leading ship and two at the second. One or two torpedoes hit on the first ship none struck the second. Albacore claimed to have damaged the leading vessel.

Her next enemy contact came on 1 October when she made a night surface attack on a Japanese tanker. She expended seven torpedoes and scored two hits. Although the tanker appeared to be low in the water, she was still able to leave the scene under her own power. On 9 October, Albacore spotted a Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier escorted by a heavy cruiser and a destroyer, but the submarine was depth charged by the escorts and forced to break off her pursuit. The next day, she attacked a freighter. One torpedo hit the mark, and 12 minutes after firing, the sound of two heavy explosions caused the submarine's crew to presume they had downed the vessel.

Beginning on the mid-morning of 11 October, Albacore was depth charged numerous times. At 1548, the conning officer finally spotted the Japanese attackers, two submarine chasers and an airplane. A third ship equipped with sound gear joined the group and continued the hunt. The ships crisscrossed over Albacore, close enough for propeller noise to reverberate throughout her hull and compelled her to proceed at silent running, with her ventilator fans shut down. After a chase of nearly seven hours, the Japanese ships disappeared astern, and Albacore then surfaced to clear the immediate area. The next day, Albacore headed for Midway Island. Although she had had several opportunities to score during the patrol, Albacore was not credited with any damage to Japanese shipping. The submarine arrived at Midway Island on 20 October and commenced a refit.

With her refurbishing completed and a new Oerlikon 20 mm cannon installed, Albacore sailed on 11 November for her second patrol. Her assigned areas were the St. George's Channel, New Britain, along the east coast of New Guinea to Vitiaz Strait, and the Dallman Pass off Madang harbor. On 24 November, the submarine spotted a convoy of two cargo vessels. Albacore maneuvered into position and fired two stern tubes, but neither torpedo found its target. Two days later, on 26 November, Albacore herself became the quarry. Two Japanese destroyers depth charged her and the explosions caused numerous small leaks around the cable packing glands in the pressure hull. After a two-hour chase, the Japanese retired, and Albacore shifted her patrol area to Vitiaz Strait. Another golden opportunity arose on 13 December, when Albacore found three Japanese destroyers. She released a three-torpedo spread but again was unsuccessful. On 18 December, Albacore was stationed off Madang. The submarine discovered what seemed to be a transport and a destroyer.

Albacore torpedoed the "transport," and it exploded in a mass of flames and sank. Albacore had in fact downed the light cruiser Tenryū, the second Japanese cruiser sunk by an American submarine in World War II. Albacore put into port at Brisbane, Australia, on 30 December.

1943 Edit

After an overhaul of her engines, Albacore got underway on 20 January 1943 to begin her third patrol. Off the north coast of New Guinea, she spotted 11 targets in as many days. The first group, encountered on 20 February, consisted of a destroyer and a frigate escorting a minelayer. Albacore fired ten torpedoes and believed she had sunk the destroyer, Oshio and damaged the frigate. In the following days, Albacore attacked one tanker, several freighters, and another destroyer. Of eight torpedoes expended during these actions, all missed their targets. When Albacore ended her patrol at Brisbane on 11 March, she was credited with sinking one destroyer and a frigate for a total of 2,250 tons.

Albacore was briefly dry-docked for repairs and underwent refresher training before sailing for a fourth patrol on 6 April. This time, her area was around the Solomon Islands and Bismarck Islands and off the north coast of New Guinea. While she sighted several convoys, she recorded no hits. Albacore returned to Brisbane on 26 May. While Albacore was being refitted at that port, Lieutenant Commander Oscar E. Hagberg relieved Lieutenant Commander Lake in command of the submarine.

On 16 June, Albacore was underway for her fifth patrol and waters surrounding the Bismarcks and the Solomons. During this patrol, she sighted three separate convoys and attacked two. Albacore claimed to have damaged a transport on 19 July but the submarine failed to sink any vessels. Albacore arrived back at Brisbane and began a refit alongside Fulton.

On 23 August, Albacore left to patrol roughly the same area as on her previous assignment. She spotted a Japanese submarine on 31 August but was unable to press home an attack. On 4 September, she encountered a two-ship convoy protected by two escorts and sank one of the ships, the auxiliary gunboat Heijo Maru, with three torpedo hits made shortly after the initial contact. The submarine then pursued the other vessel for the next two days but was able to inflict only minor hull damage on her target. She terminated her patrol at Brisbane on 26 September.

Albacore ' s seventh patrol began on 12 October 1943. She fired six torpedoes at a large merchant ship on 25 October but recorded no hits. On 6 November, she received a report of a convoy which had been spotted by Steelhead, and began to search for it. On 8 November, the submarine found the convoy and started to track it. However, a plane from the Fifth Army Air Force bombed her and caused her to lose contact with the Japanese ships. The submarine sustained no damage.

Albacore was again bombed by American aircraft on 10 November. This time, the submarine suffered considerable damage. All auxiliary power was knocked out, and the submarine was plunged into total darkness. The main induction valve went under water before it was shut, and it began filling up with water. Albacore plunged to a depth of 450 feet (140 m) before her dive was checked. For the next two and one-half hours, she bounced between 30 feet (10 m) and 400 feet (120 m) while at various attitudes. She finally managed to return to the surface with her trim almost restored. The submarine re-submerged, and it was decided to continue the patrol while simultaneously making necessary repairs.

Following this ordeal, Albacore received orders to locate and attack the cruiser Agano, which had been hit and damaged by Scamp. Albacore found Agano on 12 November and tried to attack, but Japanese destroyers held the submarine down with a four-hour depth charge barrage.

On 25 November, Albacore sank Japanese army transport Kenzan Maru. [7]

On her return to Brisbane on 5 December, Lieutenant Commander James W. Blanchard replaced Hagberg in command.

Albacore departed Australia on 26 December to patrol north of the Bismarck Islands. She spotted her first target on 12 January 1944 and sank Choko Maru with two separate torpedo attacks. Two days later, in company with Scamp and Guardfish, she blew up Sazanami (flushed by Guardfish) [8] the sinking was achieved by four torpedoes from Albacore ' s stern tubes. Another destroyer pinned Albacore down and delivered fifty-nine depth charges, leaving Scamp and Guardfish free to pursue the three tankers they succeeded in sinking one each. [9] Following more than a fortnight of uneventful patrolling, the submarine headed home. She made brief fuel stops at Tulagi and Midway Island before reaching Pearl Harbor on 22 February. After three days of repairs to get her ready for the voyage, Albacore continued on to the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California for overhaul.

1944 Edit

Albacore left Mare Island on 5 May 1944 and held training exercises with USS Shad en route to Hawaii. Albacore reached Pearl Harbor on 13 May and spent the next two weeks on final repairs and training. Albacore began her ninth patrol on 29 May, and was assigned waters west of the Mariana Islands and around the Palau Islands. In the next few days, she made only one contact, a Japanese convoy which she encountered on 11 June. But before the submarine could maneuver into attack position, a Japanese aircraft forced her to dive and lose contact.

The sinking of Taihō Edit

On the morning of 18 June, two days after American forces began landing on Saipan, Albacore shifted from her position west of the Mariana Islands to a new location 100 miles (160 km) further south. Admiral Charles Andrews Lockwood (ComSubPac) [10] ordered this move in the hope of enabling the submarine to intercept a Japanese task force (under command of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa) reportedly steaming from Tawi Tawi toward Saipan. At about 0800 the next morning, Albacore raised her periscope and found herself in the midst of Ozawa's main carrier group. Blanchard allowed one Japanese carrier to pass unharmed and selected a second one for his target. Once inside 5,300 yards (4,800 m), the submarine's Torpedo Data Computer started giving false information. To maximize the odds of a hit, Blanchard fired all six bow tubes. The carrier was in the process of launching an air strike, and one of the pilots (Sakio Komatsu) intentionally dove his plane into a torpedo, setting it off early. Three Japanese destroyers immediately charged Albacore. While the submarine was diving to escape, her crew heard one solid torpedo explosion. About that same time, 25 depth charges began raining down on the submarine. Then Blanchard heard "a distant and persistent explosion of great force" followed by another. [11]

One of Blanchard's torpedoes had hit the carrier. It was Ozawa's flagship, Japanese aircraft carrier Taihō, 31,000 tons, the newest and largest in the Japanese fleet. The explosion jammed the ship's forward aircraft elevator its pit filled with gasoline, water, and fuel. However, no fire erupted, and the flight deck was unharmed.

The one torpedo hit on Taihō caused little concern on board. Ozawa still "radiated confidence and satisfaction" and by 11:30 had launched raids Three and Four. Meanwhile, a novice took over the damage-control work. He thought the best way to handle gasoline fumes was to open up the ship's ventilation system and let them disperse. When he did, the fumes spread all through the ship. Unknown to anybody on board, Taihō became a floating time bomb.

About 3:30 that afternoon, Taihō was jolted by a severe explosion. A senior staff officer on the bridge saw the flight deck heave up. The sides blew out. Taihō dropped out of formation and began to settle in the water, clearly doomed. Though Admiral Ozawa wanted to go down with the ship, his staff prevailed on him to survive and to shift his quarters to Japanese cruiser Haguro. Taking the Emperor's portrait, Ozawa transferred to Haguro by destroyer. After he left, Taihō was torn by a second thunderous explosion and sank stern first, carrying down 1,650 officers and men.

No one on Albacore thought Taihō had sunk, and her skipper was angry for "missing a golden opportunity." After this action, Albacore was assigned lifeguard duty for planes striking Yap and Ulithi. On 2 July, Albacore shifted over to intercept traffic between Yap and the Palau Islands. The submarine spotted a wooden inter-island steamer loaded with Japanese civilians. Albacore decided to stage a surface gun attack. After ensuring the ship was afire, Albacore dived to avoid an airplane. The submarine surfaced soon thereafter and picked up five survivors. The sunken vessel was the Taimei Maru from Yap to Palau. [13]

Albacore put into Majuro on 15 July. She was praised for an aggressive patrol and received credit for damaging a Shōkaku-class carrier. American codebreakers lost track of Taihō after the Battle of the Philippine Sea and, while puzzled, did not realize she had gone down. Only months later did a prisoner of war reveal her sinking.

After a refit alongside Bushnell, the submarine began her tenth patrol on 8 August. Her assignment was the Bungo Suido-Kii Suido area, and, during this period, Albacore was credited with sinking two Japanese vessels, an 880-ton cargo ship Shingetau Maru on 5 September and 170 ton Submarine Chaser #165 on 11 September. The patrol ended at Pearl Harbor on 25 September.

Loss Edit

Albacore left Pearl Harbor on 24 October 1944 (with Hugh Raynor Rimmer, Class of 1937, [14] in command), topped up her fuel tanks at Midway Island on 28 October, and was never heard from again. According to Japanese records captured after the war, a submarine (presumed to be Albacore) struck a naval mine very close to the shore off northeastern Hokkaidō on 7 November 1944. A Japanese patrol boat witnessed the explosion of a submerged submarine and saw a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, and food supplies rise to the surface. On 21 December, Albacore was presumed lost with all hands. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 March 1945.

Albacore won nine battle stars for her service and the Presidential Unit Citation for her second, third, eighth, and ninth patrols during World War II.


ALBACORE SS 218

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.


    Gato Class Submarine
    Keel Laid 21 April 1941 - Launched 17 February 1942

Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

Postmarks

This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
 
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


World War II Database


ww2dbase Sponsored by the wife of Captain Elwin F. Cutts, Albacore was the submarine credited with scoring torpedo hits on the Japanese aircraft carrier Taiho during the Battle of the Philippine Sea which led to the eventual sinking of the ship. Interestingly, the Americans did not realize the carrier had sunk until months later Lieutenant Commander James W. Blanchard eventually received a Navy Cross for the sinking. She left Pearl Harbor on 24 Oct 1944 on her 11th patrol, and stopped at Midway for refueling four days later. After which, she was reported missing at sea. Post war study of Japanese records assumed that the American submarine sunk off Hokkaido on 7 Nov 1944 by a naval mine was Albacore.

ww2dbase By the time of her final patrol, Albacore was credited with sinking 74,100 tons of Japanese shipping. Her score card, besides the carrier Taiho, also included three other warships (two destroyers and a light cruiser).

ww2dbase Source: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2005

Submarine Albacore (SS-218) Interactive Map

Albacore Operational Timeline

17 Feb 1942 Albacore was commissioned into service.
18 Dec 1942 USS Albacore sank Tenryu between Madang, Australian New Guinea and Truk, Caroline Islands.
19 Dec 1942 USS Albacore returned to the site of Tenryu's sinking, which took place on the previous day, and observed wooden crates, 85 empty oil drums, and other debris floating in the water.

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Contents

World War II USS Albacore (SS-218)_section_1

1942 USS Albacore (SS-218)_section_2

1943 USS Albacore (SS-218)_section_3

After an overhaul of her engines, Albacore got underway on 20 January 1943 to begin her third patrol. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_8

Off the north coast of New Guinea, she spotted 11 targets in as many days. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_9

The first group, encountered on 20 February, consisted of a destroyer and a frigate escorting a minelayer. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_10

Albacore fired ten torpedoes and believed she had sunk the destroyer, Oshio and damaged the frigate. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_11

In the following days, Albacore attacked one tanker, several freighters, and another destroyer. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_12

Of eight torpedoes expended during these actions, all missed their targets. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_13

When Albacore ended her patrol at Brisbane on 11 March, she was credited with sinking one destroyer and a frigate for a total of 2,250 tons. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_14

Albacore was briefly dry-docked for repairs and underwent refresher training before sailing for a fourth patrol on 6 April. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_15

This time, her area was around the Solomon Islands and Bismarck Islands and off the north coast of New Guinea. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_16

While she sighted several convoys, she recorded no hits. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_17

Albacore returned to Brisbane on 26 May. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_18

While Albacore was being refitted at that port, Lieutenant Commander Oscar E. Hagberg relieved Lieutenant Commander Lake in command of the submarine. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_19

On 16 June, Albacore was underway for her fifth patrol and waters surrounding the Bismarcks and the Solomons. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_20

During this patrol, she sighted three separate convoys and attacked two. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_21

Albacore claimed to have damaged a transport on 19 July but the submarine failed to sink any vessels. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_22

Albacore arrived back at Brisbane and began a refit alongside Fulton. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_23

On 23 August, Albacore left to patrol roughly the same area as on her previous assignment. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_24

She spotted a Japanese submarine on 31 August but was unable to press home an attack. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_25

On 4 September, she encountered a two-ship convoy protected by two escorts and sank one of the ships, the auxiliary gunboat Heijo Maru, with three torpedo hits made shortly after the initial contact. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_26

The submarine then pursued the other vessel for the next two days but was able to inflict only minor hull damage on her target. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_27

She terminated her patrol at Brisbane on 26 September. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_28

Albacore's seventh patrol began on 12 October 1943. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_29

She fired six torpedoes at a large merchant ship on 25 October but recorded no hits. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_30

On 6 November, she received a report of a convoy which had been spotted by Steelhead, and began to search for it. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_31

On 8 November, the submarine found the convoy and started to track it. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_32

However, a plane from the Fifth Army Air Force bombed her and caused her to lose contact with the Japanese ships. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_33

The submarine sustained no damage. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_34

Albacore was again bombed by American aircraft on 10 November. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_35

This time, the submarine suffered considerable damage. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_36

All auxiliary power was knocked out, and the submarine was plunged into total darkness. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_37

The main induction valve went under water before it was shut, and it began filling up with water. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_38

Albacore plunged to a depth of 450 feet (140 m) before her dive was checked. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_39

For the next two and one-half hours, she bounced between 30 feet (10 m) and 400 feet (120 m) while at various attitudes. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_40

She finally managed to return to the surface with her trim almost restored. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_41

The submarine re-submerged, and it was decided to continue the patrol while simultaneously making necessary repairs. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_42

Following this ordeal, Albacore received orders to locate and attack the cruiser Agano, which had been hit and damaged by Scamp. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_43

Albacore found Agano on 12 November and tried to attack, but Japanese destroyers held the submarine down with a four-hour depth charge barrage. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_44

On 25 November, Albacore sank Japanese army transport Kenzan Maru. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_45

On her return to Brisbane on 5 December, Lieutenant Commander James W. Blanchard replaced Hagberg in command. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_46

Albacore departed Australia on 26 December to patrol north of the Bismarck Islands. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_47

She spotted her first target on 12 January 1944 and sank Choko Maru with two separate torpedo attacks. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_48

Two days later, in company with Scamp and Guardfish, she blew up Sazanami (flushed by Guardfish) the sinking was achieved by four torpedoes from Albacore's stern tubes. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_49

Another destroyer pinned Albacore down and delivered fifty-nine depth charges, leaving Scamp and Guardfish free to pursue the three tankers they succeeded in sinking one each. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_50

Following more than a fortnight of uneventful patrolling, the submarine headed home. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_51

She made brief fuel stops at Tulagi and Midway Island before reaching Pearl Harbor on 22 February. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_52

After three days of repairs to get her ready for the voyage, Albacore continued on to the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California for overhaul. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_53

1944 USS Albacore (SS-218)_section_4

Albacore left Mare Island on 5 May 1944 and held training exercises with USS Shad en route to Hawaii. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_54

Albacore reached Pearl Harbor on 13 May and spent the next two weeks on final repairs and training. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_55

Albacore began her ninth patrol on 29 May, and was assigned waters west of the Mariana Islands and around the Palau Islands. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_56

In the next few days, she made only one contact, a Japanese convoy which she encountered on 11 June. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_57

But before the submarine could maneuver into attack position, a Japanese aircraft forced her to dive and lose contact. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_58

The Sinking of Taihō USS Albacore (SS-218)_section_5

On the morning of 18 June, two days after American forces began landing on Saipan, Albacore shifted from her position west of the Mariana Islands to a new location 100 miles (160 km) further south. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_59

Admiral Charles Andrews Lockwood (ComSubPac) ordered this move in the hope of enabling the submarine to intercept a Japanese task force (under command of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa) reportedly steaming from Tawi Tawi toward Saipan. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_60

At about 0800 the next morning, Albacore raised her periscope and found herself in the midst of Ozawa's main carrier group. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_61

Blanchard allowed one Japanese carrier to pass unharmed and selected a second one for his target. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_62

Once inside 5,300 yards (4,800 m), the submarine's Torpedo Data Computer started giving false information. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_63

To maximize the odds of a hit, Blanchard fired all six bow tubes. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_64

The carrier was in the process of launching an air strike, and one of the pilots (Sakio Komatsu) intentionally dove his plane into a torpedo, setting it off early. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_65

Three Japanese destroyers immediately charged Albacore. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_66

While the submarine was diving to escape, her crew heard one solid torpedo explosion. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_67

About that same time, 25 depth charges began raining down on the submarine. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_68

Then Blanchard heard "a distant and persistent explosion of great force" followed by another. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_69

No one on Albacore thought Taihō had sunk, and her skipper was angry for "missing a golden opportunity." USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_70

After this action, Albacore was assigned lifeguard duty for planes striking Yap and Ulithi. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_71

On 2 July, Albacore shifted over to intercept traffic between Yap and the Palau Islands. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_72

The submarine spotted a wooden inter-island steamer loaded with Japanese civilians. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_73

Albacore decided to stage a surface gun attack. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_74

After ensuring the ship was afire, Albacore dived to avoid an airplane. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_75

The submarine surfaced soon thereafter and picked up five survivors. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_76

The sunken vessel was the Taimei Maru from Yap to Palau USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_77

Albacore put into Majuro on 15 July. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_78

She was praised for an aggressive patrol and received credit for damaging a Shōkaku-class carrier. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_79

American codebreakers lost track of Taihō after the Battle of the Philippine Sea and, while puzzled, did not realize she had gone down. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_80

Only months later did a prisoner of war reveal her sinking. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_81

After a refit alongside Bushnell, the submarine began her tenth patrol on 8 August. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_82

Her assignment was the Bungo Suido-Kii Suido area, and, during this period, Albacore was credited with sinking two Japanese vessels, an 880-ton cargo ship Shingetau Maru on September 5 and 170 ton Submarine Chaser #165 on September 11. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_83

The patrol ended at Pearl Harbor on 25 September. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_84

Loss USS Albacore (SS-218)_section_6

Albacore left Pearl Harbor on 24 October 1944 (with Hugh Raynor Rimmer, Class of 1937, in command), topped up her fuel tanks at Midway Island on 28 October, and was never heard from again. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_85

According to Japanese records captured after the war, a submarine (presumed to be Albacore) struck a naval mine very close to the shore off northeastern Hokkaidō on 7 November 1944. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_86

A Japanese patrol boat witnessed the explosion of a submerged submarine and saw a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, and food supplies rise to the surface. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_87

On 21 December, Albacore was presumed lost with all hands. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_88

Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 March 1945. USS Albacore (SS-218)_sentence_89


Contents

World War II

Following shakedown, the submarine proceeded via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor and, from that base on 28 August 1942, began her first war patrol, to waters of the north and northeast pass through the coral reef which surrounds Truk. On 13 September, Albacore sighted two cargo vessels in column and prepared for her first combat action. She made a submerged approach and fired three torpedoes at the leading ship and two at the second. One or two torpedoes hit on the first ship none struck the second. Albacore claimed to have damaged the leading vessel.

Her next enemy contact came on 1 October when she made a night surface attack on a Japanese tanker. She expended seven torpedoes and scored two hits. Although the tanker appeared to be low in the water, she was still able to leave the scene under her own power. On 9 October, Albacore spotted a Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier escorted by a heavy cruiser and a destroyer, but the submarine was depth charged by the escorts and forced to break off her pursuit. The next day, she attacked a freighter. One torpedo hit the mark, and 12 minutes after firing, the sound of two heavy explosions caused the submarine's crew to presume they had downed the vessel.

Beginning on the mid-morning of 11 October, Albacore was depth charged numerous times. At 1548, the conning officer finally spotted the Japanese attackers, two submarine chasers and an airplane. A third ship equipped with sound gear joined the group and continued the hunt. The ships crisscrossed over Albacore, close enough for propeller noise to reverberate throughout her hull and compelled her to proceed at silent running, with her ventilator fans shut down. After a chase of nearly seven hours, the Japanese ships disappeared astern, and Albacore then surfaced to clear the immediate area. The next day, Albacore headed for Midway Island. Although she had had several opportunities to score during the patrol, Albacore was not credited with any damage to Japanese shipping. The submarine arrived at Midway Island on 20 October and commenced a refit.

With her refurbishing completed and a new Oerlikon 20 mm cannon installed, Albacore sailed on 11 November for her second patrol. Her assigned areas were the Roger St. George's Channel, New Britain, along the east coast of New Guinea to Vitiaz Strait, and the Dallman Pass off Madang harbor. On 24 November, the submarine spotted a convoy of two cargo vessels. Albacore maneuvered into position and fired two stern tubes, but neither torpedo found its target. Two days later, on 26 November, Albacore herself became the quarry. Two Japanese destroyers depth charged her and the explosions caused numerous small leaks around the cable packing glands in the pressure hull. After a two-hour chase, the Japanese retired, and Albacore shifted her patrol area to Vitiaz Strait. Another golden opportunity arose on 13 December, when Albacore found three Japanese destroyers. She released a three-torpedo spread but again was unsuccessful. On 18 December, Albacore was stationed off Madang. The submarine discovered what seemed to be a transport and a destroyer.

Albacore torpedoed the "transport," and it exploded in a mass of flames and sank. Albacore had in fact downed Tenryū, and the second Japanese cruiser sunk by an American submarine in World War II. Albacore put into port at Brisbane, Australia, on 30 December.

After an overhaul of her engines, Albacore got underway on 20 January 1943 to begin her third patrol. Off the north coast of New Guinea, she spotted 11 targets in as many days. The first group, encountered on 20 February, consisted of a destroyer and a frigate escorting a minelayer. Albacore fired ten torpedoes and believed she had sunk the destroyer and damaged the frigate. In the following days, Albacore attacked one tanker, several freighters, and another destroyer. Of eight torpedoes expended during these actions, all missed their targets. When Albacore ended her patrol at Brisbane on 11 March, she was credited with sinking one destroyer and a frigate for a total of 2,250 tons.

Albacore was briefly dry-docked for repairs and underwent refresher training before sailing for a fourth patrol on 6 April. This time, her area was around the Solomon Islands and Bismarck Islands and off the north coast of New Guinea. While she sighted several convoys, she recorded no hits. Albacore returned to Brisbane on 26 May. While Albacore was being refitted at that port, Lieutenant Commander Oscar E. Hagberg relieved Lieutenant Commander Lake in command of the submarine.

On 16 June, Albacore was underway for her fifth patrol and waters surrounding the Bismarcks and the Solomons. During this patrol, she sighted three separate convoys and attacked two. Albacore claimed to have damaged a transport on 19 July but the submarine failed to sink any vessels. Albacore arrived back at Brisbane and began a refit alongside Fulton.

On 23 August, Albacore left to patrol roughly the same area as on her previous assignment. She spotted a Japanese submarine on 31 August but was unable to press home an attack. On 4 September, she encountered a two-ship convoy protected by two escorts and sank one of the ships, Heijo Maru, with three torpedo hits made shortly after the initial contact. The submarine then pursued the other vessel for the next two days but was able to inflict only minor hull damage on her target. She terminated her patrol at Brisbane on 26 September.

Albacore ' s seventh patrol began on 12 October 1943. She fired six torpedoes at a large merchant ship on 25 October but recorded no hits. On 6 November, she received a report of a convoy which had been spotted by Steelhead, and began to search for it. On 8 November, the submarine found the convoy and started to track it. However, a plane from the Fifth Army Air Force bombed her and caused her to lose contact with the Japanese ships. The submarine sustained no damage.

Albacore was again bombed by American aircraft on 10 November. This time, the submarine suffered considerable damage. All auxiliary power was knocked out, and the submarine was plunged into total darkness. The main induction valve went under water before it was shut, and it began filling up with water. Albacore plunged to a depth of 450 feet (140 m) before her dive was checked. For the next two and one-half hours, she bounced between 30 feet (10 m) and 400 feet (120 m) while at various attitudes. She finally managed to return to the surface with her trim almost restored. The submarine re-submerged, and it was decided to continue the patrol while simultaneously making necessary repairs.

Following this ordeal, Albacore received orders to locate and attack Agano, which had been hit and damaged by Scamp. Albacore found Agano on 12 November and tried to attack, but Japanese destroyers held the submarine down with a four-hour depth charge barrage.

On 25 November, Albacore sank Japanese army transport Kenzan Maru. [ 5 ]

On her return to Brisbane on 5 December, Lieutenant Commander James W. Blanchard replaced Hagberg in command.

Albacore departed Australia on 26 December to patrol north of the Bismarck Islands. She spotted her first target on 12 January 1944 and sank Choko Maru with two separate torpedo attacks. Two days later, in company with Scamp and Guardfish, she blew up Sazanami (flushed by Guardfish) [ 6 ] with four shots from Albacore ' s stern tubes. Another destroyer pinned Albacore down and delivered fifty-nine depth charges, leaving Scamp and Guardfish free to pursue the three tankers they succeeded in sinking one each. [ 7 ] Following more than a fortnight of uneventful patrolling, the submarine headed home. She made brief fuel stops at Tulagi and Midway Island before reaching Pearl Harbor on 22 February. After three days of repairs to get her ready for the voyage, Albacore continued on to the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California for overhaul.

Albacore left Mare Island on 5 May 1944 and held training exercises with Shad (SS-235) en route to Hawaii. Albacore reached Pearl Harbor on 13 May and spent the next two weeks on final repairs and training. Albacore began her ninth patrol on 29 May, and was assigned waters west of the Mariana Islands and around the Palau Islands. In the next few days, she made only one contact, a Japanese convoy which she encountered on 11 June. But before the submarine could maneuver into attack position, a Japanese aircraft forced her to dive and lose contact.

The Sinking of Taihō

On the morning of 18 June, two days after American forces began landing on Saipan, Albacore shifted from her position west of the Mariana Islands to a new location 100 miles (160 km) further south. Admiral Charles Andrews Lockwood (ComSubPac) [ 8 ] ordered this move in the hope of enabling the submarine to intercept a Japanese task force (under command of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa) reportedly steaming from Tawi Tawi toward Saipan. At about 0800 the next morning, Albacore raised her periscope and found herself in the midst of Ozawa's main carrier group. Blanchard allowed one Japanese carrier to pass unharmed and selected a second one for his target. Once inside 5,300 yards (4,800 m), the submarine's Torpedo Data Computer started giving false information. To maximize the odds of a hit, Blanchard fired all six bow tubes. The carrier was in the process of launching an air strike, and one of the pilots (Sakio Komatsu) intentionally dove his plane into a torpedo, setting it off early. Three Japanese destroyers immediately charged Albacore. While the submarine was diving to escape, her crew heard one solid torpedo explosion. About that same time, 25 depth charges began raining down on the submarine. Then Blanchard heard "a distant and persistent explosion of great force" followed by another. [ 9 ]

One of Blanchard's torpedoes had hit the carrier. It was Ozawa's flagship, Japanese aircraft carrier Taihō, 31,000 tons, the newest and largest in the Japanese fleet. The explosion jammed the ship's forward aircraft elevator its pit filled with gasoline, water, and fuel. However, no fire erupted, and the flight deck was unharmed. The one torpedo hit on Taihō caused little concern on board. Ozawa still "radiated confidence and satisfaction" and by 11:30 had launched raids Three and Four. Meanwhile, a novice took over the damage-control work. He thought the best way to handle gasoline fumes was to open up the ship's ventilation system and let them disperse. When he did, the fumes spread all through the ship. Unknown to anybody on board, Taihō became a floating time bomb. About 3:30 that afternoon, Taihō was jolted by a severe explosion. A senior staff officer on the bridge saw the flight deck heave up. The sides blew out. Taihō dropped out of formation and began to settle in the water, clearly doomed. Though Admiral Ozawa wanted to go down with the ship, his staff prevailed on him to survive and to shift his quarters to Japanese cruiser Haguro. Taking the Emperor's portrait, Ozawa transferred to Haguro by destroyer. After he left, Taihō was torn by a second thunderous explosion and sank stern first, carrying down 1,650 officers and men.

No one on Albacore thought Taihō had sunk, and her skipper was angry for "missing a golden opportunity." After this action, Albacore was assigned lifeguard duty for planes striking Yap and Ulithi. On 2 July, Albacore shifted over to intercept traffic between Yap and the Palau Islands. The submarine spotted a wooden inter-island steamer loaded with Japanese civilians. Albacore decided to stage a surface gun attack. After insuring the ship was afire, Albacore dived to avoid an airplane. The submarine surfaced soon thereafter and picked up five survivors.

Albacore put in to Majuro on 15 July. She was praised for an aggressive patrol and received credit for damaging a Shōkaku-class carrier. American codebreakers lost track of Taihō after the Battle of the Philippine Sea and, while puzzled, did not realize she had gone down. Only months later did a prisoner of war reveal her sinking.

After a refit alongside Bushnell, the submarine began her tenth patrol on 8 August. Her assignment was the Bungo Suido-Kii Suido area, and, during this period, Albacore was credited with sinking two Japanese vessels, a cargo ship and a submarine chaser. The patrol ended at Pearl Harbor on 25 September.

Albacore left Pearl Harbor on 24 October 1944 (with Hugh Raynor Rimmer, Class of 1937, [ 11 ] in command), topped off her fuel tanks at Midway Island on 28 October, and was never heard from again. According to Japanese records captured after the war, a submarine (presumed to be Albacore) struck a naval mine very close to the shore off northeastern Hokkaidō on 7 November 1944. A Japanese patrol boat witnessed the explosion of a submerged submarine and saw a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, and food supplies rise to the surface. On 21 December, Albacore was presumed lost. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 March 1945.


The SS-218 Albacore was the submarine recorded with torpedo hits on the Taiho during the Battle of the Philippine Sea which led to the eventual sinking of the ship. On October 24, 1944 the Albacore was reported missing at sea and assumed sinking off Hokkaido on Nov 7, 1944 by a naval mine. History for &hellip

History for the SS-217 Guardfish Patrols No: Captain: From: Date: Duration: Score (WT): JANAC Return: 1 Thomas B. Klakring Pearl Harbor 8/42 40 6/50,000 5/16,709 Pearl Harbor 2 Thomas B. Klakring Pearl Harbor 9/42 59 2/15,400 2/10,400 Pearl Harbor 3 Thomas B. Klakring Pearl Harbor 12/42 56 3/11,500 3/6,000 Brisbane 4 Thomas B. Klakring &hellip


USS Albacore and Asbestos Exposure: Where to Turn Now

If you know someone who worked on or around the USS Albacore and asbestos exposure there has resulted in mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you need an experienced mesothelioma attorney to explain and protect your legal rights. At Nemeroff Law Firm, our team of mesothelioma lawyers has won settlements and verdicts for asbestos victims across the nation. For more information on how to protect your rights, call us at 866-342-1929 or complete our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We’re here to fight for you.


Watch the video: Offshore Albacore TUNA Fishing with Epic Tails. 2020