GREENLING’s third war patrol was one of the best conducted against the Japanese merchant fleet. Lieu-tenant Commander Henry C. Bruton pressed home attacks that cost the enemy 32,050 tons of merchant shipping. In addition, he is credited with damaging a 22,000 ton converted carrier. This patrol was conducted off the northeastern coast of Honshu after a one week transit during a little more than three weeks on station. Several material problems were encountered following the three week refit period at Midway, however all were either resolved by the crew or were worked around.
USS GREENLING — Report or Third War Patrol
Period from September 23, 1942 to October 22, 1942
NARRATIVE: September 23. 1942
1740 M Departed Midway under escort.
2300 K Entered assigned areas. Began closing coast in vicinity of 0 SHIMA
0410 I Sighted four lighted sampans
0440 I Sighted smoke to the northwest. Commenced approach. 0440 sighted small freighter heading down coast. 0445 dived, as it was getting light 0450 sighted sampan, as day broke, about 15 ft. from periscope. 0600 abandoned approach; un- able to close to less than 6000 yards. Lat. 3S0- 47 ‘N,Long. 142°-15 ‘E.
0615 I Sighted second steamer heading down coast Commenced approach. 0700 fired three (3) torpedoes. One (1) hit. (Attack No. 1). Very loud explosion about one minute after torpedo detonation, probably boiler. Target sank in less than six minutes. Target was about 4000 tons., southbound, and was heavily loaded. Sampan approached scene of sinking, apparently picking up survivors. Lat. 3S0-46 ‘N, Long. 142°-02 ‘E. Continued to close coast.
0935 I Sighted large patrol sampan approaching scene of sinking. Evaded him at periscope depth. Sighted 38 additional sampans before dark.
October 4. 1942
1250 I Sighted small patrol yacht, distance 3 miles, head-ed down the coast. Attempted to evade him at periscope depth. When range reduced to 2500 yds., yacht changed course toward us. Went deep, ran silent and commenced evasive tactics. Yacht came very close aboard but the expected depth charge attack did not occur. Yacht gradu-ally passed out of sound range astern. Apparent-ly he had a sound contact but could not retain it. No echo ranging was used. Lat 3~-48 ‘N, Long. 142°-ll’E. Resumed periscope patrol, continu-ing to close coast.
1435 I Sighted three additional small ships further in-shore. All were heading north. Still unable to get one within firing range. These ships were only about 500 yds. off the shore. Lat. 3~-48’N, Long. 142°-08 ‘E.
1500 I Sighted large vessel headed up the coast, angle on bow 1()0 stbd., range 9000 yds. Commenced approach. (Attach No.2.) 1620 fired three (3) torpedoes. Two (2) hits. Screws stopped. Five minutes later entire after portion of ship, except the mast, was underwater with only the bow com-pletely above, and at a 30 degree angle with the horizontal. Ship was settling rapidly, so decided against further torpedo expenditure. Target was a modem flush deck vessel of about 8000 tons, the amidships upper deck structure being consid-erably larger than that of the average freighter. Sinking occurred two miles off shore about three miles north of MYOJIN HANA
October 6. 19420830 I0935 I
Off O SAKI. Poor visibility, rough seas.
October 7. 1942
0830 I Fog enveloped entire coast Seas became rougher. Trim pump hot and very noisy from almost continuous use.
0935 I Unable maintain depth control at periscope depth due rough seas. Broached several times.
Trim pump satisfactory after it cooled off. Headed south. Made irregular periscope exposures during the day. Considerable roll at 100 ft.
1810 I Surfaced in storm. Wind and seas from north.Seas over 30 ft. high. Set course to ride it out
October 10. 1942
1745 I Surfaced 7 miles off coast Night dark, low visibility, heavy rain and hail throughout the night
Heavy seas continue. Have had to run with main induction closed last four nights.
October 13. 1942
1740 I Surfaced 11h miles off TODO SAKI. Night dark and rainy.
2008 I Sighted vessel with side lights burning. Qosed to 1800 yds., but no shape discermble. 2034(1) vessel began flashing a light in our direction. Unable make out letters being sent, if any. Avoi-ded at increased speed on the surface. It was either a large sampan or a very small ship or patrol vessel, too small for a torpedo. Decided not to reveal presence or identity by use of gun-fire. Steered course east at 4 kts during tbe night, having determined that this would just about keep us in the same position. Continuous rain during the night Lat 3!)0-35 ‘N, Long. 142°- 13’E.
October 14. 1942
0440 I Submerged about five miles off TODO SAKI. Rough seas and high winds from north.
0545 I Sighted large ship to north, range 3000 yds., angle on bow so port. Commenced approach and at 0604 attacked (Attack No.3) with three (3) tor-pedoes. Three (3) hits. Target, a 9000 ton naval auxiliary, sank in less than six (6) minutes. Went to 140ft. to make reload and check torpedoes in foJWBrd tubes which had been flooded. Attack took place 6 miles off TODO SAKI. Set course to pass down coast.
1801 I Surfaced. Sighted RYORI SAKI light exhibiting listed characteristics. Position 4 miles, bearing 2200 T from light. Patrolled S to 10 miles off RYORI SAKI during night. Sea rough, but visibility fair.
23SO I Sighted small darkened vessel very close aboard. Fust picked him up by sparks emitted from stack. Avoided him at increased speed on the surface. Much too small for a torpedo. Sighted six lighted sampans during the night
October 15. 1942
0615 I Sighted patrol vessel or gunboat, angle on bow so stbd., range 200 yds. Rigged for silent running and was about to get tubes ready when enemy stopped his screws. Decided not create addition-al noise by getting tubes ready while enemy lis-tening. Enemy re-started screws and headed directly for us on a constant true bearing. Start-ed to 200 ft. Enemy came very close aboard (screws beard over half of dial) and again stopped. Evaded at silent speed on an easterly course.
1200 I When about 18 miles east of RYORI WAN sighted smoke to northwest. Commenced ap-proach. 1202 sighted patrol yacht range 3000 yds., on various southerly courses, in direction of smoke. Evaded him at periscope depth. Smoke drew rapidly to south. 124S sighted masts of six ships, range about 12000 yds. Angle on bow of trailing ships 900 port, range 9000 yds. 1330 heard echo ranging by two different vessels from direction of convoy. Echo ranging grew weaker.
October 16. 1942
1240 I Enroute to station off SffiOYA SAKI. Sighted masts and stack of large patrol vessel which quickly pulled out of sight on a westerly course, passing to the north of us. Position Lal 3′?-2l’N, Long. 141°-2l ‘E.
October 17. 1942
0047 I Since no smoke or large ships yet sighted, decid-ed open out to eastward at slow speed upon assumption shipping is running further out.
0235 I Sighted one large and two smaller vessels, escort-ed by a destroyer or fast patrol vessel, bearing 120″1′, distance 4000 yds. Commenced approach on larger vessel, a large three island freighter, heavily loaded. Began running silent. 0254(I) escort changed course toward us, angle on bow zero, range 2000 yds. 0255(1) fired three (3) torpedoes at target; two (2) missed ahead, one appeared to hit target near amidships but did not detonate (Attack No.4). Turned tail to escort and retired at high speed after firing. Escort frred torpedo at GREENLING about same time we fired. Convoy zigged to west while escort chased GREENLING. Managed to elude escort on various courses at high speed. Spent remain-der of night trying to close convoy and get on other side, if possible, but escort always managed to keep between us and convoy. Dark partially starlit nighl Tried to get ahead of convoy just before dawn when we dived. Immediately there-after heard screws of two high speed vessels approaching on unchanging true bearings. Too dark to see through periscope. Evaded by run-ning silent. Convoy pulled away to south. Lal 3?0-00 ‘N, Long. 141°-10 ‘E. Retired to northeast planning to operate along same lane the following night.
0600 I Torpedo firing circuits to forward tubes completely grounded oul Water enters ships through interior of cable, the amount increasing at deep depths.
0700I Port stem tube gland leaks badly. Cannot be tightened further. Must renew packing or add additional packing.
2045 I Southeast storm sprang up, heavy seas, low visi-bility and rain nearly all night. Patrolling K.INK-ASAN – SIDOYA SAKI lane.
October 18. 1942
0055 I Destroyer crossed our bow starboard to port about 400 yds. ahead. Rough seas, very heavy rain, very low visibility. Was in sight only about a minute. Destroyer apparently was beaded for ISHINOMAKE WAN and undoubtedly did not see GREENLING. Target out of sight before tubes ready. Lal 37″-44 ‘N, Long. 141°-27 ‘E.
0305 I Sighted large southbound ship. 0325 fired three One (1) hit amidships. (Attack No. 5). Target settled somewhat aft, appeared to stop and caught on fire. Crossed to other side of target, closed to 750 yds., and fired two (2) addi-tional torpedoes to finish her off. Both missed, probably erratic runs (Attack No. 6). Two (2) torpedoes passed close aboard GREENLING. Maneuvered stem to target, which was now going ahead slowly, with crew fighting fire and appar-ently making progress. Target did not appear to be sinking. Fired one (1) additional torpedo, which hit forward (Attack No.7). Target broke in two and sank two (2) minutes later. Lal 3S0-46 ‘N, Long. 142°-02 ‘E. Began opening out to coast to repack port stem gland.
2130 I Began heading up coast, planning to operate next off BENTEN ZAKI.
October 20. 1942
0410 I Sighted large sampan or patrol vessel to north, distance 4000 yds. Avoided on surface, too small for a torpedo.
0700 I Patrol vessel picked us up by sound, came close aboard and conducted light depth charge attack, three (3) charges, none close, no damage. Fair sound conditions. Vessel passed directly above GREENLING, its screws being clearly beard through hull. Not seen on previous obseJVation although visibility good. Lat. 39°-46 ‘N, Long. 142°-08 1E. Attributed sound contact to our increased main motor noise even when running silent, shaft vibration, and noises and vibrations produced by port sound projector and No. 1 lighting motor generator. Cannot use port sound projector when running silent. Starboard projec-tor cannot be trained faster than slow speed without producing excessive noise. Evaded patrol vessel by 1000, continued to close coast north or TOOO SAKI.
1800 I Surfaced four miles off the coast in bright moon-light, 3/4 moon, sky clear. Since no shipping or smoke sighted during day, considered it probable that shipping is routed further out and in con-voys. Decided operate along TOKYO-ALEU-TIANS route for a few days while moon is full and up nearly all night, searching for convoys enroute. Decided use guns during night if opportunity offered.
October 21. 1942
0009 I Sighted small darkened vessel, later identified as a 50 ton sampan. Attacked with machine guns and deck gun. After five 3″ hits, about 200 .SO cal. hits, and about 100 30 cal hits, sampan dis-abled and dead in water, but showed no sighs of sinking. Crew undoubtedly all killed. (Attack No. 8). Went close aboard; threw two buckets of oil on sampan followed by a lighted fire-ball on a swab handle. Sampan caught fire immediately and was burning fiercely from stem to stem when last seen over an hour later. Lat. 39°-37 ‘N, Long. 142°-45 ‘E. Continued toward southeast comer of area along TOKYO-ALEUTIANS route.
October 22. 1942
0300 I Arrived in TOKYO-ALEUTIANS lane, began patrolling parallel to it.
1026 I Sighted destroyer dead ahead, range about 2000 yds. Commenced approach. Glassy sea, heavy swells. Increased depth to reduce length of peri-scope exposed but went too deep to see. Finally saw tops of masts of large ship. Shifted approach to this vessel. Due heavy sell and depth control difficulties did not get a satisfactory look at target for some time, when recognized it as a carrier or auxiliary carrier, angle on bow 130″ starboard. Began swinging to follow target, tubes not yet ready. When tubes ready, fired five (5) torpe-does, one degree spread, range 2800 yds. (Attack No. 9). Two (2) hits. Lat. 3~-30 ‘N, Long. 145°-00 ‘E. Got heavy after firing; could not see, so decided to go deep temporarily until inevitable depth charge attack over. Three (3) minutes after torpedoes detonated, depth charge attack began. No damage. Started to periscope depth twice but each time when part way up destroyer returned to vicinity. It was almost an hour after firing when we got back to periscope depth; nothing in sight. Closed estimated target position when hit. Later heard destroyer’s screws to north, then to northwest and then to west. Closed bearing of screws but could see nothing. AT 1500(1) one hour after screws no longer heard, left vicinity. Am certain target was not disabled in the vicinity. Target either sank or cleared vicinity at reduced speed, probably to westward, heading for land.
1700 I Left assigned areas, set course for Midway. Began overhauling torpedo tube firing and operating gear.