USS SEA DOG – Report of Fourth War Patrol
Period 27 May 1945 to 5 July 1945
During refit in Port Apra, Guam, alongside USS APOLLO (AS 25), a decision was made to remove the FM sound gear from USS SEAHORSE, due to damage to that vessel during previous patrol, and install it aboard SEA DOG. As a result, the NGA fathometer and the special clearing cables around hull obstructions were installed. The training period was extended to allow four days FM training. Excellent results and a good operational and plotting procedure were established during this training period (16-19 May). Regular training was conducted 21 to 24 May 1945; on the last day, the FM gear was tested and found inoperative. Returned to Port Apra, entered dry dock that night, and FM sound head was renewed. Underway for tests 25 May, results satisfactory. Loaded 26 May. Readiness for sea 27 May 1945.
26-27 May 1945
Held conferences with COMSUBPAC and members of his staff, and commanding officers of all ships in Japan Sea Patrol Pack. Organization is as follows (Commanding Officer SEA DOG, Pack Commander):
Task Group 17.21 SEA DOG, SPADEFISH, CREVALLE (Commanding Officer SEA DOG, Group Commander). Task Group 17 .22 TUNNY, SKA TE, BONEFISH (Commanding Officer TUNNY, Group Commander).Task Group 17.23 FLYING FISH, TINOSA, BOWFIN(Commanding Officer FL YING FISH, Group Commander).
27 May 1945
1517(A) Underway from Pon Apra, Guam, in company with SP ADEFISH, CREV ALLE. TUNNY group will depart tomorrow, FL YING FISH group the following day. Groups will make entry into Japan Sea at one-day intervals.
1 June 1945
1000 Surfaced. SJ and ST out of commission. This was a low in the life of SEA DOG; having been plagued with many minor material troubles throughout the ship since the day after departure, we now lose our radar just before a scheduled transit through the Nansei Shoto. 1200 Position Lat 29-25N, Long 131-54E. 1335 Sighted CREV ALLE. Closed and made arrangements for her to run interference for us. 2300 Completed transit of the strait south of Akuseki. CREV ALLE did an admirable job of leading the blind, and is continuing to do so. We are communicating by VMF, following her signalled course changes, and managing to keep her wake in sight most of the time. Rain poured during rest of the transit through the strait. Fortunately, no contacts were made by CREVALLE. Still working on the radars; have managed to get some results from the ST, but SJ refuses to revive yet. Informed CREVALLE that completion of repairs by tomorrow was improbable, and asked his plans. He gave details and promised to look us up after surfacing tomorrow night and resume his duties as a seeing eye dog for us.
2 June 1945
1200 Position Lat 30-48N, Long 138-48E. 2000 Surfaced, at battle stations. Still no luck on the ST and SJ. 2100 CREVALLE found us; secured from battle stations; fell in astern of her and headed for the pass between Danjo-Gunto and Fukue-Shima. 2300 ST and SJ back in commission. Good work by the radar officer and his technicians; there were nine deficiencies in the SJ, affecting all units in it except the high voltage rectifier. Followed the CREV ALLE through the pass anyway, to avoid confusion.
3 June 1945
0415 Dived for the day, west of Fukue-Shima, heading northward. 1200 Position Lat 32-55N, Long 128-22E. 2030 Surfaced. Headed for rendezvous. Supplementary orders had been issued to the group as follows:
(a) Rendezvous with SEA DOG at initial point Lat 3+ooN, Long 128-38E, at 0000 Item, 4 June 1945.
(b) From Rendezvous, SEA DOG will set course 035T at S knots on surface. SPADEFISH follow, 4 miles astern. CREVALLE take this course, 4 miles on port beam of SEA DOG.
(c) SEA DOG will dive on FM contact after informing SPADEFISH on SJ radar (the latter has deck-mounted FM head).
She will dive, in any case, at Lat 34-14N, Long 128-50E, at about 0300 Item. SPADEFISH and CREVALLE dive simultaneously, provided in approximately correct positions. Steer course 035T and made good 3 knots through the water after submerging. SEA DOG will surface at 2100. 2300 Radar contact on CREVALLE and SPADEFISH. They did some smart maneuvering, without further orders, to gain position on SEA DOG as previously agreed. 2400 Passed through initial point on time, commenced transit of Tsushima Strait, west channel.
4 June 1945
0130 SPADEFISH and CREVALLE apparently following in good order, though the latter has dropped somewhat behind. Informed SPADEFISH (by SJ) that SEA DOG had passed through initial point at midnight and assumed he was following; asked him to pass this to CREV ALLE, whom we were unable to raise on the SJ. SPADEFISH, in reply, sent information of a radar contact bearing 290T, 16,000 yards. Being well into the entrance of the strait by this time, decided not to upset our carefully planned schedule by going back to join the show (if any), left them to avoid the contact-as they would have to do in order to make the schedule and not delay everybody a full day-and continued. Lost contact on SPADEFISH shortly thereafter, but CREV ALLE had moved up almost to our port beam by 0210 and was coming along all right. Used ST most of the time here, after 0130. 1600 Cleared northern end of Hishi Suido, entered Japan Sea. Came to periscope depth; obtained fix on northern end of Tsushima Island. All hands breathed a little easier. The emotional strain, especially on the officers, was very heavy, and its effects were not quite evident. Everybody was on their toes at all times, however; officers and men performed their duties in a manner deserving of the highest praise. The pack now has orders to proceed to assigned area, remain undetected, and do no attacking until sunset, 9 June, except on capital ships.
Just after submerging, the FM sonar gear was tested by maintaining contact on a False Target Shell, which was easily followed out to 500 yards. With the gear thus demonstrated to be in satisfactory condition, transit of the strait was made at 110 feet keel depth, ship trimmed with a two degree up angle. During this passage, no FM contacts were made which could possibly have been mines. None of them had any tone which could be associated with a solid object of any kind, and none of the contacts were maintained for more than a few seconds. Available time in Japan Sea prior 9 June was spent reconnoitering the approaches from Korean ports to Niigata pass north of Sato Island. No contacts. SJ and ST radars were out of commission from 1000 1 June to 2300 2 June. ST still considered unreliable for surface search.
9 June 1945
0315 Sighted Hime Salce light on east shore of Sado, burning with usual characteristics and visibility. 0324 Dived 15 miles east of north end of Sato. Headed into Ryozu Wan for a good look into the harbor. 1200 Position Lat 38-14N, Long 138-33.5E. 1455 Having completed a careful inspection of Ryozu Harbor and finding nothing, headed out. Took movies of the beach. Attack #1- Sunk: one AK 2,500 tons, Hozan Mnru class (EC). 2000 While preparing to surface, about 10 miles northeast of Hime Salce light on Sado Island, in the slot between Sado and Honshu, QB contacted medium screws bearing 040T. Periscope sighted him almost immediately: a small freighter of about 2,500 tons, running along serenely on a steady course of 205T at 8 knots, his side lights burning brightly. Had only to swing the ST into action (surprisingly, it produced ranges from 3,000 yards in), got a good solution with four observations and swung to a course for a 90 track. 2015-18 Fired one torpedo, with gyro 20° right, 110 starboard track. 2015-45 Hit him forward. He sank with a diving time of about 60 seconds at a 100 down angle. Checked his length: about 250 feet by periscope formula; he appeared similar to Hozan Maru class (page 151, ONI 208-J). Having opened for a short time, surfaced with stem toward position of target’s sinking. 2023 Sighted two life boats astern. Attacks #2 and #3 – Sunk: One AO, 10,500 tons, lissyo Mnru class (EC). Immediately made SJ contact bearing 060T, 10,000 yards-a saturation pip. Headed in on this one. Tracked him on course 040, steady, at 9 knots. 2042 Sighted this second target from the bridge at range of about 3,400 yards. He was a heavily loaded large tanker; length by binocular, formula about 550 feet, similar to Niss yo Maru (page 273, ONI 208-J), of 10,526 gross tons. The conning tower reported a no hands solution had been obtained by this time; and visibility was quite good, so at2044 Commenced firing three tubes forward, spread 200 feet between torpedoes, at range of 2,600 yards, torpedo run 2,400 yards. 2045-38 One hit, aft. One torpedo of this spread was seen to make a surface run, or nearly so, for most of its travel. Pulled away from the target and watched him for a while. Much flame aft for several minutes and many lights running about wildly on topside. He stopped and his pip grew smaller, but had soon gotten underway at 5 knots on approximately reverse course: 240T. The flames went out. Headed back in to finish him off. 2110-29 Fired one torpedo, gyro 011°, 95 starboard track. This one was seen to veer about 25° to the right on leaving the tube, and then settle on its course. It missed, so 2112-40 Fired another, with same target data, 8° right gyro, 114 starboard track. 2113-45 Hit him, just forward of amidships. This was a beautiful explosion his foremast toppled, bow broke off and sank, and his stern assumed a down angle of approximately 60 degrees. It floated for a while, but its pip disappeared at 6,000 yards. Hime Saki light on Sado had been burning brightly throughout the entire proceedings. All clear on the SJ; apparently no more targets are available here. The glare of the lights of Niigata is plainly visible against the sky to southeastward, with the occasional beam of a searchlight.
Set course for a patrol up the coast during the night, hoping to intercept traffic off Sakata and Akita on the way (if any of it goes out directly to Korea). Apparently none of it from Niigata goes directly across, north of Sado, judging from our lack of contacts there during the past three days. Consider most traffic is coastal; all contacts to date have been. Plan to dive off Oga Hanto tomorrow.
10 June 1945
0320 Made SJ contact on two ships, bearing 089T, 14,000 yards; tracked them on a southerly course along the coast. Unfortunately it is now getting very light with good visibility; consider chances of a successful end-around very small in view of probability of having to close the coast several hours from now in order to get ahead of them. Secured tracking and continued closing Oga Hanto.
9650 Regretfully watched a medium AK standing down the coast, out of reach. We hadn’t yet closed the cape sufficiently.
1200 Position Lat 39-56N, Long 139-37E. No further contacts today, except fishing craft. It appears we must get in early each morning here to catch anything.
2000 Surfaced. Patrolled during the night to a point northwest of Kisakata and northeast of Tobi Shima to cover inner traffic lanes up the coast, and returned to vicinity of Oga Hanto via the probable lanes outside Tobi Shima. No contacts except a few close ones on probable fishing craft.
11 June 1945
0325 Dived on 100 fathom curve south of Oga Hanto and closed that cape once more. Visibility was variable: shifting mist, fog, and occasional rain.
1200 Position Lat 40-05N, Long 139-38E. Attack #4 – Sunk: One AK, 4,000 tons, similar to Osaka Maru
(page 132, ONI 208-J), (EC).
1307 Sighted medium AK bearing 125T, range 8,000 yards. Attempted to close submerged until 1335, without success. When this sighting was made we were north of Oga Hanto. Opened out and surfaced at 1355. Visibility was poor at that time, and we surfaced after having lost sight of target in mist at about 8,000 yards. Commenced end-around to westward and northward. Target was tracking on OlOT at 8-1/2 knots. The haze lifted at times and target was in full view a large part of the time at ranges from 11,000 to 14,000 yards; it is a mystery why he did not sight us and tum away. SJ is obviously not working at full efficiency: it lost the target completely at 13,000 yards, at which time he was hull down, with complete superstructure in view. The quartermasters did a fine job on the after TBT during this run. Both visual and SJ contact were lost at times, but he was always picked up again within half a degree of expected location.
1510 A fortunate light rain enveloped us, permitting turning in to close the track at just the right time.
1519 Dived. Closed track slowly, and when he came into good position (80 port track, gyro 6° right, range 1,280 yards), at
1555 Fired one torpedo.
1555-43 Hit, at MOT. Target broke in two, up-ending both the bow and stern. Got moving pictures as the last of this ship sank. Spent a few minutes giving some of the officers and crew a chance to see half a dozen Nips climbing onto floating wreckage and lifeboats, then resumed patrol to southward.
1758 Sighted a destroyer (probably Asashio class, though this is uncertain due to the haze) to northwestward, on a southwesterly course. He had a broad angle on the bow at all times while in sight, and was hull down or nearly so at all times. He was pinging on long scale at about 17 .5kcs, and soon disappeared to southward.
2027 Surfaced. Patrolled on east and west course, 12 miles north of Nyudo Saki, during the night.
12 June 1945
0320 Dived, ten miles north of Nyudo Saki (on Oga Hanto) and patrolled to southward. Attack #5 – Sunk: One medium engines-aft AK or AO, about 6,000 tons (EU).
0635 Sighted smoke bearing 084T. Headed for it. Closed on approximate normal approach course at high speeds for an hour. In the brief observations during this period, made out four ships in a rough box formation, well spread out. They had just rounded Nyudo Saki and were heading fairly well into shallow water along the coast between that cape and Henashi Saki. Two medium AKs were leading, with two medium engines-aft AKs on the after corners of the box. Attempted to close the leading AK of the left column but couldn’t get in. Shifted target to the engines-aft AK on the left, and closed him. He still offered a long shot, but decided to chance three torpedoes on him because he appeared to be of fair size and there was a faint chance of hitting the far Ak with a remaining torpedo from that spread. At
0822 Fired three torpedoes, spread 150 feet apart along track, 130 port track, torpedo run 3,200 yards, gyros l 0 to 2° left.
0824-10 One hit, slightly abaft amidships. Target broke in two and sank within two minutes. Did not attempt to get pictures during this approach due to very calm condition of the sea.
0825 The target’s three friends were showing 1800 angles on the bow headed in even closer to the coast, so turned away and headed for somewhat deeper water, then patrolled southwesterly for remainder of day.
2240 Made two radar contacts bearing OSOT, 8,000 yards. Tracking revealed them to be obviously two patrol craft making a sweep down from the northward off Oga Hanto. They tracked at
12 knots on southerly, then westerly, and finally northerly courses, before contact was lost.
13 June 1945
0315 Dived about six miles bearing 250T from southwest coast of Oga Hanto and headed up for this hunting ground again. No contacts today, however, except fishing boats, sea trucks, etc.
2010 Surfaced. Report immediately came up from the after torpedo room that a loud noise which sounded like an explosion, had been heard on starboard side while surfacing, and that the starboard propeller and shaft were making excessive noise and vibration. Our hearts sank into our boots; this pretty definitely indicated that the starboard clearing wire, one those just installed in Guam, running from the starboard propeller guard to the hull just forward of the stern tube bearing, had parted and fouled the starboard screw. This is 1-1/4 steel cable, and could really do some damage. Stopped, and by cautious testing at various speeds during the next hour, found that the starboard propeller had a fairly loud thump at slow speeds, at exactly the frequency of shaft rotation, and there was (at times) an irregular clanking noise on the hull just forward of the propeller. The shaft thump could not be heard at high speeds on the surface, for some strange reason, though ship vibration at high speeds is slightly heavier.
2115 Received CREVALLE’s 131205, reporting sinking three Sugar Charlie Loves and being chased by three DEs off Henashi Saki, gunning two sampans off Motsuta Saki this morning, nonexistence of shipping since Monday, and a plea to send him where there are targets.
2230 Received SPADEFISH dispatch: Four AKs and four sampans sunk, and recommending four more days where he is.
2350 Stopped and lay to, having pulled clear of the coast. Had made preparations for shallow water diving, and for various methods of removing or securing the parted cable. Attempts were made for over an hour to get divers down, but the rubber face mask of the shallow water diving outfit proved to be useless; leakage around the mask would immediately fill it with water as soon as the diver’s head went under. Further grappling failed to grasp the cable ends probably hanging down from their fittings.
14 June 1945
0140 Forced to admit failure, got underway. It was immediately noted that the starboard shaft thump occurred only for short periods at low speeds, and performance at high speeds-up to 18 knots-was satisfactory. While feeling much better about this fortunate circumstance, it was considered possible that the cable might still be hanging, or be wrapped around the shaft, as a cause of future trouble. Set course to southwestward for day surface patrol across western approaches to Akita, Sakata and Niigata. ST still unreliable; performs at short ranges only (5,000 yards maximum since entering area). SJ now developing a defect; ranging unit apparently shows one-tenth of actual range. Continued working on the former, and commenced trouble shooting in the latter.
2025 Surfaced, opened coast to transmit patrol orders to CREV ALLE and SPADEFISH. In view of decreasing coastal shipping activity, pack will patrol in lanes 30 miles wide running 0251′ – 205′, the eastern lane being tangent to west shore of Sado Shima. Southern limit of lanes is a line running 305T from Sado. All ships were advised to stay to southward of a line running 305T from Homjo. Believe this plan will give good coverage of shipping between Niigata, Sakata, Akita, and Korean ports.
15 June 1945
0305 Dived eight miles southwest of Oga Hanto, closed that point. Attack 116- Sunk: One smull AK, 2,500 tons, similar to Hozan Maru class, (page 151, ONI 208-J), (EC}.
0510 Sighted smoke bearing 354T. Commenced approach. A small AK, standing south past the northern end of Oga Hanto. We were about 4,000 yards off the beach so he couldn’t get past us, unless he should sight us in this calm sea. He continued on a steady course of 180T, so at
0544 Swung left for 70 port rack short from bow tubes. One next observation, however, he had changed course to lSOT to follow the coast, so swung for a 90 starboard track from stern tube.
055242 Fired one torpedo, 1,000 yard run, 92 starboard track, gyro 5° left from #10 tube.
0553-21 Hit, just forward of amidships. Tried the movie camera but it jammed; changed magazine and it jammed again. Finally got some still pictures as he sank about four minutes later.
0610 Set course for patrol up the coast of Oga Hanto again; watched small craft from the beach come out and rescue survivors.
18 June 1945
1205 Commenced making full power in order to reach area north and northeast of Benkoi Misaki for patrol this afternoon and tonight.
19 June 1945
0248 Dived and closed coast about four miles south of Kamoi Misaki. Attack #7 – Sunk: One medium AK, 4,000 tons, (UN).
0559 While about 4,000 yards off the beach, three AKs loomed up through the haze at a range of about 4,000 yards, angles on the bow 15°, standing up the coast from southward. Turned toward in order to bring the more numerous bow tubes to bear, and commenced firing about nine minutes after the first sighting. Fired two at the leading ship. Fired three at the second ship as she was turning away; the short torpedo run caused the first ship to be hit before the fish were away at the second. Needless to say, the third AK was showing her stem by this time. Turned back to the first target, now north of us, and saw her sinking, stern under, her crew getting into a lifeboat from the high deck amidships just abaft the bridge, which was then just at water level. Sighted a single engine plane approaching from about three miles away, beyond the sinking target. Being then headed toward the beach on 060T, quick range on the sinking ship (about 400 yards) showed there would probably be insufficient room to tum toward her, in consideration of the northerly current existing. Started a tum right, ordered QB rigged in, called for a sounding, and ordered 150 feet (based on last sounding of 45 fathoms obtained early in the approach, with allowance for having closed the beach in the tum toward the targets). Before QB could be rigged in, or a sounding obtained, grounded lightly forward in 116 feet of water on heading 065T. Backed her off, and continued backing for about ten minutes, swinging her stern southward, as the diving officer handled the situation very nicely (the efficacy of exchanging the bow and stern planesman in this case was fairly well demonstrated). When well clear, heading north, there was ample room for turning left to clear the beach. Surprisingly, there was no attack by the plane; nevertheless, went deep for a while and opened out to gather our wits and survey the damage which fortunately consisted only of a smashed QB head and bent shaft. In retrospect, it is realized that the whole attack was misdirected by a greedy desire to empty all the bow tubes at three beautiful, unescorted AKs, and that this merely resulted in a hurried attack and firing at too short a range for effective multiple fire. By the time we were ready for action again, there were several patrol craft pinging up and down the coast, and a DE showed up in the late morning for a thorough search of the area, which lasted all day. No other shipping was sighted. 1200 Position Lat 43-0SN, Long 140-06E. 2020 Surfaced.
20 June 1945
0255 Dived and closed coast off Ofuya Misaki. No contacts during the day except sampans and two small ships similar to tugs. Two planes sighted during the day, patrolling the beach.
1200 Position Lat 43-45N, Long 141-14E.
2030 Surfaced. Answered SPADEFISH’s dispatch of yesterday. She is all out of fish. Told her we would work in the northern part of her area tomorrow, and headed for Motsuta Said. Received a plea from TUNNY for use of the northern area off Otaru. She still has 15 fish. Granted this; warned her of planes and radar equipped escorts.
21 June 1945
0253 SI contact bearing 221T, 8,000 yards.
0300 Sight contact on DE (probably) bearing 033T, range about 11,000 yards. Much signalling, at long range, between the two, as they attempted to close in from both sides and we slipped away to seaward at flank speed. Momentary visual contact was also made on another ship, bearing 200T, range 10,000 yards. This incident killed our chances of getting into the coast.
0436 Dived, set course for rendezvous with CREV ALLE and SPADEFISH.
0610 Sighted friendly submarine, probably SPADEFISH, heading toward rendezvous.
1200 Position Lat 43-0SN, Long 138-49.5E.
1255 Heard one distant explosion, sounding much like a torpedo but followed by two more (as of two more hitting the beach, or exploding at end of run).
1258-1310 Twelve distant explosions (depth charges?).
2247 Changed course for a short time to transmit orders to all ships in Japan Sea regarding the exit.
22 June 1945
0300 Dived. Sighted a large AK and an even larger tankerboth Russian-during the morning. Surfaced twice during the day for sun sights. Tested FM gear; fairly good results.
1200 Position Lat 45-09.5N, Long 139-07.SE.
23 June 1945
0300 Dived. Surfaced twice during the day for sun sights luckily obtained through breaks in the clouds.
1200 Position Lat 45-31.5N, Long 140-02.5E.
1955 Surfaced at rendezvous.
2045 Contacted SPADEFISH and CREVALLE; sent the former to join the FL YING FISH group, the Southern Group of the exit plan.
2200 TUNNY and SKA TE joined up, coming from their rendezvous to northward. Northern Group of exit plan now complete except BONEFISH. TUNNY states BONEFISH did not make the scheduled rendezvous with her at sunset. In accordance with previous arrangements, did not await BONEFISH, not having heard from her. Formed the four ships present into position for dawn dives. The SCR/610 communication was fairly satisfactory during these rendezvous, though it was often necessary to relay messages through a third ship which sometimes resulted in confusion and lost circuit time.
course toward La Pereuse at speed to arrive at agreed initial point at specified time, to coincide with exit of Southern Group some distance from us. Obtained radar fix on Kaiba To enroute.
2125 SJ radar failed. Told CREVALLE to lead us through.
2200 Fell in astern of SKA TE, keeping station visually with some difficulty. Manned battle stations, gun action, and commenced transit. One of the most beautiful fogs ever seen, settled over the Strait; visibility after 2230 was about 300 yards. SKA TE kept SEA DOG coached into position, by brief SCR transmissions, throughout the passage, and CREV ALLE did an excellent job of leading us through, including avoiding the single SJ contact made. The radar-blind SEA DOG watched the dim white light of this ship move aft on the starboard side just before the fog set in solidly.
25 June 1945
About 0200, with the transit almost completed, the radar officer and his technicians coaxed life into the SJ again. FL YING FISH shortly reported, in a faintly heard SCR transmission, that her group was coasting down hill. At 0500, still in a heavy fog and with the Strait well astern, the Northern Group scattered to proceed independently to base. It was an amazing passage, with no opposition-not even an APR contact to any kind. 0740 CREV ALLE stated (in a voice message which did not come in well) “Starboard propeller guard cable snapped, fouled screw.”
0810 Contacted CREVALLE. Fog still heavy. Simultaneously received information from her that she was putting divers over, that only one screw was fouled and did not desire us to stay with her.
1200 Position Lat 45-46N, Long 145-51E. Transited Eterafu Kaikyo during the night and set course for Midway in company with CREV ALLE, SKA TE, and BOWFIN. CREV ALLE reported she had repaired her starboard screw.
30 June 1945
Arrived Midway. Fueled and had divers inspect bottom, QB head and starboard propeller guard cable both entirely missing .