THAT FOURTH PATROL
FROM THE MANEUVERING ROOM
It was late October when we left Midway Island for the same area we just came from on the previous run. We spent twenty days without a battle station, couldn't find a convoy; guess they all pulled out what was left.
We eventually went right into the harbor at Palau. We sighted two 3,000 ton transports and two escorts; sank the transports and got depth charged hard, 38 in all. 8 of them were close. We-got knocked below test depth. In fact, we went below 400 feet, lost control of the boat, had men moving from stem to stern and then back trying to level off.
We took on lots of water in the motor room. The (propeller) shafts both sprang leaks. We had men form, a line and we bucketed water out of the motor room to the after engine room to the forward engine room, so the water would not get into the main motors.
Again, most of the I.C. equipment was put out of order. We were depth charged for five hours, finally sneaked away. Again we worked 24 hours a day putting the boat back in working order.
Two days later, we sighted another convoy of four ships, two transports and two destroyers.
We took one shot at the biggest transport, but missed. We took on sixteen more depth charges, but no big damage. We surfaced and went around them, got in position on them the next morning. We sank both transports and in the meantime, we got a torpedo stuck in #5 tube.
We received thirty-two depth charges with the torpedo half in and half out. We stayed down all day, the temperature in the boat got real hot, almost unbearable.
After we surfaced, we made our decision to get rid of the torpedo. We dove as steep as we dared, gave it a shot of air pressure, all we had, and I put both motors in emergency full astern. It came loose and we heard it explode at its depth pressure. The fish had gone far enough in the tube to arm itself.
At the end of November, we had some fish 1eft and were low on fuel. We were on our way to Perth, Australia. We arrived at Darwin for fuel. They had a Jap air attack the day before and some areas were still smoking.
We refueled and left immediately for Perth.
We stayed at the Wentworth Hotel for fourteen days rest and recuperation. We bought every liquor store in town out of booze, which really wasn't much, most of it was already mixed, lots of good beer sold in quart bottles.
(Editor's note: There has been some, question about the condition of the boat at the time the stuck fish was fired, surfaced or submerged. Clyde Lesh responded as follows:)
We dove at the sharpest angle we could. I got the word in the maneuvering room full astern. I had to be real careful not to overload the main motors and trip out the main circuit breakers.
As soon as we started to move backwards, we fired the stuck fish and then we surfaced and got the hell out of there as fast as possible.
I'm sure the fish just sank to the bottom.
I was in the captain's quarters an hour or so before and that is what we decided to do. We were not on the surface and it was on another attack that we had a torpedo, come back at us.
That maneuver helped me win the Bronze Star.