This first appeared in The Tinosa Blatt, April, 1986, page 14.
Excerpted from the book Encounter by Watrous and published by Wittmer in 1988.
Edited for web site.

TINOSA arrived in Pearl Harbor from patrol number two on 4 August 1943. Nineteen of the crew were transferred to the relief crew and the remainder departed for their initial sojourn at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. TINOSA entered Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.

On the previous patrols, submerged periscope inspection had detected air bubbles being emitted from the main ballast tank vents which indicated leaks in the high pressure air flask piping connections. All such connections were altered. The door in the after bulkhead of the conning tower was removed and a DRT was installed in the space gained. Number one periscope, which had only been usable from the control room, was modified to make it operable from the conning tower. The shaft bearings were replaced and a number of other alterations were made to improve hull and tank integrity.

Ready for sea, TINOSA took departure Pearl Harbor on 23 September for Johnston's Island for "topping off". Enroute, the Bendix Log failed and in addition to fueling at Johnston's Island, the machine shop there manufactured a new set of gears for that vital piece of equipment. By evening of 25 September, TINOSA was at sea again and headed for the war. There was high hope for success this time, for among the weapon load were sixteen of the new MK XVIII electric torpedoes.

The assigned area for this patrol was north of the Carolines and south of the Marianas. Again TINOSA did not reach her area before engaging the enemy. At 0420 on 4 October, radar made contact with two ships at a range of 12,300 yards. Half an hour later TINOSA achieved attack position and submerged. At 0455, a four torpedo spread of MK XVIII's was fired from the bow tubes. Two torpedoes were heard to hit the target, one with a thud and one exploded. Then Murphy's law took over.

When the first torpedo was fired, the poppet stuck open. This extra water, supplemented by that from a recently discovered leak in the outboard supply ventilation piping, caused a loss of depth control. And sonar reported a set of high speed screws - - closing.

TINOSA reached 300 feet and rigged for depth charge just in time to accommodate the attacker who dropped five of them. Apparently the escort did not have a good position on TINOSA for they were not very close and the attack was broken off after that single barrage. The wakeless electric torpedoes can probably take credit for that happy condition.

By the time the counter attack was over TINOSA was at 350 feet running at standard speed to maintain depth control and conducting a reload. It was not until 0556 that proper trim was restored and she was able to return to periscope depth. The targets were gone.

TINOSA arrived in her area on 5 October at 0608. That night, a radio message reported that STEELHEAD had put three torpedoes into a large tanker which was now headed for TINOSA's area. TINOSA moved to intercept and (as proof of the excellence of the navigation team) the target was sighted at 0524 at a distance of 7-1/2 miles with a large angle on the bow. The sunrise sky was behind TINOSA so she submerged to avoid detection while she opened the range to where it would be safe to surface and make an end run. At 0622 TINOSA surfaced.

In spite of the fact that the target had been wounded, it was making sixteen knots through the water. The end run was a long one even with four engines on the line. By 1110 TINOSA was in an attack position and commenced a submerged approach. At 1155 the target suddenly slowed to 11.5 knots.

At 1201 a six torpedo spread of MK XVIII's was fired from the bow tubes at a range of 1540 yards. The periscope ducked and the target could not be seen at the time of torpedo impact. However, there were three loud explosions and the sound of a dud hit. At 1204 the target was seen to be taking a starboard list and was trimmed down by the bow. The injured tanker did not throw in the towel. Having sighted the periscope, she attempted to ram and dropped four depth charges, close aboard astern, as she passed. TINOSA was at 150 feet at this time. A fire was reported in the maneuvering room, in the port shaft revolution counter, and there was other minor damage.

During this attack, the chain on the outer door operating mechanism of tube #5 parted. The door was opened and the tube fired properly, but the door did not close completely, and the tube was declared out of commission. When. the reload was attempted, it was ascertained that the outer door gasket of tube #2 was leaking badly.

At 1215 the target was tracked at nine knots, heading away. TINOSA opened range and at 1430 surfaced and commenced another end run. The tanker had now slowed to 6-1/2 knots and TINOSA was able to gain attack position by 1644.

At 1818, a four torpedo spread was fired from the stern tubes (MK XIV). Two explosions were observed, one in the stern and the other just abaft amidships. The target slowed to 4.5 knots and started to swing toward TINOSA as if to ram. She continued to swing on, however, indicating that the stern hit had impaired her ability to steer. The target was now dropping and throwing depth charges at random and firing both deck guns.

At 1825 TINOSA fired two MK XVIII's from the bow tubes. Sonar reported the fish running hot straight and normal but there were no explosions. Shortly after this attack, the target stopped.

1834 Fired one MK XIV stern shot. No explosion.

1859 Target was lowering boats. Fired one MK XIV stern shot. Hit observed, no explosion.

1910 Fired one MK XVIII bow shot. No explosion.

1913 Fired one MK XVIII bow shot. Hit observed, no explosion.

1933 Target sank.

"On October 6, off the Carolines, TINOSA and STEELHEAD cornered the large tanker KAZAHAYA and sent her down in a gush of blazing oil." (Submarine Operations in World War II, page 280).

It is hard to understand why this ill-fated tanker, which was under long hours of attack, did not receive any antisubmarine support. She was less than 250 miles from Guam and Ulithi when she was sunk.

Now flushed with success TINOSA set a course for the Paluwat Island Group for the purpose of conducting a shore bombardment of the radio station on Alot Island. On 7 October at 1803, she surfaced and opened fire at a range of 3,000 yards. Forty-one rounds were expended which were seen to raise clouds of dust, proof positive, that the shells at least hit the island. Firing ceased when a shell became jammed in the bore and eventually had to be removed with clearing charges. This taken care of, TINOSA resumed patrol.

Note: At 2110, the bridge reported crossing three streaks in the water resembling torpedo wakes.

At 2202 on 9 October TINOSA received orders to terminate the patrol and return to base. On 12 and 13 October, TINOSA searched for downed aviators near Wake Island but none were found.

On 16 October TINOSA arrived at that tropical paradise, Midway, proudly displaying an array of bunting that included the ship's insignia flag, one Japanese merchant flag, and a busted cherry flag.

TINOSA had finally joined the ranks of the truly successful. Having expended 65 torpedoes, she had one sinking to her credit. Actually only half a sinking; STEELHEAD was credited with the other half.

well, half a loaf.........


Duration of patrol: 24 days

Ship Contacts: 3

Air Contacts: 8

A sailing vessel - apparently fishing was a disinterested spectator to TINOSA's shore bombardment from a distance of two miles.

There were three contacts with U.S. Submarines on this patrol. One was identified only through radar interference, SKATE and TAUTOG were the others. It's getting crowded.

Of special note: Glen Hickmam CMOMM received special mention for volunteering to enter the superstructure to search out the leak in the ventilation supply system while the ship was in enemy controlled waters. He found and corrected the problem.