PATROL NUMBER 7
PRELUDE TO STATESIDE

This first appeared in The Tinosa Blatt, August, 1987, page 12.
Excerpted from the book Encounter by Watrous and published by Wittmer in 1988.
Edited for web site.

TINOSA spent just over three weeks alongside Bushnell at Majuro Atoll for upkeep, loading, and training.

Thirteen men and officers were transferred and the rest of the crew spent ten days frolicking among the palms, getting as much R & R as two bottles of Iron City beer and some horrible raisin wine could provide. Meanwhile, the relief crew made some minor repairs, gave the boat a new camouflage and loaded twenty-four Mark 23 torpedoes. At 1312 on June 7, TINOSA left Majuro to resume the business of war.

She was headed for the East China Sea this time, where, you will remember she had made a four day sortie during patrol run #1 to conduct an unsuccessful attack on a twelve ship convoy. The area guarded the ports of Nagasaki and Sasebo in Japan, and the port of Pusan in Korea, and the principal sea lanes of western Japan to China and the south. It was to be another wolf pack run, the other boats being TANG and SEALION II. Captain Weiss in command. This wolf pack varied from the one on patrol run #6 in that instead of three boats operating in a single area, each would have an area of its own adjacent to each other and pass targets on to each other. There was to be a limited amount of coordinated patrol activity. TANG was to operate in the Yellow Sea and SEALION II in the area to the west of TINOSA in the East China Sea.

Enemy aircraft harassment started on June 13. At 0942 a flying boat was sighted and at 1122 another. TINOSA was compelled to dive to avoid the second one.

At 1030 on June 14, an unidentified ship was sighted at a range of five miles. It was believed to be a submarine. Weiss dove and commenced an approach but was unable to make further contact. He surfaced at 1210 and commenced a search, without success.

At 0130 the next morning explosions were heard and gunfire could be seen all the way from dead ahead to abaft the starboard beam. (SWORDFISH sank a ship on this date and at this latitude and longitude. It is possible that this was the cause of all the fuss.) The firing continued for two-and-a-half hours. TINOSA made radar contact at 0340 on a target that was five-and-one-half miles away. Weiss started an end around on what was believed to be a destroyer. At 0509 he dove for an attack, but the target turned away and TINOSA was out of shooting range.

Upon surfacing at 0615, three ships were sighted. The SJ radar was out of commission and it was quite foggy. The range was estimated to be six miles. Shortly thereafter the entire convoy was in sight. There were two small tankers, a freighter, and two destroyers. At 0626 TINOSA submerged and commenced an approach. At 0703 the escorts, for some unknown reason, lay down a barrage of seven depth charges. At 0711 six bow tubes were fired at the two tankers from a range of 3200 yards. Two torpedoes were seen to pass under the near destroyer, and all six missed ahead of the targets.

Weiss then attempted to bring the stern tubes to bear, but the escorts were charging in on him. TINOSA started to go deep. Five depth charges exploded very close aboard. Eighteen more fell during the next half hour, some of which were close enough to cause a loss of depth control and drive TINOSA down to 360 feet. The depth charging ceased, but the destroyers continued to search. At 0829 Weiss returned to periscope depth. The destroyers were three miles to the east.

TINOSA was clear of the enemy by 1105 at which time she surfaced with the intention of searching out the convoy for another attack. A bad storm was brewing, however, and after an hour-and-a-half of high seas, heavy rain and strong winds made further search impractical she broke off the search and continued on her way to her area.

By morning, the storm was over and the sky had cleared and this became a day of unwanted contacts. Four aircraft were sighted, three of which came close enough to force TINOSA under. Then at 1554 a periscope was sighted at a range of 1500 yards. Weiss bent on four engines and sped away.

The next morning, at 1110 another periscope was sighted at a range of 800 yards. Weiss went to four engines and turned toward the sighting in an attempt to drive her down. At 1121 TINOSA continued on her way. The weather was worsening and visibility decreasing so that TINOSA was able to transit the Ryukyu Islands on the surface. At 1427 on June 17, TINOSA entered the East China Sea and her assigned area. Once there she headed for a zone in which some B-29 crews were thought to have ditched.

The next day she spent searching for the downed airmen. At 1325 she was forced to dive because of a near aircraft. She again surfaced at 1420 and continued the search. A three masted sailing vessel was sighted at 1820, and at 1840 a sampan put in an appearance. Weiss decided to make a night gun attack on the schooner.

The night was very dark and TINOSA was able to close to 750 yards before being detected. At that time the target challenged with a small blinker light. The gunners who were having trouble seeing the target now took a bead on the signal light. The four inch deck gun, both 20 mm and two 50 caliber machine guns opened fire and continued to rake the hapless victim until the range got down to 100 yards. Then TINOSA came alongside of the badly damaged ship, tossed half a dozen buckets of fuel oil aboard which were ignited with oil soaked rags. As TINOSA moved away, the target was a mass of flames which could be seen for the next five hours.

June 19 was spent on surface patrol. There were two aircraft contacts that morning but neither came close enough to be a problem. June 20 was spent submerged. There were occasional aircraft sightings, without incident.

At 0820 the next morning, TINOSA got caught with her skivvies askew when an airplane got in to three miles heading right for her. Weiss dove immediately and headed for 120 feet, fully expecting momentary explosions. None came, so at 0845 he took a peek and there was the aircraft headed directly for the periscope. He went deep again, but as before no bombs or depth charges were dropped. At 0940 and again at 1042 Weiss took a look and each time the plane was sighted circling the area. The next time he looked the aircraft was gone. At 1505 TINOSA surfaced but at 1610 was again compelled to dive to avoid air detection. It was 2005 and dark when TINOSA surfaced again.

At 0449 June 22, TINOSA dove to conduct submerged patrol. Dullsville! At 1835 a sampan was sighted at a distance of five miles and Weiss, itching for a target, decided to attack it with gunfire. At 1950 TINOSA battle surfaced at a range of 900 yards and opened fire with the deck gun. The first three shots were hits and the sampan settled by the stern. It was decided to burn it, so three "TINOSA COCKTAILS" were tossed aboard and the victim was soon engulfed in flames. A short while later the fuel tanks exploded and she disappeared. TINOSA headed east.

At 2345 the bridge sighted a patrol craft which was picked up by radar at a range of three miles and closing fast. Weiss bent on four engines and turned away. While turning, a second patrol craft was sighted about one mile away. TINOSA showed them her stern and was able to get away.

At 0200 June 23, TINOSA abandoned the search for B-29 crews. It was time to head south to a rendezvous with TANG and SEALION II who were now on station. At 1930 the bridge sighted a periscope at 2000 yards and turned away at full speed.

At 0100 on June 24 TINOSA was lying to alongside TANG. SEALION II arrived at 0245. A conference was held aboard TINOSA setting forth the procedures for a coordinated patrol. At 0355 the liaison officers returned to their respective ships, and the wolf pack proceeded to the designated positions.

All was quiet until at 2200 TANG sent a contact report stating that she had attacked a convoy that was headed for Nagasaki. Since TINOSA and SEALION II were too far away to intercept the surviving ships before they reached port, it was rather academic. TANG sank four ships of this six ship convoy.

June 26 and 27 were uneventful except for occasional aircraft and sampan sightings. At 2002 June 27, the wolf pack departed the Nagasaki area and headed west to take position in the sea lanes to Shanghai. They were on station by 0100 June 29. Enroute, SEALION II encountered and sank a ship.

The next day while patrolling on the surface, a floating mine was sighted. An attempt was made to sink or explode it with rifle fire, but the sea was rough and the try was unsuccessful. TANG and SEALION II were notified of the mine's position, and the submarines were released to return to their areas to operate independently. On this day and the next, TANG sank three ships.

The morning of July 2 found TINOSA poking around the islands off Sasebo. At 0456 a large freighter was sighted steaming through the islands at a range of eight miles. It was, at that time, in water too shallow for an attack, but it was headed for deeper. TINOSA headed for the deep water too, but to get there in time to achieve position, it was necessary to pass within four miles off Haku To on which there was a lighthouse. There was little doubt that she was seen and reported; for at 0620, two aircraft were sighted headed right for her. She dove.

When she was passing 100 feet, the first bomb exploded, driving the sub up to eighty feet. Three more bombs exploded immediately after the first, but were not as close. By noon thirteen more bombs exploded, one of which caused number ten torpedo tube to flood. All the explosions were close enough to make Weiss believe that he was leaving a trail of bubbles or fuel oil. All air and circulating water systems were shut down where possible. He decided to stay down until dark.

At 1604 depth charges began to rain down and twenty nine exploded by 1753, some close. No screws could be heard on the sound gear so it was assumed that they were aircraft launched. At 1910 sound picked up screws and more depth charges began to explode. The first ones were close and then progressively further away. At 1927 Weiss returned to periscope depth and took a look around. There was a small patrol craft about four miles away. Again at 2016 he took a look. Nothing was to be seen, but depth charges could be heard exploding in the distance. Thirty-six charges were counted since the arrival of the PC.

At 2025 TINOSA was able to surface. it was a bright moonlight night. At 2130 the bridge sighted a periscope on the port beam about a mile away. She turned away at full speed.

July 3 was spent submerged until 2003. At that time TINOSA surfaced, again in the bright moonlight. At 2111 radar reported a contact nine miles southeast of TINOSA. There were several blips and it looked like a convoy. Weiss closed to investigate, and at six miles several ships could be seen from the bridge. By 2133 five ships could be seen deployed in three columns.

At 2216 TINOSA went to radar depth and bore in for an attack. When the range reached 7200 yards the complete convoy could be identified. The port column was led by a large troop transport followed by a small tanker, the center column was led by a destroyer followed by a large freighter, and the starboard column was led by a large tug followed by a freighter. There were three escorts on the starboard side of the convoy and one about three miles ahead. There were none on the port side.

Weiss went to periscope depth and moved in on the troop transport. The target made an unexpected zig toward TINOSA and it was necessary to hurriedly open the range. At 2301 two stern tubes were fired at a range of 500 yards. The first hit under the bridge and eight seconds later the other hit just aft of her superstructure. She sank. Weiss was now swinging for a shot at the large freighter in the center column.

At 2302 four bow tubes were fired. Weiss found it necessary to shoot sooner than he would have wished because a destroyer was coming fast. One hit was seen just forward of the bridge and the target was seen to break in two. There was no time to watch any longer for the destroyer was 150 yards away. TINOSA headed deep. Two more hits were heard on the target as she was going down.

The first of the depth charges went off as TINOSA was passing 100 feet and in the next hour a total of forty three exploded in the vicinity. Some were close but did no particular damage.

By 0045 TINOSA was able to surface. The remainder of the convoy would reach port before she could mount an attack so battle stations were secured and TINOSA headed south. On this day TANG, which was operating in the Yellow Sea, sank two more ships.

July 6 through 9 were uneventful except for the usual aircraft harassment. On July 6 TANG sank a ship at the northern end of the Yellow Sea, and SEALION II sank a ship off the China coast.

At 0621 on July 10 the bridge reported smoke on the horizon at a range of fifteen miles. TINOSA closed to investigate and submerged when the range had decreased to seven miles. As she got closer it became apparent that the target was too small for a torpedo attack, so it was decided once again to exercise the gun crew.

When the range reached 1700 yards TINOSA surfaced and opened fire with the deck gun. The first round was short, but ricocheted into the base of the mainmast which collapsed. The next hit was the ninth round, which at a range of 500 yards, hit amidships just above the waterline, and the target exploded. Weiss wanted to take a prisoner but no survivors could be found. TINOSA headed west.

At 0220 the next morning the bridge observed a torpedo wake pass fifty feet astern and TINOSA ran away at full speed. At 0420 the bridge sighted a periscope 2000 yards away and turned away to avoid. July 12, 13 and 14 were spent on submerged patrol off Ryukyu Islands, but made no ship contact.

On July 15 Weiss decided to go back to the Nagasaki area which seemed to provide the most targets. At 1650 he was once again chased under by aircraft.

At 1910 TINOSA surfaced and continued on her way. At 1948 the bridge sighted smoke to the eastward at a range of eight miles. The high periscope identified the contact as a Japanese submarine of the I class. A quick set up was plugged into the TDC as TINOSA moved into position for attack. It was getting dark. Then the radar ceased to function and it wasn't until 2047 until it was again operational, but it was unable to regain contact. At 2109 radar made contact at 850 yards. The blip indicated a small object which suddenly disappeared from the scope. It had all the characteristics of a submarine periscope, and, if that were the case, then TINOSA was now the target. Weiss departed the vicinity.

July 16 was spent submerged and at 0510 July 17 she dove for more of the same. At this point the patrol report narrative is missing until 0145 on July 22. Other elements of the report indicate that TINOSA left her operating area on July 19 in accordance with the operation order and headed for Midway Island, and then to Pearl Harbor where she arrived in time for breakfast on July 30.

The Type Commander's endorsement to the patrol report made mention of and indicated concern as to the extensive air coverage and the high incidence of submarine sightings on this patrol. TINOSA was credited with 18,400 tons sunk by torpedo and 600 tons sunk by gunfire.

(SEALION II sank 3 ships, 5,373 tons and TANG sank a whopping 10 ships, 47,060 tons on this patrol).

TINOSA would now leave the combat arena for stateside and a Navy Yard overhaul at Hunters Point Navy Yard.

Tojo and TINOSA's crew could breathe easy for a few months.

7th RUN TRIVIA

Duration of patrol: 54 days

Ship Contacts: 19

Air Contacts: 31

Torpedo troubles persist. Three of the fish received from Bushnell had gyro defects. One was delivered without a gyro, the gyro in another was frozen and had to be cleared. During the depth charge attack on July 2 when #10 tube was flooded the afterbody of the torpedo in that tube was flooded and had to be made operational by ships company.

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