PATROL NUMBER 8
THE MINE DETECTING DEVICE

This first appeared in The Tinosa Blatt, December, 1987, page 8.
Excerpted from the book Encounter by Watrous and published by Wittmer in 1988.
Edited for web site.

TINOSA arrived at Hunters Point Navy Yard on 7 August, 1944, for a major overhaul. During the two-and-one-half months she was there, all her machinery and armament were refurbished or replaced. The f our inch deck gun was replaced with a five inch twenty-five caliber one, the twenty millimeter heretofore mounted on the after end of the bridge deck was replaced with a forty millimeter unit. The SJ radar mast was extended six feet, boiler type manhole covers were installed at the lower end of access hatch trunks, and a centrifugal trim pump replaced the old one. There was one item of new equipment installed that would make a significant change in the manner of conducting patrols - - - a mine detecting device.

By October 23 the overhaul was done, the ship was loaded, the crew had been herded aboard, and TINOSA headed for San Diego. She conducted ten days of exercises there, and then headed for Pearl Harbor where she arrived November 18.

Thirty-one men who had been aboard when TINOSA reached the states were now gone, and had been replaced by thirty-seven others. Lt. Comdr. R.C. Latham who had relieved Comdr. Weiss as CO in September spent a week exercising the crew and the ship's machinery followed by three days of "special tests."

These special tests were very special, indeed. In fact, so special that Admiral Lockwood spent a day aboard during the tests, and he was a most interested observer of - - - the mine detecting device.

All tests and training were completed by December 1, and the next two days were spent loading ship. The weapon load for this run was twenty-two MK eighteen torpedoes. For some unexplained reason only six units were loaded aft. At 1330 on December 4, TINOSA was underway for Midway Island where she topped off fuel and lube oil, and at 0800 December 9 she was underway to her assigned patrol area.

The area included the Ryukyu Islands south of Okinawa Jima and the east coast of Formosa. Some twenty-five enemy ships had been sunk by submarines in this area so some torpedo action could be expected.

It was the time of heavy weather, and as TINOSA approached the Bonin's, the seas began to get exceedingly rough and the wind blew up a gale. There was not much chance of being detected by the enemy in this weather, but it did compel her to slow to eight knots, and it was hard on the crew, especially the bridge watch. On December 12 at 1600 the new watch was doused as "two green ones" came aboard and poured down the conning tower hatch. There was a foot of water in the conning tower when it was over. The port lookout was knocked unconscious for a short time. On December 17, a "big green one" lifted Chuck Wagner out of the starboard lookout station and deposited him on the main deck aft. He made his way back to the bridge ladder, but was again washed away. He alertly grabbed a lifeline and held on until he was able to regain the bridge ladder and was hauled to safety by the eager hands of the bridge watch.

On December 17, the gunners sank a floating mine with small arms, 20 mm and 50 caliber f ire.

On the 20th, TINOSA transited the Daito Islands, 150 miles east of her area. There was an abundance of interference from shore based radar installations, indicating that the Japanese had been upgrading their detection equipment since TINOSA went stateside. This proved to be the case on each island of any size in this patrol area.

TINOSA pressed onward and entered her assigned area on December 21 at 0005. She spent the day on surface patrol about fifty miles southeast of Okinawa Jima. As soon as it was dark, Latham commenced to close the island and at 0627, the next morning, submerged eight miles off the entrance to Naha harbor. For six hours he inched closer to the shore, and at 1237 commenced a test of - - - the mine detecting device.

Okinawa was known to be surrounded by mine fields, for the Japanese realized that this strategically placed island was a candidate for invasion. Intelligence had provided precise information on the location of some of these mines and TINOSA was headed for these. During the course of the afternoon some mines were detected, which is a good thing, for it is easy to imagine what might happen in a known mine field when no mines are found by - - - the mine detecting device.

TINOSA cleared the mine field and surfaced at 1849. She would now proceed to the southwest through the remaining Ryukyu Islands to the east coast of Formosa where she arrived on Christmas morning. For a week she conducted submerged patrol up and down the coast sighting only sampans and patrol aircraft. December 30 she received orders to break off this patrol and return to the vicinity of Okinawa Jima to conduct a special mission involving - - - the mine detecting device.

The United States invasion of Okinawa Jima was scheduled for April 1. Reconnaissance was needed to support that exercise and to that end SWORDFISH had been fitted out with special photographic equipment and personnel. She had left Pearl Harbor on December 22, and had been assigned the area immediately north of Okinawa. TINOSA's mission was to circle the island at a suitable distance from shore to support the photographic reconnaissance, plot a safe track clear of mines, and supply this information to SWORDFISH.

At 0213 January 7, TINOSA submerged about four miles off the coast and commenced the mission. At 1915 January 9, the encirclement was completed - and not a single mine was detected! Not even in the area where she had found mines on December 21!

January 10, Latham left the Okinawa area to patrol in the Daito Islands. After seven uneventful days there TINOSA received orders to terminate the patrol January 18. TINOSA returned to Pearl Harbor where she arrived at 1030 January 30.

Comsubpac awarded TINOSA a successful patrol run designation for run number eight. It was successful from the standpoint that TINOSA was not wiped out. Upon examination in Pearl Harbor, it was determined that it was working at only twenty percent efficiency. You know - - - the mine detecting device!

Apparently SWORDFISH never was able to use the information provided by TINOSA. The last that Comsubpac heard from that unfortunate boat was on January 3.

8th RUN TRIVIA

Duration of patrol: 57 days

Ship Contacts: 9

Air Contacts: 22

While in Hunters Point, the Steelhead, which was in the next dry-dock to TINOSA suffered a severe fire which did so much damage that she had to be decommissioned.

Nickel and dime one-armed bandits on TINOSA's barge at Hunters Point produced a most lavish and memorable ship's party at the Claremont Hotel in Richmond.

On this patrol, met and exchanged recognition signals with four U.S. subs, TREPANG, PIRANHA, PUFFER, QUEENFISH.

It's getting more crowded.

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