First Patrol

Highlights from War Patrol Number ONE

Skip ahead to the Second Patrol

THIRD ENDORSEMENT to LIONFISH War Patrol. COMSUBSPAC PATROL REPORT NO. 774 U.S.S. LIONFISH - FIRST WAR PATROL From: The Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet. To: The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. Via: The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Subject: U.S.S. LIONFISH (SS298) - Report of First War Patrol (19 March to 22 May 1945). 1. The first war patrol of the LIONFISH, under the command of Lieutenant- Commander E. D. Spruance, U.S. Navy, was conducted in the East China Sea--Yellow Sea areas. 2. The LIONFISH on her first war patrol maintained excellent area coverage, but, unfortunately, no opportunity to inflict major damage upon the enemy presented itself. 3. Award of Submarine Combat Insignia for this patrol is not authorized. 4.The Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, congratulates the commanding officer, officers, and crew of the Lionfish upon the completion of this long, arduous, first patrol, and wishes them better luck next time. The LIONFISH is credited with having inflicted the following damage upon the enemy during this patrol: S U N K 1 - MIS (Schooner) (EC) - 100 tons (Gun attack No. 1) W. S. LANGLEY, Asst. Flag Secretary - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - CONFIDENTIAL Subject: U.S.S. LIONFISH (SS298) - Report of War Patrol Number ONE. 2-5 April 1945 Enroute Area at best speed. 1200 I/3 L 15-18 N l 141-59 E 1500 I/6 Sighted picket boat. Ship contact No. 1. Avoided in order to make maximum speed to patrol station in accordance with dispatch instructions. 7 April 1945 1200 I/7 L 31-30 N l 132-30 E 0240 I/7 Submerged for plane at 3 miles. 0630 I/7 Arrived on assigned station south of BUNGO SUIDO. Visibility about 4 miles, overcast. 0801 I/7 Submerged for plane sighted close. 0853 I/7 Surfaced. 1032 I/7 Submerged for plane sighted close. 1119 I/7 Surfaced. 1345 I/7 Submerged for plane sighted close. 1846 I/7 Sighted SENNET headed north. 1904 I/7 Surfaced. 2315 I/7 Exchanged calls with TRUTTA on SJ. 8 April 1945 0846 I/8 Sighted flight of fighters through periscope. 0926 I/8 Surfaced for lifeguard duty. 1135 I/8 Sighted two planes, range four miles, submerged. 2157 I/8 Surfaced. Received orders to go to Area 9 at best speed. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9 April 1945 0621 I/9 Sighted plane, submerged. 0631 I/9 Sighted seaplane through periscope. 1112 I/9 Sighted two seaplanes through periscope, may have been PBM's. 1135 I/9 Surfaced. 1624 I/9 Sighted two planes, submerged. 1911 I/9 Surfaced to run through TOKARA GUNTO. 2011 I/9 APR contact 132 Meg., sweeping across us every 3 seconds. 2020 I/9 Plane turned on searchlight, too late to drop. Submerged. 2229 I/9 Surfaced. 2235 I/9 Plane diving at us, submerged. Changed course to east to clear cut. They have us cut in. Will try another approach on the surface tomorrow during day light. 10 April 1945 0020 I/10 Fast light screws passed overhead, moving east at good speed. 0724 I/10 Surfaced for another try at transiting TOKARA GUNTO. 0854 I/10 Sighted plane. Submerged. 1410 I/10 Surfaced for another attempt at getting into the East China Sea. With a force 4-5 wind and number 3 sea, the aircraft left us alone. 11 April 1945 0400 I/11 J.O.O.D. sighted a persistent white cap and got us turned away in time to watch two torpedo tracks run parallel to our new course. A beautiful shot; 120' degree track down the trough of the sea. The SD and SJ had been secured to prevent planes homing, and the ST failed to pick up land at 20,000 yards, a surfaced submarine at about 1500 yards, and planes right on top of us. There must be an answer, but so far we haven't found it. Turned on SJ to search for our assailant and found nothing. Spent the day submerged to rest and devise some aircraft evasion tactics. 2215 I/11 Driven down by a plane at 6 miles. Picked up this one on AFR-1 and keyed the SD. 12 April 1945 1200 I/12 L 30-38N l 128-37 E 0100 I/12 Surfaced for another short run. 0340 I/12 Another plane ran us down, made contact by same means as before; APR-1 and then keyed the SD. 0507 I/12 Surfaced to try our "best speed" again. 0517 I/12 Just got our blowers stopped - submerged for a plane sighted. 0616 I/12 Surfaced. 0621 I/12 Did not get the blowers secured this time - another plane. 1015 I/12 Surfaced to get on with the war. 1017 I/12 Hardly got the blowers started. Submerged for two planes headed our way. 1054 I/12 Surfaced. 1119 I/12 Another plane - submerged. 1225 I/12 Sighted through the periscope and had a good look at our tormentors. They were two EMILYS in column, distance about 1000 yards, altitude not more than 200 feet. 1518 I/12 Surfaced. 1647 I/12 Sighted a single EMILY. This one circled wide around toward the sun and then turned our way. Submerged. 2002 I/12 Surfaced. Managed to stay up all night and actually made best speed. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 13 April 1945 1200 I/13 Submerged patrol on line between SASEBO and SAISHU TO. 2145 I/13 Exchanged calls with TRUTTA by SJ radar. Changed our tactics. Now swinging the SJ at high speed on the 20,000 yard scale to detect the night fliers. The ST is not doing the job properly. 2330 I/13 Plane contact on SJ at 7 miles, closed to 3 miles. Submerged for one hour. 14 April 1945 1200 I/14 Submerged patrol on SASEBO - SAISHU TO line. 0900 I/14 Heard echo ranging to eastward on 15.2 kcs. and 18.8 kcs. Headed for pingers. 1030 I/14 Sighted smoke through the periscope. Started approach on what turned out to be one 2000 ton freighter and three frigate-type escorts. Shortest range to track was 5300 yards by ST radar. It was small gratification to know the ST was working. 2000 I/14 Surfaced to get on the possible SHANGHAI route of our target. Made maximum speed again. 15 April 1945 0208 I/15 Submerged for plane. 0323 I/15 Surfaced. 0350 I/15 Submerged for plane. Conducting submerged patrol southwest of SAISHU TO on line to SHANGHAI. Heard numerous depth charge explosions at random times, all distant. 2000 I/15 Surfaced to go to the northern part of YELLOW SEA. The sea was flat calm. Started getting strong radar echoes to limit of sargeens all around the compass. Most of them were in pairs. 2300 I/15 Turned south to investigate two targets which had moved in from 80,000 yards to 50,000 yards in about an hour. They had practically stopped. 16 April 1945 0200 I/16 Interference very strong all around on the SJ. Keyed the SD and made contact at 10 miles, closing. Submerged. 0300 I/16 Surfaced and found that our two targets had shifted to east of us. The distance traveled would require a speed of over 15 knots. 0330 I/16 More strong interference on the SJ, all around. Submerged on an SD contact at 6 miles. It looks as though our enemy is using a sugar band airborne radar. The pulse rate synchronizes perfectly with ours at about 1600 pulses/second. 0430 I/16 Surfaced for morning stars. The long range targets had all secured for the day. Conducted submerged patrol to SAISHU TO - SHANGHAI route. Sighted 3 mines. 2000 I/16 Surfaced and closed southwest corner of SAISHU TO. We were apparently undetected by the radar on MARA TO at 20,000 yards. 17 April 1945 1200 I/17 Investigated KEITEITO BYOCHI submerged. Nothing sighted except a dozen fishermen. Heard echo ranging from direction of land all day. 2000 I/17 Surfaced and headed for SAISHU KAIKYO. Sea flat-calm - chased more gremlins without result. 18 April 1945 1200 I/18 As we headed west into SAISHU KAIKYU suspected that a shore-based radar on the N.E. point of SAISHU TO was tracking us. 0400 I/18 Received orders from TRUTTA to join her in north part of YELLOW SEA. Too late to back out of here today. 0630 I/18 Suspicions confirmed. A small patrol boat came south from the Korean coast and started an alternative pinging and listening search at the position of our dive. Went deep (150 feet) as he approached too close for periscope observations. 0730 I/18 Another patrol came out from SAISHU TO. 0830 I/18 A third patrol started pinging to the east of us. These three echo-ranged and listened until about sunset, occasionally working over a false contact with a healthy barrage of depth charges. LIONFISH retired to eastward. 2030 I/18 Surfaced and started the long trek to join TRUTTA. Rainstorms and growing seas aided our retirement. The Japs passed up a good chance to really bottle up an American submarine. A few radar pickets would have done the trick. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 April 1945 0130 I/19 Made a contact at 10,000 yards on an SJ equipped submarine. Turned to avoid and made a contact at 4000 yards on a single unidentified target. Left those two to figure it out for themselves, we had a long trip ahead. 20 April 1945 1200 I/20 Enroute new station on west coast of KOREA. 21 April 1945 0330 I/21 Received aircraft contact report on battleship and carrier standing north along China Coast, and cruiser heading for SAISHU TO from SHANGHAI. Started patrol west of NOKUZAK TO on the long chance that the BB and CV were going to cross the YELLOW SEA during the day. 22 April 1945 0600 I/22 Submerged patrol west of KOKUZAN TO. (Ship Contact No. 5) Sighted and heard echo ranging of frigate-type patrol headed west from KOKUZAN TO, passed 6000 yards to South. 23 April 1945 - 27 April 1945 Fog-bound patrol off SEKINO SUIDO, DAITO WAN, and SHANTUNG PROMONTORY. 1200 I/27 During this period the sea was dead calm. Visibility varied zero to two miles during the day, and from zero to unlimited at night. Radar performance was phenomenal, with "gremlins" moving all over the screen at ranges up to 90,000 yards. Encountered many small boats at night, and sighted or heard a few off the western approaches to DAITO WAN and SEKINO SUIDO. 28 April 1945 0100 I/28 Radar contact at 37,000 yards on a gremlin which tracked for a change; course 120, speed 4~5. Closed to 6000 yards in a bright full moon and could see nothing. Submerged on the track. Suspected a small A/S vessel sending up radar decoys. The target tracked perfectly on the ST. No sound contact. At a range of 3000 yards sighted a sailing junk. Let him go by for a look in daylight in preparation for a work-out on the deck gun. Made an end-around and had a good look. No one could tell whether the characters painted on the stern were Chinese or Jap, but he was not powered, not loaded, and not armed. Let him go. Maximum radar range on this target by daylight was 8000 yards. 29 April 1945 1100 I/29 Submerged patrol on south coast of KWANTUNG PENINSULA. Visibility reduced to 100 yards by fog. Found the ST radar excellent for in- shore navigation. We had planned on stirring up a little excitement by lobbing about 50 rounds of 5' H.E. into the port area of PORT ARTHUR. Object: confusion, more than damage, but the fog persisted until midnight. Headed for southern part of area 12 as ordered by SPRINGER. Ran through the entire China Coast fishing fleet north of SHANTUNG PROVINCE, 8000 yard radar contacts all around the dial for three hours. 30 April 1945 1200 I/30 L 37-50 N l 124-18 E - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Submerged patrol on TSINGTAO-DAITO WAN route, southwest of DAITO WAN west entrance. 0900 I/30 Two echo-rangers made a sweep headed southwest. Visibility about one mile. Heard several heavy barrages of depth charges, very distant. 1530 I/30 Heard five or six pings to northwest. Changed to optimum approach course for anyone headed for DAITO WAN. Depth charging still going on, but less frequently. 1 May 1945 1230 I/1 Enroute southern part of Area 12. Destroyed by gunfire a three-masted schooner of about 100 tons. It was loaded with lumber and logs. Fires were burning merrily when we shoved off. 1825 I/1 Sighted small PC type patrol standing west from vicinity of DAI KOKUZAN. Avoided on the surface. 2 May 1945 1200 I/2 Submerged patrol southwest of SAISHU TO. 3 May 1945 1200 I/3 Submerged patrol east of SADDLE IS. 4 May 1945 1200 I/4 Patrol east of SADDLE IS. Life guarding for SHANGHAI strikes. More phenomenal radar ranges. Small fishing boats showed as large targets at 37,000 yards. 2340 I/4 Submerged for plane closing rapidly. APR contact at 180 megacycles. 5 May 1945 1200 I/5 Patrol and life guard east of SADDLE IS. 0158 I/5 Submerged when plane illuminated us with searchlight. 0303 I/5 Submerged again for rapidly closing plane, APR contact at 180 megacycles. 0408 I/5 Surfaced and shortly thereafter sighted and made contact on a large ship with running lights and a brightly illuminated red cross amidships. When contact was first established he tracked at zero speed. Shortly thereafter he increased to 16 knots on course 010 degrees T. Did not consider the speed change suspicious, and let him go by as a properly marked hospital ship. 1945 I/5 Sighted TREPANG through periscope and surfaced. He relieved us of life guard duty. Headed for home. 6 May 1945 1200 I/6 Enroute SAIPAN from SHANGHAI. Sea glassy, radar ranges phenomenal. Made radar contact at 38,000 yards on a small power boat, which was barely visible on a clear night at 2000 yards. 0645 I/6 Sighted plane which looked like a PBM. Angle on the bow was zero at four miles, however, Submerged. 1345 I/6 Sighted plane as before. Submerged. We would certainly like to know if these planes are friendly, but they give us no chance to find out safely. 1500 I/6 Surfaced. 1619 I/6 Ship Contact No. 14. Sighted small freighter through the high periscope. It was apparently headed for SHANGHAI from NAGASAKI or SASEBO, and without escort. Made an end-around and arrived on the track with a range about 20,000 as the sunset haze set in. There was a sharp horizon behind us, none on his bearing. 1840 I/6 With generated range about 10,000 and no radar contact decided he had sighted us. Started search at flank speed. This night, for the first time in several days, radar ranges were normal. Contact not regained. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 7 May 1945 1200 I/7 Enroute SAIPAN. 0823 I/7 Sighted plane, closing fast, Submerged. 0943 I/7 Sighted plane, not closing. 1104 I/7 Sighted plane, closing, Submerged. 1500 I/7 Sighted plane, closing, Submerged. All of the above planes looked like PBM's, except the one not closing, which may have been a PRIVATEER. The PBM's were too close to ask questions, so we pulled the plug and may have lost three chances to pick up a contact. 1605 I/7 Heard a block-buster, not aimed at us, but not too far away, either. 1640 I/7 Surfaced. 1820 I/7 Sighted TREPANG through high periscope. Exchanged calls by radar. 8 May 1945 1119 I/8 Sighted plane, closing, Submerged. This one looked like the others of the past few days, a large 2-engined flying boat. 1900 I/8 Passed through NANSEI SHOTO and headed for rendezvous with RAY. 9 May 1945 1200 I/9 Waiting for the RAY to deliver her B-29 survivors and ECM. Fired on two floating mines. Scored several 20mm and 40 mm hits without sinking or exploding either mine. 1915 I/9 Moored alongside U.S.S. RAY. Received 10 B-29 survivors (3 wounded) and the RAY's ECM. 1939 I/9 Set course for SAIPAN. 2200 I/9 Converted ballast tanks. 2330 I/9 Reversed course to take life guard station off KYUSHU. 10 May 1945 0100 I/10 APR contact 180 megacycles. 0106 I/10 Rapidly closing SJ Radar contact on plane. Submerged. 0800 I/10 Arrived on station and relieved the RAY. 1315 I/10 No business for us. Headed for the barn once more. 1610 I/10 Sighted two more mines. 11 May 1945 0840 I/11 APR contact at 145 megacycles. 0848 I/11 Rapidly closing SJ radar contact in direction of a low cloud. Nothing sighted. Submerged. 1130 I/11 Many SD contacts at ranges of 25-60 miles, probably B-29's. 1515 I/11 Sighted two mines. Horny-looking brutes. 12-15 May 1945 Enroute SAIPAN. 1200 K/15 Arrived alongside ORION (AS18). Disembarked aviators and refueled. 1000 K/16 Underway for Midway. 0800 Y/22 Arrived Midway. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - PERSONNEL (a) Number of men detached after previous patrol -- none. (b) Number of men on board during patrol -- 77. (c) Number of men qualified at start of patrol -- 34. (d) Number of men qualified at end of patrol -- 58. (e) Number of unqualified men making first patrol -- 43. Only 13 men, including CPO's, had made previous war patrols 13 Men were advanced in rating during the patrol. DURATION Days enroute to area 5 Days in area 33 Days enroute SAIPAN 5 Days enroute to MIDWAY 8 Total 51 Days submerged 23

Go to the Second Patrol
Return to the USS Lionfish home page

Return to the DEEP DOMAIN

Last updated: June 13, 1997 by Neal Stevens
Historical information compiled by Neal Stevens and Lester Palifka
All photographs © 1997 by Lester Palifka unless otherwise stated; No reproduction allowed without permission.