Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Memoriam - USS Shark (SS-314) - Sunk 24 October, 1944

USS Shark (SS-314) and all of her crew were lost during their third war patrol, October 24, 1944, after a successful attack on a freighter. Her last message, received by the crew of the USS Seadragon (SS-194), indicated her C.O.'s decision to attack; a dispatch from Commander Naval Unit, Fourteenth Air Force, stated that a Japanese ship carrying nearly 2000 American prisoners of war had been sunk on October 24 by an American submarine.

Japanese records on anti-submarine warfare, obtained after the war, also mention the attack on the Japanese ship. The reports add that a Japanese destroyer, Harukaze, made contact with a submerged submarine in the same vicinity and pummeled it with seventeen depth charges. The same report mentions the surfacing of "oil, clothes, and other debris". This seems to be the most likely explanation for Shark's disappearance.

Shark had served her first patrol near the Mariana Islands as part of a coordinated attack group, working alongside Pintado (SS-387) and Pilotfish (SS-3860). This patrol proved productive; she sank two cargo ships, a passenger-cargo ship, and a freighter. Her second war patrol, served off the Volcano and Bonin Islands. Much of this patrol she served lifeguard station; she rescued two airmen from a downed topedo bomber, Lexington (CV-16). She was awarded one battle star for her efforts during World War II.

Shark was the second submarine of the same name to be lost during World War II. USS Shark (SS-174) was reported overdue and presumed lost on March 7th, 1942


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