Wednesday, January 05, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Scorpion (SS-278) - Last Seen 05 January 1944

USS Scorpion (SS-278), a Gato-class submarine left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 29 December 1943 to conduct her fourth war patrol. Her assigned patrol area was the northern East China Sea and the Yellow Sea between mainland China and Korea.

On the morning of 05 January, 1944, Scorpion requested a rendezvous with the nearby USS Herring (SS-233) in order to transfer a sailor who had suffered a severely broken arm. The rendezvous was accomplished late that afternoon, but heavy seas prevented the transfer of the injured man.

Scorpion was never seen or heard from again.

After the war, an examination of Japanese records revealed that a number of anti-submarine mines had been laid in the approaches to the Yellow Sea in late December 1943. Although several American submarines crossed the minefields without incident, Scorpion was in the area at the time when the mines would have been the freshest, and therefore the greatest danger.

Although the exact cause for Scorpion's loss may never be known for certain, the most likely cause is a Japanese mine.


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