Wednesday, June 01, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Herring (SS-233) - Sunk 01 June 1944

USS Herring (SS-233) was one of only a handful of American submarines to see combat in the Atlantic. Shortly after being commissioned, Herring was sent to the Mediterranean to support Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. During her maiden war patrol, she sank the Vichy French cargo ship Ville du Havre.

Remaining in the Atlantic, and based out of Rosneath, Scotland, Herring was credited with sinking the German submarine U-163 (some accounts credit a Canadian corvette with the sinking). Her fifth war patrol in the Atlantic ended with her return to New London, CT. She was then transferred to the Pacific Theater.

Operating out of Pearl Harbor, Herring was lost on her eighth war patrol. Her last contact with other American forces was a rendezvous with USS Barb (SS-220) on the afternoon of 31 March, 1944. Both submarines were to patrol the Kurile Islands area and cooperate in attacks if possible.

An examination of Japanese records after the end of the war revealed Herring's fate.

Shortly after leaving Barb's company, Herring made contact with a convoy of three merchant ships escorted by a single destroyer. Herring attacked and sank the Japanese destroyer Ishigaki and one of the merchant ships. The remaining two merchant ships were sunk by Barb. Barb also rescued a survivor of the Japanese destroyer.

The next morning, Herring sank two merchant ships, the Hiburi Maru and the while both vessels were at anchor at Matsuwa. However, a shore battery located Herring and scored two direct hits on the conning tower. According to Japanese records, after this, "bubbles covered an area about 5 meters wide, and heavy oil covered an area of approximately 15 miles."


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