Thursday, March 03, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Perch (SS-176) - Sunk on 03 March, 1942

USS Perch (SS-176), a Porpoise-class submarine designed in the early 1930's and commissioned in 1936, was sunk on 03 March, 1942 after a three-day battle with Japanese forces. She was conducting her second war patrol.

On 01 March, Perch attempted to attack a Japanese convoy that was landing troops near Surabaya, Indonesia. However, two Japanese destroyers saw the approaching submarine and attacked. Perch, caught in shallow water, was severely damaged in two separate attacks lasting overnight and into the next day.

After making all possible repairs, the crew attempted to escape the area, but the submarine was spotted by two Japanese cruisers and three destroyers. As the ships began to fire at the crippled submarine, her Commanding Officer, LT Kenneth G. Schacht, ordered his crew to scuttle the submarine and abandon ship. LT Schacht was awarded a Navy Cross for his actions.

The entire crew, fifty-four men and five officers, were captured by the Japanese and held as prisoners. Six men died during captivity. However, the survivors were repatriated at the end of the war.

Perch's wreck was located in November 2006. Her conning tower plaque was located by divers and photographed, so that can be no doubt as to her location. Pictures of the wreck can be found at the Pacific Wrecks website.


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