Saturday, September 19, 2020

Silent Victory USS Tambor War Patrol 3

Lieutenant Commander Smith has been ordered out on his third War Patrol as the captain of the USS Tambor after successfully completing his two previous patrols. Sailing out of Pearl Harbor during the month of June 1942 the Tambor is to patrol around the Empire of Japan

Pearl Harbor

The Tambor pulls away from the dock and after transitioning out into the ocean without any contacts the War Patrol can begin. Almost immediately a lookout spots a convoy and the captain decides to attack.

With it being midday the captain orders his sub to submerge and has it close to close range with the convoy. They pick up the three closest ships to attack, a 10,000-ton transport, a 5,800-ton passenger ship, and a 2,800-ton freighter. Captain Smith decides to fire four fore torpedoes at the passenger ship and two aft torpedoes.

Torpedoes Away!
Captain Smith is getting better at the art of war because all six torpedoes hit their mark and even more surprising is that five of the torpedoes go off with only one dud, one of the two fired at the freighter.  The 2,800 freighter takes damage but the one torpedo isn't enough to sink it. The 5,800 passenger ship takes damage from four torpedoes which are more than enough to sink the ship, the Tambor's first kill of this War Patrol.

After the attack, the convoy's escort speeds over to investigate but the Tambor is able to successfully escape detection. Unfortunately during all the action the convoy is able to escape and the Tambor has to be happy with one damaged ship and one sunk.

The crew of the Tambor, happy with their quick success, continue with their patrol but it takes almost a month before they detect any new ships. The sonar detects two ships with an escort. The captain orders battle stations and with the sun down proceeds into an optimum firing position surfaced at close range. Smith's nerves win out as the escort doesn't detect them moving around the ships.

Of the two ships, the submarine is stalking is an 800-ton freighter and a 2,600-ton freighter. The captain decides to tempt fate fires torpedoes at all three ships, including the escort. Four fore torpedoes for the escort and two aft torpedoes at the freighters, one for each of them.

With the torpedoes in the water, the captain orders the sub to dive and begin the reload process while the torpedoes travel in the water. Of the four torpedoes fired at the escort three hit with one of those a dud so a total of two torpedoes explode, sinking the escort. The other two torpedoes each find their target and go off damaging both freighters, the bigger one is able to continue on damaged but the 900-ton freighter sinks.

With the escort at the bottom of the Pacific, the Tambor is able to attack the damaged freighter in a second round of combat. This time Captain Smith decides to fire another four fore torpedoes at the freighter to make sure it sinks. Out of the four one misses and three are duds so only one torpedo goes off but with the previous damage it's enough to sink this freighter making it the fourth ship sunk of this War Patrol. (With the escort destroyed I should have saved the torpedoes and fired the deck gun but I forgot.)

The Tambor continues on with its patrol and as it nears the end it accidentally stumbles upon a big prize, a Japanese aircraft carrier.

Captain Smith and the crew of the USS Tambor really want to sink a Japanese carrier and stalk it at night, surfaced, and close to medium range. With the end of the patrol near Smith goes all out and fires four fore torpedoes and four aft torpedoes at the carrier. After all the work Smith and his crew spent setting up the perfect shot at this monster ship only two of the eight torpedoes hit the carrier. Because the Kaga is 28,100 tons the two torpedoes cause damage but not enough to sink the carrier.

The Tambor is able to escape the escort but in the evasion, they lose sight of the aircraft carrier. The crew is gutted knowing that it isn't every day that they'll come across such a big target but they hope that they will get more chances as the war goes on. The Japanese aircraft carrier is the last ship the Tambor encounters during its patrol and the sub pulls into its berth at Pearl Harbor safely at the end of July 1942 to end its third patrol.

The USS Tambor succeeded in sinking four ships on this patrol for a total of 10,400 tons.

Tacoma Maru 5,800 Ton Passenger Ship
Himeno Maru  800 Ton Freighter
Konan Maru 2,600 Ton Freighter
1,200 Ton Escort

The Navy brass concludes the War Patrol a success and awards the Tambor its third Battle Star. Lieutenant Commander Smith has also been awarded the Silver Star for sinking four ships during this patrol.

The USS Tambor has now successfully completed three War Patrols and has sunk nine ships for a total of 29,700 tons. After three successful patrols, the crew's skills have increased to veteran.

Lieutenant Commander Smith has been ordered on a fourth War Patrol to begin in September 1942 after Pearl Harbor refits and resupplies the Tambor. Come back next week for the further adventures of Captain Smith and the USS Tambor.

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