Monday, August 23, 2021

Silent Victory USS Narwhal War Patrol 2 March 1942


Hello and welcome to the second war patrol of the Narwhal class USS Narwhal (SS-167). If you miss the Narwhal's first war patrol you can click here to find out what happened.

The Narwhal pulled into the Pearl Harbor pens in early February in 1942 and after a quick two-week refit the Narwhal is fully loaded and ready for its next war patrol. Naval Command has chosen the Narwhal to head to the heart of the Japanese Empire and patrol off their coast.


The Narwhal and crew head out for their second War Patrol in March 1942. The trip from the base into the open Pacific Ocean went without incident. The sub makes it through their first patrol area without incident. As they begin their second patrol area they come across a lone ship with an escort. The Captain of the Narwhal, Lieutenant Commander John Brown Jr. decides it's the perfect setup for a night attack so the captain creeps the Narwhal to medium range on the surface. 

USS Narwhal loadout on their 2nd War Patrol

The Narwhal is equipped with six forward torpedos and Commander Brown decides to fire three torpedoes at the Japanese Troop transport and a single torpedo at the escort. Brown orders the torpedoes to be fired and the crew waits in anticipation for the impact.

The Narwahl is equipped with the Mark 14 Torpedo which had a terrible history and lives up to its reputation in this battle. The Three torpedoes fired at the Troop Transport all hit but only one explodes with the other two being duds. Luckily for the Narwhal the one torpedo was enough to sink the transport. The last torpedo that was fired at the escort was a clean miss.

The Japanese Escort comes looking for the Narwhal with their deadly depth charges but the US sub is able to slip away without being located.

The sub continues on with their patrol but the captain and crew are surprised that even though they are patroling up the coast of Japan they find no ships until the last patrol area of this War Patrol. During the night the submarine finds a lone ship on the horizon and closes the range to get into optimum firing range. When get close up Commander Brown identifies it as the Japanese Heavy Cruiser Maya.

Japanese Heavy Cruiser Maya

With this being the last patrol area on this War Patrol Commander Brown knows that he can fire as many torpedoes as he has left so he decides to fire all six fore torpedoes at the Maya before turning the sub around to fire the four aft torpedoes for a total of ten torpedoes. The Commander prepares his sub to attack by binging it into medium range on the surface and with no moon, he has a great chance to do some damage to the enemy.

Commander Brown fires all torpedoes at the Maya and waits in anticipation for all ten torpedoes to send the enemy ship to the bottom of the pacific. Unfortunately, it doesn't go off as Brown would have liked. Out of the six fore torpedoes fired three miss outright. The three that do hit the Maya are of course all duds. After the disappointment of the first six torpedoes not hitting the last four from the aft torpedo launchers are a tougher shot than from the fore launchers and all four torpedoes miss their target.

Commander Brown and crew of the Narwhal are bitterly disappointed but the only good thing about missing is that the Maya isn't on alert as they would have been if at least one torpedo had hit so the Narwahl is able to escape before the Maya can destroy them.

The Narwhal set course to their home base at Pearl Harbor and make it without any enemy contact to end their second War Patrol. With the single Troop Transport sunk the patrol is considered a success. 

Miyako Maru 1,000 ton Troop Transport

The Narwhal is awarded its second Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia and Battle Star. No awards for Leautennant Brown Jr. this war patrol but on the next successful War Patrol, the crew will be up for an advancement which would be great for the Narwhal.

With two successful War Patrols in the books, the Narwhal and crew have sunk four Japanese ships for a total of 16,000 tons. The Narwhal will spend a month at Pearl Harbor being resupplied before they leave during September on their third War Patrol, stay tuned!

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