Monday, September 19, 2022

Silent Victory USS Porpoise War Patrol #3 AAR June 1942


Hello and welcome to the 3rd War Patrol of the USS Porpoise (SS-172). If you missed the Porpoises' 2nd War Patrol you can click here to see what you missed.

After a month of refit and resupply, the Porpoise is ready to ship out for their 3rd War Patrol. The Brass orders Lt. Commander Callaghan to make their way to the Philippines and patrol the area on the lookout for Japanese ships to sink.

The Porpoise leaves the sub-pens at its home port in Australia and sets course for the Philippine Islands. Traveling to their designated patrol area is without incident and the captain and crew of the Porpoise are ready to begin their next patrol.

Almost immediately they run into a Japanese ship with an escort. Captain Callaghan sets an intercept course. He rigs the Porpoise for an attack run by submerging and moving to medium range of the ships. The Captain decides to fire all four forward torpedoes at the Japanese passenger ship and none at the escort. Once all calculations are made the torpedoes are fired and the crew moves the sub away from the area as they wait to see if their attack is successful.

Two of the fired torpedoes miss their target but the other two hit the ship! Both torpedoes that hit actually explode causing 5 damage to the Japanese ship which easily sinks it. The escort searches the area for the Porpoise but cannot find it.

The Porpoise continues on with its war patrol and within a week they stumble across another Japanese ship with an escort. The Captain and crew are getting good at hunting lone ships with a single escort so they do the same as in the last attack. The Porpoise is submerged and moves to medium range. The Captain will have four more forward torpedoes fired at the lone Japanese freighter leaving the escort alone like before.

The Captain fires all four torpedoes and then has the Porpoise move away from the escort as they wait for the torpedoes to reach their target. Fortune smiles upon the crew of the Porpoise as all four torpedoes hit their target, and even more unbelievable is that all four explode as well sinking the freighter. The escort searches in vain for the Porpoise which has snuck away from the attack area to continue on their successful War Patrol.

Another week goes by when the hydrophone operator alerts the Captain to the sounds of numerous ships in the area. The Porpoise makes its way to the area and finds a Japanese convoy on the move at night. 

The Captain has the Porpoise submerge and make its way through the convoy to find the biggest ships to sink. The crew finds a 3,800-ton freighter and the Captain decides to attack that ship first. He orders four forward torpedoes to fire at the lone ship, once that once is sunk Captain Callaghan will target the next ship. He fires the torpedoes and then moves to the outskirts of the convoy to make it harder for the escort to find them. Out of the four torpedoes, three find their mark, and while one was a dud and doesn't explode the other two cause critical damage to the freighter and easily sink it.

The escort of the convoy is better crewed than the others the Porpoise has run into on this patrol and while they are able to evade the escort they also lose the convoy and have to be satisfied with the one ship they were able to sink.

The rest of the patrol is quiet and the Porpoise and crew arrive back at their sub base at the end of July 1942. 

The Porpoise's 3rd War Patrol ends in another success for the Captain and crew. They have fired all but four of their torpedoes and sunk three enemy ships for a total of 7,900 tons.

Nanrei Maru    2,400 ton Passenger Ship
Taishin Maru   1,700 ton Freighter
Oyama Maru   3,800 ton Freighter

The USS Porpoise is awarded its third Battle Star for this War Patrol. The Pharmacists Mate is now an Expert which is great to have on board if crew members are injured. Lt. Commander Callaghan is also awarded his first Bronze Star of the war. It will take a month to rearm and refit the Porpoise before it can be sent out on its fourth War Patrol of the Second World War.

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