Saturday, September 26, 2020

Silent Victory USS Tambor War Patrol 4


After its third successful War Patrol the USS Tambor has been ordered on a fourth patrol around the Empire of Japan area of the Pacific Ocean. The sub has been resupplied and the Captain and crew of the Tambor set out on their fourth War Patrol.

For the fourth time, the USS Tambor pulls away from Pearl Harbor and transitions to their patrol area without any contacts. A week goes by without any sightings when two ships are sighted on the horizon at night. With a moon being dim the captain orders the sub to approach cautiously into medium range on the surface, hoping to avoid detection from the escorts.

The Tambor stalks two freighters, a 900-ton ship, and a 2,500 ton. Lieutenant Commander Smith orders four torpedoes fired from the fore section, two at each freighter. When the sub achieves its optimum firing solution Smith fires torpedoes.

After firing Leuitennant Commander Smith orders the sub to dive to avoid contact with any lurking escorts. The four torpedoes approach their targets but the computing must have been off as one torpedo fired at each ship misses. Fortunately, one torpedo does hit each freighter and causes enough damage to sink both ships. An escort comes steaming into the area on the hut for the Tambor but the sub is able to slip away.

After a successful hunt, the crew of the Tambor continues on with their patrol. It takes about another week to come across some Japanese shipping, this time a lone ship protected with an escort. With the sun still being up Smith orders the sub to dive and close to medium range in order to avoid the escort. As with the first attack Captain Smith orders four fore torpedoes to be fired at the large 10,600-ton troop transport that they hunt. The captain orders the torpedoes fired and after learning from their first attack all four torpedoes hit their mark. Unfortunately due to the US Navy and their problems with dud torpedoes only one of the four torpedoes that hit the transport go off and damage the ship but not enough to sink it.

The escort enters the area in a search for the Tambor but the plucky sub is able to escape detection again. A frustrated Smith orders a second attack on the transport and decides on another four torpedoes from the fore section. With the escort still in the area and on the hunt, the Tambor closes to medium range again submerged. The Captain fires his torpedoes again and breaks contact with the ship. Three of the torpedoes hit their target with one missing and for a change, all three torpedoes go off and sink the transport. The torpedo that missed starts to run in a circle and the crew of the Tambor is on edge hoping their own torpedo doesn't come back and hit them, which unfortunately did happen in the real war, but the torpedo eventually runs out of power, and the sub slips away from the area.

The very next day the Tambor comes across another lone ship with escort and the captain orders the Tambor to submerge and stay with the ship until the sunsets. Once it's completely dark outside the Tambor surfaces and closes to medium range with the 4,300-ton transport they are tracking. With their fore torpedoes getting low the captain orders four aft torpedoes fired at the transport. The captain fires and three of the torpedoes hit their target but only one goes off. The lone torpedo breaks the back of the freighter and sinks it. The Tambor attempts to slink away from the escort but this time their luck runs out.

Japanese Escort Firing Depth Charges

The Japanese escort locates the Tambor and begins to depth charge them. The Tambor does its best to avoid the deadly explosions but it can't get away and takes some damage. The hull takes damage and allows water to get in and start to flood the submarine. The crew works frantically to stop the flodding an eventually are able to stop the water. The 3rd diesel engine also takes damage but the crew has to hold of on repairs until they escape the escort.

Depth Charges Exploding

After the first round of depth charges the Tambor manages to slip away from the Japanese. Once saftely away the crew can get down to repairs. The hull is repaired as best as the chief engineer can do in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The water is pumped out and the engineers manage to get the diesel engine running again which means the Tambor is fully functional and able to continue on with its patrol.

As the Tambor gets near the end of their patrol they spot two ships with an escort on the sonar. With it being day the captain orders the sub to dive and close in on the two ships at medium range. The two ships are a 2,400 ton passanger ship and a 2,900 ton freighter. With their torpedoes running low the captain decides to fire at both ships and the escort. If he can take out the escort and damage the ships, then the Tambor can easily follow the damaged ships and take them out with their deck gun which has full ammo.

The captain fires his last eight torpedoes, four fore torpedoes and eight aft. The four aft torpedoes would go towards the two ships, two for each. The four fore torpedoes would all go at the escort because if a submarine fires from both the fore and aft torpedoes in the same round of combat they take a -1 to hit and the captain needs to take the escort out. The captain fires and all eight torpedoes look to be running true. The four torpedoes fired at the two ships all hit but two of them are duds. The other two damage both ships and the smaller 2,400 ton passenger ship is sunk.

The four torpedoes fired at the escort reach the escort and hit, but only two of them. From the two that hit, one is a dud so only one hits and causes damage. Leiutennant Commander Smith's heart drops as he sees that the escort is damaged but doesn't sink. With no more torpedoes, he can't attack the escort and as the Tambor attemps to follow the damaged ship the damaged escort is able to follow along. With the escort still around the Tambor can't surface and fire her deck gun as the escort would easily destory them so the captain orders the boat to submerge and slink away from the area.

The remainder of the War Patrol goes without incidend and the USS Tambor arrives saftely at Pearl Harbor at the end of October 1942. 

The USS Tambor succeeded in sinking five ships on this patrol for a total of 20,700 tons. 

Shingetsu Maru 900 Ton Freighter
Taisoku Maru 2,500 Ton Freighter
Kyokuei Maru 10,600 Ton Transport
Fushimi Maru #3 4,300 Ton Transport
Nanrei Maru 2,400 Ton Passenger Ship

With his fourth sucessful War Patrol and a total of 14 ships sunk the Navy bestows the Navy Cross on Leutennant Commander Smith. The ship and crew are awarded their fourth Battle Star and Smith has been promoted to Commander.

The USS Tambor has now successfully completed four War Patrols and has sunk 14 ships for a total of 50,400 tons. 

Commander Smith and the Tambor has been ordered on their fifth War Patrol to begin in January 1943 after two months of refit and resupply. Once completed the Tambor will set off for the Marianas Trench to patrol the area. Come back next week for the continuing adventures of the USS Tambor.

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