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Old 02-27-23, 11:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Default SHCE Toro Attack In South China Sea Near Malasia

The US Tench class submarines improved upon the Gato, amd Balao designs by moving a ballast tank forward, and removing its piping from the forward torpedo room. That piping carried seawater, at outside pressures, through the torpedo room, and was a disaster waiting to happen. Damage during a depth charge attack could cause the high pressure water to flood the boat quickly. Removing those pipes also gave the Tench class boats 4 more torpedoes.
Our Tench class submarine, the Toro, was sent to patrol the South China Sea near Singapore July 1945. Very few convoy reports for our first week, however the weather was great; a new moon, calm seas and sunny days meant we could get our boat to 21 knots on the surface to catch almost any ships we received on radio reports. We finally got a battleship report and it was traveling only 18 knots. It had a head start so we raced at a 50° angle on its starboard beam. Luck was with us and we made our intercept ~0330 hrs in darkness. Our radar was working well, and they couldn't see us out to 5000 yards. We ran at radar depth to 2000 yards then once we could see the BB, went to 60 feet (periscope depth). The escorts were racing about 34 knots, so we could run at flank speed submerged and they couldn't hear anything. 😊 This early morning was even more fortunate as the last of the ISE class battleships, made a zig to port, towards our boat. We slipped between an escort and the battleship and fired all ten torpedo tubes; starting at 1000 yards, and the last 4 were fired at 350 yards; darn close! As the torpedoes hit, and the battleship heeled over and capsized, another escort closed in from behind where the battleship was. We turned hard to port and crash dived to 530 feet; 100 feet below the thermal layer. Only a few depth charge attacks were even close. We crept away and came to periscope depth 2.5 hours later. 6 destroyers were parked almost where the ISE sank, trying to find us. We had 3/4 battery remaining, so I decided to creep in for a surprise attack. When we got to 3200 yards we could see the other 5 destroyers another 4000 yards away -again beautiful weather, and our radar, gave us great visibility! We setup 2 torpedoes, double checked the course and fired. Almost 3 minutes later the destroyer was sinking quickly, and the other 5 escorts began racing to help the sinking ship. We calculated the time the other boats would arrive at the sinking ship, and fired 5 more torpedoes where they were ALL converging. If a torpedo missed one destroyer, it may well hit another. This worked! 2 more destroyers were now sinking. 3 left, and I had 4 stern tubes ready so we turned to 165° at full speed so they would hear our screws, and chase us. As they approached we quickly raised, then lowered, our scope to get firing solutions on the rapidly approaching escorts. 500 yards away we fired tube 7. Only 18 seconds later we heard the explosion, but our scope showed the escort was still closing so we fired 8, and fired 9 on a different escort approaching on a parallel course. Both torpedoes hit, and both destroyers were sinking. The last destroyer was turning hard to port in order to not hit the burning wreck of the second ship we hit. This gave us time to bring our boat up to 7 knots, and turn hard to port to bring tube 2 to bear. Again just under 500 yards we fired and started a crash dive to avoid a collision. 30 seconds later the sonar mate heard the sound of the last destroyer's keel break. We survived! We surfaced to charge our batteries and get fresh air as we had been below for more than 7 hours, with all crew at battle stations torpedo. We sank the ISE, and ALL of her escorts. This was after we had sank her sister ship 2 years prior. A good reason to celebrate, so I let the men all share some brandy as we moved away from the area. We were pretty sure a hunter killer group would start looking for us if we stayed longer.
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Old 03-29-23, 10:39 AM   #2
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The tactics employed by the captain in using the favorable weather conditions, the radar, and the torpedo tubes effectively demonstrate the skill and precision required to carry out such an operation successfully. It is also interesting to note the technological improvements made in the Tench class submarines, such as the removal of the ballast tank piping, which allowed for greater torpedo capacity and reduced the risk of flooding during depth charge attacks.
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