The only U.S. submarine that sank enemy battleships during World War II created a record of attacks that you can still hear.

Japanese battleship Yamato

The Japanese battleship Yamato, depicted here on October 30, 1941, was discovered by the US submarine USS Sea Lion in November 1944.Imperial Japanese Navy

  • On November 21, 1944, the US submarine USS Sea Lion introduced a group of Japanese warships into the Taiwan Strait.

  • A few hours earlier that morning, sea lions attacked a Japanese ship and sank the battleship Kongo.

  • Sea lions were the only Allied submarines that sank enemy battleships during the war, and their crew captured them all on tape.

Twenty minutes after midnight on November 21, 1944, a U.S. Navy submarine USS Sea Lion Radar contact with a group of Japanese warships in the Taiwan Strait.

The ship was not moving in a zigzag to avoid the submarine, and the sea lion commander ordered the submarine to be investigated for attack.

By 1:48 am, the sea lion crew believed they were following two battleships and two cruisers escorted by three destroyers. They actually came across three battleships: Yamato (One of the largest and most powerful battleships ever built), Kongo, Nagato, Yahagi, 3 destroyers.

It was a good opportunity to miss the Major, a sea lion skipper. Eli Thomas Reich ordered the crew to have a combat station in preparation for the attack.


Navy submarine USS Sealion

[USSSeaLionattheSeain1945[1945年の海でのUSSシーライオン。U.S. Navy

The USS Sealion was a Balao-class submarine commissioned in March 1944. The submarine and its crew immediately took a combat test.

The first war patrol began on June 8, 1944. While operating in Japan, South Korea, and northeastern China, repeated depth charge attacks sank at least five ships, one of which was sunk with a deck gun.

Sea lions’ second war patrol began on August 17, 1944, and I saw them working with two other American submarines in the waters of the South China Sea. USS Growler When USS Pampanito.. The submarine attacked the Japanese convoy on August 31st. Meanwhile, the sea lion overcame the hail of the bombardment and caused enormous damage to the tanker, sinking the minelayer.

On September 12, three submarines attacked another Japanese convoy in the Taiwan Strait, sinking four ships and two escorts. Sea lions fired again from the deck guns of Japanese ships.

One of those ships was transporting British and Australian prisoners. A few days later, when they learned that there were survivors in the water, the sea lions returned to pick up 54 prisoners, four of whom died before arriving at the US Army Hospital in Saipan.

Navy submarine USS Sealion rescues survivors

British and Australian survivors rescued by the USS Sealion during the Second War Patrol of the Submarine in September 1944.U.S. Navy

However, the sea lion’s third war patrol was the most memorable.

After a Japanese battlegroup was discovered and Reich ordered the crew to a battle station, a submarine installed a film recorder left on the submarine by a CBS war correspondent and placed a microphone near the intercom speaker at Conning Tower. I put it.

The audio The event provides unusual insights into how the Hell Below submarine attack sounded.

Believing that the ships at the beginning and back of the column were cruisers and the second and third ships were battleships, US submarines decided to attack the battleships. Two of the three destroyers were also near the central ship, making them more likely to hit them if they missed their main target.

At 2:56 am, the sea lion fired six torpedoes from the torpedo tube in front of it at its first target. Three minutes later, the second target fired three more torpedoes from the rear torpedo launcher.

The sea lion crew reported that three of the torpedoes from the first salvo hit the first target. This turned out to be the battleship Kongo. One sailor Said and heard “Three hits to the Japanese’B’. It will at least put them in dry dock.”

Japanese battleship Kongo

Kongo in 1943.Keystone / Getty Images

The second Salvo missed the battleship Nagato, but one of the torpedoes hit the destroyer Urakaze, which exploded and sank with all his hands.The sea lion crew I heard a scream “Woo!” To celebrate.

The battleship was still in motion, so the sea lion temporarily withdrew to reload the torpedo tube, thinking it was just a dent in Kongo’s armor. Japanese ships continued their voyages and dropped depth charges in the wrong places as they went — for the relief of the sea lion crew.

Kongo slowed down, and the rest of the destroyers eventually left the other ships. The sea lion was preparing to attack the injured battleship when one of its crew noticed something. say it, “Wait a minute! Something is happening over there!”

Kongo was more damaged than he had originally thought. It exploded at 5:24 am. Cheered From the sea lion crew. Approximately 1,200 of Kongo’s crew, including the captain and the commander of the 3rd Battleship Unit, boarded the ship.

Changing roles and lasting heritage

Navy submarine USS Sealion

USS Sea Lion, a US Navy submarine in May 1956.U.S. Navy

With the sinking of Kongo, sea lions became the only alliance submarine that sank enemy battleships during World War II.

By the end of the third war patrol, sea lions had sunk at least 13 ships: 6 tankers, 5 cargo ships, 1 destroyer, and 1 battleship. We conducted three more patrols before the end of the war, but did not repeat the best results.

Sea lions ended the war with a quote of five service stars and a presidential unit. It was abolished in 1946, but was re-used in 1948 and converted into an army carrier.

The submarine carried an army of 123 people, was able to assist helicopters on its deck, and conducted multiple exercises and patrols on both coasts of the United States. U.S. Marine Corps And the navy Underwater demolition team — Until it was abolished again in 1960.

However, it became available again in 1961. He assisted in the blockade of Cuba during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and continued to support the training of US special operations forces, including the Navy special operations forces, during the 1960s.

In 1970, the legendary submarine was finally abolished. Eight years later, it sank as a target off the coast of Rhode Island.

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