BONEFISH STRIKES AGAIN
by Cornelius B.
Australian hospitality, Perth girls, EMU Bitters, Swan Lager and two
weeks rest leaves at the King Edward Hotel healed the frazzled nerves of
the Bonefish's crew. Returning to the boat on 3 November 1943, so longs
were said to the one-quarter of the crew being transferred. Their
replacements were waiting.
The twenty new men were assigned billets on the Watch Quarter and
Station Bill. The next day the replacements were integrated into the
training program after Bonefish got underway. The new men who had made
war patrols on other submarines wondered if the Bonefish's crew would
measure up. The original crewmembers having been bonded by seventy depth
charges and seven aerial bombs on the first patrol were guarded in their
assessments of their new shipmates. Even so, they worked together and
every compartment was meticulously inspected and each piece of machinery
tested. A number of uncompleted refit jobs were found and Bonefish
returned to Fremantle.
In front of Kin Edward Hotel Perth,
Western Australia 1943 after
BONEFISH's first successful war
patrol. GM1C(SS) C.R. Bartholomew
and COB Chief Eugene Freaner,
The repairs were finished and Bonefish got underway on 18 November for
two days of training. Day and night torpedo approaches were concentrated
on. Returning to port, the loading of supplies for the second war patrol
was completed. Dispirited because it looked like a Christmas at sea, the
crew cast off the mooring lines on 22 November 1943.
The engines belched block smoke as Bonefish started to back away from
the berth. On the pier, the Admiral shouted, "Good hunting Tom."
"Admiral, I'll have my boat and crew back before Christmas,"
Captain Thomas W. Hogan shouted from the bridge.
The Skipper's enthusiastic and optimistic pronouncement heartens the
crew. While the bow of the Bonefish parted the blue Indian Ocean, the
thought of being in port for Christmas waned.
The boat was loaded with twenty-four torpedoes and over sixty days of
supplies indicating a long patrol unless enemy ships could be sunk before
reaching the South China Sea. After topping off with fuel at Exmouth Gulf,
a course was set for Lombok Strait. On 28 November South of the Strait,
Bonefish submerged to await darkness. Surfacing at 1915, the lookouts
scrambled to their stations above the bridge for the scary transit.
The lookouts like scouts of Indian Wars were the eyes of the military
unit and in this case the Bonefish. Knowing the enemy lurked under the
sea, on the sea and over the sea ready to pounce kept the lookouts'
adrenaline flowing. That and the unwritten lookout creed, never allowed
the officer-of-the-deck to discover anything first," kept them alert.
Each lookout scoured the sea and sky in his assigned quadrant.
Every suspicious object, discoloring of the sea, log, dark speck in the
sky, smoke or a shadow at night was reported to the OOD. At 2210 in Lombok
Strait a lookout sang out, "Small ship at zero four five, SIR."
"Very well," the OOD answered as he swung his
binoculars to the object. It was a patrol boat at 2900 yards and could not
be picked up by radar. Skillfully the submarine was conned around the
enemy without being detected. After leaving the Strait and entering the
Flores Sea at 2245, the crew temporarily relaxed.
The next morning at 0525 a lookout sighted smoke estimated to be at
25000 yards. The word was passed, "Battle Stations for
tracking." A sub-chaser and making eight knots escorted the 5,000-ton
cargo ship. Bonefish submerged and went to battle stations torpedo at
0645. The sub-chaser searched the sea sending out sound waves heard
onboard on the submarine as a distinct 'PING.' Captain Hogan looking
though the periscope at 0817 verified the range, bearing and speed of the
target. Fifty-five seconds later torpedo number one was fired followed by
two, three and four. The first torpedo exploded under the cargo ship
listing it to port and settling by the stern. A Mary type aircraft was
secured on her well dock. With a burst of speed, the sub-chaser raced
toward the Bonefish.
Using a steep down angle the submarine went deep and the crew listened
to the cargo ship breaking up. The first depth charge shook the Bonefish
making the crews eyes look upwards. The next two depth charges jolted her
as a negative temperature gradient at 250 feet stopped her decent. Taking
on salt-water ballast, the submarine dropped through the gradient and
leveled off at 350 feel. Five more depth charges rattled the hull. After
six minutes of pinging, two more depth charges churned the sea above the
Bonefish. A two-minute silence was followed by two depth charges exploding
farther away. The pinging faded. The sinking of an enemy ship and the
twelve depth charges changed the crew's attitude.
The replacements realized Bonefish's crew measured up and the original
crewmembers knew they could count on their new shipmates. The Christmas in
port dream was becoming a possibility. Rising to sixty-two feet, the
periscope was raised. Smoke from the sub-chasers stack was observed
and a Pete type aircraft circled the area of the sinking. Remaining
submerged until dark, the BONEFISH surfaced and set a course for Makassar
The 30 November midwatch had just settled into their routine when a
lookout sighted a patrol vessel. It was at 6,000 yards. Radar could not
pick it up. Bonefish was not detected. To avoid discovery by airplanes and
patrol boats, Bonefish submerged before sunrise off Cape William. Several
sailboats were watched that day wandering near the Cape. Surfacing at 1847
and traveling north under the black tropical night, a pip appeared on the
radar. The sub-chaser was eluded by Bonefish. Two hours into the midwatch
on 1 December two more patrol boats were picked up by radar and dodged.
Running on the surface, the Bonefish crossed the equator at 0830 that
morning. An hour later an enemy convoy hugging the Celebes coast was
The ships identified as the cargo carriers London MARU, Kaisyo MARU,
Kiso MARU were escorted by an Akikaze class destroyer escort and a Turbahr
class minelayer. A Dave type aircraft circled the convoy starting a game
of hide and seek with the Bonefish.
While charging ahead full speed on four engines to gain attack
position, Bonefish was forced to dive three times by the Dave aircraft. At
1408 on the surface, Bonefish exchanged information about the convoy with
the USS Bowfin (SS287). The Bonefish submerged at 1707 when the range to
the zigzagging convoy was 13,000 yards. The next change in course would
bring the enemy ships into firing range. The enemy ships started talking
using flashing lights and the convoy turned away from the Bonefish.
Surfacing, BONEFISH took up the chase again. With the bright moon astern
of her and the convoy hugging the coast, Bonefish made all torpedoes ready
for the surface attack.
At 2100 torpedo one, two and three were fired at the destroyer escort.
Numbers four, five and six were fired at the leading and largest cargo
ship, As number two and three torpedoes exploded prematurely the Bonefish
was racing at full speed and making a turning for a stern shot.
Number one torpedo smashed into the destroyer escort and exploded.
Number four torpedo blasted a hole in the lead cargo ship while number
five torpedo exploded prematurely. Torpedoes seven, eight, nine and ten
were fired. The bridge crew and lookouts observed a second hit on the
destroyer escort and the cargo ship. The minelayer raced toward Bonefish
but using full speed the submarine opened the distance. And the Captain,
the OOD and four lookouts were entertained by a spectacular, violent,
bursting, pyrotechnics like display.
The cargo ship sank. The destroyer escort's magazines exploded
engulfing her in flames. The sky lit up like a dazzling Fourth of July
firework fanfare. The blast rocked the Bonefish. Reducing speed, all
torpedo tubes were reloaded. After a quick trim dive, the chase resumed.
Passing through the area of the sinking, survivors in lifeboats opened
fire on the bridge crew and lookouts with small arms. The remainder of the
convoy was picked up on radar and it was after sunrise on 2 December
before firing range was reached.
Submerging, the stern tubes were fired. One torpedo ran erratic, one
prematurely exploded and two missed. The enemy convoy veered away and the
bow tubes could not be brought into firing position. Surfacing and using
four engines, the Bonefish charged ahead only to be foiled by aircraft.
She was forced to dive at 1125 AM and 1330 by planes. The convoy
was lost in one of the numerous coves along the rugged Celebes
coast. With only six torpedoes left BONEFISH was assigned a new
patrol area off the coast of Borneo.
A patrol boat was eluded that evening and four days later the Legazpi,
a 700-ton minelayer, was tracked. It was not worthy of a torpedo and using
the deck gun would give the Bonefish's position away. The surface hunt
continued and she was forced to dive by an aircraft on 9 December. The
lack of targets made the crew anxious and combative. The next day an enemy
patrol boat scampered behind a reef and into shallow water to avoid being
pounced upon by the Bonefish. On 11 December the Legazpi was again
sighted. It was decided to sink her.
The four main engines roared as the deck gun crew scrambled to their
stations. It was a clear sunny afternoon. The 4"50-caliber gun was
cast loose. At 6,000 yards the enemy noticed the charging Bonefish and
opened fire with a three-inch gun and small arms. All shots fell short.
The submarine deck gun spat fire sending the first round on its way.
The high capacity round with a point detonating fuse fell short. The
minelayer zigged and zagged. The second four-inch round set the enemy ship
on fire and a cloud of black smoke covered her. The fourth round silenced
her three-inch gun. After fifty-three rounds and seven direct hits, the
four-inch gun failed to return to the firing position. The gun crew forced
the gun back to battery. Another round was fired as a Dave type aircraft
The minelayer was seen beaching herself to keep from sinking as the
Bonefish dove. The next enemy ship was encountered Sunday, 12 December.
The lone ship was identified as the Tola MARU through the periscope
while Bonefish ran on the surface. Getting into firing range, the
submarine dove for the attack. The elated crew knew Christmas in Perth was
The bow tubes were made ready. At 1006 torpedoes number four, five and
six were fired. One torpedo emitting smoke was seen by the enemy and the
ship zagged away. New information was fed into the torpedo data computer.
The last three torpedoes were fired from number one, two and three tubes.
All torpedoes missed and exploded harmlessly at the end of their runs. A
submarine chaser appeared on the horizon and the Bonefish turned south.
The equator was crossed on 13 December and every day patrol boats and
airplanes harassed Bonefish. A two masted schooner manned by natives was
stopped and searched and allowed to proceed having no cargo onboard. With
the scary Lombok Strait behind them, the crew-felt safe and started making
With joy in their hearts, the crew eagerly grabbed the morning
lines and secured Bonefish alongside the USS Pelias. Fresh milk, fruit and
mail from home and the Admiral came aboard as soon as the gangplank was
For adding two large cargo ships and a destroyer escort to her total
tonnage sunk, the Bonefish's crew was awarded a star to the submarine
combat pin. Filled with pride, the crew boarded busses for the short ride
to the hotel where they were to spend the well-deserved next two weeks of
rest and recreation.
Lost June 18, 1945
ABEL, D. A.
ADAMS, T. B., JR.
ADAMS, W. S.
AMBURGEY, L. M.
ANDERSON, G. I., JR.
AURELI, S. J.
BECK, M. L.
BROWN, R. W.
BROWNING, J. A.
BURDICK, C. A.
CANFIELD, K. T.
COLEMAN, J. A.
COOLEY, Q. L.
DANIELSON, 0 . C.
DUNN, D. H.
EDGE, L. L
ENOS, E. R.
EPPS, W. H., JR.
FELD, P. E.
FOX, D. C.
FRANK, R. E.
FUGETT, M. A.
FULLER, G. M.
HACKSTAFF, H. J.
HARMAN, G. P.
HASIAK, J. J.
HESS, R. D.
HOUGHTON, W. S.
JENKINS, R. W.
JOHNSON, J. C.
JOHNSON, S. E., JR.
JOHNSTON, T. M.
KALINOFF, M. W.
KERN, F. B.
KING, E. W.
KISSANE, J. E.
KNIGHT, F. S.
LAMOTHE, J. N.
LARACY, J. J. JR.
LEWIS, M. A.
LOCKWOOD, T. G.
LYNCH, J. F.
MAGHAN, A. G.
MARKLE, J. E.
McBRIDE R. J.
MILES, H. V., JR.
NESTER, S. A.
NEWBERRY, J. R.
O'TOOLE, W. P.
PAULEY, G. W.
PHENICIE, J. E.
PRIMAVERA, L. J.
PRUNIER, G. A.
QUENETT, C. F.
RALEY, C. H.
RAY, R. C., JR.
RAYNES, J. A.
REID, J. A.
RHANOR, C. J.
RICE, R. M.
ROSE, R. A., II
SCHILLER, R. G.
SCHMIDLING, C. J.
SCHWEYER, R. G.
SMITH, L.G., JR.
SNODGRASS, R. L.
STAMM, R. S.
SURBER, R. M.
TIERNEY, D. R.
VELIE, R. C.
VINCENT, T. F., JR.
WILSON, J. R.
WILLIAMS, J. J.
WILLIAMS, I. R., JR.
WILLIAMS, T. F.
WINEGAR, C. D.
WOLFE, L. E.
WRIGHT, G. W., JR.