Allied Warships

Pompano (SS-181)

Submarine of the Perch class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassPerch 
Pennant181 
Built byMare Island Navy Yard (Vallejo, California, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down14 Jan 1936 
Launched11 Mar 1937 
Commissioned12 Jun 1937 
Lost17 Sep 1943 
History

USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. Willis Manning Thomas) was due to leave her patrol area at sunset on 27 September 1943 and return to Pearl Harbour through Midway. She was expected to arrive at Midway for fuel and provisions on 5 October 1943 but she never arrived.

The official version is that she was lost while patroling off the coasts of Hokkaido and Honshu. Probably lost to Japanese mines. The date usually given (27 September) is an approximate one.

However Japanese records show that a submarine was sunk on 17 September by air attack off the Aomori Prefecture near Shiriya Zaki (offsite link). Though we cannot be certain the boat was actually sunk here, it must be taken into consideration since it can only have been directed against Pompano as this is within her patrol area and as there were no other submarines operating in that area. They say a seaplane based on Ominato (offsite link) attacked a surfaced sub which returned fire (this is critical since it leaves little doubt about what the plane attacked) then dived. The Japanese minelayer Ashizaki dropped depth charges the following day on a spot where oil was surfacing, bringing up more oil.

 

Commands listed for USS Pompano (181)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Lewis Smith Parks, USN12 Jun 1937Jun/Jul 42
2Lt.Cdr. Willis Manning Thomas, USNJun/Jul 4217 Sep 1943 (+)

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Notable events involving Pompano include:


18 Dec 1941
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. Lewis Smith Parks) left Pearl Harbor for her first war patrol, and was ordered to reconnoitre the eastern Marshall Islands.

31 Jan 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. L.S. Parks) ended her first war patrol when she returned to Pearl Harbor

20 Apr 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. L.S. Parks) left Pearl Harbor for her second war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the East China Sea.

24 May 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. L.S. Parks) sank the Japanese fishing vessel Kotoku Maru with gunfire in position east of Formosa in position 25°16'N, 122°41'E.

25 May 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. L.S. Parks) torpedoed and sank the Japanese tanker Tokyo Maru (902 GRT) some 70 nautical miles west of Naha, Okinawa in position 27°03'N, 127°03'E.

30 May 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. L.S. Parks) torpedoed and sank the Japanese troop transport Atsuta Maru (7983 GRT) east of Okinawa in position 26°07'N, 129°06'E.

18 Jun 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. L.S. Parks) ended her second war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

19 Jul 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. Willis Manning Thomas) left Pearl Harbor for her third war patrol, and was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters.

4 Sep 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) sank the Japanese guard boat Nanshin Maru No.27 (83 tons) with gunfire northeast of Honshu, Japan in position 35°22'N, 151°40'E. Pompano also takes one survivor prisoner.

12 Sep 1942
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) ended her third war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She left for an overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard shortly afterwards.

16 Jan 1943
With her overhaul completed USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) left Pearl Harbor for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Marshall Islands.

28 Feb 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) ended her fourth war patrol at Midway.

19 Mar 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) leaves Midway for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters.

10 May 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) ended her 5th war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

6 Jun 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) left Pearl Harbor for her 6th war patrol, once again she was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters.

4 Jul 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. Willis Manning Thomas) torpedoed and destroys the Japanese seaplane carrier Sagara Maru (offsite link) (7189 GRT) on the coast of southern Honshu in position 34°38'N, 137°53'E. The Sagara Maru was beached after an earlier attack by USS Harder on 22 June 1943.

10 Jul 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese oiler Kyokuyo Maru (17549 GRT, built 1938) off southern Honshu in position 33°34'N, 136°07'E

20 Jul 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese transport ship Uyo Maru (6376 GRT) east of Miki Zaki, Honshu, Japan in position 33°55'N, 136°26'E.

28 Jul 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) ended her 6th war patrol at Midway.

20 Aug 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) left Midway for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters off Hokkaido and Honshu.

1 Sep 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) sank the Japanese merchant Nankai Maru (451 GRT) off Miyako, Japan.

3 Sep 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) sank the Japanese merchant Akama Maru (5600 GRT) south-east of Hokkaido in position 41°00'N, 144°34'E.

9 Sep 1943
USS Pompano (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Thomas) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese transport ship Nanking Maru (3005 GRT) east of Honshu in position 40°12'N, 141°55'E.

Media links


The Last Patrol

Holmes, Harry


U. S. Submarines in World War II

Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


U.S. Submarines Through 1945

Friedman, Norman


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