Allied Warships

Albacore (SS-218)

Submarine of the Gato class


USS Albacore as modified during the war

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassGato 
Pennant218 
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered1 Jul 1940 
Laid down21 Apr 1941 
Launched17 Feb 1942 
Commissioned1 Jun 1942 
Lost7 Nov 1944 
Loss position41.49N, 141.11E
History

USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Hugh Raynor Rimmer) was mined and sunk in 260 m of water while running submerged, just outside the 100-fathom curve near Esan Zaki, off the northern tip of Honshu in position 41º49'N, 141º11'E.
A field of 200 93-shiki influence mines had been laid in the area in October 1942 by AMC Bangkok Maru, 270 more were added in November 1943 and 250 more in July 1944.
The underwater explosion was witnessed by auxiliary patrol boat Fukuei Maru nr.7, at the time proceeding along the coast on an anti-submarine sweep. There was one heavy explosion, causing a 10-metre column of water, followed by 2 more, lesser detonations. The explosions were followed by the surfacing of debris identified by the Japanese as a hydroplane, a rudder and smaller debris from a submarine. This was followed by a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, and food supplies rising to the surface.

 

Commands listed for USS Albacore (218)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Richard Cross Lake, USN1 Jun 194212 Jun 1943
2Lt.Cdr. Oscar Emil Hagberg, USN12 Jun 19435 Dec 1943
3Lt.Cdr. James William Blanchard, USN26 Dec 19433 Oct 1944
4Lt.Cdr. Hugh Raynor Rimmer, USN3 Oct 19447 Nov 1944 (+)

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Noteable events involving Albacore include:


28 Aug 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Richard Cross Lake) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 1st war patrol, and was ordered to patrol off Truk.

13 Sep 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) made a periscope attack against a freighter estimated at 8000 brt, claiming one torpedo hit. This was not confirmed post-war.

1 Oct 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) made a torpedo attack against an oiler, estimated at 6000 tgr, claiming 2 hits, this was not confirmed post-war.

10 Oct 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) made a torpedo attack against a freighter estimated at 4000 tgr, claiming one hit. This was not confirmed post-war.

20 Oct 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) ended her 1st war patrol at Midway.

11 Nov 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) departed from Midway for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the New Britain / New Guinea area.

18 Dec 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) torpedoed and sank the Japanese light cruiser Tenryu (3948 tons) (offsite link) off Madang harbour, eastern New Guinea in position 05°12'S, 145°56'E, and attacked but misses the Japanese armed merchant cruiser Gokoku Maru (10438 GRT, offsite link) in position 05°10'S, 145°57'E. Albacore survives the counterattacks by the escorting destroyers Suzukaze and Isonami (both offsite links) but sustains severe damage.

30 Dec 1942
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) ended her 2nd war patrol at Brisbane, Australia.

20 Jan 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) departed from Brisbane for her 3th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off New Guinea.

20 Feb 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Richard Cross Lake) attacked Japanese warships, torpedoing and sinking the Japanese destroyer Oshio (offsite link) about 140 nautical miles north-north-west of Manus, Admiralty Islands in position 00°50'S, 146°06'E.

11 Mar 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) ended her 3rd war patrol at Brisbane.

6 Apr 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) departed from Brisbane for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Solomon Islands / Bismarck Islands / New Guinea area.

26 May 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Lake) ended her 4rd war patrol at Brisbane.

16 Jun 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Oscar Emil Hagberg) departed from Brisbane for her 5th war patrol, and was ordered to patrol in the Bismarck and Solomon Islands area.

19 Jul 1943
Made a torpedo attack against a Japanese transport, estimated at 6400 tgr, claiming one hit. This was not confirmed post-war.

29 Jul 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) ended her 5th war patrol at Brisbane.

23 Aug 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) departed from Brisbane for her 6th war patrol. Once again she was ordered to patrol in the Bismarck and Solomon Islands area.

4 Sep 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Heijo Maru (2677 GRT) south-west of Ponape, Caroline Islands in position 05°25'N, 156°37'E.

5 Sep 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) hits the Japanese transport ship Hokusho Maru (4211 GRT) with two dud torpedoes south-west of Ponape, Caroline Islands in position 03°50'N, 160°20'E.

26 Sep 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) ended her 6th war patrol at Brisbane.

12 Oct 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) departed from Brisbane for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the New Guinea / New Britain area.

8 Nov 1943
While chasing a convoy off New Ireland, USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) is inexplicably attacked by a US bomber which ignored the convoy and went after the sub, at position 03°08'S, 150°17'E. Despite some damage she remains on patrol.

12 Nov 1943
Patrolling in the Carolines. In bright moonlight, Albacore was again attacked by a 5th USAAF plane. The boat crash-dived and a bomb exploded in close proximity to the bow as she was passing 18 m. The sub was violently shaken and the main induction flooded.
Albacore dropped to 135 m (450 ft) before the descent was finally checked and it took 2 hours of hard work to regain control of the sub and bring her back to the surface (the main induction of a Gato class boat could hold about 16 tons of water, with no chance to pump it out, it almost caused the loss of the sub).
Later in the day she received orders to finish off the damaged Japanese light cruiser Agano, torpedoed by USS Scamp: she got within sight of the cruiser but was then detected by the escorts and held down by a destroyer for 4 hours, thereby preventing her from attacking the Agano.

25 Nov 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. O.E. Hagberg) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport ship Kenzan Maru (4704 GRT) north-east of Manus in position 00°46'N, 144°50'E.

5 Dec 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Oscar Emil Hagberg) ended her 7th war patrol at Brisbane.

26 Dec 1943
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. James William Blanchard) departed from Brisbane for her 8th war patrol, and was ordered to patrol north of the Bismarck Archipelago.

12 Jan 1944
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Choko Maru No.2 (2629 GRT) about 350 nautical miles south-west of Truk in position 03°30'N, 147°27'E. Albacore also damaged the motor gunboat Hayabusa-Tei No.4 (25 GRT) under tow of the Choko Maru No.12 so badly that the smaller craft has to be scuttled in position 03°37'N, 147°27'E.

14 Jan 1944
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Sazanami (offsite link) about 300 nautical miles south-east of Yap in position 05°30'N, 141°34'E.

22 Feb 1944
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) ended her 8th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She is now sent to the Mare Islands Navy Yard for a much needed overhaul.

5 May 1944
With her overhaul completed USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) departed from the Mare Island Navy Yard.

13 May 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) arrived at Pearl Harbor.

29 May 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Mariana Islands area.

19 Jun 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) torpedoed and sank the Japanese aircraft carrier Taiho (29300 tons) (offsite link), about 180 nautical miles north-north-west of Yap in position 12°22'N, 137°04'E.
The carrier was flying the Flag of Adm. Ozawa, Commander of the Kido Butai, heading for the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Her sinking was catastrophic for the Japanese in that communications between the Admiral and the rest of the Fleet were delayed for hours, and the strikes to be launched against the US support forces located off Saipan were uncoordinated and lacking the planes lost with Taiho, which was a major factor in the decisive defeat of Japanese air power in what became known as "The Marianas Turkey shoot" the following day.

3 Jul 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) makes a deck gun attack in position 08°10'N, 136°18'E, sinking the small Japanese merchant Taiei Maru (130 GRT) en route from Yap to Palau. 5 survivors were picked up after the sinking but other survivors refused to be rescued.

15 Jul 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) ended her 9th war patrol at Majuro.

8 Aug 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) departed from Majuro for her 10th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters in the Bungo Suido / Kii Suido area.

5 Sep 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant Shingetsu Maru (880 GRT) north of Muroto Saki in position 32°24'N, 134°15'E.

6 Sep 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary minesweeper Eguchi Maru No.3 (198 GRT) at entrance to Kii Suido, Japan in position 33°29'N, 135°32'E.

11 Sep 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser Cha-165 (130 tons) off Kyushu, Japan in position 32°20'N, 131°50'E.

25 Sep 1944
USS Albacore (Cdr. J.W. Blanchard) ended her 10th war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

24 Oct 1944
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Hugh Raynor Rimmer) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 11th war patrol, and was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters of Honshu and Hokkaido.

28 Oct 1944
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Hugh Raynor Rimmer) refuels at Midway.

21 Dec 1944
USS Albacore (Lt.Cdr. Hugh Raynor Rimmer) is reported overdue.

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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