Allied Warships

Blueback (SS-326)

Submarine of the Balao class


USS Blueback shortly after the war.

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassBalao 
Pennant326 
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered6 Jun 1942 
Laid down29 Jul 1943 
Launched7 May 1944 
Commissioned28 Aug 1944 
End service23 May 1948 
History

Decommissioned stricken and transferred to Turkey on 23 May 1948;

 

Commands listed for USS Blueback (326)

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CommanderFromTo
1T/Cdr. Merrill Kinsell Clementson, USN28 Aug 1944late 1945

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Notable events involving Blueback include:


The history of USS Blueback as compiled on this page is extracted from her patrol reports.

This page was last updated in February 2017.

11 Sep 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) shifted from New London, Connecticut to Newport, Rhode Island to conduct her torpedo trials.

15 Sep 1944
Having completed her torpedo trials, USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), shifted from Newport, Rhode Island to New London, Connecticut.

29 Sep 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) was put on the slipway at New London.

30 Sep 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) was put back in the water.

2 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed New London, Connecticut for Key West, Florida where she was to perform services to the Fleet Sound School.

9 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) arrived at Key West, Florida from New London, Connecticut.

11 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Key West, Florida.

12 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Key West, Florida.

13 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Key West, Florida.

14 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Key West, Florida.

19 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Key West, Florida.

20 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed Key West for the Panama Canal Zone.

24 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) arrived at Colon, Panama Canal Zone.

26 Oct 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises in Panama Bay.

4 Nov 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed Balboa, Panama Canal Zone for Pearl Harbour.

22 Nov 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) arrived at Pearl Harbor.

1 Dec 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Baron (Lt.Cdr. W.M. Dickerson, USNR). Due to a defect the exercises had to be broken off and Blueback returned to Pearl Harbour for repairs.

5 Dec 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour.

10 Dec 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Whitman (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Coan, USNR), USS Wileman (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Tanner, Jr., USNR), USS Connolly (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Collier, USNR), USS Tautog (Cdr. T.S. Baskett, USN) and USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer, USN).

16 Dec 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

For daily positions (though incomplete) of USS Blueback during this patrol see the map below.

27 Dec 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) arrived at Saipan. She was escorted in by USS PC-1126 (Lt. J.F. Carrere, USNR).

Shortly before she arrived an Army B-24 crashed nearby and Blueback was able to pick up four survivors (one seriously injured) which were rushed to harbour at flank speed.

29 Dec 1944
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed Saipan for her patrol area. She was escorted out by USS PC-1126 (Lt. J.F. Carrere, USNR).

8 Feb 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed her patrol area for Fremantle, Australia. Later she was given new instuctions to patrol in the Gulf of Siam and even later to proceed eastwards.

On the 14th she was ordered to proceed to Subic Bay, Philippines.

15 Feb 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) ended her 1st war patrol at Subic Bay, Philippines. She was escorted in by USS Holt (Lt.Cdr. V. Blue, USNR). At Subic Bay she was refitted by USS Griffin.

4 Mar 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed from Subic Bay for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea. She was escorted out by USS Day (Lt.Cdr. K.E. Read, USNR).

For daily and attack positions of USS Blueback during this patrol see the map below.

12 Mar 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) sank a sailing vessel with gunfire in the South China Sea off the coast of French Indo-China in position 13°17'N, 109°58'E.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0720 hours - Obtained a radar contact at a range of 9000 yards.

0723 hours - Sighted a large two-masted sailing vessel in the haze at a range of 8000 yards.

0730 hours - Battle stations gun action.

0736 hours - In position 13°17'N, 109°58'E opened fire with 5", 40mm, 20mm, .50cal and .30cal.

0759 hours - The target was seen to sink like a rock. Six survivors were seen in the water. Seas were to rough to pick them up.

Ammunition expended:
5" - 88 rounds,
40mm - 250 rounds,
20mm - 1080 rounds,
.50 cal - 600 rounds,
.30 cal - 350 rounds.

22 Mar 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) sank a sailing vessel with gunfire in the South China Sea off the coast of French Indo-China in position 13°06'N, 109°39'E.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0718 hours - Sighted a three-masted sailing vessel about 11 miles off the beach. Closed.

0840 hours - Opened fire from 1800 yards. Position was 13°06'N, 109°39'E.

0842 hours - The target exploded and sank. Did not pick up the four survivors sighted.

Ammuntion expended:
5" - 7 rounds,
40mm - 20 rounds.

26 Mar 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) attacked two Japanese frigates with five torpedoes off the coast of Indo-China. No hits were obtained. Two of the torpedoes were circular runners narrowly missing Blueback herself.

(All times are zone H, -8)
1847 hours - In position 12°39'N, 109°29'E sighted two Japanese frigates at a range of 7000 to 8000 yards. Started attack.

1913 hours - In position 12°39'N, 109°30'E fired five bow torpedoes from 2920 yards. Two torpedoes were circular runners passing over the crew's mess and the after battery compartment. The other torpedoes missed their targets. No counter attack followed.

28 Mar 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) attacked but missed a large Japanese destroyer, most likely Amatsukaze, while trying to close a heavily escorted Japanese convoy off the convoy of Indo-China.

(All times are zone H, -8)
1012 hours - In position 12°38'N, 109°28'E sighted masts to the south.

1015 hours - Sighted smoke to the south. Battle stations torpedo. A total of six escorts and two transports were counted shortly afterwards.

1058 hours - In position 12°39'N, 109°29'E fired three stern torpedoes at a large destroyer from 1000 yards. The first torpedo however was seen to broach which alerted the destroyer which was then able to avoid the other two torpedoes. Blueback now started to clear the area for deeper water.

1102 hours - The first out of a total of 80 to 90 depth charges was dropped. No damage was sustained during this depth charging. Blueback eventually ended up at a depth of 430 feet.

1250 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw the destroyer at a range of 16000 yards.

2155 hours - Surfaced.

30 Mar 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) sank three sailing vessels with gunfire in the South China Sea off the coast of French Indo-China in position 13°41'N, 109°34'E.

(All times are zone H, -8)
1605 hours - Sighted three sailing vessels. Closed.

1629 hours - Radar range to the largest sailing vessel was now 8700 yards. These sailing vessels were heading souh 15 miles from the coast.

1641 hours - Battle stations gun action. Opened fire from a range of 2000 yards. Used 5" in the large one and 40mm for the other two. Position was 13°41'N, 109°34'E.

1653 hours - One of the two smaller sailing vessel was sunk with 40mm.

1700 hours - The larget sailing vessel sank.

1706 hours - The third sailing vessel sank. Then cleared the area.

Ammuntion expended:
5" - 45 rounds,
40mm - 70 rounds,
20mm - 300 rounds.

12 Apr 1945
In the evening, USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), made the southbound passage of Lombok Strait on the surface.

17 Apr 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Fremantle, Australia. At Fremantle she was refitted by USS Clytie and a relief crew of submarine division 302.

12 May 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Java Sea. Before proceeding on patrol exercises were carried out with USS Bergall (Cdr. J.M. Hyde, USN) and USS Isabel (Lt. E.G. Zacher, USNR).

For daily and attack positions of USS Blueback during this patrol see the map below.

18 May 1945
In the early morning houers, USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), passed Lombok Strait northbound while on the surface.

21 May 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) attacked and damaged the Japanese submarine chaser Ch 1 with gunfire south-west of Bawean Island in position 06°03'S, 112°21'E.

(All times are zone I, -9)
2225 hours - In position 06°03'S, 112°21'E obtained contact on three ships by sight, sound and radar simultaneously bearing 140°(T), range 8000 yards. Commenced tracking.

2235 hours - The nearest target is closing at 18 knots. Went to four engines and opened the range slowly. This obvious escort can be seen clearly from the bridge at 7000 yards. It was thought to be a submarine chaser.

2247 hours - Stopped and let the escort close the range. Battle stations gun action.

2255 hours - Range was now 5700 yards. Opened fire with 5". The third shot was a hit. The escort turned away when the range was 4100 yards.

2302 hours - The 19th shot now went out. Some other ship had opened fire on us with 3" or 4". Fired some 5" at him and then retired behind a smoke screen.

Ammunition expended:
5" - 24 rounds.

28 May 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) attacked a Japanese patrol vessel with a total of seven torpedoes that all missed. A gunnery action then followed. Location of the attack was near Jepara, Java, Netherlands East Indies in position 06°14'S, 110°33'E.

(All times are zone I, -9)
2010 hours - In position 06°14'S, 110°32'E obtained radar contact at a range of 12000 yards.

2033 hours - Headed in at flank speed.

2107 hours - In position 06°11'S, 110°37'E fired five bow torpedoes from 3000 yards. Target was a patrol vessel.

2109 hours - Fired two stern torpedoes from 2200 yards. No hits were obtained.

2135 hours - In position 06°14'S, 110°33'E opened fire with 5" and 40mm. Some hits were obtained and a small fire was started on the target. The enemy was firing back with 25mm and rather accurately.

2140 hours - Broke off the action and retired behind a smoke screen.

2142 hours - USS Lamprey (Lt.Cdr. L.B. McDonald, USN) now opened fire on the target. When the range had opened to 6500 yards turned around and joined Lamprey.

2202 hours - Fired a few more rounds of 5". Broke off the action shortly afterwards.

Ammunition expended:
5" - 27 rounds,
40mm - 70 rounds.

2 Jun 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) attacked a Japanese freighter in a convoy in the northern end of the Sunda Strait in position 05°51'S, 105°54'E with three torpedoes. No hits were obtained. Blueback was depth charged following this attack.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0757 hours - In position 05°43'S, 106°02'E sighted three smoke columns. Shortly afterwards sighted three small ships and one escort. Commenced approach.

0855 hours - The three ships were sugar dogs. Decided to let them pass in the hope for bigger prey.

0928 hours - In position 05°48'S, 105°59'E sighted a convoy of a couple of large / medium freighters to the east. Commenced approach.

0940 hours - The convoy looked like it was made up of two freighters and three escorts.

1105 hours - In position 05°51'S, 105°54'E fired three torpedoes at the nearest ship from 1250 yards. Lost depth control on firing. Heard two torpedoes pass overhead and a good solid timed hit on the target. Unable to attack the other ship as depth control had been lost. After two minutes gave up the attempt to get to periscope depth, went deep to 200 feet.

1116 hours - The escort was heard getting nearer from astern.

1120 hours - Depth charging started.

1154 hours - Hit the bottom in 210 feet of water.

1357 hours - Lifted the boat of the bottom.

1405 hours - At periscope depth. Started to clear the area.

3 Jun 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) sank a lugger and a sampan with gunfire north of Batavia, Java, Netherlands East Indies in position 05°39'S, 106°47'E.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0740 hours - Heard screws. Could make out a small lugger towing a sampan. Position was 05°39'S, 106°47'E.

0755 hours - Battle stations gun action.

0807 hours - Battle surfaced at a range of 1300 yards.

0809 hours - Opened fire with 5", 40mm, 20mm and .50cal.

0818 hours - Ceased fire. The target was sinking. Cleared the area.

0825 hours - Saw the lugger sink.

Ammunition expended:
5" - 37 rounds,
40mm - 125 rounds,
20mm - 420 rounds,
.50 cal - 240 rounds.

5 Jun 1945
At 1127 hours (zone I, -9) USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) sighted the Japanese heavy cruiser Ashigara and her escort, destroyer Kamikaze while they were en-route from Singapore to Batavia. Position was 05°49'S, 106°41'E (north-north-west of Batavia, Java, Netherlands East Indies). Blueback was however not in a position to attack.

7 Jun 1945
At 0900 hours (zone I, -9) USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) again sighted the Japanese heavy cruiser Ashigara and her escort, destroyer Kamikaze while they were en-route from Batavia to Singapore. Position was 05°49'S, 106°42'E (north-north-west of Batavia, Java, Netherlands East Indies). Like on the 5th Blueback was not in a position to attack. A contact report was sent out. Ashigara was sunk the next day by HMS Trenchant (Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSO, DSC, RN).

9 Jun 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) set course to return to Fremantle to take on board new torpedoes.

While passing the Sunda Strait southbound a Sugar dog was sighted which was attacked with one torpedo which missed.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0225 hours - In the narrowest point of the Sunda Strait sighted a ship near the beach. Battle stations. Reversed course and commenced tracking. Position was 05°54'S, 105°47'E.

0239 hours - In position 05°58'S, 105°56'E fired one torpedo from 1000 yards. It missed a few feat ahead. The targets speed was overestimated. The target was identified as a large Sugar dog.

0244 hours - The torpedo exploded on hitting the beach. Cleared the area.

0600 hours - Completed the transit of the Sunda Strait.

14 Jun 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) arrived at Fremantle to investigate the torpedo firing difficulties, reload, voyage repairs and to take on board equipment required for special operations.

21 Jun 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed Fremantle to resume her 3rd war patrol.

26 Jun 1945
During daylight hours, USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), made the northbound transfer of Lombok Strait submerged.

27 Jun 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese submarine chaser Ch 2 (266 tons, offsite link) in the Bali Sea, south-east of the Kangean Islands, Netherlands East Indies in position 07°25'S, 116°00'E.

(All times are zone I, -9)
26 June 1945
2142 hours - Received a message from USS Bullhead stating that she was in contact with three ships about 60 miles to the north-west of us. Set course to intercept.

2215 hours - Exchanged calls with USS Bullhead on SJ radar. She was still tracking the enemy.

2340 hours - Gave USS Bullhead permission to attack which she did. We did not yet have radar contact on the emeny.

27 June 1945
0052 hours - In position 07°30'S, 115°56'E obtained radar contact bearing 319°(T), range 11500 yards. Commenced tracking.

0109 hours - Only one target was on the radar.

0135 hours - Range now 8000 yards. Identified the target as a patrol vessel. She was hunting (pinging). The other ships of the orignal contact were to the west.

0139 hours - Headed westward at full speed to hunt for the bigger game.

0142 hours - Received a message from USS Bullhead that she had attacked with five torpedoes but had obtained no hits. She had thought the targets were a minelayer and a Chidori class torpedo boat.

0150 hours - In position 07°25'S, 115°58'E obtained radar contact at 12000 yards. Commenced tracking. Again only one target was picked up.

0205 hours - Submerged. ST radar gave a range of 8800 yards now.

0227 hours - In position 07°25'S, 116°00'E fired five torpedoes from 1650 yards.

0229 hours - Saw and then heard a large explosion.

0237 hours - Fired a stern tube from 1600 yards, it missed.

0245 hours - Fired the remaining bow torpedo from 900 yards. It hit and the target was gone very quickly.

0248 hours - Breaking up noises were heard.

29 Jun 1945
During the evening, USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), conducted a special operation (no further details known to us for the moment).

1 Jul 1945
In the evening, USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), passed the Sunda Strait southbound while on the surface.

2 Jul 1945
During the night of 2/3 July 1945, USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), conducted a special operation (no further details known to us for the moment).

9 Jul 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) transferred the officers assigned to the special operations and their equipment to USS Loggerhead (Cdr. R.N. Metcalf, USN).

9 Jul 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) sank a lugger with gunfire to the north-north-west of Batavia, Java, Netherlands East Indies.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1200 hours - Sighted three motor driven luggers in position 05°39'S, 106°42'E.

1247 hours - Battle surfaced to engage these luggers.

1249 hours - Opened fire from 1300 yards. Saw 12 crewmembers abandon ship. Ceased fire after two 40mm hits. Put on board the boarding party. Position was 05°37'S, 106°41'E.

Ammunition expended:
5" - 3 rounds,
40mm - 26 rounds.

1324 hours - Took off the boarding party and submerged. Blueback was from now on harrassed by aircraft contacts.

1427 hours - Headed back towards the scene. Decided to stay submerged until dusk and then finish her off.

1920 hours - Battle surfaced.

1923 hours - Fired eight rounds of 40mm from 100 yards. All hit.

1925 hours - Submerged as three aircraft were approaching.

2008 hours - Battle surfaced.

2018 to 2028 hours - Put 100 rounds of 40mm into the lugger from 250 yards. Left it demolished and swamped in position 05°37'S, 106°43'E. Then cleared the scene.

Ammunition expended:
40mm - 194 rounds.

10 Jul 1945
At 2200 hours, on board USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN), ensign Beahan, the gunnery officer, was killed instantly when he was hit by gunfire from the twin .50cal when this gun was accidentaly fired during cleaning. He was buried at sea on the 12th.

13 Jul 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) attacked a large sugar dog with three torpedoes in the northern end of the Sunda Strait. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1025 hours - Sighted five small sugar dogs in position 05°54'S, 105°33'E.

1032 hours - Commenced approach.

1044 hours - In position 05°55'S, 105°52'E fired three bow torpedoes at the first sugar dog from 840 yards, by far the largest one. All missed. Patrolling aircraft prevented Blueback from attacking again.

15 Jul 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) sank a schooner off the Discovery bank. She also damaged a building and the lighthouse.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1842 hours - Sighted the two masts of a two-masted schooner, range 18000 yards. Closed. Position was 03°50'S, 109°01'E.

1957 hours - In position 03°47'S, 109°13'E opened fire on a large schooner. Then fired on a building near a lighthouse and finally on the lighthouse itself. The schooner was sunk and the building and lighthouse damaged if not destroyed.

2005 hours - Ceased firing.

2011 hours - Cleared the area and set course for Karimata Strait.

Ammuntion expended:
5" - 38 rounds,
40mm - 250 rounds.

20 Jul 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Subic Bay, Philippines. She was escorted in by USS Johnnie Hutchins (Lt.Cdr. H.M. Godsey, USNR).

31 Aug 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) departed Subic Bay for Guam.

5 Sep 1945
USS Blueback (Cdr. M.K. Clementson, USN) arrived at Guam from Subic Bay.

Media links


U. S. Submarines in World War II

Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


U.S. Submarines Through 1945

Friedman, Norman


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