John Corbus, USN

Born  25 Oct 1907Vallejo, Solano County, California, USA
Died  22 Mar 1966(58)Alameda County, California, USA

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1 Jul 1937 Lt.
1 Jan 1942 T/Lt.Cdr.
30 Jun 1942 Lt.Cdr.
15 Oct 1942 T/Cdr.
15 Nov 1945 T/Capt.


Jul/Sep 44 Navy Cross (1)

Warship Commands listed for John Corbus, USN

USS R-3 (80)Lt.Submarine19 Aug 19404 Nov 1941
USS S-24 (129)Lt.SubmarineNov 194110 Aug 1942
USS Herring (233)T/Cdr.Submarine5 Mar 194313 Apr 1943
USS Haddo (255)T/Cdr.Submarine14 Dec 194318 Feb 1944
USS Bowfin (287)T/Cdr.Submarine15 Apr 194423 Sep 1944

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Submarine USS S-24 (129)

8 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS S-24 departed Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone for New London, Connecticut.

21 May 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS S-24 arrived at New London, Connecticut from Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone.

Submarine USS Haddo (255)

14 Dec 1943
USS Haddo (Lt.Cdr. J. Corbus) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Philippines.

4 Feb 1944
USS Haddo (Lt.Cdr. J. Corbus) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.

Submarine USS Bowfin (287)

25 Apr 1944
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Palau and to proceed to Pearl Habour on completion of this patrol.

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

2 May 1944 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) topped off with fuel at Darwin before proceeding to her patrol area.

14 May 1944 (position 8.53, 133.35)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) and USS Aspro (Cdr. W.A. Stevenson, USN) together sink the Japanese army cargo ship Bisan Maru (4667 GRT, built 1944) about 90 nautical miles north-west of Palau in position 08°53'N, 133°35'E.

Bisan Maru was in convoy together with Jokuja Maru (6440 GRT, built 1944). They were escorted by the Japanese submarine chaser Ch-12 and the auxiliary submarine chasers CHa-32 and CHa-60.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0224 hours - In position 08°45'N, 133°52'E sighted smoke bearing 025°(T). Commenced tracking. Target was on base course 285°(T), speed 9 knots. Commenced end around run.

0325 hours - Radar interference thought to be of another SJ radar bearing 084°(T).

0339 hours - Now ahead of the target. There were two large targets and one smaller one thought to be an escort.

0500 hours - Smoke of target now bearing 103°(T), range 19000 yards. Escort bearing 106°(T), range 14000 yards. Submerged and commenced approach.

0507 hours - Selected the leading Maru as the main target.

0510 hours - Target now 098°(T), range 11000 yards.

0520 hours - Range now 8900 yards, bearing 055°(T).

0525 hours - The target zigged to the left at a range of 7600 yards. Came right to cross his track.

0528 hours - Realised it would be impossible to cross the targets track in time so came left for a stern shot.

0530 hours - The target zigged left at a range of 5740 yards. Came left to get parallel to the target.

0537 hours - Range now 4950 yards. Shifted setup to the second Maru at a range of 4500 yards.

0539 hours - The new target now zigged away. The original target zigged to his right. Changed course to the left to revert to the leading Maru again.

0552 hours - In position 08°53'N, 133°35'E fired six torpedoes from 2350 yards.

0553 hours - Sighted the escort coming towards. Went deep.

0554 hours - Heard two torpedo explosions.

0600 hours - At 400 feet. Depth charging commenced, 16 were dropped during the next 6 minutes. All were close and heavy and caused some minor damage.

0606 hours - A second set of light screws wee heard. There must have been a second escort. Only one set of heavy screws were heard.

0828 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Sighted the target bearing 152°(T) at a range of 6000 yards. Stern down and water was level with the bridge structure. The second Maru was stopped near the damaged ship.

0829 hours - Sighted a seaplane coming towards. Went to 300 feet and commenced reloading the torpedo tubes. Changed course for an approach on the second Maru.

0848 hours - Heard a loud rumbling explosion. Subsequent events indicated that the target probably sunk at this time.

0930 hours - Completed reload. Commenced planing up to periscope depth. The noise of the pumping attracked the escorts. Stopped pumping. Altered course a bit.

1000 hours - Finally at periscope depth. Sighted a large transport that had been sighted earlier this moring at a range of 9000 yards. The target we had attacked was not in sight. Changed course to run parallel with this now target in the hope it would zig towards us.

1037 hours - Range now 14500 yards. Base course of the enemy 285°(T), speed 9 knots. Gave up the attack unable to close. Decided to return to the place of the sinking.

1335 hours - Surfaced.

1356 hours - Passed through an oil slick. Sighted two lifeboats lashed together, raft and a lot of debris. No survivors were seen. Shotly afterwards had to dive for an approaching aircraft.

4 Jun 1944 (position 0.00, 0.00)
During 4-6 June 1944, USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN), conducted a special operation (no details available for the moment).

17 Jun 1944 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) made a short stop at Midway for fuel, provisions and mail before departing for Pearl Harbour later the same day.

21 Jun 1944
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) ended her 5th war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

At Pearl Harbour she was refitted by USS Fulton. She was also docked.

16 Jul 1944
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Ryukyu Islands.

She was escorted out by USS PC-571.

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

20 Jul 1944 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) made a short stop at Midway to top off with fuel before proceeding for her patrol area later the same day.

10 Aug 1944 (position 25.50, 131.12)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) torpedoed and sank the small Japanese merchant cargo ship Seiyo Maru (197 GRT) off Minami Daito Shima in position 25°50'N, 131°12'E. The destruction of another small merchant vessel is also claimed.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0715 hours - Sighted one trawler type escort and one small merchant ship bearing 090°(T), range 5000 yards in position 25°52'N, 131°11'E. Another small merchant ship bore 050°(T), range 4500 yards. Battle stations torpedo.

0923 hours - In position 25°50'N, 131°12'E fired three torpedoes at one of the merchant ships now lying to off Minami Daito from a range of 1750 yards. One hit was obtained and he was literally thorn apart. The third torpedo had an erratic run causing some a very uncomfatable moment on board Bowfin before the torpedo finally sank to the bottom of the sea.

0929 hours - Fired three more torpedoes at the ship moored to the dock from 1150 yards. All three hit where they were aimed. When the smoke had cleared there was no sign of the merchant ship and the dock was also wrecked.

0938 hours - Went to 100 feet to reload.

0948 hours - Two depth charges were dropped, ten seconds apart.

0951 hours - Received two more depth charges with a ten second interval.

0957 hours - During the next ten minutes received ten more depth charges. Went to 195 feet.

1001 hours - Picked up very faint screws bearing 000°(T). Changed course and went to 350 feet.

1018 hours - Started to come up to periscope depth to have a look. Picked up screws bearing 230°(T). Decided to remain deep.

1019 hours - Four depth charges were dropped. Not close.

1123 hours - At periscope depth. Nothing in sight.

22 Aug 1944 (position 29.32, 129.31)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Tsushima Maru (6754 GRT, built 1914) some 10 kilometres north-west of Akuseki in position 29°32'N, 129°31'E.

Tsushima Maru was transporting 826 school children from Okinawa as well as 1529 other passengers and crewmen. She was part of convoy NAMO-103 (Naha - Moji) consisting of, besided herself, Gyoku Maru (6854 GRT, built 1943) and Kazuura Maru (6804 GRT, built 1938). They were escorted by the destroyer Hasu and the gunboat Uji.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0410 hours - In position 27°30'N, 127°36'E obtained radar contact on three targets bearing 111°(T), range 26000 yards. Commenced tracking. The contact developed into three large ships and two smaller ones, most likely escorts. Commenced an end around.

0542 hours - Passed well to the westward of Tori Shima so as not to be sighted and reported from the island.

0632 hours - An aircraft was sighted ahead of the convoy. Why we are not sighted is a mistery.

0653 hours - Now 26500 yards ahead of and slightly to the eastward of the convoys track. Base course of the convoy was 005°(T), speed 9 knots. Dived.

0722 hours - Sighted the convoy bearing 177°(T), range about 20000 yards. Went to 80 feet and commenced approach. For the next hour and 15 minutes ran at high speed on the normal approach course attempting to close the track. Succeeded in closing the range to 5500 yards.

1034 hours - Lost sight of the convoy and screen. Surfaced and commenced an end around at flank speed. The convoy must be an important one given the heavy air and surface screen. The end around was made at an average range of 21000 yards.

1123 hours - Dived for an aircraft contact that was closing.

1254 hours - Aircraft no longer in sight. Surfaced.

1628 hours - Sighted a trawler bearing 102°(T), range 15000 yards. Ran around him.

1836 hours - Submerged for an aircraft contact on SD radar coming in.

1958 hours - Surfaced. Convoy now bearing 178°(T), range 22100 yards. All ahead full to gain a favourable position.

2039 hours - In our desired position. Commenced attack run.

2053 hours - Convoy now 214°(T), range 21600 yards.

2107 hours - Battle stations torpedo.

2209 hours - In position 29°32'N, 129°31'E fired six bow torpedoes from 2800 yards at two overlapping ships.

2210 hours - Came right with full rudder and flank speed for stern shots.

2211 hours - Five hits were observed. Two on the original target. Two on the overlapping ship beyond and one on the destroyer beyond that last vessel. The original target was seen to sink very rapidly. The overlapping ship was seen to settle by the stern. The destroyer was not seen after the torpedo hit, looks like her magazine exploded and she completely disintegrated.

2212 hours - Fired four stern torpedoes at the remaining Maru.

2215 hours - The other escorting destroyer was seen to explode after being hit by one of the torpedoes fired at the Maru. He immediately disappeared from the radar screen.

2216 hours - Observed one hit on the target, well aft.

2218 hours - Commenced reloading all ten torpedo tubes.

2221 hours - The second ship hit was seen to sink.

2223 hours - The last ship hit was observed to come to a stop.

2235 hours - Reload completed. Radar by now gave a lot of false contacts. The last ship hit was not picked up again on the radar nor was it seen from the bridge. Possibly it sank at 2234 hours when two heavy explosions were heard.

28 Aug 1944 (position 25.56, 128.54)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) sank a Japanese trawler with gunfire south-east off Okinawa in position 25°56'N, 128°54'E. Before the gun action three torpedoes had been fired at this trawler but all had missed.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0735 hours - In position 26°19'N, 128°52'E sighted smoke bearing 183°(T). Headed for it at full speed.

0818 hours - Sighted ship bearing 189°(T). Commenced tracking.

0940 hours - Target now bears 269°(T). Enemy course 100°(T), speed 4 - 6 knots. Identified the target as a large trawler.

0951 hous - Ahead of the target. Dived and commenced a submerged approach.

1127 hours - Sighted the target bearing 261°(T), during the submerged approach the target had reduced speed to about 1 knot but had maintained her course of 100°(T). Closed to investigate.

1239 hours - Range now 1500 yards. Decided to attack with torpedoes but wait a little longer in case bigger prey came along.

1429 hours - In position 25°56'N, 128°54'E fired no.7 torpedo from 950 yards. It missed.

1431 hours - Fired no.8 torpedo from 1020 yards. It also missed.

1432 hours - Heard end of run detonation from no.7 torpedo.

1433 hours - fired no.9 torpedo. This torpedo also missed.

1434 hours - Heard end of run detonation from no.8 torpedo.

1436 hours - Heard end of run detonation from no.9 torpedo.

1438 hours - Opened the range. Decided to attack with gunfire at sunset.

1842 hours - Battle surfaced in position 25°56'N, 128°54'E at a range of 1000 yards. Opened fire with all guns. After a while the surprised Japanese tried to man their machine gun but all their gunners were cut down with 20mm and .30 cal. The trawler was promptly set on fire.

1900 hours - The trawler was now completely eveloped in flames. Broke off the action as the trawler was deemed a total loss.

During this gun action 37 rounds of 4", 1200 rounds of 20mm and 1250 rounds of .30 cal. were expended.

30 Aug 1944
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) departed her patrol area for Pearl Harbour, via Midway.

4 Sep 1944 (position 31.54, 152.05)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) sank the Japanese guardboat Hinode Maru No.6 (245 GRT) with gunfire east of the Bonin Islands in position 31°54'N, 152°05'E.

(All times are zone K, -10)
0902 hours - In position 31°48'N, 151°44'E sighted masts of three ships bearing 050°(T), estimated range 20000 yards. Commenced tracking.

0925 hours - Targets base course was 110°(T), speed 6 knots. They were all seen to be small ships through high periscope.

0935 hours - The ships were seen to be two small transports (300 ton) and one larger one (1000 ton).

0953 hours - Battle stations gun action. Commenced closing the range at 16 knots. When the range was 4500 yards the enemy opened fire with machine guns but all shots were short.

1022 hours - Opened fire with the 4" gun on the largest ship from 4000 yards. The two smaller ships now came towards us. Shifted fire to them while using the forward 20mm on the larger ship. After several near misses the smaller ships opened the range again but continued to fire on us. Again shifted our 4" fire to the largest ship and several hits were obtained.

1052 hours - Expended our last round of 4".

1055 hours - The two smaller transports steamed off on a course of 300°. The larger transport was now stopped and on fire. Closed the range to 500 yards for more effective use of the 20mm guns. Raked the target with 20mm and .30 cal. The crew than started to abandon ship. Circled the target to get fires started on both sides but then noticed that a fire was creeping aft towards the targets depth charges so pulled clear. A cargo of gasoline in drums caught fire and some very spectacular explosions with great billows of flame and smoke occurred. The depth charges then exploded.

During the gun action 67 rounds of 4", 1300 rounds of 20mm and 1200 rounds of .30 cal. were expended.

1215 hours - Picked up two Japanese survivors. Both were wounded. Ten to twelve survivors were left in the water, most of them appeared to be wounded.

Kept the target under observation for the next hour but finally decided to finish her off with a torpedo.

1310 hours - In position 31°54'N, 152°05'E fired no.1 tube from 890 yards but the torpedo took a sharp hook to the left and missed astern.

1312 hours - Fired no.2 tube from 650 yards. The torpedo ran erratically and also missed astern.

1315 hours - Fired no.3 tube from 670 yards. This torpedo also ran erratically and also missed well astern of the target.

1317 hours - Fired no.4 tube from 550 yards. This torpedo also hooked to the left and missed astern.

1320 hours - Departed the scene of the attack and continued passage to Midway.

9 Sep 1944 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) called at Midway to take on board fuel, water and mail. She departed for Pearl Harbour later the same day.

13 Sep 1944
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) ended her 6th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She is now sent to the Mare Island Navy Yard for a major overhaul.

15 Sep 1944 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) departed Pearl Harbour for the Mare Island Navy Yard.

21 Sep 1944
USS Bowfin (Cdr. J. Corbus, USN) arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard for a major overhaul.

23 Sep 1944 (position -3.37, 116.25)
The Japanese gunboat Nankai (2400 tons, offsite link) and the Japanese troop transport Hokkai Maru (8416 GRT, built 1933) are damaged by mines (laid by USS Bowfin on 29 January) off Balikpapan, Borneo in position 03°37'S, 116°25'E.

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