Allied Warships

Amberjack (i) (SS-219)

Submarine of the Gato class

USS Amberjack as completed

NavyThe US Navy
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered1 Jul 1940 
Laid down15 May 1941 
Launched6 Mar 1942 
Commissioned19 Jun 1942 
Lost16 Feb 1943 
Loss position5° 05'S, 152° 37'E

Again departing Brisbane, Australia on 26 January 1943, USS Amberjack, under Lt.Cdr. John Archibald Bole, Jr., started her third war patrol in the Solomons area. On 29 January she was directed to pass close to Tetipari Island and then proceed to the northwest and patrol the approaches to Shortland Basin. Orders were radioed on 1 February for her to move north and patrol the western approaches to Buka Passage. Having complied with these orders, Amberjack made her first miles southeast of Treasury Island on 1 February, and of sinking a two-masted schooner by gunfire twenty miles from Buka the afternoon of 3 February 1943. At this time she was ordered to move south along the Buka-Shortland traffic lane and patrol east of Vella Lavella Island.

Making a second radio transmission on 4 February, Amberjack reported having sunk a 5,000-ton freighter laden with explosives in a two-hour night surface attack that date in which five torpedoes were fired. This is uncorfirmed by Japanese sources and the target remains unidentified.
On 8 February, Amberjack was ordered to move to the West Side of Ganongga Island and on the 10th, she was directed to keep south of Latitude 7-30'S, and to cover the traffic routes from Rabaul and Buka to Shortland Basin. On 13 February Amberjack was assigned the entire Rabaul- Buka-Shortland Sea area, and told to hunt for traffic.

The last radio transmission received from Amberjack was made on 14 February 1943. She related having been forced down the night before by two destroyers, and that she had recovered from the water and taken prisoner an enemy aviator on 13 February. She was ordered north of Latitude 6-30 ‘S, and told to keep hunting for Rabaul traffic.

All further messages to Amberjack remained unanswered, and when, by March 10, she had failed to make her routine report estimating the time of her arrival at base, she was ordered to do so. No reply was received, and she was reported as presumed lost on 22 March 1943.

Reports received from the enemy since the end of the war record an attack, which most likely sank Amberjack. On 16 February 1943, the Japanese torpedo boat Hiyodori (offsite link) and submarine chaser Ch-18 (offsite link) attacked a submarine with nine depth charges south of Rabaul in 05º05'S, 152º37'E. An escorting patrol plane had previously attacked the submarine. A large amount of heavy oil and parts of the hull came to the surface. This attack is believed to have sunk Amberjack. However, no final conclusions can be drawn, since USS Grampus (SS 207) was lost in roughly the same area and at about the same time. From the evidence available, particularly a life preserver inscribed with the words "Philadelphia Navy Yard" it is considered most likely that the attack of 16 February sank Amberjack, but if she did survive this attack, any one of the attacks and sightings thought to have been made on Grampus might have been made on Amberjack.


Commands listed for USS Amberjack (i) (219)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. John Archibald Bole, Jr., USN19 Jun 194216 Feb 1943 (+)

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Notable events involving Amberjack (i) include:

4 Aug 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr., USN) departed from New London, Connecticut for the Panama Canal Zone.

14 Aug 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr., USN) transited the Panama Canal.

20 Aug 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) arrived at Pearl Harbor.

3 Sep 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol between the northeast coast of New Ireland and Bougainville, Solomon Islands.

18 Sep 1942
Amberjack made a night attack on the surface with 4 torpedoes against a freighter estimated at 7000 tgr, claiming one hit and damage to the target. It remains unconfirmed and unidentified.

19 Sep 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport ship Shirogane Maru (3130 GRT) at the northern entrance of Bougainville Strait in position 06°25'S, 156°20'E.

22 Sep 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) en route to patrol the waters off Kieta, Bougainville, is damaged when she clips an uncharted coral head off Oema Island in position 06°31'S, 155°59'E. Despite the damage, she remains on patrol.

7 Oct 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese supply ship Senkai Maru (2101 GRT) in the southern Carolines in position 01°10'N, 153°31'E.

10 Oct 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) enters Kavieng Roads, New Ireland island, 02°36'S, 150°48'E, to attack shipping therein. In a daring move, she torpedoed the Japanese transport ship Tenryu Maru (4861 GRT, moderate damage) and sank the converted whale factory ship, now serving as naval tanker, Tonan Maru #2 (19209 GRT). The latter vessel will be, however, raised and repaired, only to be sunk by USS Pintado on 22 August 1944.

19 Oct 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) arrived at Espiritu Santo for repairs to her ballast tanks. When the repairs were completed she was ordered to take on board aviation gas, bombs, and air force personnel to be transported to Tulagi.

25 Oct 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) arrived at Tulagi and unloaded her cargo.

30 Oct 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) ended her 1st war patrol at Brisbane, Australia.

21 Nov 1942
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) departed from Brisbane for her 2nd war patrol.

11 Jan 1943
USS Amberjack (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Bole, Jr.) ended her 2nd war patrol at Brisbane.

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
(£ 56.95)

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