Allied Warships

Puffer (SS-268)

Submarine of the Gato class


Sideways launch of USS Puffer, 22 November 1942.

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassGato 
Pennant268 
Built byManitowoc Shipbuilding Co. (Manitowoc, Wisconsin, U.S.A.) 
Ordered9 Sep 1940 
Laid down16 Feb 1942 
Launched22 Nov 1942 
Commissioned27 Apr 1943 
End service10 Jun 1960 
History

Decommissioned 28 June 1946.
Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Served as a Naval Reserve Training Vessel assigned to the 13th Naval District from 1946 untill 10 June 1960.
Stricken 1 July 1960.
Sold 4 November 1960 to be broken up for scrap.

 

Commands listed for USS Puffer (268)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Marvin John Jensen, USN27 Apr 19438 Nov 1943
2T/Lt.Cdr. Willard Ross Laughon, USN8 Nov 194316 Nov 1943
3Lt.Cdr. Frank Gordon Selby, USN16 Nov 194329 Aug 1944

4Lt.Cdr. Carl Redmond Dwyer, USN6 Nov 194417 Apr 1946

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Notable events involving Puffer include:


13 Jun 1943
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Jensen, USN) departed New Orleans, Louisiana for Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone.

7 Sep 1943
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. Marvin J. Jensen) departed from Fremantle, Australia for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Makassar Strait and Celebes Sea.

9 Oct 1943
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Jensen) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese tanker Kumagawa Maru (7508 GRT) in Makassar Strait in position 01°08'N, 119°31'E. Puffer is damaged by the escorts depth charges and is forced to terminate her patrol.

17 Oct 1943
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Jensen) ended her 1st war patrol at Fremantle.

24 Nov 1943
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. Frank G. Selby) departed from Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Sulu Sea and the South China Sea.

20 Dec 1943
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and sank the Japanese torpedo boat Fuyo (900 tons, offsite link) about 60 nautical miles west of Manila, Philippines in position 14°45'N, 119°54'E.

1 Jan 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Ryuyo Maru (6707 GRT) about 40 nautical miles south of Negros Island, Philippines in position 08°36'N, 122°52'E.

12 Jan 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) ended her 2nd war patrol at Fremantle.

4 Feb 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) departed from Fremantle for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

22 Feb 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and sank the Japanese troop transport Teiko Maru (offsite link, 15105 GRT, former French passenger liner D'Artagnan) about 120 nautical miles north-west of Kuching, Borneo in position 03°10'N, 109°15'E.

4 Apr 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) ended her 3rd war patrol at Fremantle.

30 Apr 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) departed from Fremantle for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Sulu Sea.

6 May 1944

Operation Transom,
Carrier raid against Surabaya by the Eastern Fleet.

On 6 May 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon in two task forces;
Task Force 65, which was made up of the British battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Sommerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), the French battleship Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the British light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN), the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the British destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt. M.J.W. Pawsey, RN), the Australian destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Force 66, which was made up of the British battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet) (went to Task Force 65 the next day), the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN), the US aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (Capt. J.H. Cassady, USN), the British light cruiser HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), the New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and the US destroyers USS Cummings (Cdr. P.D. Williams, USN), USS Dunlap (Cdr. C. Iverson, USN) and USS Fanning (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Bentley, USN).

On 10 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers. During fuelling from HMS Valiant the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen sustained some minor damage (fractured hull plate on her port side) but the crew of the Van Galen was able to effect emergency repairs.

On 15 May 1944, task forces 65 and 66 were fuelled at Exmouth Gulf, Australia by Task Force 67 which was made up of of six Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers; Eaglesdale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941), Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937), Pearleaf (5911 GRT, built 1917), Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) and supplyship (used as distilling ship) Bacchus (3154 GRT, built 1936). This force had already left Trincomalee on 30 April and was escorted by the British heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. A.S. Russell, DSO, RN). They had also been escorted near Ceylon by a local escort for A/S purposes, this local escort had been made up of the British destroyer HMS Rotherham, Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen and the British frigate HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR). The local escort returned to Ceylon on 5 May 1944. The two cruisers mentioned above now joined Task Force 66. Later this day Task Forces 65 and 66 went to sea again for the actual attack on Surabaya. On leaving Exmouth Gulf the fleet was spotted by the merhant vessel Aroona. This ship was now instructed to put into Exmouth Gulf and was held there by HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdale, OBE, RAN) for 24 hours and to impress on the master and crew of this vessel the necessity of not disclosing any information concerning the Fleet on the arrival of their ship at Fremantle (their next port of call).

In the early morning hours of the 17th the carriers launched 45 dive bombers and 40 fighters for an attack on the harbour and oil installations (Wonokromo oil refeniry) of Surabaya, Netherlands East Indies. (USS Saratoga: 12 Avengers (1 had to return with engine trouble shortly after being launched), 18 Dauntless, 24 Hellcats; HMS Illustrious: 18 Avengers (2 of which force landed in the sea shortly after being launched), 16 Corsairs). On the ground they destroyed 12 enemy aircraft (20 were claimed). The damage to the harbour and shipping were over estimated (10 ships were thought to have been hit) as in fact only the small transport ship Shinrei Maru (987 GRT, built 1918) was sunk and patrol vessel P 36, auxiliary submarine chasers CHa-107 and CHa-108, tanker Yosei Maru (2594 GRT, built 1928, former Dutch Josefina) and cargo ships Choka Maru (???? GRT, built ????) and Tencho Maru (2716 GRT, built 1919) were damaged.

On the 18th the US ships were released. The other ships then proceeded to Exmouth Gulf where they arrived to fuel the next day before starting on the return trip to Ceylon less destroyer HMAS Quiberon which was to refit in Australia and was sent to Fremantle.

On 23 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers.

Task Force 65 and 66 arrived back at Trincomalee on the 27th.

During this operation several US Submarine guarded the passages to the Indian Ocean to spot a possible Japanese counter attack. The submarines deployed for this purpose were the following; In the Sunda Strait from 12 to 23 May 1944; USS Angler (Cdr. R. I. Olsen, USN) and USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN).
South of Lombok Strait from 13 to 20 May 1944; USS Cabrilla (Cdr. W.C. Thompson, Jr., USN) and also the USS Bluefish (Cdr. C.M. Henderson, USN) from 13 May until the night of the 16th.
South of Bali Strait from 17 to 20 May; USS Bluefish.
North of Bali Strait; USS Puffer (Cdr. F.G. Selby, USN) during the night of 16/17 May.

The following US Submarines were deployed in the Surabaya area for air/sea rescue duties; USS Puffer in the Madura Strait about 40 miles to the east of Surabaya.
USS Rasher (Cdr. W.R. Laughton, USN) in the Java Sea about 40 miles to the north of Surabaya. (1)

18 May 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Shinryu Maru (3181 GRT) in the Java Sea some 40 miles east-south-east of Surabaya, Java, Netherlands East Indies in position 07°33'S, 113°16'E.

5 Jun 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and sank the Japanese underway replenishment vessel Ashizuri (7951 GRT) and the Japanese oiler Takasaki (4465 GRT) and torpedoed and damaged the Japanese tanker Hishi Maru No.2 (856 GRT) in the Sulu Sea north-east of Borneo in position 06°44'N, 120°54'E.

21 Jun 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle.

14 Jul 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) departed from Fremantle for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Makassar Straits, the Celebes, Sulu, and South China Seas.

1 Aug 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese fleet oiler Sunosaki (4465 GRT) in the Sulu Sea north-east of Borneo in position 05°08'N, 119°32'E.

7 Aug 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser Kyo Maru No.2 (340 GRT) south of Coronado Bay, Zamboanga Peninsula, Mindanao, Philippines in position 07°50'N, 122°07'E.

12 Aug 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant tanker Teikon Maru (5113 GRT) off Cape Calavite in position 13°26'N, 119°55'E. Puffer also torpedoed and damaged the Japanese tanker Shinpo Maru (5135 GRT) in position 13°18'N, 120°11'E. The Shinpo Maru is beached off Golo Island and torpedoed and sunk by USS Bluefish on 14 August 1944.

14 Aug 1944
While on her 6th war patrol USS Bluefish (Lt.Cdr. C.M. Henderson) torpedoed and sank the Japanese tanker Shinpo Maru (5135 GRT), previously damaged by USS Puffer on 12 August, off Golo Island in position 13°39'N, 120°22'E.

1 Sep 1944
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Selby) ended her 5th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She is now sent to the Mare Island Navy Yard for a major overhaul.

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
With her overhaul completed USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. Carl R. Dwyer) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Ryukyu Islands.

10 Jan 1945
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer) torpedoed and sank the Japanese corvette Kaibokan 42 (740 tons) and torpedoed and damaged the Japanese corvette Kaibokan 30 (740 tons, both offsite links) in the East China Sea in position 26°45'N, 126°11'E.

17 Jan 1945
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer) ended her 6th war patrol at Guam.

11 Feb 1945
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer) departed from Guam for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

21 Apr 1945
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer) ended her 7th war patrol at Midway.

20 May 1945
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer) departed from Midway for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea and the Java Sea.

5 Jul 1945
While operating off Bali USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer) sank 5 small Japanese vessels with gunfire in position 08°10'S, 115°00'E, 2 more in position 08°04'S, 115°05'E and one in position 08°08'S, 115°05'E.

11 Jul 1945
USS Puffer (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Dwyer) ended her 7th war patrol at Fremantle. Early August 1945 she departed from Fremantle for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Java Sea.

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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Sources

  1. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4767 (British National Archives, Kew, London)

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