USS Icefish

4th War Patrol Report

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c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
4 July 1945


From: Commanding Officer, U.S.S. ICEFISH (SS367)
To: Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
Via: (1) Commander Submarine Division THREE HUNDRED-TWO
(2) Commander Submarine Squadron THIRTY
(3) Commander Submarines, SEVENTH Fleet
(4) Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet
Subject: U.S.S. ICEFISH, Report of War Patrol number FOUR.
Enclosure: (A) Subject report
(B) Track Chart (ComSub7thFlt)

1. Enclosure (A), covering the fourth war patrol of this vessel conducted in the HAINAN, HONG KONG, SIAM SEA AND JAVA SEA areas during the period 15 May 1945 to 4 July 1945, is forwarded herewith.

R.W. Peterson


Arrived GUAM from Third War Patrol April 20, 1945. Refitted by Submarine Division 202 and U.S.S. PROTEUS April 21-May 6, 1945. This was an exceptionally thorough and excellent refit, all defects having been expertly corrected and the ship made spotlessly clean. Officers and crew were very appreciative, when they filed through the ship on an inspection tour, to find everything perfectly ship-shape and (shades of prewar Saturday inspections) to find relief crew cooks and mess cooks in whites, tables set, complete with new cloths and a delicious roast of beef being prepared in the galley for our returning men. It was an unexpected holiday for our cooks and was very gratifying to all hands. Also, it was our best roast beef to date.

Ship was sound-tested May 8, 1945; not depermed.

Ship was drydocked.

Training, conducted under the supervision of Commander Submarine Division 202, included 2 days of battle surface firing, surface and submerged practice approaches and firing of 3 MK14-3A and 1 MK18-2 torpedoes.

Loaded May 14 with 16 MK14-3A torpedoes forward; 6 MK18-2 and 3 MK27 torpedoes aft.

Readiness for sea May 15, 1945.

The following officer personnel were effected:

Lieut. Comdr. C.G. HINMAN, U.S.N.
Lt. (jg) J.A. REILLY, U.S.N.R.
Lt. (jg) P.J. SCHAUER, U.S.N.R.
Reported aboard: Lt. (jg) J.F. HEARD, U.S.N.R.
Ensign D.C. BEATTY, U.S.N.R.
Ensign F.L. BRENGEL, U.S.N.R.
Twelve enlisted men were replaced from Division 202 relief crew.


May 15

1501 (K) Underway from alongside U.S.S. PROTEUS, APRA HARBOR, GUAM for Fourth War Patrol, in accordance with Somsubspac OpOrder No. 107-45, enroute SWPA for patrol as ordered by C.T.F. 71. Escorted by DE 49.

1732 Made trim dive.

2035 Released escort.

2200 Set all clocks back one hour to -9 zone (ITEM) time.

May 28

0511 Had a strong APR interference from HAINAN, so submerged 22 miles south of YULIN BAY, closing.

During morning haze and periscope fogging prevented sighting HAINAN.

1200 Position: Lat. 12°-53'N Long. 109°-41'E.

1237 According to our best estimate we should now be 7 miles south of CAPE RHINOCEROS but still can't see the island, so surfaced, sighted HAINAN and obtained SJ range of 18 miles, indicating we could see little if anything of the harbor, so commenced surface patrol to southwest.

2331 Commenced running through a large Indonesian junk fishing fleet, all with sails furled, lying to, nets out. Went close aboard several - saw nothing but frightened natives so did not molest them. (S.C. #2).

June 2

0330 Lifeguard duty completed; nothing for us today, so headed north toward GAP ROCK.

June 6

1913 Received C.T.F. 71 message reporting a life raft with 5 survivors at Lat. 21°-42'N Long. 121°-50'E, sighted at 1400(I) today, which placed them in the vicinity of KOTO SHO, far to eastward. The corrected position was very close to VELE RETE rocks off south FORMOSA. Proceeded at best speed for position given in C.T.F. 71 message.

June 7

1116 Sighted first of 2 red flares bearing 320°T, 9000 yards. PBY headed over to orbit.

1127 Two rubber rafts and 6 survivors sighted 3000 yards off shore, less than 1000 yards north of the reef which lies north of HACHIYO WAN. Also sighted two small fishing vessels closer in which we were tempted to shoot after the rescue, but the condition of our survivors was such as to deserve all our attention, maneuvered to get north of the rafts, and clear of reef; flooded down, rigged cargo net.

1138 Had all survivors aboard after a splendid job by the rescue party. Seas were now force 3 from north and it was necessary for the executive officer and his rescue party to go into the water. Three of the survivors were stretcher cases and the other three were completely exhausted after 24 hours in the rafts. All had to be lifted aboard. We later learned that they were trying to reach shore, determined that their chances of rescue would be better than at sea.

1145 Commenced clearing coast to eastward. Granted request of air cover to return to base, gave him a "Well Done", and a quick resume of injuries with names of aviators. CPhM J.P. HAGER, U.S.N., formerly with the Marines on Guadalcanal did a superb job of treating the injured under difficult conditions. He worked steadily for 2 days without sleep. The survivors were as follows:

1st Lieut. D.R. ROWLAND, U.S.A.A.F. - Pilot - Minor lacerations.
1st Lieut. H.W. CATTS, U.S.A.A.F.- Navigator - Minor lacerations, badly bruised leg, sprained ankle.
2nd Lieut. P.J. KERN, U.S.A.A.F. - Co-pilot - Minor bruises and lacerations.
S/Sgt. R.A. EVANS - Tailgunner - Severe lacerations of leg and head.
S/Sgt. W.B. KUZIA - Engineer - Broken rib which punctured his back.
T/Sgt. W.H. EDMONDS - Radioman - Internal injuries, multiple shrapnel wounds, shock.

1200 Position: Lat. 22°-09'N Long. 120°-57'E.

June 8

0010 Surfaced. Wind and seas building up now, force 4-5.

0130 T/Sgt. Willie H. EDMONDS dies from internal injuries and shock.

0415 Held funeral services and committed body of T/Sgt. Willie A. EDMONDS, #34125845, U.S. Army to the deep. (Position: Lat. 21°-00'N Long. 120°-00'E).

June 10

0852 Moored to port side U.S.S. ANTHENDON, SUBIC BAY. Transferred survivors, fueled ship, made minor repairs, checked No. 1 generator . . Commander Submarine Squadron Twenty-Six presented us with a new movie projector to replace one which was out of commission.

June 23

1129 Sighted what appeared to be the mast of a small boat. Closed and sighted a large tree stump.

June 26

0411 SJ radar contact on three small vessels 5500 yards, bearing 145°T. Tracked them at 5 knots, heading toward CAPE SELATAN. Closed to investigate and identified as small (4-50 ft.) trading schooners, carrying two sails. They appeared to be heavily laden and were making good speed. With the restrictions imposed on shooting of sailing vessels, manned only the automatic weapons, (too rough for 5 inch) and closed to head them off for better inspecting. The leader, instead of lowering his sails, turned away and maneuvered to avoid.

0547 Fired one 40 mm. shell across his bow and waited for him to stop.

0549 No sign of his complying with our wishes, so fired a few bursts with 40 mm. and one 20 mm., high. Either he dropped his mainsail in a hurry or it was cut down by gunfire. Went close aboard, about 100 ft. and saw no occupants. What had appeared to be a heavy load of cargo was now made out to be a large cabin. Undoubtedly they were carrying cargo of some kind, but there was sufficient doubt as to enemy character that when the other two were closed and they lowered sails, they were given the benefit of the doubt. Do not believe the hull of our target was seriously damaged.

June 27 [NOTE: earlier, the ICEFISH and several other U.S. submarines made contact with a Japanese naval vessel and started what they hoped would be an attack run.]

0805 Making no progress, still tracking on target's port beam, 18 knots. Had called for aircraft assistance on Wolfpack without success, so transmitted contact report to C.T.F. 71 suggesting aircraft attack. It was quiet possible some of our air patrols were in the vicinity and could strafe or bomb this target.

1047 Target flashed steady light toward periscope. Since diving, the target, now identified as a minelayer, class 7, has completely changed his zig plan, and has speeded up opening to westward with large bow angles. Headed west at high speed to close - now 8000 yards off track. Target's sudden change of tactics looks suspiciously as though our presence is known. Set bow tubes (MK14's) at 6 ft., stern tubes (MK18's) at 4 ft.

1050 Target now zigging on very short legs, angles on bow 0° 30°S, 60°S, 0° in a period of 10 minutes, farthest right course 130°T, speed 18 knots, pinging rapidly.

1104 Angle on bow now 0°, course 130°T, 60° to right of base course, range 5000 yards.

1110 Made all tubes ready, swung left for stern tube shot, expecting left zig momentarily. This position will direct torpedoes down-sea.

1113 Angle on bow still zero, sound reported close, fast pinging, bearing 258°R. Target now bore 060°R, as we swung left took a look at 258°R and there, about 1000 yards zero angle on the bow, was a patrol, flaghoist flying. (S.C. #20). Another look at target showed him still headed in, close now, and an impossible shot with large gyros and a poor set-up. Found ourselves boxed in by the target and the newly arrived escort, and impossible firing position and all indications that we had been sighted.

1114 Planed down to 350 feet, found a good density layer at 250 feet and swung right at 80 RPM. Sound indicated minelayer zigged right, crossing over the bow, small escort was pinging on the port quarter.

1123 AM ceased pinging, but escort is still pinging nearby, getting weaker.

1146 At periscope depth, nothing in sight at 60 feet. No pinging, no screws. After this thoroughly disgusting experience, having been up all night, decided to remain submerged to rest officers and crew for a few hours.

June 28

1804 Sighted enemy class 7 minelayer through high periscope and from bridge, bearing 083°T, on westerly course. Went ahead full on 4 engines, put him astern and tried to keep range open. Target speed estimated 18-20 knots.

1821 We cannot make SJ contact, but enemy is zig-zagging, closing.

1830 TDC showed target drawing to southward slowly, on course 240°-250°T. About 1840, (sunset at 1812) began having difficulty in seeing enemy through periscope, but could not close yet because of our background of a very light western sky. Am afraid enemy will change course radically after dark. We are dead ahead if target is still on 250°T.

1946 There are now three contacts on SJ - one small and one large (minelayer size), 300 yards apart, bearing 309°T, 18,000 yards, and SJ interference and contact, bearing 006°T, 14,650 yards. At 4-engine speed we were still far from good position, but continued with end around and, since plot has U.S.S. BAYA now very close astern enemy, now tracking at 14 knots, told BAYA to attack is possible.

2054 BAYA reported she was unable to close and lost contact.

2121 We are unable to get ahead before entering restricted area of MADURA STRAIT, distance 14 miles, so broke off approach amd notified BAYA. Hunting is very poor inded when a wolfpack considers a 600 ton, 230 ft. minelayer a large target. Though small by past target standards, they are valuable to the enemy and must be sunk.

July 4

0630 Rendezvous with escort, H.M.A.S. GYMPIE.

0915 Moored alongside U.S.S. CLYTIE


Health and habitability were excellent. Surprisingly, the forward part of the boat was cold when near the Equator.

Food was varied and well prepared.

Only two cases were serious enough for the binnacle list:
1 man - Fracture, compound, left fibula and tibia. A plaster cast as applied - 10 days lost.
1 man - Gastritis, acute - 9 days lost.


Phase I
Guam to area . . . 2352 mi. . . . 31,540 gals.
In area . . . 3450 mi. . . . 37,870 gals.
Area to Subic Bay . . . 351 mi. , . . . 3,550 gals.

Phase II
Subic bay to area . . . 1364 mi. . . . 15,050 gals.
In area . . . 3917 mi. . . . 56,630 gals.
Area to Fremantle . . . 1459 mi. . . . 24,000 gals.


Phase I
Days enroute area . . . 9
Days in area . . . 16
Days enroute Subic Bay . . . 1
Days submerged . . . 9

Phase II
Days enroute . . . 4
Days in area . . . 15
Days enroute Fremantle . . . 4
Days submerged . . . 8


This was a most invigorating and interesting patrol, despite lack of contacts. Areas patrolled were HAINAN, HONG KONG, FORMOSA, SIAM GULF and JAVA SEA. Extended patrolling in dry areas is most boring and devitalizing. The frequent changes of areas was appreciated, though area coverage of each was consequently not as thorough as was planned, as a result of frequent shifts. It is hoped that a longer patrol in the JAVA SEA will be possible in the near future, since this was the only area where shipping of any kind was seen. From the standpoint of morale, the area shifts were excellent. At least there is the hope always before one that the next area will be more productive.

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