Allied Warships

Billfish (SS-286)

Submarine of the Balao class


USS Billfish during the war.

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassBalao 
Pennant286 
Built byPortsmouth Navy Yard (Kittery, Maine, U.S.A.) 
Ordered15 Dec 1941 
Laid down23 Jul 1942 
Launched12 Nov 1942 
Commissioned20 Mar 1943 
End service1 Apr 1968 
History

Decommissioned 20 July 1946.
Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
Served as a dockside training submarine for Naval Reservist at Boston, Massachusetts from 1 January 1960 untill 1 April 1968.
Stricken 1 April 1968.
Sold 17 March 1971 to be broken up for scrap.

 

Commands listed for USS Billfish (286)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1T/Cdr. Frederick Colby Lucas, Jr., USN20 Mar 19438 Jan 1944
2T/Cdr. Vernon Clark Turner, USN8 Jan 194414 Feb 1945
3Lt.Cdr. Louis Calott Farley, Jr., USNR14 Feb 1945Oct 1945
4T/Lt.Cdr. Philip Arthur Beshany, USNOct 194520 Jul 1946

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Notable events involving Billfish include:


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

This page was last updated in January 2017.

24 May 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) arrived at Newport, Rhode Island from New London, Connecticut for her torpedo firing trials.

28 May 1943
Having completed her torpedo trials, USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN), shifted from Newport, Rhode Island to New London, Connecticut.

19 Jun 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) was put on the slipway at New London.

22 Jun 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) was put back in the water.

24 Jun 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) departed New London, Connecticut for Christobal, Panama Canal Zone.

2 Jul 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) arrived at Christobal, Panama Canal Zone.

6 Jul 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) transited the Panama Canal and departed Balboa for Brisbane, Australia.

1 Aug 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) arrived at Brisbane, Australia.

8 Aug 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) departed Brisbane for exercises with the Australian destroyer HMS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN).

11 Aug 1943
Having completed her exercise program, USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN), returned to Brisbane.

12 Aug 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) departed from Brisbane for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea via Port Darwin.

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

18 Aug 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) arried at Port Darwin. She was escorted in by HMAS ML 815 (T/Lt. C.A.J. Inman, RANVR).

19 Aug 1943
After topping off with fuel and provisions, USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN), departed Port Darwin for her patrol area.

29 Aug 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) attacked what was thought to be an unescorted enemy tanker in the Sulu Sea with four torpedoes. As the contact turned out to be a small enemy patrol vessel most likely the torpedoes ran under and missed.

(All times are zone H, -8)
1215 hours - In position 07°58'N, 117°18'E sighted an unescorted tanker leaving Balabac Strait. Range was 5000 yards. Targets base course was 075°(T), speed 16 knots.

1403 hours - Surfaced and bagan a chase at 19 knots on all four main engines for an end around.

2118 hours - Now finally ahead of the target.

2122 hours - Closed to attack.

2127 hours - In position 08°28'N, 119°36'E fired four stern torpedoes. All missed. It was then seen that the ship we attacked was not the tanker we had been tracking but a small escort or patrol vessel. Went to full power on all four main engines and evaded on the surface.

8 Sep 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) claimed the torpedoing and damaging of a freighter of about 6000 ton from an enemy convoy in the South China Sea. All torpedoes however had missed their target, the Norway Maru (5832 GRT, built 1920). She was in convoy No.320.

(All times are zone G, -7)
0624 hours - In position 12°15'N, 111°25'E sighted smoke bearing 080°(T). This developed into a convoy of five transports, four larger ones of about 6000 ton and a smaller 1500 ton one. Commenced attack.

0808 hours - Unable to reach a firing position with a torpedo run of less then 3000 yards. Secured from battle stations and tracked submerged until .....

1021 hours - Surfaced and commenced chase.

1522 hours - Obtained a position ahead of the convoy.

1638 hours - In position 11°04'N, 110°23'E fired four torpedoes from the bow tubes. Immediately after firing went deep and rigged for depth charging. One torpedo explosion was heard that was believed to be a hit.

1642 hours - Depth charging started. Billfish ended up at 500 feet.

1710 hours - The last of 15 depth charges was dropped. Some minor damage had been sustained by Billfish.

2040 hours - Surfaced and cleared the area.

25 Sep 1943
While on patrol off the Spratly islands, South China Sea, USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) attacked a convoy on surfaced radar bearings, claiming one hit out of 5 torpedoes fired and damage to one vessel. This is unconfirmed.

The convoy attacked was convoy SA-12 made up of tankers Kirishima Maru (5959 GRT, built 1931) and Seishin Maru (5239 GRT, built 1943), troop transports Ussuri Maru (6386 GRT, built 1932) and Teiko Maru (offsite link, 15105 GRT, former French passenger liner D'Artagnan, built 1925). They were escorted by fleet oiler Ashizuri (7951 GRT, built 1943) and the submarine chaser Ch-19. At the time USS Billfish attacked tanker Kirishima Maru had already been sunk earlier that day by USS Bowfin.

(All times are zone G, -7)
0825 hours - In position 09°38'N, 111°38'E sighted masts of five ships bearing 202°(T). A torpedo boat was seen to be escorting this convoy. Started attack.

0943 hours - With the range to the nearest target now 4300 yards the convoy zigged away.

1200 hours - Surfaced and commenced an end around on the right flank of the convoy.

1210 hours - Saw USS Bonefish surface about 3 miles away. She also commenced an end around on the left flank of the convoy.

1214 hours - Sighted a terrific explosion bearing 356°(T). This was the work of USS Bowfin which had hit a tanker.

1350 hours - Saw Bowfin surface about 3 miles to the northward. She stood off in that direction at high speed. Meanwhile the convoy had scattered. Billfish chased the transport farthest to the eastward.

1400 hours - Made out masts and tops of two other transport vessels just to the right of the smoke we were chasing. Commenced tracking them also. They were on a base course of 045°(T), speed 14 knots.

1720 hours - As visibility decreased commenced closing the targets to radar range.

1815 hours - Made radar contact at 8200 yards. Commenced radar tracking and continued working ahead.

1912 hours - Having attained a position 10000 yards ahead of the targets pulled out from track and turned towards. Then stopped and waited for the target but two zigs away left Billfish with too long a torpedo run so at .....

1936 hours - Commenced working ahead again.

2003 hours - In position 10°49'N, 113°18'E fired five torpedoes from the bow tubes. All torpedoes were seen to run normally. Built up to full speed after firing and about one minute later turned away. One torpedo was seen to hit well aft. There was a bright flash and a column of water but the explosion was not distantly felt by those on the bridge and not by all below. The target appeared to be out of control and settling, he slowed down and then stopped. The target then opened fire with a 4" or 5" gun. Billfish meanwhile ran out to a range of 14000 yards.

uring the night Billfish tried to attack again but was unable to get into a position to fire more torpedoes.

3 Oct 1943
In the evening, USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN), made the southbound passage of Lombok Strait on the surface.

7 Oct 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) made a short stop at Exmouth Gulf to take on board more fuel for the passage to Fremantle.

10 Oct 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) ended her 1st war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.

1 Nov 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) departed from Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

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

4 Nov 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) made a short stop at Exmouth Gulf to top off with fuel before proceeding towards her patrol area.

9 Nov 1943
During daylight hours, USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN), made the northbound passage of Lombok Strait submerged.

11 Nov 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) had two encounters with Japanese escort/patrol vessels in the Makassar Strait today. She was not noticed by the first Japanese warship but the second detected and depth charged Billfish.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0920 hours - In position 00°22'S, 118°42'E sighted a ship bearing 051°(T), distance about 8 miles, angle on the bow 0°. It appeared to be a destroyer or smaller anti-submarine vessel. Submerged immediately. The target maintained a steady course and speed towards our diving point.

The target was later seen to be a torpedo boat of about 225 feet in lenght with three stacks (the forward one was split). As the sea was glassy calm decided not to attack as the periscope would no doubt be spotted by the enemy.

The enemy warship sighted by Billfish might very well have been the Japanese patrol boat PB-102 (former USS Stewart) which was operating in the area.

----------------------------------------------------------

1407 hours - Sighted smoke bearing 071°(T). Commenced approach and target was made out to be another torpedo boat, most likely Chidori or Otori class, making high speed.

1450 hours - When the range was 3600 yards the target appeared to have got by so abandoned approach. At this point the target commenced pinging and turned towards Billfish.

1500 hours - The target was still pinging and coming towards. Went to 300 feet. Rigged ship for silent running and depth charging.

1505 hours - Six depth charges were dropped which did considerable minor damage. Went to 400 feet and took evasive action.

1640 hours - Six more depth charges were dropped. Billfish by now was at 465 feet and they did no damage. Shortly afterwards another A/S vessel was heard to join in the hunt.

1900 hours - Eight more depth charges were dropped by both ships in a joint effort. After these depth charges reversed course through the disturbance and the enemy then lost contact. Billfish surfaced at 0025 hours the next morning.

28 Nov 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) attacked an enemy convoy near Vape Varella. Four torpedoes were fired and one hit was claimed.

The convoy attacked was convoy No. 340 consisting of transports Sydney Maru (5425 GRT, built 1929), Shohei Maru (7255 GRT, built 1931), Shinno Maru (???? GRT, built ????), Sekino Maru (994 GRT, built 1918) tankers Tonan Maru (9839 GRT, built 1906), Zuiyo Maru (7338 GRT, built 1917). They were escorted by the frigate Matsuwa.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0124 hours - Near Cape Varella obtained SJ radar contact bearing 290°(T), range 14000 yards. There were five pips. Commenced tracking and working ahead at 18 knots. Contacted USS Bowfin and gave her the position of our targets.

0249 hours - Pinging commenced from the direction of the convoy and radar picked up two more ships, smaller and closer. These were believed to be escorts.

0300 hours - Bowfin now reported she was in a good position and requisted permission to attack which she was given. She was on the inshore side of the convoy.

0317 hours - Observed and heard at least five torpedo explosions as Bowfin attacked. This was followed by gunfire, searchlights and a few random depth charges. Bowfin then reported the results of her attack as one sunk, two damaged and said she would wait for us.

0335 hours - Bowfin reported she had only two torpedoes left, suspected shell holes in her main induction and that she was still in a good position to attack. Again told her to go ahead.

0354 hours - One of Bowfin's last two torpedoes exploded in our vicinity giving us a jolt. Bowfin now reported she was standing out to seaward.

0504 hours - Billfish was now finally in a good firing position so in position 12°33'N, 109°36'E fired four torpedoes from the stern tubes from 3600 yards. Heard and felt one torpedo explosion at the correct time interval ut the target was by then obscured by smoke from our own engines as we went full ahead to reach a position ahead of the convoy before daylight.

0620 hours - Sunrise found Billfish not yet in a good position ahead. Submerged and started closing the coast.

19 Dec 1943
Late in the evening, USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN), made the southbound passage of Lombok Strait on the surface.

23 Dec 1943
USS Billfish (Cdr. F.C. Lucas, Jr., USN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Fremantle.

10 Jan 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) made a deep diving test off Fremantle.

11 Jan 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle.

13 Jan 1944
From 13 to 15 January 1944, USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN), conducted exercises off Fremantle together with USS Isabel (Lt. K.F. Landis, USNR).

16 Jan 1944
On 16 and 17 January 1944, USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN), conducted exercises off Fremantle together with USS Chanticleer (Cdr. R.E. Hawes, USN).

19 Jan 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

Before Billfish proceeded on patrol exercises were carried out with USS Isabel (Lt. K.F. Landis, USNR).

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

22 Jan 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) made a short stop at Exmouth Gulf to topp off with fuel before proceeding towards her patrol area.

25 Jan 1944
During the night of 25/26 January 1944, USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN), made the northbound passage of Lombok Strait on the surface.

1 Feb 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) attacked and damaged two sea trucks with gunfire, west of Tawi Tawi Island.

(All times are zone H, -8)
2248 hours - In position 04°58'N, 119°36'E sighted two small ships at a range of 7000 yards. At first they were thought to be patrol boats.

2310 hours - It was now noticed that the targets were sea trucks of about 500 ton each. Manned battle stations - gun action. The targets were on course 260°(T), speed 8 knots.

2330 hours - Closed the range to 1800 yards. Opened fire with the 4" gun and 20mm. Both sea trucks were hit several times before the 4" gun malfunctioned.

0030 hours - The gun was still not functioning and could not be repaired on short notice so the action was ended and both sea trucks were left in a damaged condition.

12 Feb 1944
In the afternoon, while on patrol off the coast of Indo-China, USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN), tried to attack a Japanese convoy that was sighted in position 12°37'N, 109°33'E. The attack had to be broken off when Billfish was detected and depth charged by the escorts.

13 Feb 1944
In the early morning hours, USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN), while still on patrol off the coast of Indo-China, is detected in position 14°07'N, 109°22'E by a Japanese warship which is thought to be a minesweeper. She is hunted and depth charged throughout the day. The last depth charge was dropped at 1738 hours. Billfish surfaced at 1940 hours.

17 Mar 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) made a stop at Darwin, Australia. After unloading all her torpedoes and taking on board fuel she departed for Fremantle later the same day.

24 Mar 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Fremantle.

11 Apr 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted a deep diving trial off Fremantle followed by diving exercises.

13 Apr 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted a sound test off Fremantle.

14 Apr 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle.

15 Apr 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle.

16 Apr 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle.

18 Apr 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Marianas. Before proceeding on patrol exercises were carried out off Fremantle.

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

25 Apr 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) arrived at Darwin where she fuelled to capacity.

27 Apr 1944
After repairs to her SD radar (air search radar), USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN), departed Darwin for her patrol area.

21 May 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) attacked a convoy west-southwest of the Marianas in position 13°39'N, 140°45'E and torpedoed and damaged the Japanese naval cargo ship Bokuyo Maru (2726 GRT, built 1942). The claimed sinking of a second vessel, estimated at 8500 GRT is unconfirmed, but note that Bokuyo Maru was estimated at 8600 GRT!.

Bokuyo Maru was in convoy together with the transports Asaka Maru (7399 GRT, built 1937), Jinzan Maru (5215 GRT, built 1919) and Tenryugawa Maru (3883 GRT, built 1941) escorted by frigate Kaibokan 12, naval auxiliary Shoho Maru, auxiliary minesweeper Fumi Maru No.2 (309 GRT, built 1939) and auxiliary subchaser Uruppu Maru (225 GRT, built 1926).

(All times are zone I, -9)
0310 hours - In position 13°09'N, 140°07'E obtained SJ radar contact bearing 320°(T), range 20000 yards. Commenced tracking.

0320 hours - Manned battle stations and put all four engines on propulsion. By this time the SJ radar had picked up three separate pips.

0355 hours - The plot indicated a base course of 35°(T). Range was now 13000 yards. Secured from battle stations as it looked like it would take quite some time to perform an end around for a daylight submerged attack.

0503 hours - Three ships in sight through high periscope.

0539 hours - Course of the convoy now 090°(T).

0551 hours - Lost sight of the target.

0610 hours - Picked up the convoy again through high periscope.

0641 hours - Lost sight of the target. Believed the convoy had changed back to her original course.

0734 hours - The target was still not sighted, changed course to intercept.

0741 hours - The convoy was seen coming out of the haze. Range was about 18000 yards.

0743 hours - Manned battle stations and commenced attack.

0827 hours - The convoy was seen to be made up of four transports. The base course of the convoy was now about 100°(T).

0840 hours - The tops of four escorts were now also in sight.

0922 hours - In position 13°39'N, 140°45'E fired a three torpedo spread at the second ship from the left from 2800 yards. One hit was heard.

0923 hours - Fired another three torpedo spread at the third ship from the left from 2800 yards. Three hits were heard.

0925 hours - Start to go deep and rigged for depth charging.

0938 hours - Fifteen depth charges were dropped, they were not close.

0948 hours - Three depth charges, rather close.

0950 hours - Heard breaking up noises.

0955 hours - Six depth charges, not close.

1200 hours - More depth charges, about thirty.

1300 hours - Heard pinging in various directios.

1353 hours - Returned to periscope depth.

1407 hours - Pinging was getting louder on a constant bearing.

1412 hours - Went deep again.

1530 hours - Pinging was getting weaker.

1600 hours - Returned to periscope depth. All clear.

1851 hours - Surfaced.

22 May 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) attacked a large Japanese submarine west of Guam with three torpedoes (four were intended). No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0625 hours - Sound heard screws bearing 000° relative. Nothing sighted through the persicope.

0636 hours - Sound reported screws bearing 340° relative. Sighted a submarine at an estimated range of 4000 yards, angle on the bow zero. Estimated course of the enemy was 140 degrees. Started attack to bring the stern tubes to bear.

0640 hours - Manned battle station.

0643 hours - The target zigged to his right showing 30 degrees port angle on the bow. It was now seen to be a Japanese submarine with flag painted on the conning tower. She had two guns.

0650 hours - Unable to attack due to a problem with the TDC (Torpedo Data Computer).

0655 hours - The submarine made a zig away. I-43 was seen to be painted on the conning tower but this submarine was already lost well before this date so this must be incorrect.

0717 hours - Secured from battle stations.

0745 hours - Surfaced and started an end around run on four engines.

1402 hours - Submerged on the target's calculated track.

1437 hours - Sighted the target at an estimated range of 14000 yards.

1440 hours - Manned battle stations.

1501 hours - Range now 3300 yards.

1511 hours - In position 12°57'N, 139°58'E fired four torpedoes. All missed but one torpedo had failed to leave her tube.

1521 hours - Three end of run detonations.

1523 hours - The enemy submarine submerged.

13 Jun 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) ended her 4th war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

1 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted a deep dive test and diving exercises off Pearl Harbour.

3 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour.

4 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Le Hardy (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Holtz, USNR), USS Charles R. Greer (Lt.Cdr. W.T. Denton, USNR), USS Lyman (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Wilson, USNR), USS Greenling (Cdr. J.D. Gerwick, USN) and USS Sailfish (Cdr. R.E.M. Ward, USN).

5 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted coordinated attack exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Greenling (Cdr. J.D. Gerwick, USN) and USS Sailfish (Cdr. R.E.M. Ward, USN).

6 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour.

9 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Luzon Strait.

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

13 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) arrived at Midway.

14 Jul 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) departed Midway for her patrol area.

7 Aug 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) attacked a small (and escorted) Japanese transport ship in Luzon Strait with four torpedoes. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1317 hours - In position 19°52'N, 121°36'E sighted smoke on the horizon bearing 180°(T).

1350 hours - Sighted masts of one ship.

1400 hours - Sent out a contact report to USS Greenling and USS Sailfish.

1407 hours - Manned battle stations and commenced approach. Shortly afterwards there were two ships in sight, the first ship was a freighter of 2500 ton, the other one was smaller, most likely an escort. The freighter was not loaded. Torpedoes were set to run at six feet.

1556 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 2000 yards. All missed as the sea was glassy smooth he was able to see the torpedo tracks and to avoid them.

1604 hours - The escort had turned towards an was running down the torpedo tracks.

1614 hours - One depth charge was dropped.

1619 hours - Another depth charge or aircraft bomb was dropped.

1620 hours - Went deep and rigged for silent running.

1630 - 1634 hours - Eight distant explosion, probably depth charges.

1800 hours - Went to periscope depth. All clear.

1944 hours - Surfaced.

4 Sep 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) arrived at Saipan.

5 Sep 1944
Having taken on board fuel, USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN), departed Saipan for Majuro.

13 Sep 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) ended her 5th war patrol at Majuro. At Mujoro she was refitted by the USS Bushnell.

29 Sep 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted a deep submergence test and independent ship exercises off Majuro.

1 Oct 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Majuro together with USS Crouter (Lt. C.F. Braught, USNR), USS Lovering (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Bayley, USNR) and USS Florikan (Lt. D. Hima, USN).

2 Oct 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Majuro together with USS Crouter (Lt. C.F. Braught, USNR), USS Lovering (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Bayley, USNR) and USS Florikan (Lt. D. Hima, USN).

3 Oct 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) conducted exercises off Majuro together with USS Crouter (Lt. C.F. Braught, USNR), USS Lovering (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Bayley, USNR) and USS Florikan (Lt. D. Hima, USN).

6 Oct 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) departed from Majuro for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Bonin and Ryukyu Islands. She was escorted out by USS Crouter (Lt. C.F. Braught, USNR).

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

17 Oct 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) is ordered to patrol off the Nansei Shoto.

4 Nov 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) attacked a small and escorted Japanese freighter with four torpedoes in the East China Sea. No hits were obtained.

(All times are zone I, -9)
4 November 1944
2047 hours - In position 28°20'N, 128°15'E obtained SJ radar contact at a range of 15000 yards.

2050 hours - Commenced tracking.

2125 hours - The target is zigzagging on a base course of 230°(T) at a speed of 7 knots.

2130 hours - Crossed the targets bow to get in a more favourable attack position.

2154 hours - In position 28°21'N, 128°09'E fired four torpedoes from 2000 yards. No hits were obtained. The target was a small freighter of about 2000 ton and was escorted by two patrol vessels.

2200 hours - The target and escorts changed course. The escorts dropped three or four depth charges.

2210 hours - Commenced reload forward and started an end around run.

5 November 1944
0109 hours - Submerged 10000 yards ahead of the target.

0210 hours - When the range was down to 3000 yards the target turned away leaving USS Billfish with no possibility for another attack.

7 Nov 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) attacked a convoy on radar, firing a total of seven torpedoes and claiming two hits for damage on a 4000 ton freighter, one more hit on a second 4000 tonner and another on a third 4000 ton ship. None of these is confirmed.

(All times are zone i, -9)
7 November 1944
0633 hours - Sighted smoke bearing 167°(T).

0715 hours - In position 28°28'N, 128°56'E sighted masts of about six ships. Changed course to intercept.

0844 hours - The convoy had zigged to the right. There were five ships and four escorts.

0936 hours - We had fallen astern of the convoy. Enemy base course was 315°(T), speed 7.5 knots.

1210 hours - Lost sight of the smoke.

1251 hours - Surfaced. Closed the convoy on three engines.

1312 hours - Sighted smoke bearing 302°(T).

1353 hours - Submerged due to a radar contact on an aircraft.

1439 hours - Sighted smoke bearing 306°(T).

1552 hours - Surfaced.

1645 hours - The convoy was now in sight. Submerged.

1818 hours - Surfaced and went after the convoy on three engines, charging on the other.

1930 hours - SJ radar contact bearing 336°(T), range 12000 yards. Started an end around on the port side of the convoy.

2007 hours - Lost contact bearing 034°(T) a a range of 15200 yards.

2020 hours - Changed course to 020°(T). Estimated that the convoy had changed course from 315°(T) to 035°(T) around 2000 hours.

2100 hours - Changed course to 050°(T).

2115 hours - Regained radar contact bearing 115°(T), range 11400 yards.

2130 hours - Manned battle stations.

2206 hours - Commenced attack. Went in on all four engines.

2217 hours - In position 29°34'N, 127°56'E fired four bow torpedoes from 1500 yards at the first group of three ships. Two torpedoes were seen to hit on two different ships.

2230 hours - Fired four stern torpedoes at the largest ship in the second group. Two were seen to hit the target.

2231 hours - Commenced reloading the tubes.

2245 hours - Reloading completed.

2250 hours - Noticed a single ship on the radar. Decided that it was a cripple and changed course to intercept to finish it off.

2314 hours - Tracking the target on a base course of 345°(T), speed 6.5 knots. Visibility was only 2000 yards due to heavy rain.

2316 hours - Range now 2000 yards, the target was sighted making heavy smoke.

2318 hours - In position 29°38'N, 127°47'E fired four bow torpedoes from 1200 yards. All passed ahead of the target.

2324 hours - The target dropped three or four depth charges.

2340 to 2400 hours - The target is zig-zagging radically. It seems impossible to get on his track.

8 November 1944
0029 hours - Now 4000 yards ahead of the target, stopped an lay to with the engines secured waiting for the target to come to us and then attack with a stern shot.

0043 hours - Went underway again.

0118 hours - In position 29°30'N, 127°31'E fired three bow torpedoes from 1000 yards. One torpedo was a circular runner and was last seen on the starboard beam, the others most likely ran under the target.

0119 hours - All ahead flank, swining left. Passed ahead of the target at a range of 500 yards.

0121 hours - The target opened fire with machine guns.

0123 hours - The target dropped three or four depth charges.

0210 hours - Changed course to search for the remainder of the convoy but in the end did not find it.

13 Nov 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) sank a Japanese sampan with gunfire off the Ryukyu Islands in position 29°30'N, 130°02'E.

(All times are zone I,-9)
1545 hours - Sighted smoke bearing 148°(T).

1608 hours - In position 29°30'N, 129°55'E sighted a mast.

1637 hours - A diesel driven sampan could be made out. Manned battle stations for battle surface.

1646 hours - Surfaced but hold fire until the range had decreased.

1650 hours - Range now 1000 yards. Opened fire with 20mm and .50 cal machine guns.

1700 hours - Opened fire with the 4" deck gun.

1725 hours - The target was seen to sink, 43 rounds of 4" had been expended for 13 hits. Secured from battle stations. No survivors were seen.

23 Nov 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) made a short stop at Midway for fuel before proceeding to Pearl Harbour.

27 Nov 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) ended her 6th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She is now sent to San Francisco for a major overhaul.

1 Dec 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) departed Pearl Harbour for San Francisco, California.

9 Dec 1944
USS Billfish (Cdr. V.C. Turner, USN) arrived at San Francisco, California for a refit at the Bethlehem Steel Company.

8 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) departed San Francisco for Monterey Bay, California.

9 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted A/S exercises with aircraft off Monterey Bay.

10 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted A/S exercises with aircraft off Monterey Bay.

11 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted A/S exercises with aircraft off Monterey Bay.

12 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted A/S exercises with aircraft off Monterey Bay. Upon completion of these exercises course was set for Pearl Harbour.

19 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) arrived at Pearl Harbour. Voyage repairs were then undertaken by USS Bushnell.

24 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Burden R. Hastings (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Stivers, USNR).

25 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Whitman (Lt. E.A. Sandor, USNR) and USS Cero (Lt.Cdr. R. Berthrong, USN).

26 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Whitman (Lt. E.A. Sandor, USNR) and USS Cero (Lt.Cdr. R. Berthrong, USN).

27 Mar 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Pruitt (Lt. D.B. Harby, USNR), USS Whitman (Lt. E.A. Sandor, USNR), USS PC-599 and USS Cero (Lt.Cdr. R. Berthrong, USN).

3 Apr 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Burden R. Hastings (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Stivers, USNR).

4 Apr 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Burden R. Hastings (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Stivers, USNR).

8 Apr 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Staff (Lt. W.A. Upton, USNR), USS Florikan (Lt. D. Hima, USN), USS PGM-21 (Lt. L. Gardiner, USNR) and USS Torsk (Cdr. B.E. Lewellen, USN).

24 Apr 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to proceed to Guam (later changed to Saipan) to be topped off with full and then to patrol in the East China Sea.

For daily and attack positions for USS Billfish during this patrol see the map below.

6 May 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) arrived at Saipan. Voyage repairs were undertaken by USS Orion.

7 May 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) departed Saipan for her patrol area.

26 May 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant cargo ship Kotobuki Maru No.7 (991 GRT, built 1943) west of Hirado Island, Japan in position 33°18'N, 129°21'E.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1118 hours - In position 33°18'N, 129°22'E sighted a freighter clering the southern tip of Ikitsuki Shima bearing 092°(T), range 4000 yards.

1120 hours - Went to battle stations.

1130 hours - The target tracked on a base course of 240°(T), speed 7 knots.

1134 hours - In position 33°18'N, 129°21'E fired four bow torpedoes. One hit was obtained and the target settled quickly by the stern.

1137 hours - Started to retire from the area.

1139 hours - The target was seen to sink.

30 May 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) attacked a small Japanese freighter off the west coast of Korea with a total of six torpedoes. All however missed their target.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0641 hours - In position 38°04'N, 124°40'E sighted smoke bearing 120°(T).

0659 hours - Sighted a small ship bearing 122°(T), range 10000 yards. Went to battle stations.

0727 hours - In position 38°04'N, 124°39'E fired three stern torpedoes from 1300 yards at the target, a small coastal freighter of about 1000 ton. All missed.

0744 hours - Fired three bow torpedoes but at least one of the torpedoes broached and the target turned away.

0754 hours - Secured from battle stations.

4 Jun 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) sinks the Japanese freighter Taiu Maru (2220 GRT, built ????) with torpedoes off the west coast of Korea. She also claimed to have sunk three Japanese schooners with gunfire shortly afterwards.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1441 hours - In position 38°32'N, 124°45'E sighted ship bearing 150°(T), range about 7000 yards.

1442 hours - Went to battle stations.

1450 hours - The target was seen to be a engines aft freighter of about 4000 - 5000 ton.

1507 hours - In position 38°32'N, 124°46'E fired four torpedoes from 650 yards. Two hits were obtained. The target broke in two and sank immediately.

1512 hours - Secured from battle stations.

1535 hours - In position 38°31'N, 124°43'E sighted three four-masted schooners.

1605 hours - Battle stations surface.

1614 hours - Surfaced.

1616 hours - In position 38°30'N, 124°44'E opened fire on the nearest schooner with both 40mm's.

1620 hours - Ceased fire as the target was sinking.

1626 hours - Opened fire on the second schooner with both 40mm's and the 5" gun.

1632 hours - Ceased fire as the target was on fire and sinking.

1635 hours - Opened fire on the third schooner.

1638 hours - One of the crew was shot through the head by rifle fire from the target, another was shot through the leg.

1643 hours - Secured from battle stations and retired from the area. The third target was now also on fire and in a sinking condition.

During the gun actions a total of 8 rounds of 5" and 323 rounds of 40mm were fired.

The crewmember that was shot in the head died early the next morning and was buried at sea. (1)

5 Jun 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) attacked but missed a Japanese freighter or tanker with four torpedoes off the west coast of Korea. All torpedoes missed as the target made a change of course shortly after the torpedoes were fired.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1105 hours - In position 38°08'N, 124°38'E sighted a ship bearing 064°(T), range about 7000 yards.

1120 hours - The target was very difficult to make out against the fog which was thickening.

1126 hours - Lost sight of the target.

1130 hours - Sighted the target again. In position 38°07'N, 124°38'E fired four torpedoes from 1700 yards at a freighter of tanker of about 4000 ton.

1131 hours - The target changed course and all torpedoes missed.

1135 hours - Heard an end of run explosion.

1141 hours - Secured from battle stations.

17 Jun 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) ended her 7th war patrol at Midway where she was refitted by USS Griffin.

6 Jul 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Midway.

7 Jul 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Midway.

8 Jul 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Midway.

9 Jul 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) conducted exercises off Midway.

12 Jul 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) departed from Midway for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Yellow Sea.

For daily and attack positions for USS Billfish during this patrol see the map below.

21 Jul 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) arrived at Saipan where voyage repairs were undetaken by USS Orion.

23 Jul 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) departed Saipan for her patrol area. She was escorted out, together with USS Tench (Cdr. T.S. Baskett, USN) and USS Lionfish (Lt.Cdr. B.M. Ganyard, USN) and USS Sea Fox (Cdr. R.C. Klinker, USN).

5 Aug 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) torpedoed and sank Japanese merchant cargo ship Kori Maru (1091 GRT, built 1897) in the Yellow Sea off the Kwantung Peninsula in position 38°51'N, 121°39'E.

(All times are zone I, -9)
1025 hours - Sighted a two-masted trawler close inshore.

1030 hours - In position 38°51'N, 121°40'E sighted a freighter inshore of the trawler at a range of 9000 yards. Also sighted a second freighter following the first one, this one had a patrol boat as escort. Went to battle stations. The first freighter is half loaded, the second freighter is fully loaded and appears larger then the first one so selected this ship as the target.

1103 hours - In position 38°51'N, 121°39'E fired four bow torpedoes at the target which was estimated as being of about 4000 ton. Range was 1500 yards. Three hits were obtained.

1106 hours - The patrol boat turned to seaward so riggers for depth charging an silent running but no counter attack followed.

7 Aug 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) claims the sinking of a small Japanese freighter in the Yellow Sea off the Kwantung Peninsula in position 38°48'N, 121°23'E.

(All times are zone I, -9)
0903 hours - In position 38°46'N, 121°25'E sighted a small freighter close inshore. Changed course to close the beach.

0910 hours - Battle stations.

0923 hours - Sighted a patrol boat as escort for the freighter. He is about 2500 yards to the seaward of the freighter.

0937 hours - The escort passed ahead at a range of only 300 yards. He was not pinging. A tug was now also sighted to be present.

0940 hours - In position 38°48'N, 121°23'E fired four bow torpedoes from 1200 yards at the freighter which was estimated as being about 1200 ton. The first torpedo was seen to broach and the target was turning right. Non the less one torpedo hit was obtained. It threw up a tremendous column of smoke and spray. The target was seen to sink shortly afterwards. Meanwhile rigged for silent running and depth charging but remained at periscope depth to see what the escort was doing.

0948 hours - Depth charging commenced.

1003 hours - The fourth and last depth charge was dropped.

16 Aug 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) is ordered to proceed to Pearl Harbour via Midway.

23 Aug 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) made a short stop at Midway. She departed for Pearl Harbour later the same day.

27 Aug 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) ended her 8th war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

29 Aug 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) departed Pearl Harbour for Balboa, Panama Canal Zone.

13 Sep 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) arrived at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone.

15 Sep 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) departed the Panama Canal Zone for New Orleans, Louisiana.

19 Sep 1945
USS Billfish (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Farley, USNR) arrived at New Orleans, Louisiana from the Panama Canal Zone. She was now assigned to training duties.

Media links


U. S. Submarines in World War II

Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


U.S. Submarines Through 1945

Friedman, Norman

Sources

  1. Personal communication

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