Allied Warships

Becuna (SS-319)

Submarine of the Balao class


USS Becuna as modified aftger the war.

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassBalao 
Pennant319 
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered6 Jun 1942 
Laid down29 Apr 1943 
Launched30 Jan 1944 
Commissioned27 May 1944 
End service7 Nov 1969 
History

Converted from her basic fleet boat configuration to a streamlined fast underwater submarine known as a GUPPY (Greater Underwater Propulsion Project) type 1A in 1951, Becuna served during the Korean War and Vietnam conflict in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Berthed at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, the boat now serves as an educational resource and tourist attraction with the cruiser Olympia. USS Becuna is a National Historic Landmark.

 

Commands listed for USS Becuna (319)

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CommanderFromTo
1T/Cdr. Henry Dixon Sturr, USN27 May 19448 Jun 1945
2T/Lt.Cdr. William John Bush, USN8 Jun 1945

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Notable events involving Becuna include:


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

This page was last updated in November 2016.

9 Jun 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) arrived at Newport, Rhode Island from New London, Connecticut for her torpedo trials.

13 Jun 1944
Having completed her torpedo trials, USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), arrived at New London, Connecticut from Newport, Rhode Island.

16 Jun 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) conducted deep diving trials in the New London area.

26 Jun 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) is put on the slipway at New London.

27 Jun 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) is put back in the water.

1 Jul 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed New London, Connecticut for the Panama Canal Zone.

7 Jul 1944
At 2013 hours (time zone Q, 4), USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), fired four stern torpedoes at a surfaced submarine in position 18°49'N, 68°06'W. No enemy submarine was however operating in this area.

10 Jul 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) arrived in the Panama Canal Zone from New London, Connecticut.

13 Jul 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed the Panama Canal Zone for Pearl Harbour.

29 Jul 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) arrived at Pearl Harbor for her final training before proceeding on her first war patrol.

23 Aug 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea but to proceed to Saipan first. She made the passage together with USS Baya (Cdr. A.H. Holtz, USN) and USS Hawkbill (Cdr. F.W. Scanland, Jr., USN). They were escorted out of Pearl Harbour by USS USS PC 485 (Lt. W.C. Sands, USNR).

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

1 Sep 1944
In the afternoon, USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), picked up a Japanese soldier from a small boat. The small boat was then sunk with machine gun fire. Position was 19°30'N, 158°50'E.

4 Sep 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), USS Baya (Cdr. A.H. Holtz, USN) and USS Hawkbill (Cdr. F.W. Scanland, Jr., USN) arrived at Saipan. They were escorted in by USS Heed (Lt. M. Dent. Jr., USNR).

6 Sep 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), USS Baya (Cdr. A.H. Holtz, USN) and USS Hawkbill (Cdr. F.W. Scanland, Jr., USN) departed Saipan for their patrol area. They were escorted out by USS Heed (Lt. M. Dent. Jr., USNR).

25 Sep 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) attacked a Japanese convoy with six torpedoes to the west-south-west of Formosa. No hits were obtained.

The convoy attacked was convoy MATA-27B consisting of transports Yukikawa Maru (4502 GRT, built 1941), Juzan Maru and a further two unidentified merchant ships. They were escorted by destroyers Akikaze, Yuzuki and Uzuki and auxiliary cable layer Osei Maru (641 GRT, built 1941).

(All times are zone I, -9)
1410 hours - In position 21°28'N, 118°57'E sighted three ships dead ahead at a range of about 20000 yards. They were coming out of a rain cloud. Becuna submerged.

1412 hours - Battle stations submerged. The convoy zigged towards Becuna. A total of four transports were now sighted with two and probably three escorts. The near escort was seen to be a Minekaze-class destroyer. Base course of the convoy was 005°.

1530 hours - Decided to fire three torpedoes at the Minekaze-class destroyer.

1554 hours - The Minekaze and one of the transports were overlapping. Range to the Minekaze was 1500 yards with the Maru about 2000 yards beyond. In position 21°28'N, 118°37'E fired six bow torpedoes at the double target. As the last torpedo was fired the Minekaze (this was Akikaze) turned towards.

1555 hours - Went deep and rigged for depth charging.

1556 hours - First depth charge or a hit on the Maru.

1557 hours - Five depth charges exploded. During the next half hour 35 more exploded.

1630 hours - The destroyer appeared to have lost contact.

1920 hours - Surfaced. Nothing in sight. Heard distant depth charging. Sent out a contact report to other submarines three times but received no reply.

8 Oct 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese seaplane carrier Kimikawa Maru (6863 GRT, offsite link) in the South China Sea in position 14°05'N, 115°38'E.

Kamikawa Maru was part of convoy HI-76 (Singapore-Moji). She was in convoy together with transport Teihoku Maru (5794 GRT, built 1936, former French Pierre L.D.) and tankers Nichinan Maru (5175 GRT, built 1942), Ryoei Maru (10006 GRT, built 1944), Nichiei Maru (10018 GRT, built 1938), Fujisan Maru (9527 GRT, built 1931), Kuroshio Maru (10383 GRT, built 1939), Tarakan Maru (5136 GRT, built 1943) and Toho Maru (10238 GRT, built 1944). The escort is provided by escort carrier Shinyo and frigates Kanju, Manju, Miyake, Kurahashi, Kaibokan 28 and torpedo boat Hiyodori (all links are offsite links).

(All times are zone H, -8)
0004 hours - After having tracked this convoy for most of the previous day Becuna was now dead ahead at a range of about 12000 yards. Dived to complete the attack submerged.

0105 hours - Picked up a tanker through the periscope. Decided to attack this ship.

0110 hours - In position 14°05'N, 115°38'E fired four torpedoes from 2800 yards. Two torpedo explosions were heard after a running time of 3000 yards. The torpedoes were not heard to explode. Becuna went deep after firing. Screws were heard to pass over the conning tower while Becuna passed 80 feet.

0116 hours - One depth charge was dropped but it was not close. From then until 0240 hours about 40 depth charges were dropped of which some were fairly close.

0302 hours - Came to 60 feet. Had a look around. Nothing in sight.

0518 hours - Surfaced.

9 Oct 1944
While operating in the South China Sea USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese tanker San Luis Maru (7269 GRT, built 1928) (San Luis Maru was also damaged by USS Hawkbill) and sinks the Japanese merchant tanker Tokuwa Maru (1943 GRT, built 1942) in position 12°45'N, 118°05'E.

These ships were part of convoy MI-19 (Manila - Miri) which was made up of, besides the two ships mentioned above, Nittetsu Maru (5993 GRT, built 1943), Daizen Maru (5396 GRT, built ), Hida Maru (GRT, built ), San Diego Maru (7269 GRT, built 1928), Eikyo Maru (6948 GRT, built ), Shunten Maru (5623 GRT built ), Tatsubato Maru (5396 GRT, built 1943), Daishu Maru (3322 GRT, built ) and Yoshu Maru (5711 GRT, built ). They were escorted by patrol boat PB-105, frigates Kaibokan 18 and Kaibokan 26, submarine chaser Ch 19 and auxiliary submarine chaser .

(All times are zone H, -8)
1425 hours - While coming out of a heavy rain squall sighted heavy smoke from many sources. Becuna was just north of the Palawan Passage so decided that this convoy was heading 180° and making for the passage. Sent a contact report to USS Hawkbill. Position was 13°01'N, 118°05'E.

1506 hours - A forest of masts was appearing. Dove to avoid detection and came to normal approach course. The convoy was now bearing 030°(T). Used two-thirds and standard speed intermittently and drew ahead satisfactorily.

1624 hours - Went to battle stations. The convoy was seen to be made up of about ten ships. Two small escorts were seen but three were picked up on sound. The convoy was made up of transports, cargo vessels and tankers, all good sized ships. They appeared to be in four columns. Their base course was 180°(T), speed 8 knots.

1652 hours - The convoy zigged radically to the right. Becuna turned left to present the tern tubes.

1658 hours - The convoy had zigged right again. Broke off the attack and went to 80 feet.

1700 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Two tankers were seen to come into a perfect position for a stern shot.

1702 hours - In position 12°45'N, 118°00'E fired four torpedoes at the overlapping tankers. All torpedoes were heard to hit. Commenced swinging left for bow shots on other ships. After starting the turn, a look showed a large transport passing my stern very close aboard. Depth charging now commenced but none were close. They appeared to be dropped at random.

1705 hours - A tanker was seen to be sinking by the stern.

1710 hours - Fired three bow torpedoes at a transport from 1200 yards. Two were heard to explode. Another target was now spotted and one bow torpedo at it from 1400 yards. This torpedo was heard to explode after the correct running time. Another freighter was now seen to port. The two remaining bow torpedoes were now fired at it from 1100 yards. Hits were not heard due to the fact that by that time depth charging had commenced. Becuna now went deep to avoid detection.

2025 hours - Surfaced and made off for Fremantle.

15 Oct 1944
In the evening USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) made the southbound transfer of Lombok Strait on the surface.

20 Oct 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) ended her 1st war patrol at Fremantle, Australia. At Fremantle she was refitted by a relief crew from Submarine Division 121 and USS Griffin.

15 Nov 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

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

22 Nov 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) arrived at Darwin to top off with fuel and provisions. She was escorted in by HMAS ML 814 (T/Lt. B.R. Bayley, RANVR).

23 Nov 1944
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed Darwin for her patrol area.

2 Jan 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) sank a 'sea truck' with gunfire east of Madoera Island in position 06°09'S, 113°33'E.

(All times are zone H, -8)
1053 hours - In position 06°09'S, 113°33'E sighted heavy white smoke bearing 185°(T). Turned towards at full speed.

1129 hours - Picked up two masts with smoke, commenced an approach. It now began to rain and visibility decreased.

1325 hours - Rain ceased. The target was astern at a range of about 6000 yards. It was seen to be a sea truck, estimated tonnage 800 GRT.

1330 hours - Battle surfaced. Opened fire with the 5" gun from 6700 yards. The second shot was a hit. The sea truck suddenly sank ater twelve rounds had been fire, half of these were hits.

3 Jan 1945
In the early hours of 3 January 1945, USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), transited Lombok Strait southbound.

5 Jan 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) arrived at Exmouth Gulf, Australia to take on board some fuel.

6 Jan 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed Exmouth Gulf to continue her passage to Fremantle.

8 Jan 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Fremantle. At Fremantle she was refitted by a relief crew from Submarine Division 261 and USS Anthedon.

4 Feb 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

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

7 Feb 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) arrived at Onslow, Australia to top off with fuel and provisions.

8 Feb 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed Onslow for her patrol area.

11 Feb 1945
Late in the evening of 11 February 1945, USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), made the northbound transit of Lombok Strait.

22 Feb 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant tanker Nichiyoku Maru (1945 GRT, built 1943) off Cape Padaran, French Indo-China in position 11°28'N, 109°06'E.

She was in convoy HI-88-H with tanker Eisho Maru escorted by frigates Yaku, Kaibokan 13 and Kaibokan 31 and submarine chaser CH-57.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0911 hours - At 100 feet depth, eleven minutes after a periscope exposure, heard pinging from the southward. Came to 60 feet, discovered a tanker escorted by a destroyer and a destroyer escort. Range was 12000 yards.

0934 hours - In position 11°28'N, 109°06'E fired four stern tubes at the destroyer, all missed. Range was 2500 yards.

0942 hours - Fired six bow torpedoes at the tanker from 2600 yards. Two hits were obtained. He sank very quickly. Commenced working into deeper water and rigged for depth charging. During the next three hours between 60 to 70 depth charges were dropped by the escorts.

1335 hours - Came to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. Resumed normal patrol.

27 Feb 1945
In the evening USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) tries to attack Japanese convoy HI-96 consisting of Fujisan Maru and Mitsushima Maru. They were escorted by frigates Inagi, Kaibokan 66 and Kaibokan 81. Becuna was detected and depth charged by the escorts for about two hours. She was not damaged. Position was 11°40'N, 109°15'E, which is just south of Cam Rahn Bay.

22 Mar 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Subic Bay. At Subic Bay she was refitted by a relief crew from Submarine Division 261 and USS Anthedon.

15 Apr 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) departed from Subic Bay for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea and Gulf of Siam.

For daily positions for USS Becuna during this patrol see the map below.

20 May 1945
In the early moring hours of 20 May 1945, USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN), transited Lombok Strait southbound.

24 May 1945
USS Becuna (Cdr. H.D. Sturr, USN) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle where she was refitted by Sub.Div 302 relief crew and USS Clytie.

21 Jun 1945
USS Becuna (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Bush, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

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

27 Jun 1945
During the night of 27/28 June 1945, USS Becuna (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Bush, USN), made the northbound transit of Lombok Strait on the surface.

16 Jul 1945
USS Becuna (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Bush, USN) attacked but missed the Japanese torpedo boat Kari (945 tons, offsite link) with six torpedoes in the Java Sea about 220 nautical miles west-south-west of Makassar in position 05°45'S, 115°39'E. Shortly after the attack by Becuna, Kari was sunk by USS Baya.

(All times are zone H, -8)
15 July 1945
2320 hours - Obtained SJ radar contact at a range of 19000 yards. Commenced tracking.

2336 hours - Sent out a contact report to USS Baya, USS Blenny and USS Boarfish.

16 July 1945
0004 hours - Asked USS Baya, USS Blenny and USS Boarfish for their positions.

0042 hours - Sent out an amplifying report on the contact.

0057 hours - Informed USS Baya (the closest of the other submarines) that we would not attack until she was in contact.

0133 hours - Baya informed us that she was in contact.

0135 hours - Commenced attack.

0156 hours - In position 05°45'S, 115°39'E fired six bow torpedoes at the target, a Japanese torpedo boat. Range on firing was 3200 yards. No hits were obtained.

0205 hours - Sent out a report to Baya stating 'negative hit with six torpedoes set to four feet'.

0220 hours - Received a message from Baya that she was attacking.

0307 hours - Saw the target blew up.

27 Jul 1945
USS Becuna (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Bush, USN) ended her 5th war patrol at Subic Bay, Philippines.

31 Aug 1945
USS Becuna (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Bush, USN) departed Subic Bay for San Diego.

22 Sep 1945
USS Becuna (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Bush, USN) arrived at San Diego.

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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