October 24 This Day During World War ll

October 24, 1944 – USS Tang attacked an escorted Japanese convoy in the Taiwan Strait off the island of Niushandao, China, sinking five transports and tankers and one destroyer; among the sunken were, Kogen Maru and Matsumoto Maru before being hit by one of her own torpedo’s ans sinking. USS Tang (SS-306) was a Balao-class submarine of World War II, the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the tang. She was built and launched in 1943. In her short career, Tang sank 33 ships displacing 116,454 tons Her commanding officer received the Medal of Honor for her last two engagements (23 and 24 October 1944).Tang was sunk during the last engagement by a circular run of her final torpedo. The ship sank in 180 ft (55 m) of water. Several of the crew managed to reach the surface, and some survived to be captured by the Japanese. These were the first American submariners to escape a sunken submarine using a Momsen lung. On the morning of 24 October, Tang began patrolling at periscope depth. She surfaced at dark and headed for Turnabout Island (25.431493°N 119.93989°E). On approaching the island, the submarine’s surface search radar showed so many blips that it was almost useless. Tang soon identified a large convoy which contained tankers with planes on their decks and transports with crated planes stacked on their bows and sterns. As the submarine tracked the Japanese ships along the coast, the enemy escorts became suspicious, and the escort commander began signaling with a large searchlight. This illuminated the convoy, and Tang chose a large three-deck transport as her first target, a smaller transport as the second, and a large tanker as the third. Their ranges varied from 900–1,400 yd (820–1,300 m). After firing two torpedoes at each target, the submarine paralleled the convoy to choose its next victims. She fired stern torpedoes at another transport and tanker aft. As Tang poured on full speed to escape the gunfire directed at her, a destroyer passed around the stern of the transport and headed for the submarine. The tanker exploded, and a hit was seen on the transport. A few seconds later, the destroyer exploded, either from intercepting Tang’s third torpedo or from shell fire of two escorts closing on the beam. Only the transport remained afloat, and it was dead in the water. The submarine cleared to 240 ft (73 m), rechecked the last two torpedoes which had been loaded in the bow tubes, and returned to finish off the transport. The 23rd torpedo was fired at 900 yd (820 m) and was observed running hot and straight. At 02:30 on the morning of 25 October, the 24th and last torpedo was fired. It broached and curved to the left in a circular run. Tang fishtailed under emergency power to clear the turning circle of the torpedo, but it struck her abreast the aft torpedo room approximately 20 seconds after it was fired. The explosion was violent, and men as far forward as the control room received broken limbs. The ship went down by the stern with the after three compartments flooded. Of the nine officers and men on the bridge, three were able to swim through the night until picked up eight hours later. One officer escaped from the flooded conning tower, and was rescued with the others. The submarine bottomed at 180 ft (55 m) and the men within crowded forward as the aft compartments flooded. Publications were burned, and all assembled in the forward room to escape. The escape was delayed by a Japanese patrol which dropped depth charges, and started an electrical fire in the forward battery. Thirteen men escaped from the forward room. By the time the last had exited, the heat from the fire was so intense that the paint on the bulkhead was scorching, melting, and running down. Of the 13 men who escaped, only nine reached the surface, and of these, five were able to swim until rescued. A total of 78 men were lost. Those who escaped the submarine were greeted in the morning by the sight of the bow of the transport sticking straight out of the water. Nine survivors, including O’Kane, were picked up the next morning by a Japanese destroyer. Victims of Tang’s previous sinkings were on board, and they beat the men from Tang. O’Kane stated, “When we realized that our clubbing and kickings were being administered by the burned, mutilated survivors of our handiwork, we found we could take it with less prejudice.” The nine captives were placed in prison camps until the end of the war. In the last attack, Tang had sunk Kogen Maru and Matsumoto Maru. Tang was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 8 February 1945.

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