USS Drum (SS-228)

Return to War Patrols index

First War Patrol

April 17, 1942 - June 12, 1942

Commanding Officer - Lieutenant Commander R.H. Rice

Drum War Patrol One

Sinkings and Damages - USS Drum (SS-228) War Patrol One

Date Name
of Vessel
of Vessel
Location Assessment
2 May 1942 Mizuho Seaplane Tender 9,000 10,930 34-26N, 138-14E Sunk Sunk
9 May 1942 (Unknown) Maru Cargo 4,000 est. 4,000 est. 33-48N, 136-08E Probably Sunk Damage Possible
13 May 1942 Shonan Maru Cargo 5,264 5,356 34-39N, 139-10E Sunk Sunk
25 May 1942 Kitakata Maru Cargo 2,380 2,380 34-58N, 140-04E Sunk Sunk

Image courtesy of History on CD-ROM.

Kitakata Maru

Image courtesy of History on CD-ROM.

Award of Submarine Combat Insignia for this patrol is authorized.

Submarine Combat Insignia

1. Narrative
2. Weather
3. Tidal Information
4. Navigational Aids
5. Description of Vessels Sighted
6. Description of Aircraft Sighted
7. Particulars of Attack
8. Enemy A/S Measures
9. Major Defects Experienced
10. Radio Reception
11. Sound Conditions
12. Health and Habitability
13. Factors of Endurance Remaining
14. Patrol Termination
15. Miscellaneous comments and figures

(1.) Narrative (All times are KING unless otherwise labeled)

17 April 1942
Left Pearl Harbor for Area ---- via Midway.
17-21 April 1942
Enroute Midway conducted ship drills, fire control drills, and training dives.
21 April 1942
0655(W) Moored in Midway Lagoon to fuel.
1030 Departed Midway.
25 April 1942
0941(L) About 500 miles north of Wake, made radar contact at 5 miles which closed to 2 miles. Submerged.
1035 Surfaced.
27 April 1942
0945(L) Sighted large airplane crossing ahead of us at about 4000 feet. Lat. 29-01.5 N., Long. 155-30.0 E. Submerged.
1048 Surfaced.
28 April 1942
1225 Radar contact at 10 miles. Submerged. Lat. 29-31.0 N., Long. 150-00.0 E.
1303 Surfaced.
30 April 1942
1045 Sighted enemy plane distant 6 miles, making radar contact simultaneously. Submerged.
1145 Surfaced.
1300 Submerged because of broken low clouds in order to enter area undetected tomorrow morning.
1 May 1942
0930 Entered Area ---- submerged.
2124 About 40 miles southeast of Iraki Suido (entrance to Nagoya), full moon in cloudless sky, sighted enemy airplane close aboard. Either the plane switched on its lights - presumably as a recognition signal - or we then became aware of them. Submerged at once.
2210 Surfaced to patrol at 6 knots and to be off the harbor entrance at daylight.
2355 Sighted a medium sized ship with considerable top-hamper about 2 miles on the port bow. Swung to close and attack.
2 May 1942
0002 Fired two torpedoes, one hit (Attack No. 1). At time of firing second torpedo became aware of a destroyer near the target closing us at high speed. Went to 100 feet to avoid ramming, firing one torpedo at destroyer as we dove (Attack No. 2). Missed.
0010 Came to periscope depth, found destroyer lying to astern, range about 1500 yards. Fired 3 torpedoes (Attack No. 3). Missed. Periscope incapable of train due to cockbilling of hoisting ring. Made repairs to periscope. Original target not seen.
0155 Decided to clear vicinity submerged.
0200 Sporadic depth charge attack began, lasting until 1800. Suffered no damage.
1930 Sound search ended.
2230 Surfaced, stood to southward charging batteries.
3 May 1942
Rested the crew. Serviced torpedoes. Position doubtful.
7 May 1942
Closing coast off Kantori Zaki. Sea made up so that depth control became impossible at periscope depth. Blew out negative take flood gasket.
1630 Surfaced involuntarily from 90 feet in a gale with heavy seas. Set course to ride out.
8 May 1942
Wind abated, turned to close coast.
2300 Sighted Kashino Saki and Shiono Saki lights.
9 May 1942
Conducting submerged patrol off the coast north of Kantori Zaki.
1353 About 3 miles off shore, sighted 5-6000 ton vessel south bound. Made attack, fired 4 torpedoes from stern tubes, violent explosion (Attack No. 4). This ship was probably a Naval auxiliary, similar to our C-1 freighter; 5-6000 tons, loaded, exceptionally neat and new looking. Could not make out Naval Ensign. Decided to shift operations to Area ---- , available to us for several days, then return to this promising hunting ground.
11 May 1942
Patrol in vicinity Nikura Shima and Miyake Shima for north-south traffic from Tokyo Bay. Received message from Commander Task Force SEVEN concerning damaged CV and assigning Area ---- to us as additional for the remainder of patrol.
12 May 1942
Patrolled passaged of Izv Shoto. Noted searchlights on O Shima illuminating east channel to Tokyo. Spent the night in heavy rain, passing south and west of O Shima to patrol western Tokyo entrance channel tomorrow.
13 May 1942
0928 While submerged 9 miles off Tsumeki Saki light, sighted inbound steamer.
0956 Attacked with one torpedo. Ship split in two and began to settle, crew abandoning (Attack No. 5). This ship was a freighter of about 6000 tons (photograph taken after firing).
1000 Sighted a bomber about 1 mile away, headed towards us.
1001 Planes began bombing. Went to 100 feet.
1025 Depth charge attack began, lasting until 1143. Suffered no damage.
1600 Supersonic search ended. Proceeded submerged to the southeast to clear islands in strong current.
14-15 May 1942
Received orders from Commander Task Force SEVEN to stay in Area ---- for remainder of patrol. Patrolling passage of Izu Shoto. Sighted numerous small craft.
16 May 1942
Submerged 7 miles west of Mikura Shima sighted a large vessel south bound with three trawler-type escorts. Unable to close because of extreme range. The master gyro became erratic.
17 May 1942
Stopped gyro to renew bearing.
19 May 1942
Patrolling into eastern channel Tokyo entrance. Heavy rain and sea building up. Turned to southeast.
1330 Broached during periscope exposure owing to heavy seas.
1345 First of four depth charges - getting progressively closer. No propellers heard. The gyro requires further adjustment. Surfaced in strong northwest wind and heavy seas.
20 May 1942
Experienced difficulty getting the ship under in heavy seas. Stopped the gyro for further adjustments. Sea conditions preclude operations.
21 May 1942
Riding out storm.
22 May 1942
Patrolling about three miles off short of Nojima Saki, sea glassy with long swells. Sighted six ships, including one destroyer, unable to close any suitable targets. Sighted numerous small craft, which imposed much maneuvering to avoid and commanded attention to periscope. Sighted 1 bomber one mile away.
23 May 1942
Had intended closing the coast north of our position yesterday. Failed to sight Katsuura light as planned; position doubtful. During the day sighted numerous small craft which imposed maneuver. Sighted one destroyer hull down, one gunboat, and several trawler-type vessels.
25 May 1942
0230 Sighted Katsuura light and lights of shore line. Closed the coast.
1430 Made approach on a small steamer; allowed it to pass.
1600 Commenced approach on north bound coastal steamer, 2-3000 tons.
1638 Fired 1 torpedo, hit abaft stack (Attack No. 6). (Photograph taken). She settled rapidly by the stern, afire aft, and sank.
26-27 May 1942
Working along coast to patrol off Inubo Saki. Numerous small craft.
28 May 1942
While submerged, about 5 miles east of Inubo Saki sighted 10,000 ton Naval tender or transport bound up the coast.
1858 Fired 5 torpedoes - missed. (Attack No. 7). Target maneuvered successfully to avoid.
1918 Heard explosion of a light bomb, apparently from air escort.
31 May 1942
Submerged 5 miles off Inubo Saki, sea glassy. Small craft around us all the time. Fouled the nets of one, and experienced a heavy bump which upon surfacing subsequently, appeared to have been a net cable striking the periscope shears and No. 2 periscope.
1440 Heard an explosion - probably an airplane bomb.
1550 Sighted a patrol bomber, 1 mile.
1637 Sighted a patrol bomber, 1 mile; went to 100 feet.
1655 Picked up fast propeller which faded out in 5 minutes. The presence of planes and the complete lack of shipping make it appear that since our unsuccessful attack of May 28, the enemy has instituted active anti-submarine measures here. Surfaced, decided to return to Pearl, since there was not sufficient time to gain a good position for the single day remaining of our allowed period.
1 June 1942
Started return to base.
3 June 1942
1118 Radar contact, 12 miles. Submerged.
1230 Surfaced.
5 June 1942
Received orders from Commander Task Force SEVEN to close Midway and look for burning enemy BB. Continued return route as best course to comply.
6 June 1942
Received orders from Commander Task Force SEVEN to patrol a line to intercept a damaged enemy CV.
1400 (Love) Attained position on prescribed line and commenced search.
7 June 1942
0724 (Mike) Sighted unidentified airplane, distant about 3 miles. Submerged.
0746 Surfaced.
0918 Radar contact, - miles. Submerged.
0942 Surfaced. Crossed International Date Line.
7 June 1942
1500 (Y) Received orders from Commander Task Force SEVEN to return to Pearl.
12 June 1942
Effected rendezvous with NARWHAL, TRIGGER, and escort, and arrived Pearl.

(2.) Weather

The weather encountered in the area and enroute was generally fair. Winds in the area were generally northeast. A shift of wind to southeast, accompanied by dropping barometer, presaged changing weather. This occurred three times during the month of May, with exceptionally strong winds of gale force on May 7, and May 20. Immediately preceding such changes of weather, and for several days thereafter, strong surface swells were encountered that made depth control at periscope depth very difficult. There were a number of days of no wind with glassy seas and low swells. This was very unfavorable for periscope exposure, particularly when operating close inshore.

(3.) Tidal Information

Reference: (a) H.O. No. 123, Vol. II.

No strong tides were encountered. The behavior of the Japan Stream in the two areas was as described in reference (a), pages 39-42, and as indicated on charts of the areas. This current is a considerable factor in navigation. Its effect on submerged operations is very important as the drift due to current is likely to be greater than headway made at sustainable speed. This is particularly important among the islands of Izu Shoto, where the currents run exceptionally strong and generally east in the channels between the islands. This must be considered if planning to operate westward of those islands, as it is conceivable that a sot on the islands might make it necessary to surface in order to avoid running aground. In the channel between Izu Shoto and Mikomota Shima it was found impossible to make headway to the westward against the current at speeds under 4 knots. Strong currents setting north past Inuboe Saki were also encountered.

(4.) Navigational Aids

Reference (a) H.O. No. 31.

No difficulty was experienced in fixing the ship's position on clear nights at any time during the patrol. The chief difficulty was the effect of current described in paragraph 2. The high grade endless tangent screw sextant provided this ship, was used to take sights at night using the available horizon, and satisfactory results were obtained regardless of the phase of the moon. The bubble octant was used experimentally but no dependence was placed on it, as sights obtained with the sextant were sufficiently accurate at all times.

In bad visibility near land, the radar was useful in getting a rough fix when the ship's position relative to high points of land was already known approximately.

Numerous navigational lights on shore were sighted at night, and all appeared to have the characteristics described in reference (a). When close to shore in daylight, submerged, it was possible to keep the ship's position by cutting in objects on shore and prominent mountain peaks.

The fathometer was useful when close to shore. Soundings were obtained by single pings.

(5.) Description of Vessels Sighted

Contact No. Date Position Course Speed Description
1. May 1 Off Nagoya 250° 10 knots Medium sized ship. Attack No. 1
2. May 1 Off Nagoya 230° 25 knots Destroyer. Attacks No. 2 and 3
3. May 9 Off Shiono Misaki 240° - Masts only.
4. May 9 Off Shiono Misaki 40° 8 knots 3000 ton freighter
5. May 9 Off Shiono Misaki 240° 10 knots 5-6000 ton freighter. Attack No. 4
6. May 13 Off O Shima 50° 9 knots 6000 ton freighter. Attack No. 5
7. May 13 Off O Shima 45° 10 knots 2000 ton freighter
8. May 13 Off O Shima 230° 10 knots Small gunboat (1000 tons)
9. May 13 Off O Shima ? Small freighter
10. May 16 West of Mikura Shima 160° 7 knots 10,000 ton freighter escorted by 3 trawlers.
11-17. May 22 Off Nojima Saki 40° and 220° - 1 Shinonome class DD; 3 upbound empty and 3 downbound loaded freighters.
18-19. May 23 Off Katsuura 40° - 1 DD, and PG
20-21. May 25 Off Katsuura 50° - 1 small freighter; 1 2-3000 ton freighter. Attack No. 6
22. May 28 Off Inubo Saki 10° 14 knots 10,000 ton Naval tender or transport. Attack No. 7
Sighted numerous small craft throughout the patrol.

(6.) Description of Aircraft Sighted

Date Position No. Description
Apr. 7 Enroute Midway. Lat. 24-00.0 N. Long. 163-10.0 W. 1 U.S. Navy PBY
Apr. 18 Enroute Midway. Lat. 24-12.0 N. Long. 163-209.0 W. 1 U.S. Navy PBY
Apr. 25 Lat. 27-36.0 N. Long. 166-30.0 E. 1 Radar contact only.
Apr. 27 Lat. 29-02.0 N. Long. 155-30.0 E. 1 Japanese flying boat type
Apr. 28 Lat. 29-38.0 N. Long. 148-53.0 E. 1 Radar contact only
Apr. 30 Lat. 30-27.0 N. Long. 138-00.0 E. 1 Japanese flying boat
May 1 Lat. 34-10.0 N. Long. 137-38.0 E. 1 Japanese, type unknown
May 13 Lat. 34-39.0 N. Long. 139-11.0 E. 1 Japanese flying boat
May 22 Off Nojima Saki Honshu 1 Seen briefly through periscope
May 31 Off Inubo Saki Honshu 2 Seen through periscope - Landplane bombers
June 3 Lat. 34-30.0 N. Long. 153-05.0 E. 1 Radar contact only
June 7 Lat. 32-01.5 N. Long. 174-25.0 E. 1 Unidentified
June 7 Lat 32-01.0 N. Long. 174-47.0 E. 1 Radar contact only
In addition to the above, sighted various friendly planes patrolling Midway--Pearl Harbor

(7.) Particulars of Attack

Attack No. No. Torp. Est. Range Firing Interval Pt. of Aim Draft of Target Set Depth Est. Speed Track Angle Torpedo Performance
1 2 1200 yds. 5 secs MOT ? 14 ft. 10 knots 60°P Normal - 1 hit

REMARKS: This attack was terminated by necessity of diving to avoid ramming by enemy DD. No opportunity came to observe evidence of sinking. There was an explosion 35 seconds after the second torpedo was fired.

Attack No. No. Torp. Est. Range Firing Interval Pt. of Aim Draft of Target Set Depth Est. Speed Track Angle Torpedo Performance
2 1 1000 yds. -- MOT 10 ft. 14 ft. 25 knots 30°P Normal - miss

REMARKS: This was a snap shot while submerging to avoid ramming by destroyer target.

Attack No. No. Torp. Est. Range Firing Interval Pt. of Aim Draft of Target Set Depth Est. Speed Track Angle Torpedo Performance
3 3 1500 yds. 20 secs MOT 10 ft. 14 ft. 0 knots 90°S Steady - 3 misses

REMARKS: This attack was on a destroyer lying to -- with steady bearing. Misses cannot be explained.

Attack No. No. Torp. Est. Range Firing Interval Pt. of Aim Draft of Target Set Depth Est. Speed Track Angle Torpedo Performance
4 4 1400 yds. 5 secs 20 secs 10 secs MOT 20 ft. 22 ft. 10 knots 85°P 86°P 87°P 90°P Normal - A tremendous explosion 53 secs. after firing 2nd torpedo

REMARKS: At the moment of explosion target became covered with gray haze, she turned away toward the beach, listed to port and settled by the stern. Her screws stopped 5 minutes after the explosion. A few minutes later a dull explosion was heard, and all that could be seen was a pall of smoke.

Attack No. No. Torp. Est. Range Firing Interval Pt. of Aim Draft of Target Set Depth Est. Speed Track Angle Torpedo Performance
5 1 700 yds. -- MOT 20 ft. 24 ft. 9 knots 65°S Normal - hit

REMARKS: Target was hit dead amidships and her back broken -- settled at once, crew going over side. Actual observation of her sinking was cut short by bombing attack which developed a minute or two after firing. Ship unquestionably sank.

Attack No. No. Torp. Est. Range Firing Interval Pt. of Aim Draft of Target Set Depth Est. Speed Track Angle Torpedo Performance
6 1 750 yds. -- MOT 15 ft. 14 ft. 6.5 knots 105°P Normal - hit

REMARKS: Target was hit just abaft her stack. She began burning aft and settled rapidly, sinking by the stern in about 3 minutes.

Attack No. No. Torp. Est. Range Firing Interval Pt. of Aim Draft of Target Set Depth Est. Speed Track Angle Torpedo Performance
7 5 1500 yds. to 2500 yds. 6 secs 6 secs 103 secs 120 secs MOT 20 ft. 20 ft. 10 knots 162°P Normal - All missed.

REMARKS: Target successfully maneuvered to avoid.

(8.) Enemy A/S Measures

Japanese traffic is routed close inshore wherever possible. The Japanese coast and island passages visited are patrolled by destroyers and converted trawlers equipped with supersonic and probably sonic gear. The lanes along the coast are also patrolled by aircraft. Important ships are escorted.

The depth charge attack of 2 May was very persistent (16 hours). Most of the droppings were single, though barrages were employed toward the end. Approximately 31 charges were heard. That there were silent sonic vessels engaged in this attack is evidenced by the sudden detonation of depth charges after a period of almost an hour of silence in our sound gear.

The bombing and depth charge attack of 13 May was less persistent, but it developed with amazing rapidity. Airplanes apparently sighted the torpedo wake, so that the prompt attack with bombs was natural. But the unmistakeable sound of propellers and echo ranging equipment within five minutes of a periscope sweep which revealed no vessels, and the prompt and close depth charges were surprising. The very high speed screws and the quickness of their arrival on the scene suggests motor torpedo boats. During this attack about 17 charges were heard.

During this patrol, hundreds of small craft were sighted. Undoubtedly many were simply fishing. Most of those sighted at night were lighted; some were not. Although one cannot be sure that many of those are engaged in anti-submarine observation, there is good reason to believe that some are. For example this ship spent two days and nights in the north-south passage of the Izo Shoto without sighting any small craft, then closed the coast, sank a ship, and retired under depth charge attack. The following day and night, in the area previously deserted, small craft were numerous. Possibly these are placed as nuisances, which they unquestionably are to a submarine trying to attain--undetected--a good position for attack on worth while targets.

The depth charges heard on May 19 demonstrate that weather is no deterrent to Japanese anti-submarine activities. The sea was very rough (we broached), and sound conditions for surface vessels must have been bad. Our broaching brought on the attack undoubtedly, but the fact that the droppings became progressively closer and were distributed over a period of two hours would make it appear that they were from a surface craft, not an airplane.

(9.) Major Defects Experienced

"A" Fire Control

The target bearing transmitters were not used because of their unreliability. Errors up to 5 degrees developed, but these were not constant. Therefore, no correction could be applied with any assurance of its being right.

"B" Torpedoes

(a) One torpedo, in flooded tube at 60 feet for 15 minutes, contained 10 gallons of water in afterbody and a completely flooded gyro pot. Inspection revealed the gasket beneath the air manifold access plate broken, and the studs of the plate not set up tightly.

(b) One torpedo, in flooded tube at 60 feet for 20 minutes, contained a completely flooded exploder. The screw plug on the bottom and the plug at the forward end of the warhead were both slightly loose. The spare exploder carried was installed in this torpedo.

"C" C. & R.

(a) Negative tank flood valve gasket was blown after one week on station. Tank was carried full thereafter. Loss of the use of negative tank proved a definite military deficiency.

(b) The master blow valve to the after group of main ballast tanks developed a bad pit in its scat. Two efforts were made to repair this, the second being successful. The after and middle group vents were left OPEN while submerged on station.

(c) The attack periscope was foggy throughout the patrol.

(d) During the night attack on 1-2 May, the attack periscope, number two, was lowered by using the "emergency lowering" push button. The slack wire cutout switches failed to function rapidly enough when the lower limit periscope travel was reached. The after hoisting wire unreeled from the drum to such an extent that when the periscope was hoisted again, the after wire took all the weight. This caused the lifting ring to cock, and prevented the training of the periscope. After the wire was rearranged on its drum, the periscope could be trained.

"D" Engineering

On May 18, the south rotor bearings of the gyro compass became very noisy and were renewed. On June 11, a similar failure occurred in the north rotor. The bearings became noisy and caused the gyro to vibrate excessively. Both casualties were preceded by a loss in vacuum in the rotor casings.

Cause of defect is not known.

(10.) Radio Reception

Communications were very good between this task unit and Commander Task Force SEVEN through NPM.

All messages sent by Commander Task Force SEVEN were received in their entirety except the first one, received the first night in the area. The first few groups of this message were missed due to radar interference and extensive submerged operations that night and the following night.

NPM could be heard on low frequency at all times while on the surface, but it was difficult to copy the Fox Schedules for about one hour at sunset and sunrise beyond 2500 miles from Pearl Harbor. At these times these schedules could be clearly heard on one of the high frequencies. Submerged reception at periscope depth on NPM's low frequency, using loop coupling unit, could not be obtained beyond 1200 miles from Pearl Harbor.

The enemy appeared to be jamming 4115 and 8230 kilocycles, and at times it was impossible to copy 4115 kilocycles due to this interference.

Transmissions to Commander Task Force SEVEN were sent directly to NPM on 4235 kilocycles at night.

Associate Press was copied at 0600 GCT on 12550 and 6270 kilocycles from station KFS/KNA6 at San Francisco.

Five enemy plane contacts were made by the SD radar; however, there were several instances in which the known presence of planes was not detected by the radar. This leads to the conclusion that reliable negative information cannot be obtained with this radar. A radar warning bell located in the conning tower and operated from the radio room, proved to be of great value in notifying the bridge of radar contacts.

Last Consecutive Serial Sent - 3

Last Consecutive Serial Received - 13

(11.) Sound Conditions

Sound conditions off the southeastern coast of Japan were very poor. The maximum range at which targets were picked up was 3000 yards, and there were instances when the crews of heavy ships making about 10 knots could not be detected at 900 yards. These poor sound conditions are probably caused by the large number of minute particles of foreign matter suspended in the water. There were disturbances in the water, thought to be of volcanic origin, some of which could be easily mistaken for light high speed screws. Enemy echo-ranging equipment operated on 21 kilocycles.

There were no density layers observed.

(12.) Health and Habitability

The health and morale of the crew were excellent during the entire patrol. There were no illnesses except minor complaints of no consequence. Vitamin tablets were issued in accordance with current instructions. The food was good, well cooked and well varied. We were fortunate in having on board an apprentice seaman-cook, making a total of three, which permitted one to devote his entire time to baking. Such an arrangement is considered highly desirable if not a necessity. During the 31 days in the areas, meal hours were observed as follows:

0330 - 0430 Breakfast
1130 - 1230 Dinner
1930 - 2030 Supper

Soup or sandwiches were generally served at 1600. These meal hours were satisfactory.

The boat was comfortable throughout the entire period of operations. The air conditioning system was used during submerged hours, using one or two units as necessary. During one or two exceptionally long dives it was necessary to use CO2 absorbent and oxygen.

(13.) Factors of Endurance Remaining

Torpedoes Fuel Provisions (days) Personnel (days)
7 12,000 gallons 21 7

(14.) The patrol was terminated by the provisions of the operation order.

(15.) Miscellaneous comment and figures which may be useful to others

Time on station 31 days
Fuel used on station 12365 gallons
Miles on station 2274
Fuel (gal/mile) on station 5.45
Fuel (gal/day) on station 398
Ave. S.G. at start of charge 1.201
Ave. duration of charge 2.9 hours
Fresh water (man/day) 2.87 gallons
Air conditioning condensate (day) 50 gallons
Total miles steamed 9600

The first time we were depth charged, the refrigerator motors were stopped on the order "Rig to Run Silent". It was some time before we became aware that the cold room temperature was rising and the system cut in again. The oversight cost us a little meat. On a tropical patrol it might have been serious.

Previous Patrol Back to top? Next Patrol