Skip to main content
Related Content
  • Ordnance and Weapons
  • Theater of Operations--Pacific
  • Antisubmarine
  • Boats-Ships--Submarine
  • Theater of Operations--American
  • Boats-Ships--Destroyer
Document Type
  • Primary Source Document
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

USS Ward, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack

U.S.S. Ward
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 13, 1941.



From: Commanding Officer.
To: The Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District.
(1) Commander Destroyer Division EIGHTY.
(2) Commander Inshore Patrol.
Subject: Sinking of a Japanese Submarine by U.S.S. Ward.


  1. While patrolling Pearl Harbor Entrance on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the U.S.S. Ward attacked an unidentified submarine in the Restricted Area off the Harbor.

    The facts are as follows:

    1. At 0637 the Officer-of-the-Deck said, "Captain come on the bridge". A conning tower with periscope of submarine was visible. She was apparently headed for Pearl Harbor trailing the U.S.S. Antares. The Antares was standing toward the channel entrance towing a lighter.
    2. At 0640 the attack was started. The Ward bore down on the submarine while accelerating from 5 to 25 knots.
    3. At 0645 the Ward opened fire with No. 1 and 3 guns and began dropping depth charges. One shot was fired from each gun. The shot from No. 1 gun missed, passing directly over the conning tower. The shot from No. 3 gun fired at a range of 560 yards or less struck the submarine at the waterline which was the junction of the hull and coning tower. Damage was seen by several members of the crew. This was a square positive hit. There was no evidence of ricochet. The submarine was seen to heel over to starboard. The projectile was not seen to explode outside the hull of the submarine. There was no splash of any size that might results from an explosion or ricochet.
    4. Immediately after being hit the submarine appeared to slow and sink. She ran into our depth charge barrage and appeared to be directly over an exploding charge. The depth charges were set for 100 feet.
    5. The submarine sank in 1200 feet of water and could not be located with supersonic detector. There was a large amount of oil on the surface where the depth charges exploded.
    6. The attack was made at 0645 which was before Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japanese planes.
    7. A dispatch by voice transmission was sent to Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District at 0645 which stated:

      "We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges on a submarine operating in defensive sea areas."

    8. The performance of duty by the officers and men during this attack was in accordance with the traditions of this service.


    Pertinent Information

    Appearance of submarine: Cylindrical tube about 80 feet long with small oval shaped conning tower. It had no deck. It was painted dark green and was covered with moss indicating that it had been at sea for a considerable period.

    Behavior during attack: In spite of the five minute run from the time of sighting and time of attack, the submarine apparently did not see or detect the Ward. It was making from 8 to 10 knots and was apparently bent on following the Antares into port. Exact distances are not known but at the time of the first shot the range was not more than 100 yards and for the second shot the range was 50 yards or less. The submarine passed very close to our stern.



Source: Enclosure (E) to CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942, World War II action reports,
Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.

Published: Fri Mar 16 09:33:04 EDT 2018