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Brill (SS-330)

(SS-330: dp. 1,526 (surf.), 2,424 (subm.); l. 311'9"; b. 27'3"; dr. 15'3"; s. 20.25 k. (surf.), 8.75 k. (subm.); cpl. 66; a. 10 21" tt., 1 5", 1 40mm., 1 20mm., 2 .50-cal. mg.; cl. Balao)

A European flatfish belonging to the Turbot family. Spotted brown and white, the brill dwells on sandy or muddy bottoms in shallow water along the coast of Europe and grows to a maximum length of two feet and a weight of eight pounds. Both of its eyes are located on the same side of the head.

Brill (SS-330) was laid down on 23 September 1943 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Co.; launched on 25 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Andrena Low; and commissioned on 26 October 1944, Comdr. Harry B. Dodge in command.

Following shakedown training off New England, the submarine got underway from New London, Conn., on 7 December, bound for Panama. After transiting the canal, Brill took part in intensive training near the Perlas Islands in the Gulf of Panama between 17 and 21 December. Then, on the 23d, the submarine departed the Submarine Base at Balboa for Pearl Harbor, where she arrived on 8 January 1945.

The boat spent a week undergoing voyage repairs and torpedo training before getting underway for the Marianas on 28 January. She conducted drills and battle problems en route and arrived at Saipan on 9 February. After refueling, the submarine continued on to her first patrol area, transiting the Luzon Strait on 15 February and arriving off Hainan Island in the South China Sea four days later. At first, she encountered no enemy ships; but, on 20 February, an enemy submarine sighted her. Just after sinking a floating mine with gunfire, her watchstanders saw a torpedo wake approaching on her starboard quarter. Brill maneuvered to escape this danger and increased speed to avoid a second torpedo. Both passed by her starboard side before Brill moved out of range, submerged, and headed hack to search in vain for the enemy.

The following days were uneventful, bringng sightings of sailing junks, Allied aircraft, and some enemy planes. On 1 March, Brill made contact on three small patrol boats in shallow water, probably trying to trap an unsuspecting submarine. Comdr. Dodge avoided the trap and continued to search for a worthy target. Four days later, he found one. While Brill patrolled submerged, Dodge sighted a large tanker escorted by two destroyers and a plane. Brill immediately attempted to move into position to attack the tanker, but gave up the effort an hour later when she could not close range on the target.

The next day, the 6th, Brill joined Chub (SS-329) in a coordinated patrol in the Tonkin Gulf. On the 8th, enemy planes forced them both down with depth bombs, but damaged neither. On 15 March, while providing lifeguard services to American bombers pounding Hainan Island, Brill maneuvered to avoid another torpedo, again unable to make contact with the enemy submarine that had launched it.

On 21 March, Brill rendezvoused with Gurnard (SS-254) to receive on board an Australian Army officer and a native Malayan guide for a special mission on Sakala Island. The submarine patrolled down the coast of French Indochina and arrived off Sakala four days later. That night, the Australian commando and his partner went ashore and returned to Brill an hour later with five other Indonesians. When this entire party had embarked, the submarine set course for Fremantle, western Australia, where she arrived on 30 March.

Following a normal two-week refit and a short training period, Brill departed Fremantle on 27 April bound for waters off the eastern coast of Malaya. She made no ship contacts worthy of torpedoes and, on 4 June, left the area for refit alongside Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16) in Subic Bay.

On 3 July, Brill stood out to sea for her third war patrol. She arrived in the Gulf of Siam on 8 July and joined other American submarines in patrolling those waters. Brill encountered two small patrol vessels on 11 July and commenced a surface approach. Although she fired 11 torpedoes, only one scored a hit. The others presumably passed under the hulls of the shallow-draft ships. By this time, Brill was inside the 10 fathom curve and darkness ruled out using her guns to sink the patrol vessels, so the submarine broke off the attack.

Another opportunity presented itself on 19 July, when Brill encountered a small convoy of two merchantmen, a destroyer, and two patrol boats. The submarine fired four torpedoes, but scored no hits. She broke off the attack at dawn and departed the area, but made no worthy contacts during the remainder of the patrol. On 1 August, Brill rendezvoused with Chub to transfer her remaining 5-inch ammunition then set course for Fremantle where she arrived on 9 August.

She did not complete refit alongside Clytie (AS-26) before the Japanese capitulated on 15 August. Brill departed Fremantle in company with Chub, Bumper (SS-333), and Bugara (SS-331) on 31 August for the Philippines and arrived at Subic Bay on 9 September. There, Brill served as a unit of Submarines, Philippine Sea Frontier, until January 1946 when she received orders to Pearl Harbor for repairs to her motors.

On 5 February, with only three of her four motors in operation, Brill headed east to San Diego for a period of leave and upkeep alongside Sperry (AS-12). After two months, the submarine conducted a week of refresher training and then headed for Pearl Harbor to commence a regular overhaul on 1 May. At the conclusion of the yard work, Brill resumed operations with the Pacific Fleet. In September, she began a two-month cruise that took her through the northern Pacific and into the Arctic Ocean. She completed that assignment at Pearl Harbor on 9 November. Throughout 1947, the submarine took part in training operations out of Pearl Harbor, both single-ship drills and exercises with other units of the Pacific Fleet.

Brill entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard on 29 September for another regular overhaul. She left the shipyard early in 1948, completed refresher training, and set course for New London where she arrived on 16 March. Designated for loan to the government of Turkey, Brill was decommissioned on 23 May 1948 and recommissioned in the Turkish Navy as Birinci Inönü. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 May 1948. She remained in the Turkish Navy until 1973, and was then sold to Stavros Vamvounakis of Athens, Greece, in November 1980 for scrapping.

Brill earned one battle star for her World War II service.

Mary P. Walker

2 December 2005

Published: Thu Apr 21 02:22:22 EDT 2016