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Peto (SS-265)

(SS-265: dp. 1,525 (surf.), 2,424 (subm.); l. 312'; b. 27'; dr. 15'3"; s. 20 k. (surf.), 9 k. (subm.); cpl. 75; a. 13", 10 21 tt. I cl. Gato)

A sharp-nosed tropical fish of the mackerel family.

Peto (SS-265) was laid down 18 June 1941 by the Manitowoc Ship Building Co., Manitowoc, Wise.; launched 30 April 1942; sponsored by Mrs. E. A. Lofquist; and commissioned 21 November 1942, Lt. Comdr. William T. Nelson in command.

Late in December 1942 Peto decommissioned, was loaded on a barge, and departed Manitowoc for New Orleans, the first submarine to traverse the mid-western waterways to reach New Orleans and the sea from the building yards. The ship recommissioned, completed fitting out and shakedown, sailed for the Panama Canal and arrived Brisbane, Australia 14 March 1943.

Peto departed Brisbane for her first war patrol 2 April. The submarine reconnoitered Greenwich Island for shipping on the 13th without finding any targets. That night she proceeded toward the equator to cover the Truk-Kavieng route, arriving on station the next day. A south-bound, Truk-Rabaul convoy came into view on the morning of the 17th, consisting of two destroyers, two medium freighters, and one small auxiliary. However, before Peto attacked, the trailing destroyer detected the submarine and forced her to dive. She withstood nine depth charges without damage. On 5 May she made a night attack conducted by sound and radar alone, firing three torpedoes at a target for one possible hit. After patrolling off Cape Oxford, Peto headed for Brisbane 20 May.

Peto departed on her second war patrol 10 June. On 29 June she fired two torpedoes at a small auxiliary. One torpedo hit near the bow, breaking the ship in two. On 7 July she sighted an east-bound tanker similar to Nippon Maru with two escorting destroyers. Peto maneuvered and fired three torpedoes; two hits causing severe damage. She returned to Brisbane 4 August.

On 1 September Peto set out on her third war patrol, which was held in the area north of the Bismarck Archipelago. After reconnoitering Nauru Harbor, she patrolled the route between Truk and Nauru for five days without contact. Peto moved to the Truk-Kavieng-Rabaul traffic routes on 20 September; and two days later, sighted five escorted ships headed toward Rabaul. She lost her attack chance at the last moment when the enemy made a radical change of course. While Peto attempted to close for a night attack, an alert escort only 7,000 yards away detected her. The enemy ship opened fire on the submarine, forcing her to crash dive. From 24 to 26 September, Peto patrolled off the Admiralty Islands without contacts. On 1 October Peto sighted three medium freighters with only one sub-chaser as escort, and fired six torpedoes, hitting two of the ships. Post-war investigation revealed that 4,930-ton Tonei Maru and 4,980-ton Kinkasan Morn were both sunk. Peto returned to Brisbane, Australia 21 October.

Underway again 14 November, she fueled at Tulagi, and set out for her patrol area 24 November. On 1 December, she sighted an enemy convoy consisting of two passengercargo vessels with three small escorts. She fired six torpedoes at the nearest and largest ship, 2,345-ton Konei Mara, which broke up and sank. On the 9th, while firing on a ship in a convoy, her target apparently saw the torpedoes coming and turned toward them to avoid being hit. An escort then drove Peto down and administered a thorough depth charging.

On 19 December Peto received orders to return to Tulagi to embark Marines, and she landed them on Boang Island, Solomons, before sailing to Brisbane 7 January.

On 2 February she set course for Tulagi, arriving there 5 February for fuel before departing the following day for her patrol area. On 10 February Peto sailed to rendezvous with submarine Cero. On 19 February she attacked a ship with three escorts and one of her torpedoes struck home. The target was immediately engulfed in black smoke and depth charges were heard in the distance. Peto surfaced and found the escorts depth charging Cero-s position. After closing Cero slowly, she fired two rounds of 3-inch at the escorts and as the escorts returned the fire she withdrew, giving Cero a chance to escape unharmed.

On 23 February, Peto sailed for Langemak Bay to refuel and obtain spare parts. She arrived 27 February. On 1 March she headed for her area again and on 3 March made an unsuccessful attack on an enemy merchantman. The next day, she fired six torpedoes at a cargo ship and then went deep to listen as escorts were near. Two hits were heard, followed by a loud, deep explosion. Three minutes later breaking up noises were heard, and splashes from debris falling in the water could be heard for several minutes. The escorts dropped 13 depth charges before giving up. Peto had sunk 4,369-ton Kayo Mara. On 16 March Peto set course for Midway Island where she arrived 25 March. She sailed on for Pearl Harbor the same day arriving on the 29th.

On 28 April Peto and Perch, along with an escort, sailed for her patrol area south of Formosa. She sailed from Midway 2 May with Perch and Picuda joining the wolf pack. Arriving in her area, Peto began looking for shipping worthy of her torpedoes. Only six ship contacts were made during the entire patrol and a favorable attack position could not be obtained on any due to aircraft in the vicinity or shallow water. She returned to Midway 15 June and later that day sailed for Pearl Harbor with Kingfish, arriving 19 June. On 21 June she sailed on for San Francisco, Calif., for major alterations at the Bethlehem Steel Company yards.

On 29 September Peto sailed westward again, reached Pearl Harbor 7 October, and arrived Midway Island 27 October, where she joined Spadefish and Sunfish. Task Group 17.13 arrived in their assigned area in the Yellow Sea 9 November. On 12 November Peto heard a loud explosion and saw a large flash. A burning ship with hull down was seen to the east and it was assumed Barb, which was also in the vicinity, had connected. Peto sent her crew to their battle stations and sent four torpedoes at the nearest ship of the convoy. Two hits were heard and the target slowed down and dropped back, though it didn't stop. Peto fired her remaining two forward torpedoes at a second target and swung around to bring her stern tubes to bear. She fired 4 torpedoes at the third target. The torpedoes fired from the bow tubes struck home as the leading ship, 2,766-ton Tatsuaki Mara, blew up and promptly sank. Two hits were heard on the third target and she was immediately engulfed in dense black smoke. Peto then scurried for cover, as it was getting light fast. She took her last look at the third target and noted that it was ablaze.

On 18 November, Peto made contact with one ship which was apparently lost and without an escort. She fired three torpedoes, the first hitting and setting the target ablaze. The second missed but the third hit and the target blow up and burned much brighter. Peto came around for a coup de grace but saw that it was unnecessary as only the stern of 6,923-ton Aisakasan Mara was above the water, still burning like an inferno. She contacted another enemy ship, dead in the water with two escorts near, and sent three torpedoes streaking after the cargo ship. One torpedo hit the target and 2,827-ton Chinkai Mara sank in four minutes. On 29 November, Peto attacked a small coastal tanker with her last torpedoes and she sailed for home.

Peto arrived at Guam 6 December and underwent a refit before sailing for Pearl Harbor where she arrived 2 January 1945. Peto departed from Pearl Harbor in company with Thresher, Shad, and Tilefish 31 January, topped off at Saipan 12 February, and headed for her patrol area the following day. However, she met no suitable targets on her 8th war patrol. She arrived Midway 9 April.

On 4 May Peto got underway for her ninth war patrol. Off Marcus Island 12 May, she guided friendly pilots to their targets. None of the planes were hit. On 21 May, Peto closed the coast of Manus and took pictures of enemy shore installations. The next day she headed via Saipan for Guam arriving 19 June. On 14 July she stood out on her tenth and last war patrol. On 24 July, she rescued two pilots from Lexington, one with gunshot wounds in both legs. On 25 July her guns sank a sampan, and the same day she saved nine more downed aviators. On 10 August she picked up a Royal Navy pilot from HMS Formidable.

On 15 August Peto was assigned a life guard station to cover air strikes on the Japanese home islands, but hostilities ceased. The next day, Peto sailed for the Canal Zone, arriving 15 September. On the 17th she sailed for New Orleans, arriving on the 21st. Peto joined the Atlantic Fleet and 25 June 1946 was placed out of commission in reserve, berthed at New London, Conn. She remained in reserve until November 1956 when she became Naval Reserve Training submarine for the 8th Naval District. She was struck from the Navy List 1 August 1960. She was sold for scrapping 10 November 1960.

Peto received eight battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Thu Apr 21 08:42:29 EDT 2016