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Tinosa I (SS-283)

(SS-283: dp. 1,526; 1. 311'10"; b. 27'4"; dr. 16'10"; s. 20.25 k. (surf.), 8.75 k. (subm.); cpl. 60; a. 10 21" tt., 1 3", 2 .50-cal. nig., 2 .30-cal. mg.; cl. Gato)

A poisonous, black, tropical fish.

The first Tinosa (SS-283) was laid down on 21 February 1942 at Vallejo, Calif., by the Mare Island Navy Yard; launched on 7 October 1942; sponsored by Mrs. William E. Molloy; and commissioned on 15 January 1943, Lt. Comdr. Lawrence Randall Daspit in command.

After preliminary operations, the submarine proceeded to Hawaii, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 16 April 1943. Over the next two years, she completed twelve war patrols in the Pacific and was credited with sinking 16 enemy ships, totaling 64,655 tons.

On her first war patrol, conducted from 3 May to 19 June 1943, Tinosa damaged three enemy ships in the waters east of Kyushu, Japan, while sustaining some depth-charge damage herself. After refitting at Midway, she got underway on 7 July to patrol the sea routes between Borneo and Truk. Handicapped by the faulty firing mechanism of her Mark 14 torpedoes, she damaged only a single tanker on her second patrol before returning to Hawaii on 4 August.

Tinosa next departed Pearl Harbor on 23 September. While prowling waters near the Carolines on the morning of 6 October, Tinosa sighted a lone tanker. In a midday torpedo attack, she damaged the enemy ship; then quickly dove to 150 feet. Four depth charges exploded nearby, springing open lockers and knocking men off their feet in the after torpedo room. Moments later, a fire broke out in the motor room but was quickly brought under control. Throughout the afternoon, Tinosa and Steelhead (SS-280) continued to harass the tanker until evening, when they had the satisfaction of seeing their target go down, sinking by the stern.

At sunset on 6 October, Tinosa bombarded a radio station on Alet Island, near Truk. She ended the patrol at Midway on 16 October. Departing Midway on 27 October, Tinosa headed for the Palau-Truk sea lanes. On the morning of 22 November, she sighted two cargo ships and two small escort craft steaming in convoy. The submarine fired six torpedoes, scoring hits on both cargo ships. The entire action took only five minutes and left her between two mortally stricken ships, her position clearly marked by torpedo wakes leading out ahead and astern-a perfect fix for the enemy escorts. Amid the sounds of the cargo vessels breaking up, Tinosa dove deep to avoid the certain counter attack of the escort vessels. A short time later, four depth charges exploded close by the submarine, knocking out her planes, gyro, steering, internal communications, and other equipment. She made a wild climb to 250 feet, then dove to 380 feet, before her crew regained control. Tinosa then resumed evasive tactics which enabled her to elude the remnants of the convoy late in the afternoon.

During an attack on a convoy on 26 November, Tinosa sank Japanese cargo ship Shini Maru and then dodged 34 depth charges, none of which caused her any damage. She emerged from this encounter with a torpedo stuck in her number 5 tube but managed to remedy the problem and headed for the Molucca Passage-Palau traffic lanes. On 3 December, she sighted a large passenger-cargo vessel, the Azuma Maru, protected by a single escort. At 1820, Tinosa launched a torpedo attack from periscope depth, damaging the Japanese ship. At 2101 while maneuvering on the surface as she sought to finish off the Azuma Maru, Tinosa came under fire from the now blazing cargo vessel; and, minutes later, she narrowly avoided being rammed by the crippled enemy ship which circled out of control because of a damaged rudder. At 2120, Tinosa fired three more torpedoes, and the Azuma Maru disappeared, leaving behind a fiercely burning spot of oil and debris. The submarine then eluded the enemy escort and returned to her patrol area. She concluded this patrol at Fremantle, Australia, on 16 December 1943.

After sailing on 10 January 1944 for the South China Sea, Tinosa landed an intelligence team and its supplies at Labian Point, North Borneo, under cover of darkness on the 20th, before proceeding to the Flores Sea. Two days later, she sank Koshin Maru and Seinan Maru and damaged a third ship in a running attack on a convoy off Viper Shoal. In another action on the night of 15 and 16 February, Tinosa drew gunfire from the ships of a convoy as she torpedoed and sank Odatsuki Maru and Chojo Maru. She ended her fifth patrol at Pearl Harbor on 4 March 1944.

In company with Parche (SS-384) and Bang (SS-385), Tinosa got underway for the East China Sea and her sixth patrol on 29 March. Operating off Japan and the Ryukyus, this wolf pack preyed successfully on passing convoys by stationing units along well-traveled routes. The submarines made six major attacks on this patrol. Tinosa herself sank two Japanese cargo ships, Taibu Maru and Toyohi Maru, in a night attack on 4 May. On this patrol, she also sank a trawler with her 4-inch gun on 9 May and claimed to have damaged three other vessels. The submarine arrived at Majuro on 15 May.

After refitting, Tinosa departed the Marshalls on 7 June, bound for the East China Sea. On 18 June, she resorted to unusual tactics in attacking a three-masted 400-ton fishing sampan which had withstood her gunfire. Tinosa closed the enemy vessel, doused her with fuel oil, and set her ablaze by tossing flaming, oilsoaked rags on her deck. Shortly after dawn on 2 July, Japanese planes and patrol vessels forced Tinosa to go deep near Nagasaki and kept her down until dusk. The following day, the submarine sank two passenger-cargo ships in an attack on a convoy, adding Konsan Maru and Kama Maru to her list of kills. Following this patrol, Tinosa reported to Hunters Point, Calif., on 7 August, for a much needed overhaul.

Tinosa departed San Diego on 7 November 1944 and proceeded, via Pearl Harbor, to Nansei Shoto to recon-noiter its waters and to test new FM sonar equipment in locating Japanese mines. After 58 days at sea, Tinosa returned to Pearl Harbor.

On 17 March 1945, Tinosa got underway from Tanapag Harbor in the Marshalls. Despite unexplained damage in her bow plane rigging gear, Tinosa proceeded to the Nansei Shoto area and resumed testing the mine-detecting capabilities of her temperamental FM sonar. She also observed Japanese shipping and took reconnaissance photographs before ending the patrol at Apra Harbor, Guam, on 7 April.

On 28 April, Tinosa headed for Truk. Her FM sonar equipment-which she had received while at Guam- remarkably improved her sonar range, and she gathered data on sonar performance throughout the voyage. On 3 May, she narrowly escaped damage from bombs dropped by an enemy airplane off Moen Island. Although there was no opportunity to attack enemy shipping during this patrol, Tinosa bombarded a Japanese installation on Ulul Island on the night of 14 May. She also made numerous photographs which she turned over to intelligence officers upon her arrival at Guam on 16 May.

Tinosa got underway for the Sea of Japan on 29 May. En route, she rescued 10 survivors of a ditched B-29. Acting on this special mission as a member of a wolf pack selected to initiate Operation "Barney," an incursion into the Sea of Japan, Tinosa accomplished the dangerous task of plotting mines in Tsushima Strait on 6 June. Following the completion of this special mission, Tinosa made six aggressive torpedo attacks, sank three cargo ships, and-during the daylight hours of 12 June-launched a brilliant surface battle against the Keito Maru, a Japanese sea truck. Having sunk four Japanese vessels and damaged a fifth, she completed her llth patrol arriving at Pearl Harbor on 4 July.

After refitting, Tinosa set course for her 12th patrol on 11 August. Before she reached her assigned area this patrol was terminated by Japan's capitulation. On 26 August 1945, she departed Midway for an overhaul at San Francisco. After operating off the west coast from January to June 1946, she was placed in reserve. In January 1947, Tinosa was placed out of commission.

The Korean War precipitated her recommissioning in January 1952. However, she was decommissioned on 2 December 1953, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 September 1958. The use of her hulk for experimental and training purposes was authorized on 2 March 1959.

Tinosa received nine battle stars for World War II service. She received the Presidential Unit Citation for her fourth, fifth, and sixth war patrols.

Published: Wed Sep 30 09:48:23 EDT 2015