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Trout I (SS-202)


Image related to Trout I
Caption: Trout (SS-202) returns to Pearl Harbor on 14 June 1942.

(SS-202: dp. 1,475 (surf.), 2,370 (subm.); 1. 307'2"; b. 27'3"; dr. 13'3"; s. 20 k. (surf.), 8.75 k. (subm.); cpl. 59; a. 10 21" tt., 1 3", 2 50-cal. mg.; cl. Tambor)

Any of certain small, fresh-water fishes, highly esteemed by anglers for their gameness, their rich and finely flavored flesh, and their handsome (usually mottled or speckled) coloration.


The first Trout (SS-202) was laid down on 28 August 1939 by the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard; launched on 21 May 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Walter B. Woodson; and commissioned on 15 November 1940, Lt. Comdr. Frank W. Fenno, Jr., in command.

On 2 July 1941, following preliminary operations along the east coast, Trout and Triton (SS-201) departed New York, bound for the Pacific. After transiting the Panama Canal and stopping at San Diego, the submarines arrived at Pearl Harbor on 4 August 1941.

Trout conducted training operations with Submarine Division 62 until 29 November when she stood out of Pearl Harbor to conduct a simulated war patrol off northern Midway. During the patrol, the submarine ran submerged from 0500 to 1800 each day. On the morning of 7 December, she received word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. That night, the submarine observed two ships shell Midway. She was about 10 miles distant and proceeded toward the enemy ships at full speed, but they retired before she arrived. Frustrated in being unable to fire a shot, she continued her patrol until 20 December 1941 when she returned to Pearl Harbor.

On 12 January 1942, Trout stood out of Pearl Harbor with 3,500 rounds of ammunition to be delivered to the besieged American forces on Corregidor. She topped off with fuel at Midway on the 16th and continued westward. On the 27th, near the Bonin Islands, she sighted a light off her port bow, closed to 1,500 yards of the vessel, and fired a stern torpedo which missed. She closed to 600 yards; discovered that her target was a submarine chaser; and, as she had been warned to avoid small ships, resumed her course for the Philippines. On 3 February, Trout rendezvoused with a torpedo boat off Corregidor and was escorted to South Dock. She unloaded the ammunition; refueled; loaded two torpedoes; and requested additional ballast. Since neither sandbags nor sacks of concrete were available, she was given 20 tons of gold bars and silver pesos to be evacuated from the Philippines. She also loaded securities, mail, and State Department dispatches before submerging shortly before daybreak to wait at the bottom in Manila Bay until the return of darkness. That evening, the submarine loaded more mail and securities before she was escorted through the mine fields out to open water. Trout set a course for the East China Sea which she entered on the 10th.

That afternoon, Trout fired a torpedo at a freighter from a range of 2,000 yards but missed. The submarine then closed the target before firing two more which both hit the freighter. Approximately 25 minutes later, her sonar heard four explosions that were the boilers of Chuwa Maru blowing up as she sank. That evening, Trout was returning through the Bonins when she sighted a light. She changed course, closed the range to 3,000 yards, and fired two torpedoes at the ship. Both missed. In the time that lapsed between firing the first and the second torpedo, an enemy torpedo passed down Trout's port side. As the submarine went to 120 feet, another torpedo passed overhead. Trout came up to periscope depth and fired a third torpedo at the target and blew it up. Sound picked up another ship running at full speed, but there was no opportunity to attack it. Trout was credited with sinking a small patrol ship of approximately 200 tons. When she reached Pearl Harbor on 3 March, the submarine transferred her valuable ballast to a cruiser.

The submarine's third war patrol, conducted from 24 March to 17 May, took her to Japanese home waters. On 9 April, Trout was patrolling between Ichie Saki and Shioni Misaki when she sighted two small cargo ships. She fired two torpedoes at each target, but all missed. The next day, she fired one torpedo at a small steamer and missed again. On 11 April, she attacked a large freighter with two torpedoes. One hit the target but did not sink it. Finally, on the 24th, the submarine hit a 10,000-ton tanker with two torpedoes off the coast of Shiono, and it headed for the beach. A sweep of the periscope showed a cargo ship going to the aid of the tanker. Trout fired one torpedo and missed. She then closed to 500 yards and fired another torpedo that hit with a tremendous explosion. When last seen, the cargo ship, too, was heading for shallow water. Four days later, the submarine attacked a 1,000-ton patrol vessel or minesweeper with a torpedo which sank it in two minutes. On 30 April, Trout attacked two ships off Shimo Misaki but missed both. On 2 May, the submarine sank the 5,014-ton cargo ship Uzan Maru. Two days later, she fired a spread of two torpedoes at what was thought to be a freighter. The first torpedo missed, but the second hit forward of the bridge, sinking the converted gunboat Kongosan Maru. The submarine was then subjected to a six-hour depth charge attack before she could clear the area.

Trout stood out of Pearl Harbor on 21 May as a unit of Task Group 7.1, the Midway Patrol Group, which consisted of 12 submarines. Her station was south of the island as nine of the submarines were positioned fan-like to the west of Midway in preparation for the Japanese attack. At 0812 on 4 June, Trout sighted a Japanese fighter plane preparing to attack from astern. She went deep and heard a series of light explosions. On 9 June, Trout passed through a large oil slick and some debris before rescuing two Japanese from a large wooden hatch cover. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 14 June without firing a torpedo.

On 27 August, the submarine proceeded via the Mar-shalls to the Caroline Islands and began patrolling off Truk. She was detected by patrol craft on 10 September and was forced to go deep for one and one-half hours while they rained down 45 depth charges. The next day, she sighted a large transport, but escorts forced her to go deep and clear the area. On the 21st, the submarine fired three stern torpedoes at a naval auxiliary. The first torpedo broke the ship in half, and the next two hit the aft section. The victim was subsequently identified as Koei Maru, a converted net tender. A week later, Trout picked up a carrier group consisting of a light aircraft carrier, two cruisers, and two destroyers. The submarine closed to 1,500 yards and fired a spread of five torpedoes. She heard two timed explosions and saw the carrier Taiyo (Otaka) slow, with smoke pouring out of her starboard side near the water line. Trout heard high-speed screws approaching and went to 200 feet as a pattern of 10 depth charges shook her severely.

On 3 October, Trout was going to reconnoiter Otta Pass. Six miles west of South Islands, she came to periscope depth to obtain a navigational fix. Just as the periscope was lowered, there was a violent explosion, close aboard, that shook the ship violently. The entire crew was stunned by the shock. One rjan was thrown from his bunk, and another was knocked off his feet. Trout crash-dived to 150 feet. As she passed 80 feet on the way down, another bomb exploded without effect. Since both periscopes were out of commission, the submarine headed for Australia and arrived at Brisbane on the 13th.

Trout's sixth war patrol began on 26 October and took her to waters around the New Georgia Islands. On 13 November, she was patrolling 80 miles north of Indispensable Strait when she saw a Kongo-class battleship accompanied by destroyers and six aircraft. The submarine fired a spread of five torpedoes with a depth setting of 25 feet; all missed; and she cleared the area. The patrol ended when the submarine returned to Brisbane 10 days later.

On 29 December 1942, Trout stood out to sea to patrol off North Borneo. The submarine contacted a large tanker off Miri on 11 January 1943 and fired three torpedoes from a range of 2,000 yards. The first two hit the target amidships, but the third exploded prematurely. Four minutes later, there was a heavy explosion from the direction of the target. Since postwar examination of Japanese records shows no sinking, the damaged ship must have managed to limp back to port.

Ten days later, off Indochina, Trout fired two torpedoes at a cargo ship from 700 yards and watched as the unidentified ship sank immediately. On 29 January, the submarine fired three torpedoes at a destroyer and watched each run true to the target. However, all proved to be duds. On 7 February, she sighted tanker Misshin Maru moored off Lutong. She made a submerged approach, fired two torpedoes at the target, heard one explosion, and observed smoke rise from the stern of the tanker. However, no sinking upon this occasion was confirmed.

One week later, Trout fired two torpedoes at what she thought to be a tanker as it emerged from a rain squall. The first torpedo blew off the target's bow, but the second one was a dud. As the enemy ship was still steaming at eight knots, the submarine surfaced for battle with her deck guns. Trout opened fire, but soon seven of her men were wounded by enemy machine gun fire. She then swung around and fired a stern torpedo and watched Hirotama Maru turn her stern straight up with her screws still turning and slip under the waves. The patrol ended when the submarine arrived at Fremantle on 25 February.

Trout was next ordered to plant mines in Api Passage. She got underway on 22 March and, on 4 April while en route from Balaboc Strait to Miri, fired a spread of three torpedoes at a naval auxiliary. One hit the target amidships, raising a 20-foot plume of water into the air; but the warhead did not explode.

Trout fired a fourth torpedo; but the ship saw its wake, turned, and dodged it. The next day, she fired three torpedoes at another ship with no results. Trout planted 23 mines in Api Passage on 7 and 8 April and then began patrolling the Singapore trade route. On the 19th, she fired four torpedoes at a freighter but scored no hits. Later in the day, she fired a spread of three torpedoes at a tanker and missed. Trout sighted two trawlers on the 23d and battle surfaced. Her deck guns soon stopped the first ship dead in the water and set it on fire; they then turned the second one into a burning wreck. Since there was only one torpedo remaining, the submarine headed for Premantle, where she arrived on 3 May.

From 27 May to 20 July, Trout performed a special mission during an offensive war patrol. On 9 June, she missed a transport with three torpedoes. She then landed a five-man Army team at Labangan, Mindanao. On the 15th, the submarine fired a three-torpedo spread which destroyed the tanker, Sanraku Maru. She contacted three small coastal steamers on 26 June and sank two of them with her deck guns. On 1 July, she sank Isuzu Maru with four torpedoes. Eight days later, Trout picked up a party of five American officers off the south coast of Mindanao and headed for Fremantle.

Trout stood out to sea on 12 August to patrol the Surigao and San Bernardino straits. On 25 August, she battled a cargo-fisherman with her deck guns and then sent a boarding party on board the Japanese vessel. After they had returned to the submarine with the prize's crew, papers, charts, and other material for study by intelligence officers, the submarine sank the vessel. Three of the five prisoners were later embarked in a dinghy off Tifore Island.

On 9 September, she fired three bow tubes at an I-62-class submarine off Surigao Strait. Thirty-five seconds later, there was a loud explosion which apparently stopped the target's screws. Trout's sound crew reported a torpedo approaching her port beam, and she went to 100 feet. After she heard a second explosion, Trout came to periscope level, but found no sign of I-182 which she had sunk. On the 22d, one of the remaining Japanese prisoners died of self-imposed starvation and was buried at sea.

The next day, the submarine sighted two ships with an escort. One was a freighter with a deck load of planes, and the other was a passenger-cargo. Trout fired a spread of three torpedoes at each of the targets. She saw and heard two hits on each. The freighter Ryotoku Maru sank stern first. The transport was being abandoned. The submarine proceeded close aboard and passed 12 to 15 life boats. There was a good fire on the transport which was low in the water with her bow nearly awash. Sound heard a heavy explosion from Yamashiro Maru and, seven minutes later, Trout could see no trace of her. That night, the submarine set a course for Hawaii and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 4 October 1943.

The submarine was then routed back to the United States for a prolonged overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard. She was ready for sea in January 1944 and returned to Pearl Harbor late that month.

On 8 February, the submarine began her llth and final war patrol. Trout topped off with fuel at Midway and, on the 16th, headed via a great circle route toward the East China Sea. She was never heard from again.

Japanese records indicate that one of their convoys was attacked by a submarine on 29 February 1944 in the patrol area assigned to Trout. The submarine badly damaged one large passenger-cargo ship and sank the 7,126-ton transport Sakito Maru. Possibly one of the convoy's escorts sank the submarine. On 17 April 1944, Trout was declared presumed lost.

Trout received 11 battle stars for World War II service and the Presidential Unit Citation for her second, third, and fifth patrols.

Published: Tue Jun 07 11:55:46 EDT 2022