Allied Warships

Bonefish (SS-223)

Submarine of the Gato class


USS Bonefish during the war

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassGato 
Pennant223 
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered9 Sep 1940 
Laid down25 Jun 1942 
Launched7 May 1943 
Commissioned31 May 1943 
Lost18 Jun 1945 
Loss position37° 18'N, 137° 55'E
History

USS Bonefish (Cdr. Lawrence Lott Edge) is sunk with all hands by the Japanese escort vessels Okinawa, Kaibokan No.63, Kaibokan No.75, Kaibokan No.158 and Kaibokan No.207 in the Sea of Japan in position 37º18'N, 137º55'E.

 

Commands listed for USS Bonefish (223)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Thomas Wesley Hogan, USN31 May 194313 Jun 1944
2Lt.Cdr. Lawrence Lott Edge, USN13 Jun 194418 Jun 1945 (+)

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Noteable events involving Bonefish include:


23 Jul 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. Thomas Wesley Hogan) departed from New London bound for the Pacific.

4 Aug 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) transits the Panama Canal.

30 Aug 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) arrived at Brisbane, Australia.

16 Sep 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) departed from Brisbane for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

27 Sep 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) torpedoed and sank the Japanese troop transport Kashima Maru (9908 GRT) and damaged the merchant Chihaya Maru (7089 GRT) in the South China Sea in position 10°10'N, 109°40'E.

10 Oct 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Isuzugawa Maru (4214 GRT) and troop transport Teibi Maru (10086 GRT) off Cam Ranh Bay, French Indochina in position 14°49'N, 110°10'E.

14 Oct 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) sank a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire in Makassar Strait in position 00°10'N, 119°15'E.

21 Oct 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) ended her 1st war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.

22 Nov 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) departed from Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

29 Nov 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Suez Maru (4645 GRT) off Kangean Island, north of Bali in position 06°22'S, 116°35'E. Suez Maru has on board 546 British and Dutch POWs. The Japanese minesweeper W 12 (offsite link) rescues Japanese and Korean survivors, All POW's were murdered in the water, see below.

The Suez Maru Atrocity;

On the early morning of 26 November 1943 about 350 sick POW's from Liang Camp arrive at the Port of Ambon and are straight away embarked on the Suez Maru. In the mean time the POW's on the Coal Barge from Haruku are inspected by a Japanese doctor and a nurse. They decide that about 2 dozen are too sick to travel and they are sent to Liang Camp; then as the POW's from Haruku are finally embarking, barges with wounded Japanese on board come cruising up. They are given immediate priority for embarkation. At the time the seas around Ambon were very dangerous and during the boarding of the POW's, Lieutenant Koshio who is in charge, asks his superior officer, Unit Commander Lt.Col. Anami for instructions in case of an enemy submarine attack and possible sinking of the ship. He wants to know what measures to take and how to care for the POW's. The escort will be a minesweeper which hasn't the capacity to accommodate everybody. The Unit Commander reminds him to carry out the orders from High Command: 'No Allied prisoner is to survive or fall into enemy hands; you will kill them all!' The Suez Maru has 4 holds. The No.1 and No.2 holds are already occupied by Japanese patients. At final count there are now about 548 sick POWs on board (422 Allied and 126 Dutch). They are located in the No.3 and No.4 holds. There is ample room down below and the dying patients are allowed to stay on deck near the No.3 and No.4 hatches so they don't have to be hauled up when the end finally comes. They just have to be wrapped up in gunny sacks and thrown overboard. Around 1200 hours the Suez Maru departed from Ambon bound for Surabaya. Suez Maru is escorted by the minesweepers W 11 and W 12. The next day W 11 detaches from the convoy leaving W 12 as the sole escort. Late on the 28th W 12 detached to hunt a reported enemy submarine. The following morning W 12 appears to the rear of Suez Maru but she manages to catch up with the slower merchant ship.

By March 1943 the US Submarine Command knew all the Japanese convoy routes and most Allied submarines lay waiting adjacent to them. The Japanese Maru Code (JN14) had been broken and by knowing the departure time plus the noon position and the destination, they could fix a position. USS Bonefish has transited Lombok Strait on the evening of November 28th. and her surface radar detects a contact 17 miles (27 km) out at 19:27. Bonefish probably tracked it for about 15 to 20 minutes, then reached a location for attack, usually about 1500 yards (1.372 km) from an intersecting course. The whole procedure would probably take less than an hour. Since all US submarines in the area were aware of Japanese air activity, staying on the surface would invite an attack and that was suicide. The Suez Maru's fate was that she travelled a known route that Bonefish patrolled. She was an easy target. At 0800 hours on the 29th Bonefish fired torpedoes in position 06°22'S, 116°35'E. Bonefish's torpedo data: T4/2DUP -Translation: Fired 4 torpedoes of which 2 hit - Daylight - Under Water - Using Periscope. (Note: Actually only one torpedo inflicted damage on the Suez Maru; the second 'hit' must have been a 'Premature' and viewed as a 'hit' through Bonefish's periscope. The torpedoes were the old magnetic types prone to all kinds of malfunctions; 'Duds' or 'Pre matures'. Bonefish fired the 4 torpedoes at overlapping targets: Suez Maru and minesweeper W 12. Only the Suez Maru was hit. On board the Suez Maru. The lookout spots white traces in the water heading towards the ship and starts yelling: 'Torpedo, torpedo'! What happened to the anti-submarine precautions? Why no warning from W 12; what happened to the air coverage? The ship is frantically trying to dodge the incoming torpedo by making a big turn at full speed. The evasive action is successful and the first torpedo misses. Bonefish fires 2, 3 and 4. (Note: The torpedo firing sequence probably went something like this: Bonefish fires 1 and 2 but both miss the overlapping target; she then she fires 3 and 4. Three is a 'premature' but 4 is a direct hit at the stern of the Suez Maru - back of the ship into the No.4 hold). Panic and mass confusion on board. There are a considerable number of victims in the No. 4 hold; few men are moving. The majority of POWs are coming out of the No.3 hatch some with their life jackets on. They are ordered to go back down below into the No.4 hold to rescue the injured. The ship is dead in the water; the shaft is broken and the engines ceased to function; she slowly begins to sink. Since the POWs are too weak to do any heavy lifting, the Korean guards are instructed to throw the heavy life rafts into the sea and now everybody is jumping overboard. The W 12 reports 'heavy loss of life' and calls for assistance, but none arrives. The list of the sinking Suez Maru gradually becomes steep. At 0940 hours the Suez Maru finally disappears below the surface taking down with her the dead and seriously wounded who were unable to make it above deck. By this time the surviving POW's, estimated to be between 200 and 250 of them, are floating in the sea, clinging to the rafts, pieces of wood and debris while slowly drifting in the currents. Minesweeper W 12 who has managed to dodge Bonefish's torpedoes has come back cruising around in a large circle only picking up Japanese and Korean survivors. Around 1400 hours, after the last Japanese survivor is taken out of the sea, Captain Kawano of the W 12 confronts Lt. Koshio - who is one of the last ones to be picked up - with the following, the small Minesweeper is full and he cannot accommodate any more survivors; he is afraid the boat will capsize. He wants to know what should be done with the Allied survivors in the sea who are now floating in a long line. There is great animosity towards the enemy amongst his officers and men and after a short discussion Captain Kawano, as senior officer, orders the shooting of all allied survivors. The standing orders of the Army have to be carried out: 'Under no circumstances shall any allied survivor fall into enemy hands', especially with the enemy submarine probably still nearby. Since Lt. Koshio is officially still in charge of the POW's, he gets the order to supervise the killing. He takes charge of the rifle unit on W 12. A machine gun is readied at the bow of the boat and 12 men armed with rifles are deployed, 6 on each side of the fore deck. Lt. Koshio orders the officer in charge of the rifle unit and the lookouts to make no mistakes as to the targets because 2 Japanese are still missing. The Captain of the W 12 assumes command on the bridge and Lt. Koshio supervises the shooting. At 1415 hours the massacre begins. Minesweeper W 12 begins cruising at slow speed within 50 meters of the POW's, the left side of the ship facing them. The firing with the machine gun and rifles begins and continues until the sea around turns red with blood. Some brave POW's knowing they are going to be shot, stand up on the debris they are clinging to and present themselves as targets for the bullets. No POW's survived this ordeal.

1 Dec 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport ship Nichiryo Maru (2721 GRT) in the Celebes Sea in position 01°02'N, 120°52'E.

19 Dec 1943
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) ended her 2nd war patrol at Fremantle.

12 Jan 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) departed from Fremantle for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

22 Jan 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) sank a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire in Makassar Strait in position 02°36'S, 118°06'E.

9 Feb 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese tanker Tonan Maru No.2 (19262 GRT) off French Indochina in position 11°30'N, 109°10'E.

15 Mar 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) ended her 3rd war patrol at Fremantle.

13 Apr 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) departed from Fremantle for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Celebes Sea.

26 Apr 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) torpedoed and sank the Japanese troop transport Tokiwa Maru (806 GRT) at the entrance to Davao Gulf, Philippines in position 06°13'N, 125°49'E.

14 May 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Inazuma (1980 tons) (offsite link) near Tawi Tawi, east of Borneo in position 05°03'N, 119°36'E.

30 May 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. T.W. Hogan) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle.

25 Jun 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. Lawrence Lott Edge) departed from Fremantle for her 5th war patrol, and was ordered to patrol in the Celebes Sea.

5 Jul 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) sank a Japanese sailing vessel in Makassar Strait in position 00°41'N, 119°51'E.

7 Jul 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) sank the Japanese guard boat Ryuei Maru (207 GRT) with gunfire off Tarakan, Borneo, Netherlands East Indies in position 02°40'N, 118°22'E.

8 Jul 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) sank the Japanese guard boat Moji Maru (60 GRT) with gunfire east of Borneo in position 02°25'N, 118°14'E.

10 Jul 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) sank a Japanese sampan with gunfire in the Sulu Sea in position 07°10'N, 119°12'E.

30 Jul 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) torpedoed and sank the Japanese fleet tanker Kokuyo Maru (10026 GRT) in the Sulu Sea about 75 nautical miles northeast of Borneo, in position 06°07'N, 120°00'E.

13 Aug 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) ended her 5th war patrol at Fremantle.

5 Sep 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) departed from Fremantle for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

27 Sep 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese fleet oiler Kamoi (17000 GRT, offsite link) in the South China Sea about 240 nautical miles south-west of Manila in position 13°48'N, 118°38'E.

28 Sep 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) torpedoed and sank the Japanese tanker Anjo Maru (2086 GRT) in the South China Sea east of Mindoro in position 13°10'N, 120°08'E.

14 Oct 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant Fushimi Maru (2546 GRT) in the South China Sea off the west coast of Luzon, Philippines in position 16°12'N, 119°45'E.

8 Nov 1944
USS Bonefish (Lt.Cdr. L.L. Edge) ended her 6th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She is now sent to San Francisco for a major overhaul.

20 Mar 1945
With her overhaul completed USS Bonefish (Cdr. L.L. Edge) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the East China Sea.

7 May 1945
USS Bonefish (Cdr. L.L. Edge) ended her 7th war patrol at Guam.

28 May 1945
USS Bonefish (Cdr. L.L. Edge) departed from Guam for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Sea of Japan.

13 Jun 1945
USS Bonefish (Cdr. L.L. Edge) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant Oshikasan Maru (6892 GRT) in the Sea of Japan in position 38°30'N, 136°58'E.

18 Jun 1945
USS Bonefish (Cdr. L.L. Edge, USN) after a rendezvous with USS Tunny at position 37°02'N, 135°32'E, Bonefish torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant Konzan Maru (5488 GRT) in position 37°13'N, 137°18'E. Unfortunately Bonefish is later sunk with all hands by the Japanese escort vessels Okinawa, Kaibokan 72, Kaibokan 75, Kaibokan 158 and Kaibokan 207 in the Sea of Japan in position 37°18'N, 137°55'E.

Media links


The Last Patrol

Holmes, Harry


U. S. Submarines in World War II

Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


U.S. Submarines Through 1945

Friedman, Norman


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