Karl Goldsmith Hensel, USN

Born  4 Nov 1901Baltimore; Maryland, USA
Died  18 Aug 1994(92)Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

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23 Jun 1938 Lt.Cdr.
1 Jan 1942 T/Cdr.
30 Jun 1942 Cdr.
1 May 1943 T/Capt.


Dec/Feb 44 Navy Cross (1)

Warship Commands listed for Karl Goldsmith Hensel, USN

USS Seal (183)Submarine30 Apr 1937Jun 1940
USS Swordfish (193)T/Capt.Submarine19 Dec 19438 Feb 1944

Career information

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Events related to this officer

Submarine USS Swordfish (193)

29 Dec 1943
USS Swordfish (Capt. K.G. Hensel, USN, in temporary command) departed Midway for her 10th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters off the main island Honshu.

No daily position are listed in the patrol report of USS Swordfish. The deck log is not available to us (at the moment). The positions displayed on this incomplete map below were taken from the patrol report.

14 Jan 1944 (position 33.16, 139.30)
USS Swordfish (Capt. K.G. Hensel, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport ship Yamakuni Maru (6925 GRT, built 1938) off Hachijo Jima, south of Honshu in position 33°16'N, 139°30'E.

Yamakuni Maru was in convoy together with the repair ship Yamabiko Maru (6795 GRT, built 1937) and the transport Keiyo Maru (6443 GRT, built 1937). They were escorted by the destroyer Asakaze, frigate Manju and minesweeper W-24. Yamabiko Maru had been torpedoed by USS Steelhead on 10 January 1944 and had been taken in tow by Yamakuni Maru. Shortly after Yamakuni Maru sank Yamabiko Maru also sank.
(All links are offsite links).

(All times are zone -9)
13 January 1944
2223 hours - Radar and smoke contact at a range of 18000 yards. Started tracking the contact. Closed and held the contact at a range of 16000 yards.

2337 hours - Started our run in at full speed.

2349 hours - Dived to radar depth at a range of 9800 yards. Went to periscope depth at a range of 6500 yards. Ten minutes before firing slowed to silent speed. By now the contact was seen to be made up of a large well-deck freighter, one other vessel nearly end on that gave the impression to be down by the stern, one or possibly two good sized freighters further away. One destroyer and two other escorts were circling, stopping, starting and pinging.

14 January 1944
0037 hours - Fired a spread of four torpedoes. Two hits were heard. The result was not observed as Swordfish had gone deep on firing.

0041 to 0054 hours - Heard breaking up noises.

0044 hours - Depth charging started.

0048 to 0054 hours - During this period two depth charges exploded quite close.

0344 hours - The last of a total of 24 depth charges was dropped.

0415 hours - Surfaced and cleared the area at full speed on two engines.

16 Jan 1944 (position 34.04, 139.56)
USS Swordfish (Capt. K.G. Hensel, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat (Q-Ship) Delhi Maru (2205 GRT, built 1922) off Miyake Jima, Honshu, Japan in position 34°04'N, 139°56'E.

Delhi Maru was with anti-submarine net layer Tatsu Maru (253 GRT, built 1916). They were escorted by the submarine chaser CH 50 (offsite link).

(All times are zone -9)
15 January 1944
2217 hours - Obtained a radar contact at a range of 14000 yards. Commenced tracking.

2247 hours - Obtained radar contact on an escort vessel at a range of 8850 yards.

2350 hours - Went to battle stations and closed for attack.

16 January 1944
0003 hours - Dived to radar depth. Went to periscope depth when range was 6200 yards.

0020 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1500 yards. Three hits were heard and observed. Swordfish then went deep.

0023 - The first depth charge was dropped.

0025 to 0040 hours - A whole lot of explosions were heard. It is hought the ship sank at 0040 hours.

0024 hours - A depth charge exploded.

0102 hours - A depth charge exploded.

0104 hours - A depth charge exploded.

0222 hours - Three depth charges were dropped quite close aboard.

0235 hours - Four more depth charges followed. These escorts were hard to shake off.

0318 hours - Surfaced.

0319 hours - Sighted an escort four nautical miles astern. Went to full speed to clear the area.

17 Jan 1944 (position 33.06, 138.48)
USS Swordfish (Capt. K.G. Hensel, USN) attacked but missed the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku with four torpedoes south-west of Tokyo Bay.

Shokaku had been at Yokosuka for a short one month refit and was proceeding to Tokuyama Bay to rejoin Zuikaku in the Inland Sea. Swordfish and Tautog both reported that she was escorted by four destroyers. The destroyers Wakatsuki, Akigumo and Kazagumo had also been refitting at Yokosuka and were with Shokaku and Zuikaku on 6 February 1944 when they departed the Inland Sea for Singapore. It seems therefore most likely that these three destroyers were part of the escort of Shokaku during her high speed run from Yokosuka to Tokuyama Bay, maybee with a fouth destroyer.

(All times are zone -9)
1840 hours - In position 33°09'N, 138°50'E obtained radar contact bearing 065°(T). Range was 15000 yards. Went to battle stations. During the whole afternoon a lot of depth charges were dropped and it looked like something big was coming towards Swordfish.

1845 hours - The target was making 18.5 knots. Four or five ships were present, one was 4000 yards closer then the largest ship. Decided that this was some sort of task force in view of the high speed and the random dropping of depth charges during the whole afternoon. Dived when the range was 10300 yards.

1849 hours - All tubes were reported ready.

1851 hours - Radar range was now 5800 yards. Enemy speed still 18.5 knots.

1852 hours - Radar range now 5250 yards.

1853 hours - The closest destroyer passed at a range of 1200 yards.

1900 hours - In position 33°06'N, 138°48E fired four stern torpedoes from 2500 yards. No hits were obtained.

1906 hours - Four depth charges were dropped. Block busters, but they were not very close. One destroyer gave us some attention for a while.

2020 hours - Surfaced and cleared the area to the south-east.

2140 hours - Decoded ComSubPac's rebroadcast of USS Tautog which had also contacted and attacked this task force, Tautug also reported a carrier escorted by four destroyers.

27 Jan 1944 (position 33.31, 139.36)
USS Swordfish (Capt. K.G. Hensel, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Kasagi Maru (3140 GRT, built 1928) about 130 nautical miles south of Tokyo Bay in position 33°31'N, 139°36'E.

(All times are zone -9)
2254 hours - In position 33°41'N, 139°31'E obtained radar contact to the north-east at a range of 14000 yards. Tracked the target as zig-zagging between 120° and 180°. Enemy speed was 12 knots.

2333 hours - Two escorts had now been detected by radar to be in the area as well. Range to the target was now 4500 yards.

2346 hours - Fired four bow torpedoes from 1700 yards. However the target zigged on firing and the torpedoes missed.

2348 hours - In position 33°31'N, 139°36'E fired four stern tubes from 1000 yards. Three hits were obtained.

2354 hours - The target's pip was now longer seen on the radar screen and she must have sunk by now.

3 Feb 1944 (position 0.00, 0.00)
USS Swordfish (Capt. K.G. Hensel, USN) made a short stop at Midway before she continued on to Pearl Harbour.

7 Feb 1944
USS Swordfish (Capt. K.G. Hensel, USN) ended her 10th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She was escorted in by USS PC 603 (Lt. E.D. Gasson, USNR).

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