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Spitkits &

The Picayune


A Japanese Army Mitsubishi Ki-51 “Sonia” caught the USS Bullhead unawares on 6 August 1945 off Bali and got hits with two sixty kilogram bombs on the off guard submarine. Oil and bubbles rose to the surface. The Bullhead was never heard from again. She was the last of the 52 submarines lost during the Pacific war. The JANAC postwar assessment did not score her because all the enemy ships she downed were well under 500 tons. They were rated insignificant vessels of little value or account. The submarine commanders referred to them as “spitkits,” because spit was about all they were thought to be worth. But during the Bullhead’s three patrols, spitkits were all that was left to be hunted. The end was near and everything still afloat became fair game for the American submarines prowling the Java Sea and elsewhere.

The Alden-McDonald score for the USS Bullhead is four vessels sunk for 750 tons and three vessels damaged for 1,300 tons. The four vessels sunk consisted of a schooner, two wooden coastal freighters, and a sea truck. The three vessels damaged included a coastal freighter and two sea trucks. Not one torpedo was expended on any of these vessels. They were sunk or damaged with the Bullhead’s guns.

USS Bullhead

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