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On October 11, 1942, the USS Grenadier (SS-210) got underway from Albany, West Australia where she had undergone an overhaul by the crew of the tender USS Pelias. She arrived at Fremantle on October 13th to prepare for her fourth war patrol. There she took on fuel and stores and received her patrol orders. The Grenadier would be engaged primarily in mining operations and carry only eight torpedoes to make room for thirty-two Mark 12 mines. They were to be planted off Haiphong, Indochina, at 20°-38'N, 107°-04'E. Grenadier departed for her patrol that night with Lieutenant Commander Bruce L. Carr in command.

Their cruise to the location off Haiphong was uneventful. On October 29th, at 2142 hours, Grenadier surfaced to begin the mine plant. The fifth mine exploded forty-five minutes after it was launched; the other thirty-one mines were planted without any problems. Carr was confident they were not spotted by any of the numerous sampans in the area. The operation was completed at 2322 hours and Grenadier left to patrol in the merchant traffic lanes between Hainan and Indochina.

On the afternoon of November 11th they spotted what appeared to be a freighter eight miles to seaward. They surfaced and used three engines to make a parallel run for a night attack later. At 0015 hours they made a surface attack, firing three bow torpedoes from a range of about 1,000 yards, using a seventeen-second firing interval. Carr believed all three torpedoes missed the target; in his report he said all three ran well beneath the target’s keel even though the first two were set to run at only six feet and the third at ten feet. Carr said the freighter turned and headed for the beach. A postwar analysis of this attack made by John D. Alden indicates Grenadier probably sank the 457-ton Japanese salvage vessel Hokkai Maru, killing thirteen people. In addition, in the same attack, a second ship, the 2,156-ton Japanese-controlled cargo vessel Albert Sarraut was hit and holed by one of the torpedoes, which was a dud. The vessel was later refloated and repaired. This somewhat confusing attack was the only one Grenadier would make during her fourth patrol.

On November 12th, at 0655 hours, while running submerged they spotted a corvette 1,000 yards distant and closing on them rapidly. They started to go deep and as they passed seventy feet they heard five depth charges explode close to port. In the next four minutes they heard five more explosions not as close. In the rush to go deep Grenadier hit the bottom hard, destroying her sound heads. By 1130 hours a periscope sweep disclosed all was clear. At 2010 hours they surfaced. Carr wrote in his report that all hands had symptoms of chlorine gas ingestion. It was caused by salt water which had leaked into the after battery due to faulty sea valves. The entire crew was affected for several days.

On November 16th, at 1645 hours, they spotted smoke at bearing 225 degrees true; the high periscope showed it was from six ships closing to port quickly. Grenadier dived and commenced approaching the convoy. Carr felt they would not be able to get close enough for a shot, so he decided to trail the ships and make an attack at night. At 2049 hours, they sighted another corvette or destroyer about 2,000 yards distant bearing 330 degrees true. They went deep and started evasive tactics. With her sound gear out of service, Grenadier was at a disadvantage. Two depth charges were heard, but they were not very close. By 0020 hours the next day, nothing was in sight.

On November 22nd, Grenadier received instructions to intercept two enemy cruiser divisions en route to Manila from the south. Carr reckoned that any ships coming from the southeast would probably not be stopping at Manila since ports such as Davao, Palau, or Truk would be closer for them; thus any ships en route to Manila would very likely be coming out of the southwest. Therefore he decided to position Grenadier so they could intercept ships passing Lubang Island or going past Cape Calavite. On November 24th they were patrolling off Cape Calavite. The next day they took station south of Lubang Island. No targets were found. On November 26th, Carr pointed Grenadier’s nose south to return to Fremantle.

On November 30th, at 0728 hours, in the Makassar Strait, they spotted what Carr believed to be a Ryujo-class aircraft carrier, a heavy cruiser, and a destroyer coming out of a rain squall about seven to eight thousand yards distant, bearing 081 degrees true, making fifteen knots. They were zigzagging; their base course was estimated as 210 degrees true. Carr felt they would not be able to get into a favorable attack position. Therefore the next best thing to do was to make a contact report. He did not feel it was safe to surface and trail the ships during daylight hours since they were so close to land. At 2035 hours they surfaced and sent the contact report. In it they explained they did not send it immediately after the contact was made because it was not certain that they could reach Darwin on the periscope antenna during the daytime.

They moored at Fremantle on December 10th. Comtaskfor 51, Charles A. Lockwood, was very critical of Carr’s performance. He noted that numerous small ships were sighted which were not attacked because of their size. Carr had stated that attacking these small ships would disclose his presence and warn off more worthwhile targets. Lockwood noted that except under the most unusual circumstances, all enemy vessels encountered must be destroyed, and it is considered a mistake to withhold attacking a small target for the sake of finding a larger one. Lockwood also felt Carr was not aggressive enough in pursuit of the convoy sighted on November 16th. He also took issue with Carr’s decision to patrol off Lubang Island and Cape Calavite, some sixty miles from Manila Bay, because the orders specifically directed an attack on enemy cruisers off Manila. Finally, Lockwood criticized Carr for not ensuring the battery sumps were periodically flushed with fresh water in order to prevent accumulation of acid, which will generate chlorine gas on contact with salt water.

On December 24th Carr was relieved as commanding officer of the Grenadier by Lieutenant Commander John A. Fitzgerald. Carr would become the Assistant Operations Officer, Flag Secretary, and Personnel Officer on the staff of the Commander Submarines Southwest Pacific.

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