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On June 9, 1943, at 1810 hours, the USS Snook, captained by Lieutenant Commander Charles O. Triebel, got underway from Midway for her second war patrol equipped with twenty-four Mark 14 1A and 3A torpedoes. Her destination was the East China Sea, where she would hunt for Japanese shipping. On the trip to her hunting grounds, Snook continued her daily routines – drills, exercises, and dives. She reached her assigned station off Kodakara Island on June 23. During the patrol, Triebel would coordinate seven attacks against enemy shipping.

Snook's first attack occurred on June 24, 1943, at about 1124 hours, when she spotted a Japanese tanker in the East China Sea. Triebel identified the target as a 9,527-ton Huzisan Maru-class tanker. He fired four torpedoes at her and heard two hits corresponding to the second and third torpedoes fired; he also observed the second hit strike well aft near the stack. Lockwood credited him for damaging the tanker. John D. Alden evaluated this claim as unconfirmed. According to Japanese sources, the Snook's target was the fleet tanker Ose. The Ose was formerly the 12,303-ton Dutch motor tanker Genota. She was originally launched in April 1935 for La Corona, The Hague, in the Netherlands. Genota was captured by the Japanese on May 9, 1942, in a joint effort by the armed merchant cruisers Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru. The Japanese commissioned her as the fleet tanker Ose. On March 30, 1944, she was sunk at Palau by aircraft from the American Fast Carrier Task Force 58, led by Admiral F. William Halsey. In the attack by Snook on June 24, the Ose avoided the torpedoes and arrived at Takao on June 27 unscathed. After their daylight attack on June 24, Triebel took Snook to 300 feet and avoided taking any damage from fifteen depth charges loosed by an escorting destroyer. Seventeen other distant depth charges were heard the next day. 1

Snook's next four attacks took place over about a two and one-half hour period on July 4, from 0112 to 0334 hours. Each attack would occur on the surface during a pitch black rainy night, utilizing radar data. Her radar located two shipping groups with three ships in-line in each group, and two ships detached on each flank. Triebel assumed correctly that these were escorts. Using radar bearings, he fired three forward torpedoes at one of the blips. Throughout the attack, neither the target nor other ships could be seen due to rain and low visibility. He heard and saw two explosions in the direction the torpedoes were fired. Postwar analysis documented that the 5,865-ton cargo vessel Liverpool Maru was sunk in this attack. It had sailed from Miike with the other ships on July 2 bound for Bako, as part of convoy 172. At about 0230 hours on July 4, it was hit by three torpedoes in its port stern area and sank at 0600 hours, killing three crew members. Lockwood credited Triebel for damaging a 10,000-ton freighter in this attack. 2

In the next attack Triebel identified his target as a 17,000-ton Nissen Maru-class tanker. From about a 2,000 yard range, Triebel fired six bow tubes at the blip. From the bridge, Triebel saw three torpedoes hit the target, forward, midships, and aft respectively. A very heavy flame flash followed, after which the target disappeared from sight. Japanese records indicate the target was the 5,290-ton cargo ship Koki Maru. It was hit by two torpedoes in its number two hold and sank in seven minutes, killing one crew member. Lockwood credited Triebel for sinking a 17,579-ton tanker in this attack. 3

The last two attacks of July 4 were made against one target. Triebel identified it as a large ship with a fairly high superstructure. Because of the overall poor visibility conditions, he could not see finer details or determine its type. He fired a total of five torpedoes at this target and saw two explosions. Lockwood credited him for damaging a 5,000-ton freighter. Japanese records indicate it was the 5,872-ton cargo vessel Atlantic Maru. It had successfully evaded two torpedoes from port and one from starboard, but was hit in the stern by one torpedo, causing its engine to stop. One crew member was killed in the blast. The dead ship was towed to Shanghai by Taikoku Maru4

On July 4, at 2100 hours, Triebel began clearing the area to the east at three-engine speed. The trip back to Midway was uneventful. After topping-off at Midway on July 14, Snook headed for Pearl, arriving there on July 18. In his report, Triebel noted it had been cloudy and overcast for thirteen of the fifteen days spent in the East China Sea, with frequent rain squalls and low visibility. On June 22, they were bombed by a slow old biplane. It dropped eighteen depth charges which exploded suprisingly close, within 2,000 to 3,000 yards. But Snook did not take any damage. Triebel kept her at 200 feet and headed steadily north. 5

In his patrol endorsement, Lockwood commented that the attacks conducted during an extremely dark and rainy night in the early morning hours of the fourth of July were an outstanding example of teamwork where the entire fire control party functioned with the highest efficiency in carrying out attacks on three ships of convoy 172. In less than three hours Snook fired nineteen torpedoes. Given the weather conditions, Snook was unable to witness the final results of the attacks made on the convoy, but based on the limited observations made Lockwood felt certain that serious damage was inflicted on the enemy. The patrol was considered successful for the combat insignia award. 6

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Footnotes:

1. Hansgeorg, Jentschura, Dieter Jung, and Peter Mickel, Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869 - 1945, p. 251; Alden, John D. and Craig R. McDonald, United States and Allied Submarine Successes in the Pacific and Far East During World War II, Fourth Edition, see USS Snook (SS-279), Attack Nos. 909, 947, 948, and 949; and Submarine war patrol reports on CD, USS Snook (SS-279).

2. Alden, John D. and Craig R. McDonald, United States and Allied Submarine Successes in the Pacific and Far East During World War II and Submarine war patrol reports on CD.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Submarine war patrol reports on CD.

6. Ibid.