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USS Albacore (SS-218)

USS Albacore (SS-218) patch


The USS Albacore (SS-218) was a Gato-class World War II era submarine.

The namesake of the USS Albacore, Thunnus alalunga, is found mainly in warm regions of the Atlantic and Pacific. It has very long pectoral fins and is a valued food fish.

The radio call of sign of the USS Albacore was NAN-ABLE-EASY-ROGER.

On October 24, 1944, the Albacore, captained by Lieutenant Commander Hugh R. Rimmer, left Pearl Harbor for her eleventh and final war patrol. On October 28, 1944, she stopped at Midway Island to top off her fuel tanks. She then headed for her assigned patrol area northeast of Honshu and southeast of Hokkaido. After leaving Midway, she was never heard from again. 1

On December 21, 1944, the Albacore was listed as lost in action; the official announcement was made on March 27, 1945:

Navy Department Communiqué No. 587, March 27, 1945

The submarine USS Albacore is overdue from patrol and is presumed lost.

The next of kin of officers and crew have been informed.

Her name was struck from the Navy list on March 30, 1945.

Based on a review of Japanese records recovered after the war, it was learned that on November 7, 1944, the Albacore struck a mine very close to the shore off southeastern Hokkaido, at the geographic position 41° 49′ N, 141° 11′ E. The underwater explosion was witnessed by the Japanese auxiliary minesweeper Fukuei Maru No. 7, which was conducting an antisubmarine sweep in the area. One explosion forced a column of water to rise thirty-three feet above the surface, and two others shortly thereafter brought up debris identified as a hydroplane, a rudder, and smaller parts from a submarine. This was followed by a great deal of heavy oil, cork, bedding, food supplies, planking, and books. A patrol plane flew over the area the next day and sighted an oil slick 1,200 meters long and 300 meters wide. A minefield consisting of two hundred Type 93 influence mines was planted in this area in October 1942 by the Japanese auxiliary minelayer Bangkok Maru. Two hundred and seventy new mines were laid there in November 1943, and another two hundred and fifty mines were planted there in July 1944. 2

The Albacore won nine battle stars for her service and the Presidential Unit Citation for her second, third, eighth, and ninth patrols, during World War II. The JANAC score for the Albacore is 49,861 tons of enemy shipping sunk in ten vessels. Her Alden-McDonald score is eleven vessels sunk for 48,978 tons and two vessels damaged for 4,346 tons. The Albacore's SORG score is 72,300 tons sunk in twelve vessels and 30,900 tons damaged in six vessels. 3

A list of the personnel lost with the Albacore is maintained at On Eternal Patrol.

Patrol Data & Tonnage Scores

Footnotes:

1. Blair, Clay Jr., Silent Victory: The U. S. Submarine War against Japan, p. 780.

2. Miller, Vernon J., "U. S. Submarine Losses," issue 41, p. 53.

3. 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 Albacore (SS-218), Attack Nos. 322, 344, 359, 470, 471, 627, 628, 977, 1079, 1083, 1341, 1491, 1492, 1493, 1499, 2114, 2191, 2580, 2585, and 2619; Submarine war patrol reports on CD, data collected by the Submarine Operations Research Group (SORG) in the report "Results of U. S. Submarine War Patrols Listed Alphabetically by Name of Submarine"; Japanese Naval And Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II By All Causes, Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee, USS Albacore (SS-218).