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War Patrols of the USS Bergall SS 320

On the thirteenth of May, 1943, the Electric Boat Company laid down the keel of the SS 320. The ship had been launched by Ms. James A. Elkins on February 16, 1944.  Thirteen months later almost to the day, of her keel laying, (12 June, 1944) Lieutenant Commander John Milton Hyde assumed command of his first submarine. Thirteens were to become the Bergall's big days as her story will disclose, and it was not long before the day became one of tension but this early in her history there was no thought of it. 

The crew of the new submarine carried out shakedown operations in the waters off New London and attack training at the torpedo range near Newport until 3 July. After returning to New London, the boat set sail for the Pacific on the 16th.   On her way to the Panama Canal she rescued three Army aviators from the sea when their trainer aircraft crashed north of Mona Passage (Off the south east tip of the Dominican Republic.).   At every end of the month the aviators would make the run from Puerto Rico to Haiti to give the guys at the weather station their paychecks.   Coming back they had a bad compass and were running out of gas.   Looking for a place to set down was proving futile and then they spotted the USS Bergall preparing to submerge as it was on it’s way to Panama and the aviators radioed for rescue support.   In the ensuing splash down and recovery one of the aviators, then 35 year old, Herbert Liebman’s pants were destroyed in the ditching of their plane and (being a large man himself) found that Lieut.-Comdr. Thomas K. Kimmel was about the same size and Thomas loaned Herbert a pair. On March 14, 1999, Bill Thomas ( an editor for the Memphis Tn. Newspaper ‘The Commercial Appeal’) printed an article entitled ‘It’s as if submarine, WWII crew vaporize after rescue’ with the help of Herbert. Herbert, now 91 years young was trying to find Comdr. Kimmel to thank him for loaning the pants and rescuing him and his fellow aviators. Comdr Kimmel had passed away the year before, but his wife, Nancy, remembered Thomas telling the story! The article ended with Herbert’s quote, “All I want to know is what happened (to BERGALL) after I got off in Panama.”. The airmen got a free ride to the Panama Canal. The rest of her stay in  the Panama Canal was uneventful except for a dinner sponsored by Mr. Liebman and a beach party in Panama where the pilot, Mr. Smith brought some whiskey for the crew as thanks for the rescue.   After transiting the Panama Canal on 24 July, the submarine departed Balboa on the 28th.   On her way to Hawaii, a few days out of Panama, she almost sank in DEEP water when she went down for a test dive.   She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 13 August.  Later, Mr. Liebman sent a box of cigars to the boat, which had since arrived in Pearl.     Bergall then engaged in two weeks of type training, firing nine torpedoes and taking part in a convoy exercise. She also entered drydock to replace a squeaky load bearing strut before preparing for her first war patrol. Departing Pearl Harbor on 8 September.  

 

The 13's start counting up!

To the young crew of the Bergall the names of Saigon, Karimata and French Indo-China were no more a part of the real world than were Lilliput, Erehwan or Alice's Wonderland. Yet the increased acuity of observation brought on by the nautical life was to make the geography of all those exotic places more familiar to most of the crew than that of their own home states. John Van Fossen, motor machinist from Toledo, was to lose a bitter argument as to the distance of Ohio from the Atlantic Ocean, but will probably always remember just how far off the coast of Bali lies the island of Noedda Besar. Robert ('Bobby Sox') Faselt, quartermaster, whose home in the Jersey Palisades overlooks the New York City harbor, returned there with many misconceptions about the home port that he did not have about Soerabaya. The Bergall crew was young and inexperienced, as what new submarine crew isn't, but as all others, they learned!

(From personal accounts by shipmates)
On to War Patrol #1

Or pick a specific patrol:  War Patrol #1... War Patrol #2... War Patrol #3... War Patrol #4... War Patrol #5
A quick description of her Deck Guns
A quick description of her Torpedo Attack Procedures

Crew memories of some war stories and antics

 

War patrols

  Commander Base Begin date End date duration / days
Patrol #1 John M. Hyde Pearl Harbor 08.09.1944 08.11.1944 60
Patrol #2 Fremantle 02.12.1944 23.12.1944 21
Patrol #3 Fremantle 19.01.1945 17.02.1945 28
Patrol #4 Subic Bay 03.1945 17.04.1945 43
Patrol #5 Fremantle 12.05.1945 17.06.1945 37
(Known successes) (8)
 Status Date Position Country Name Displacement Type Info
Sunk 09.10.1944   ? 700 BRT AK JANAC denied
Sunk 13.10.1944 11-52N, 109-20E Shinshu Maru 4182 BRT AK  
Sunk 27.10.1944 07-09N, 116-40E Nichiho Maru 10528 BRT AO  
Sunk 27.10.1944 07-09N, 116-40E Itsukushima Maru      
Damaged 13.12.1944 08-09N, 105-40E Myoko      
Sunk 27.01.1945 08-37S, 111-39E W 102   minesweeper  
Sunk 07.02.1945 12-04N, 109-22E CD 53   escort  
Damaged 07.02.1945 12-04N, 109-22E Toho Maru   AO  

The skipper was on the USS Swordfish with 7 war patrols under his belt prior to taking command of the USS Bergall.  Here are the top awards from his time:

Navy Cross

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander John Milton Hyde (NSN: 0-73456), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. BERGALL (SS-320), on the SECOND War Patrol of that submarine on 13 December 1944, in enemy controlled waters of the South China Sea. Contacting two hostile heavy cruisers in water too shallow to permit submersion if detected, Commander Hyde courageously launched a night surface attack against the enemy vessels and directed the firing of six torpedoes, which caused one of the cruisers to blow up with a tremendous explosion and a mass of engulfing flames and inflicted extensive damage on the other which stopped dead in the water. After reloading, he once again attacked the crippled vessel and, when a salvo from the damaged cruiser inflicted damage to the BERGALL's pressure hull, skillfully maneuvered his craft to evade further damage and return to port. By his leadership, gallant fighting spirit and devotion to duty, Commander Hyde upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander 7th Fleet: Serial 01139 (April 3, 1945)
Action Date: 13-Dec-44
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Bergall (SS-320)

Silver Star

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Commander John Milton Hyde (NSN: 0-73456), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Navigating, Assistant Approach and Executive Officer of the submarine U.S.S. SWORDFISH (SS-193), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Pacific Area. During four hazardous War Patrols, Lieutenant Commander Hyde rendered invaluable services by skillfully plotting his ship's course through dangerous, inadequately charted waters and providing accurate and timely information in the conduct of the attacks despite severe enemy depth charging and bombing. When the SWORDFISH was assigned two special missions to Corregidor fortress, Lieutenant Commander Hyde greatly assisted in the successful execution of these important tasks. His excellent performance of administrative duties and his inspiring leadership contributed materially to the destruction of eleven enemy vessels and the damaging of another, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander, 7th Fleet: Serial 02121 (October 22, 1943)
Action Date: 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Executive Officer
Division:
U.S.S. Swordfish (SS-193)

Silver Star

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Commander John Milton Hyde (NSN: 0-73456), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. BERGALL (SS-320), during the FIRST War Patrol of that submarine against enemy Japanese shipping in the South China Sea from 8 September to 8 November 1944. Aggressively developing all contacts, Commander Hyde launched destructive attacks against hostile shipping which resulted in the destruction of two cargo ships and a large enemy tanker. His leadership, courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander, 7th Fleet: Serial 02121 (February 22, 1945)
Action Date: September 8 - November 8, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Bergall (SS-320)

Silver Star

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star to Commander John Milton Hyde (NSN: 0-73456), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. BERGALL (SS-320), in action against enemy Japanese forces during that submarine's THIRD War Patrol in the Southwest Pacific from 19 January to 17 February 1945. Aggressively seeking out enemy targets, Commander Hyde launched attacks which resulted in the sinking of 400 tons of enemy shipping and in the infliction of damage on a battleship and two large oilers. His cool leadership and inspiring to his officers and men, and his unwavering devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander, 7th Fleet: Serial 04751 (June 26, 1945)
Action Date: January 19 - February 17, 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Bergall (SS-320)

 

 


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