On 24 October 1944, during her fifth war patrol, Tang (SS-306) was sunk in Formosa Strait as a result of the malfunctioning of one of her own torpedoes which made a circular run and returned to strike the hull abreast the after torpedo room. The resulting detonation caused the ship to plunge by the stern within a few seconds. This report is based on the information contained in the references. The first portion of reference (a) is a narrative of Tang's fifth war patrol up to the time of her loss and was written from memory by the Commanding Officer upon his release form a Japanese prisoner of war camp at the end of the war, approximately one year after the action took place. The second portion of reference (a) is a reconstruction of the events which occurred in Tang after the torpedo struck. Since the Commanding Officer was washed off the bridge when the ship sank, this portion is based on the stories of the eight other survivors as related to him at the first opportunity after their capture by the Japanese; five of the eight having gone down with the boat and later making individual underwater escapes form the forward torpedo room. This reference, although understandably not as complete as formal war damage reports covering actions in which a submarine returns to base and damage can be thoroughly investigated, is an excellent presentation of the available data and is the only account in U.S. Naval history of the events inside a war-damaged U.S. submarine during and after hits sinking. References (b) and (c) cover the escape problem facing the men trapped within the boat and the procedure used by those few who made successful escapes. These latter two references are based upon personal written and oral accounts of the survivors as related to representatives of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. The photograph of the torpedoing of U-977 is included to illustrate the magnitude of Tang's disaster. The PLATE was prepared by the Bureau. Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 15 January 1943, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Launched, 17 August 1943; Commissioned USS Tang (SS-306), 15 October 1943; Final Disposition, sunk by own torpedo off Turnabout Island near Taiwan, 25 October 1944, 9 survivors. Struck from the Naval Register, 8 February 1945. Tang received four battle stars and two Presidential Unit Citations for World War II service. Her commanding officer received the Congressional Medal of Honor for Tang's final action. Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 10"; Beam 27' 4"; Draft 15' 2"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth Limit, 438 ft; Complement 6 Officers 60 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 4"/50 deck gun, two 20 mm guns. Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks-Morse main generator diesel engines, 5,400hp, Fuel Capacity 94,000 gal., four Elliot Motor Co., main motors with 2,740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.

johnbr, Jun 10, 2012
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