USS Tautog (SS 199) Draws First Blood
Most students of submarine history know that USS Tautog (SS 199) was one of the most successful of the WWII submarines, with 26 enemy ships to her credit. What they may not be aware of is that the Sailors of the Tautog were credited with shooting down one of the first attacking Japanese planes 66 years ago today. From the Tautog's After-Action Report:
On 7 December, 1941 Tautog was moored at pier two U.S. Submarine Base manned by one section of Submarine Division Sixty-One relief crew. Tautog has returned from a 45-day patrol on 5 December and only one fourth of the regular crew was on board. At 0750 several men on deck observed three planes flying in the general direction of the U.S. Navy Yard from over AIEA fleet landing. When the first plane dropped a bomb and turned revealing the insignia, it was realized that an attack was being made. General Quarters was sounded immediately and about 0755 the first cal. .50 machine gun was brought into action. Torpedo planes, some of which passed very close astern of Tautog had commenced an attack on Battleships moored at Ford Island. At about 0758 the fourth plane in line burst into flames with a loud explosion when about 150 feet astern of Tautog. Tracers from the after cal. .50 machine gun and the starboard cal. .30 machine gun were going into the fuselage of this plane at this time. U.S.S. Hulbert was also firing at this plane. It is certain that it was hit repeatedly by Tautog, no other ships in the vicinity had opened fire.Other after-action reports can be found here, and other good information on the Pearl Harbor attack is here. On this day of remembrance, it's good to take to heart the lesson that we've shown before that we can defeat a seemingly implacable death-worshipping enemy, and we can do it again if we remain united.
Update 0736 07 Dec: Here's an article from a Missouri paper with the recollections of a submariner assigned to USS Narwhal (SS 167) during the attack and its aftermath.