Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, December 07, 2007

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Aiea is a town on Oahu and not an acronym, therefore complete capitalization is inappropriate. Good PR article BTW.

Decks are awash!

12/07/2007 6:05 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

If it's between the lines, all I did was copy and paste -- it's not like I'm supposed to do a lot of actual work on this blog. That is one thing that seems to have changed in Navy reports, though, since there are a lot of strange ALL CAPS usages in the old patrol reports and whatnot.

12/07/2007 7:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can just hear the COB whining about all the work that wasn't getting done while everyone was topside screwing around.

"There are no weekends in the Navy, people!"

12/07/2007 7:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good story. Fond recollections of the namesake of my first ship, USS Tautog (SSN 639). We had the deckplate with SS-199 from the first Tautog hanging in Crews' Mess while I served.

One thing that wasn't mentioned well is the fact that the Duty Officer on 7 December later became the second wartime Commanding Officer of USS Tautog (SS-199). LT Barney Sieglaf directed the .50 cal fire by a Torpedoman that day and later, as Commanding Officer of USS Tautog, sank two Japanese submarines in a single patrol on his way to helping Tautog achieve the highest count of enemy shipping in WWII. This also gave Tautog the highest number of Japanese submarines destroyed by any US submarine. A feat never duplicated to this this day.

And yet, submarines are still the best platforms to seek, detect, localize and destroy enemy submarines today. And it all began with Barney Sieglaf and USS Tautog (SSN 199).

Thanks for highlighting my USTAFISH, son. She was a grand ship, taking me in hamrs' way many times. And she always brought me safely home.


12/07/2007 8:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Admiral Sieglaf's Father-In-Law was a skimmer Admiral named Admiral Maynard. I was a young LTJG in the mid 60s working New Construction on Pargo at EB. Had a duplex across the Thames in NLON across from the hospital.

Older widow next door invited my wife and I to join her for dinner. She had a couple of friends also coming. Turns out it was the two Admirals and their wives.

I was intimidated. to say the least, but we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. (I did not tell any Sea Stories. :-) )

12/07/2007 3:27 PM

Blogger Whizzer said...

Excellent posting bubblehead. I cross referenced it on my blog. You should see the Healing Field erected at Richardson Field here. 2408 American flags - one for each person killed in the attack and a Hawaiian flag for each Hawaii citizen.

12/07/2007 4:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mil-history Quiz: What warfare insignia did the last WWII 5-star admiral wear?

Answer: Here.

12/08/2007 5:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father was a sailor on USS Tautog - in keeping with his uncanny ability to always be on the winning side.

11/11/2011 7:33 PM

Blogger Wally Gator said...

My father was a torpedo man on the Tautog. While he talked little about it, he was very proud of his service and saw many patrols on the Tautog in and out of Tokyo Bay. I still have a photo of him with the crew on the back of the sub. He passed in 2001.

12/06/2011 9:05 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

My grandfather, William Kenneth Williams was an Electricians mate on the USS Tautog SSN-199 during WW2 and Korean Conflict. I have some old photos of the ship and of his crew and of his basic training class....real long rolled out father allowed me to borrow it to scan it. Not sure if I can post photos here....but I am not sure if there are anymore original crew members alive now. My grandfather died 1975 so I never knew him. Only a few pics with him. I wish I did know him. What a brave man and all those who served in teh military during our darkest hour in WW2. Salute to all our Veterans. God Bless.

5/14/2012 8:41 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Thats right, my father was an electricians mate on the USS Tautog and we remember him this memorial day....SSN-199 All hands on deck.....Salute. Interestingly part of my address starts with 199....coincidence maybe....I dont know. He was on many dangerous story he told me was that they sunk a Jap vessel and kept the Japanese cook in the kitchen because he cooked better food than their own shipmates cooking. haha...

5/28/2012 1:38 PM

Anonymous Darlene said...

This won't succeed in reality, that is exactly what I think.

9/14/2012 9:48 AM


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