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  USS Bullhead (SS-332)
USN
Balao Class Submarine

1,526 Tons (surfaced)
2,424 Tons (submerged)
311' 9" x 27' 3" x 16' 10"
10 × 21-inch torpedo tubes
(6 forward, 4 aft)
1 x 5" gun
1 x 40mm AA
1 x 20mm AA

Ship History
Built by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, CT. Laid down October 21, 1943. Launched July 16, 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Howard R. Doyle. Comissioned December 4, 1944 with Commander W. T. Griffith in command. Afterwards, Bullhead traveled via the Panama Canal to the Pacific.

Wartime History
First War Patrol: Bullhead preformed lifeguard services to be on standby to rescued downed Allied aviators in the sea and rescued three crew members from a B-29 Superfortress off the coast of China. Afterwards, bombarded radio installations Pratas Island off China.

Second War Patrol: During May 195 to June 1945 Bullhead patrolled the Gulf of Siam and South China Sea sinking two small freighters, schooner and a sub chaser with a total of 1,800 tons. Also, claimed to damage two other subchasers and another small freighter. All attacks during this period were using her 5" deck gun.

Third War Patrol: On July 31, 1945 Bullhead departed Fremantle to patrol the Java Sea as part of a wolfpack with USS Capitaine (SS-336) and USS Puffer (SS-268) until September 5, 1945 then to proceed to Subic Bay.

On August 6, 1945 Bullhead reported passing through the Lombok Strait but was never heard from again. Transiting the same area were other submarines including HMS Taciturn, HMS Thorough, USS Cod (SS-224) and USS Chub (SS-329). Japanese made anti-submarine against other vessls likely targeted at these other submainres.

On August 12, 1945 USS Capitaine (SS-336) attempted to contact the submarine without reply and on August 15, 1945 reported "Have been unable to contact Bullheadby any means since arriving in area."

Sinking History
On August 6, 1945 after passing through the Lombok Strait, Bullhead was likely attacked by Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) Ki-51 Sonia from the 73rd Independent Chutai armed with depth charges, that claimed two direct hits on a submarine near the coast of Bali in the Java Sea. For ten minutes afterwards, the Ki-51 observed ten minutes a large amount of oil and air bubbles rising to the surface. Possibly, the submarine's proximity near shore shortened radar range and failed to detect the approaching enemy aircraft.

Memorials
The entire crew of 84 went Missing In Action (MIA), each earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. All likely went down with the submarine. Bullhead was the last U. S. Navy submarine sunk by enemy action during World War II. Bullhead earned two battle stars for her World War II service.

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - QM2c Alfred Aiple Jr.
On Eternal Patrol - The Loss of USS Bullhead (SS-332)

On Eternal Patrol - USS Bullhead (SS-332) list of 84 crew lost
Pigboats - USS Bullhead SS 332 chronology of tonnage sunk & damaged
Wrecksite - USS Bullhead (SS-332)

Overdue and Presumed Lost: The Story of the USS Bullhead by Martin Sheridan

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

MIA
MIA
84 Missing
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