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START OF REEL JOB NO.2) Mae Fi eo OPERATOR 22“ as rn pe THIS MICROFILM IS THE PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MICROFILMED BY NPPSO-NAVAL DISTRICT WASHINGTON MICROFILM SECTION WAL, Gee, 29) Wit Rane As Wo ret Gis Lene 's DEAS IED Fe Says 0-5 INWE (WHS Wk OS Coynucr Vemonne Atcawes Waist as Gusto Division of Naval History Ships’ Histories Section Novy Department HISTORY OF USS WHALE (SS 239) Essentially a weapon of stealth depeading for its effectiveness upon a cloak of darkness, the submarine carried out its assigned missions during World War II without the recognition and fanfare accorded many other branches of the defense team. Like the unhearaled tackle who clears the gridiron for the flashy halfback, the submarine plied the coastal vaters of Japen, disrupt her supply lines and driving the wedge through which American surface craft, men end materials later floved to bring the eneny to his knees. With the end of World War II the action reports of these silent varriors disclosed many accounts cf outstanding accomplishments. Such story is that of the USS WEALE. The keel for the SS 239 vos laid on 28 June igh1 at the Navy Yara, Mare Island, California. She was named the "WHALE" for the air-breathing, varm- blooded, mammal. As she slid iown the vays on 14 March 19h2, she was chri: by Mrs. A.D. Denny, wife of Captain A.D. Denny, USN. On 1 June 1942 the ship was commissioned and turned over to Lieutenant Commander J.B. Azer,USN. On 9 October 1942, the WHALE steamed cut of Pearl Harbor on her maiden patrol. As early as July 1941 plans had been made to lay submarine minefields in the event of var vith Japan. When the Pearl Harbor attack crippled t 5 Pacific Fleet, en unanticipated workload gave the Submarine Force portunity for minelaying. Thus it was not until autumn of 19h2 that marines could be spared for these special missions which restricted combat potenticl by limiting the number_of torpedoes they might carry. The WHALE was chosen os one of the six submarines to be sent on these first mine- Planting mission: Her area was the Kii Suido -- entrance to the T=tand deep in the inner ring of the Jupanese homeland sea frontier. During most of L Harbor to Japan the WHALE cruised on the surface by Gay asiwell as night, evading Japancse search planes by fast dives and making bold observations at periscope depth. Pre-var shipping curves hh the Kii Suido passage as a main line for-Jepanese maritine traffic. WHALE" Periscope watch confimed these iadications. Merchantmen and naval vessels were geen hugging the shoreline, runing parallel to the coast about one mile o the beach. The WHALE's orders called for a mine plant farther Comander Azer decided to move in closer and plant the mines, ac: ships' track. ‘Throughout that day of 25 October 192, i yed offshore, making periscope observations. The Jzpanese shipping path wis carefully plotted and alternate routes were noted. Three minefield locations vere chosen -- one on the main line and two to cover possible detours. At moonrise the WHALE roved invarily. One Japanese mine was detected well off shore, but there vas little donger of mines close in where the eneny ships vere traveling. Under o full moon the first field of mines was planted. The second vas Inia closer to the shore, and the third vas sewn across the traffic lane that paralleled the beach. With shipe in the inmediate vicinity, the WHALE had to Go some expert soneuvering to extricate herself from the area, but with the aia