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USS Harder (SS-257) Report of Fifth War Patrol
June 9, 1944

9 June (cont.)
2102
Sighted another destroyer. -- They were in line of bearing and patrolling the narrows on north-south, zig zag courses. Sounded "battle stations", submerged to radar depth and commenced the attack. The nearest destroyer, now at a range of 8000 yards (7300 m), was chosen as the first target and his angle on the bow was about 20 degrees port. At 4000 yards (3700 m), he headed directly for us but his actions were interpreted as a routine zig. Increased submergence to periscope depth. At 3000 yards (2700 m), both destroyers zigged 30 degrees to their right (with the first presenting a 30 degree port track) and the picture became "just what the doctor ordered" for the Harder. At a range of 1000 yards (900 m) on the nearest target, both destroyers were overlapping, with a 100 degree port track showing. Gyros were near zero and torpedoes set for running at 6 feet (1.8 m).

2124
Commenced firing the bow tubes. No. 1 appeared to pass just ahead of the first destroyer, No. 2 struck it near the bow, No. 3 hit just under the destroyer's bridge, and No. 4 passed astern of the near target. The sub was now swung hard right to avoid hitting the first destroyer and fire was withheld on remaining tubes until a new setup could be put into the T.D.C. for an attack on the second destroyer. About thirty seconds after turning, the second destroyer came into view just astern of what was left of the first one, then burning furiously. Just then No. 4 torpedo which had passed astern of the first target was heard and observed to hit the second target. - (No more torpedoes were needed for either.)
Meanwhile, a heavy explosion, believed to be caused by an exploding boiler on the first destroyer, went off and the sub then about 400 yards (400 m) away was heeled over by the concussion. At almost the same time a blinding explosion took place on the second destroyer (probably his ammunition going off) and it took a quick nose dive. When last observed, by the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer, the tail of the second destroyer was straight in the air and the first destroyer had disappeared. "Sound" now reported, "No more screws."

The above listed pandemonium may not be in exact chronological order but is as accurate as the happenings over that eventful few minutes can be remembered.



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