USS BOWFIN HISTORY POST-WAR SUMMARY

Bowfin on the Hudson

POST-WAR SUMMARY

Bowfin’s four World War II commanding officers believed that she sank 179,646 tons (34 large vessels, plus 10 more under 500 tons) and damaged 33,934 tons (five large vessels plus two smaller ones) for a total of 213,580 tons sunk or damaged. The Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee (JANAC) credited Bowfin with 67,882 tons sunk (16 vessels of that tonnage plus 22 smaller craft). JANAC’s reassessment dimmed Bowfin’s glory no more than that of most other submarines. JANAC’s reassessments continue to be challenged by many who believe that Japan’s remaining WWII records were less than accurate, and by some who know the JANAC’s reassessments in some instances disallowed claims even though trained observers saw the disputed vessels sink. Of the 288 U.S. submarines which saw combat duty during WWII, 188 of them had JANAC officially credited sinking records. USS Bowfin remains a legend, for among these 188 submarines, Bowfin ranks 17th in tonnage and 15th in number of ships sunk. Fifty-two of 288 combat submarines and 3,505 out of 14,750 WWII U.S. submariners began their eternal patrols before Japan surrendered.

USS BOWFIN’S BATTLEFLAG

During WWII the crew of Bowfin made two battleflags of their own making that we are honored to house in our museum. Both were made from fabric that they had onboard at the time, and both are unique in their own ways. The third battleflag was made after the war by the Carleton Company from Rochester, NY who offered to make reproductions of flags for all crew members to have. The fourth battleflag is represented below and is the favorite among the WWII Bowfin crew. It was designed for them in the 1980s and represents the three major awards the boat received during the war: Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, and Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. 

USS Bowfin's battleflag graphically depicts the successes of nine war patrols, which are represented by the nine stars located below the bowfin fish mascot firing a torpedo. Bowfin claimed 39 Japanese merchant ships and four Japanese military ships sunk, depicted by white flags with solid red circles (the national flag of Japan) and white flags with solid red rising suns (the Imperial Japanese Navy flag), respectively. The single French flag represents a French merchant ship - Van Vollenhoven - which was sunk off Saigon in convoy with Japanese ships. Flags with white centers are for ships that are claimed damaged, but not sunk.

U.S.S Bowfin

Japanese Merchant Ship Sunk:
Japanese Merchant Ship Sunk

Japanese Merchant Ship Damaged:
Japanese Merchant Ship Damaged

Small Japanese Merchant Ship Sunk:

French Ship Sunk on Second Patrol:
French Ship Sunk on Second Patrol

Imperial Japanese Navy Ship Sunk:
Imperial Japanese Navy Ship Sunk

Imperial Japanese Navy Ship Damaged:
Imperial Japanese Navy Ship Damaged

Presidential Unit Citation - earned for Second Patrol:
Presidential Unit Citation - earned for Second Patrol

Navy Unit Commendation - earned for Sixth Patrol:
Navy Unit Commendation - earned for Sixth Patrol

Philippine Presidential Unit Citation - earned for First Patrol:
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation - earned for First Patrol

Star, One Star per War Patrol (9):
Star, One Star per War Patrol (9)

Crane, Bus, & Pier Sunk at Minami Daito on Sixth Patrol:
Crane, Bus, & Pier Sunk at Minami Daito on Sixth Patrol

SINKINGS OF THE USS BOWFIN

This table shows the 16 vessels that JANAC credited Bowfin with in 1946.

Verified Sinkings by USS Bowfin

Verified Sinkings by USS Bowfin
DATE AND PATROL NAME OF VESSEL TYPE OF VESSEL TONNAGE LOCATION COMMANDING OFFICER
25 Sept 1943,
Patrol 1
Kirishima Maru Passenger-Cargo 8,120 9-44N, 111-56E J. H. Willingham
26 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Ogurasan Maru Tanker 5,069 12-48N,109-34E W. T. Griffith
26 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Tainan Maru Cargo 5,407 13-02N, 109-28E W. T. Griffith
27 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Van Vollenhoven Cargo 691 13-01N, 109-30E W. T. Griffith
28 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Sydney Maru Passenger-Cargo 5,425 12-46N, 109-42E W. T. Griffith
28 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Tonan Maru Tanker 9,866 12-46N, 109-42E W. T. Griffith
17 Jan 1944,
Patrol 3
Shoyo Maru Cargo 4,408 18-00N, 118-37E W. T. Griffith
10 Mar 1944,
Patrol 4
Tsukikawa Maru Cargo 4,470 1-30N, 128-17E W. T. Griffith
24 Mar 1944,
Patrol 4
Shinkyo Maru Cargo 5,139 5-27N, 125-38E W. T. Griffith
24 Mar 1944,
Patrol 4
Bengal Maru  Cargo 5,399 5-27N, 125-38E W. T. Griffith
22 Aug 1944,
Patrol 6
Tsushima Maru Passenger-Cargo 6,754 29-32N, 129-31E J. Corbus
17 Feb 1945,
Patrol 7
Coast Defense
Vessel No. 56
Frigate 750 33-53N, 139-43E A. K. Tyree
1 May 1945,
Patrol 8
Chowa Maru Passenger-Cargo 2,719 41-06N, 144-28E A. K. Tyree
8 May 1945,
Patrol 8
Daito Maru No. 3 Cargo 880 39-37N, 142-07E A. K. Tyree
11 Jun 1945,
Patrol 9
Shinyo Maru No. 3 Passenger-Cargo 1,898 39-23N, 128-59E A. K. Tyree
13 Jun 1945,
Patrol 9
Akiura Maru Cargo 887 39-13N, 128-07E A. K. Tyree
Total: 16 Vessels for 67,882 tons sunk

This table shows the sinkings of Bowfin based on research done by CDR John Alden, USN (Ret.). He published his research in his book United States and Allied Submarine Success in the Pacific and Far East During World War II.

DATE AND PATROL NAME OF VESSEL TYPE OF VESSEL TONNAGE LOCATION COMMANDING OFFICER
25 Sept 1943,
Patrol 1
Kirishima Maru Passenger-Cargo 8,267 9-44N, 111-56E J. H. Willingham
26 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Ogurasan Maru Tanker 5,069 12-48N,109-34E W. T. Griffith
26 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Tainan Maru Cargo 5,407 13-02N, 109-28E W. T. Griffith
27 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Van Vollenhoven 
(Vichy French)
Cargo 691 13-01N, 109-30E W. T. Griffith
28 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Tonan Maru Tanker 9,866 12-46N, 109-42E W. T. Griffith
28 Nov 1943,
Patrol 2
Sydney Maru Passenger-Cargo 5,425 12-46N, 109-42E W. T. Griffith
17 Jan 1944,
Patrol 3
Shoyo Maru Cargo 4,408 18-00N, 118-37E W. T. Griffith
10 Mar 1944,
Patrol 4
Tsukikawa Maru Cargo 4,673 1-30N, 128-17E W. T. Griffith
24 Mar 1944,
Patrol 4
Bengal Maru Cargo 5,399 5-27N, 125-38E W. T. Griffith
24 Mar 1944,
Patrol 4
Shinkyo Maru Transport 2,672 5-27N, 125-38E W. T. Griffith
14 May 1944,  
Patrol 5
Miyama Maru Cargo 4,667 08-55N, 133-42E J. Corbus
10 Aug 1944,  
Patrol 6
Seiyo Maru Transport 197 Minami-Daito J. Corbus
22 Aug 1944,
Patrol 6
Tsushima Maru Passenger-Cargo 6,754 29-32N, 129-31E J. Corbus
4 Sept 1944,
Patrol 6
Hinode Maru #6 Picket 245 31-55N, 152-00E J. Corbus
17 Feb 1945,
Patrol 7
Coast Defense
Vessel No. 56
Frigate 940 33-52N, 139-43E A. K. Tyree
17 Feb 1945,
Patrol 7
Nanshin Maru #28 Picket Boat 83 Mikomoto Lt. A. K. Tyree
2 Mar 1945,
Patrol 7
Chokai Maru Picket Boat 135 34-16N, 139-39E A. K. Tyree
4 Mar 1945,
Patrol 7
Fukuyu Maru #1 Picket Boat 152 Not Given A. K. Tyree
1 May 1945,
Patrol 8
Chowa Maru Passenger-Cargo 2,719 41-06N, 144-28E A. K. Tyree
8 May 1945,
Patrol 8
Daito Maru No. 3 Fishing Vessel 880 39-37N, 142-07E A. K. Tyree
11 Jun 1945,
Patrol 9
Shinyo Maru No. 3 Passenger-Cargo 1,898 39-23N, 128-59E A. K. Tyree
13 Jun 1945,
Patrol 9
Akiura Maru Cargo 887 39-13N, 128-07E A. K. Tyree
Revised totals would show that Bowfin sank 22 vessels for a total of 71,437 tons.