On March 28, 1944, USS Barb (SS 220) sank Japanese cargo freighter Fukusei Maru off Rasa Island. Also on this date USS Silversides (SS 236) sank Japanese cargo ship Kairyu Maru off Manokwari, New Guinea.
USS Barb (SS-220), 1942-1954
USS Barb, a 1525-ton Gato class submarine built at Groton, Connecticut, was commissioned in July 1942. That fall she was sent to operate in European waters, taking part in the Morocco invasion in November. Four more war patrols in the first half of 1943 took her to the Bay of Biscay, the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea but produced no damage to the enemy.
In mid-1943 Barb went to the Pacific. That fall her sixth war patrol took her off China, where she damaged two enemy ships. Following a West Coast overhaul, Barb operated in the central and western Pacific during March and April 1944, sinking one ship and bombarding an enemy shore facility. After that, under Commander Eugene B. Fluckey (her skipper for the rest of the war), her combat record became remarkably successful. Barb‘s eighth war patrol, off northern Japan in May-July, deprived the enemy of five ships and saw the first of many gunfire actions that ultimately destroyed some twenty small vessels. On her ninth war patrol, operating with two other submarines between the Philippines and China in August and September 1944, Barb sank three more Japanese ships, among them the escort carrier Unyo. In addition, she rescued fourteen Allied prisoners of war. Her next two cruises, in the East China Sea during October 1944 – February 1945, were also made in close cooperation with other U.S. submarines. Barb sank two ships on her tenth patrol and four more on her eleventh, with a partial credit for another. For a daring late January attack into an enemy inshore anchorage Barb received a Presidential Unit Citation (her fourth) and Commander Fluckey was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Another Mare Island overhaul gave Barb a larger deck gun and a rocket launcher. Returning to northern Japan in June 1945 for her twelfth war patrol, both of these weapons were used to sink small craft and bombard shore facilities. Her torpedoes sank two more ships, a freighter and the escort Kaibokan No. 112, and some of her crew made raid ashore that destroyed a railroad train. Barb ended World War II among the dozen top-scoring U.S. submarines in terms of ships sunk, and third in terms of tonnage. If a disputed credit for another ship is counted, Barb would have ranked first in the latter category.
After returning to the U.S. East Coast in September 1945, Barb was generally inactive until formally decommissioned in February 1947. The intensified Cold War brought her back into commission in December 1951, and she performed training service until mid-January 1954. Barb then underwent conversion to the streamlined “GUPPY” configuration and operated briefly on trials and training from August until December 1954, when she was loaned to Italy and renamed Enrico Tazzoli. The submarine served actively with the Italian Navy until 1972 and was sold for scrapping in April 1975.
The USS Silversides on permanent home display in Muskegon Michigan: