Top: USS Barb off Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 29 January 1944. Bottom: Battle flag of USS Barb.
USS Barb SS-220
USS Barb, a Gato-class fleet submarine, was one of the most outstanding submarines of the war. Between March 1944 and August 1945, she conducted seven war patrols in the Pacific, and was officially credited with sinking 17 Japanese vessels totaling 96,628 tons, including aircraft carrier Unyo.
11th War Patrol
Her eleventh war patrol began on 19 December 1944. On 22-23 January 1945, USS Barb attacked a 30-ship convoy at anchor in Namkwan Harbor, China. In the dangerously shallow waters of the harbor she launched her torpedoes at the convoy, then spent a whole hour retiring at high speed on the surface through uncharted and heavily mined waters full of obstacles in the form of rocks. In recognition of this remarkable war patrol,
Commander Eugene B. Fluckey, who was in command of USS Barb from the seventh to the last war patrol, was awarded the Medal of Honor, and his submarine received the Presidential Unit Citation.
12th War Patrol
After her eleventh war patrol, USS Barb returned to the US for an overhaul. 5-inch rocket launchers were installed upon Commander Fluckey’s request. Her twelve and final war patrol began on 8 June 1945. For the first time ever in US naval history, a submarine successfully employed rockets - USS Barb fired her 5-inch rockets at four Japanese towns. She then bombarded the town of Kaihyo To using her deck gun, destroying roughly 60% of the town.
During the night of 22-23 July 1945, she landed a party of eight of her crew on the shores of Karafuto, Japan. Using an explosive charge they destroyed a train. This was the first and only time a land battle, albeit a small one, was waged on the soil of the Japanese Home Islands.