Flasher SS-249 - History

Flasher SS-249 - History


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Flasher

A large edible fish, also known as tripletail, found in the western Atlantic from Cape Cod to northern South America.

(SS-249: dp. 1 626; 1. 311'9"; b. 27'3", dr. 16'3"
s.20k.;cpl.60;a.13",1021"tt.;cl.Gato)

Flasher (SS-249) was launched 20 June 1943 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; sponsored by Mrs. W. A. Saunders, and commissioned 26 September 1943, Lieutenant Commander R. T. Whitaker in command.

Flasher arrived at Pearl Harbor from New London 15 December 1943 to prepare for her first war patrol for which she sailed 6 January 1944. Bound for her patrol area off Mindoro, she sank her first target 18 January, sending a 2,900-ton former gunboat to the bottom. Adding to what would be the greatest total of enemy tonnage credited to an American submarine in World War II, she sank a freighter off Manila 6 February, and sank two cargo ships of the same convoy on 14 February. Flasher arrived at Fremantle 29 February to refit.

Action-bound once more, the submarine departed Fremantle 4 April 1944 for the coast of French IndoChina on her second war patrol. On 29 April she
contacted the river gunboat Takure guarding a freighter off Hon Doi Islands, and sank both. After sinking a large cargo ship in the Sulu Sea 3 May, Flasher shaped course for Fremantle, arriving 28 May for refit until 19 June.

Flasher made her third war patrol in the South China Sea, where on 28 June 1944 she contacted a heavily escorted convoy of 13 ships. She made a cautious approach undeterred by the escort, and shortly after midnight 29 June, broke into the convoy to sink a freighter and badly damage a large passenger cargo ship. Her next victim was a freighter, sunk 7 July. Twelve days later, Flasher sighted cruiser Of escorted by a destroyer. Two attacks, each followed by a heavy depth charge retaliation from the destroyer, sufficed to sink this choice target, a fact confirmed several hours later when a periscope observation revealed only the destroyer in sight. Seven days later, she sank another important target, a merchant tanker, and the same day damaged another tanker later sunk by one of her sisters. With all her torpedoes gone, Flasher put back for Fremantle, where she replenished and refitted between 7 and 30 August.

During her fourth war patrol, in the Philippines, Flasher headed a coordinated attack group which included two other submarines. Although she was on lifeguard station during the air attacks preliminary to the invasion of the Philippines during part of this patrol, Flasher sank three ships, a former light cruiser on 18 September, a transport on 27 September, and a cargo ship on 4 October. She returned to Fremantle 20 October.

Heading the same attack group, Flasher now commanded by Lieutenant Commander &. Grider, sailed on her fifth war patrol 16 November 1944, bound for Camranh Bay. On 4 December one of her companions reported a tanker convoy, and Flasher set a course which would bring her to the target. As she made her approach in a heavy downpour, a destroyer suddenly loomed up before her, and Fl~her launched her first spread of torpedoes at this escort. The destroyer was stopped by two hits, and began listing and smoking heavily. Flasher got a spread of torpedoes away at a tanker before she was forced deep by a second destroyer, which dropped 16 depth charges. Rising to periscope depth, Flasher located the tanker burning and covered by yet a third destroyer. Speedily reloading, she prepared to sink the destroyer and finish off the tanker, and though almost blinded by rainsqualls, she did just this with a salvo of four torpedoes, two of which hit the destroyer, and two of which passed beneath her as planned to hit the tanker. Once more, counter-attack forced Flasher down, and when she surfaced she found no trace of the two damaged destroyers. The tanker, blazing away, was still guarded by three escorts until abandoned at sunset, when Flasher sank her with one torpedo. The two destroyers, both found after the war to have been sunk, were Kishinami and Iwanami.

Flasher contacted another well-guarded tanker convoy on the morning of 21 December 1944, and she began a long chase, getting into position to attack from the unguarded shoreward side. In rapid succession, Flasher attacked and sank three of the tankers, receiving no counter-attack since the enemy apparently believed he had stumbled into a minefield. One of these tankers was the largest she sank during the war, the other two, of the same displacement, were tied for third-largest.

Refitting at Fremantle once more between 2 and 29 January 1945, Flasher made her sixth war patrol on the coast of IndoChina. Contacts were few, but on 21 February she sank a sea truck by surface gunfire, and 4 days later sank a cargo ship with 2 torpedoes. She completed her patrol upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor 3 April 1945, and sailed a few days later for a west coast overhaul.

Bound for Guam on a seventh war patrol at the close of the war, Flasher was ordered back to New London, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 16 March 1946.

Flasher received the Presidential Unit Citation for her brilliantly successful third, fourth, and fifth war patrols. For her six war patrols, each designated "Successful," she received six battle stars. She is credited with having sunk a total of 100,231 tons of Japanese shipping.


USS Flasher (SS-249)

USS Flasher (SS-249) was a Gato-class submarine which served in the Pacific during World War II. She received three Presidential Unit Citations and six battle stars, and sank 21 ships for a total of 100,231 tons of Japanese shipping.

She was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the flasher. Her keel was laid down 30 September 1942 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 20 June 1943 (sponsored by Mrs. W. A. Saunders) and commissioned 25 September 1943, Lieutenant Commander Reuben T. Whitaker (Class of 1934) in command.


USS Flasher (SS-249).. .

USS Flasher (SS-249).
USS Flasher (SS-249) was a Gato-class submarine, named for the fish "flasher" or Atlantic triple-tail. She was commissioned in September of 1943, and although her career was only six war tours in less then a year, she was the second most successful US Submarine of WWII.

The Flasher's ensign is a 42" X 65" US 48-star bunting, double appliqué flag with sewn stripes and a canvas header with grommets. The flag is marked on the reverse hoist: "[U]SS Flasher (SS-249)."
The Flasher made six successful war patrols all emanating from Freemantle in Australia, a port much closer to her theatre of operations than Pearl Harbor. She was successful from the start and Flasher sank enemy targets on each of her patrols. Her last three patrols were so successful that she was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for each.

She is officially credited with sinking 100,231 tons of enemy shipping. The Flasher's kill flag boasted: two cruisers, two destroyers, two gunboats, nine cargo vessels, six tankers and one transport. (N.B.: Vessels sunk under 500 Tons were not counted by Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee in the tonnage total, and neither were shared credit for sinkings. The Flasher shared credit with the USS Crevalle (SS 291) for the sinking of the Tosan Maru, a passenger-cargo vessel of 8,666 tons. Each vessel was awarded 4,333 tons. This brings Flasher sinkings up to 104,565 tons. Flasher also had several Sampans and ferries, at 75 tons each and a shared 25-ton small boat all sunk by deck gun.) This flag would be a welcome to any submariner, War in the Pacific or WWII collection.

The WWII awards of the USS Flasher include three US Navy Presidential Unit Citations the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign with six campaign stars and the World War II Victory Medal.

This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.


Awards

Flasher was highly decorated, receiving five Battle "E"s, four Meritorious Unit Commendations, a Navy Unit Commendation, and a Presidential Unit Citation during her 25-year career.

Presidential Unit Citation – 1970

For extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty as a member of the Submarine Force, United States Pacific Fleet, during the spring of 1970. USS FLASHER successfully accomplished an extremely difficult, demanding, and most sensitive operation of exceptional value and lasting significance to the readiness posture of the United States. The outstanding courage, resourcefulness, professional competence and inspiring devotion to duty displayed by the officers and men of USS FLASHER reflected great credit upon themselves and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Flasher SS-249 - History

I have been struck with the one singular thought that a ship with such a well regarded war record could have come and gone so quickly and left such a little mark on history. The common man when asked about the submarines of WW II will quickly call up the names of Tang and Wahoo, Growler and Barb. These ships deserve to be remembered, don't get me wrong. They all had good records and a total of 52 boats and crews gave their all. ( They remain on "Eternal Patrol" as we say in the Submarine Service. ) But the ship with the tonage record for the whole war and the record for tonage sunk in one action has passed into oblivion. Since I had the honor to sail on her namesake, the USS Flasher SSN 613, I f eel it is my duty to try and inform those of you who may have never heard of this fine vessel.

FLASHER proceeded to Pearl Harbor from New London, CT and arrived on December 15th, 1943 and outfitted for her first war patrol.

FLASHER commenced her first war patrol from Pearl harbor on January 6th, 1944 and headed to her patrol area off the coast of Mindoro Island in the Philippines. On January 18th, 1944, FLASHER sank her first ship, a 2.900 ton former gunboat. On February 5th FLASHER sank a freighter off shore from Manila and then again sank two more vessels from the same convoy on February 14th. FLASHER proceeded to Fremantle, Western Australia and arrived on February 29th for her first post partol refit, after 54 days, and having sunk 10,528 tons of enemy shipping.

FLASHER's second war patrol commenced on April 4th, 1944 and took her to her assigned area off the French Indochina coast. A river gunboat named TAHURE, (an ex - French Arras class small escort), was escorting a freighter near the Hon Doi Islands on April 29th and FLASHER sank them both. After sinking a large cargo ship in the Sulu Sea 3 May, FLASHER shaped course for Fremantle, arriving 28 May for refit until 19 June.

On May 21, nausea was gripping everyone on board ANGLER, (SS-240). The situation was reported to Fremantle, and the submarine was ordered to return at once. Things on board ANGLER continued to grow worse. On 22 May, Lcdr. Olsen noted in the log: "Phy sical condition of officers and crew is so bad that it is difficult to maintain watch, either surfaced or submerged. Put crew on fruit juice alone, no water. Held thorough field day in case boat is contaminated. Exercised special supervision in cooking, d ishwashing." On 23 May he wrote, "Decided to run submerged as we did not have enough able-bodied people to maintain proper surface watch."
USS FLASHER (SS-249) and USS CHILDS (AVD-1) were sent to intercept ANGLER and lend assistance. USS CREVALLE (SS-291) also arrived and transferred a doctor to assist the ailing crewmembers. ANGLER finally arrived at Fremantle on 29 May. An investigation concluded that an electrician had taken a can of carbon tetrachloride on board as a cleaning agent, w hich was strictly forbidden. Although the illness was attributed the tetrachloride, some, however, suspected that the fresh water tanks had not been cleaned as requested, and that that was the cause of the mysterious malady that had laid low ANGLER's crew .

FLASHER made her third war patrol in the South China Sea, where on 28 June 1944 she contacted a heavily escorted convoy of 13 ships. She made a cautious approach, undeterred by the escort, and shortly after midnight 29 June, broke into the convoy to sink a freighter and badly damage a large passenger-cargo ship. FLASHER, ANGLER and CREVALLE fromed up to be one of the first "wolf pack" patrols of the war. FLASHERS next victim was a freighter, sunk 7 July. Twelve days later, FLASHER sighted the Kuma class cruiser OI* escorted by a destroyer. Two attacks, each followed by a heavy depth charge retaliation from the destroyer, sufficed to sink this choice target, a fact confirmed several hours later when a periscope observation revealed only the destroyer in si ght. Seven days later, she sank another important target, a merchant tanker, and the same day damaged another tanker later sunk by one of her sisters. With all her torpedoes gone, FLASHER put back for Fremantle, where she replenished and refitted between 7 and 30 August.

*The Oi was built in 1921 and looked like a glorified torpedo boat carrying 40 24" torpedo tubes. I f she had ever been able to get in to the middle of a convoy she might have wrecked havoc with the shipping. In the Japanese language Oi means: "Greater Fountain".

During her fourth war patrol, in the Philippines, FLASHER headed a coordinated attack group which included two other submarines, . Although she was on lifeguard station during the air attacks preliminary to the invasion of the Philippines during part of this patrol, Flasher sank three ships, a former light cruiser on 18 September, a transport on 27 September, and a cargo ship on 4 October. She returned to Fremantle 20 October.

All in all the second, third and fourth war patrols were eminently successful bringing FLASHERS score up another 46,985 tons.

Heading the same attack group, of HAWKBILL and BECUNA, FLASHER now commanded by Lieutenant Commander G. W. Grider, sailed on her fifth war patrol 16 November 1944, bound for Camranh Bay. On 4 December one of her companions reported a tanker convoy, and Fl asher set a course which would bring her to the target. As she made her approach in a heavy downpour, a destroyer suddenly loomed up before her, and Flasher launched her first spread of torpedoes at this escort. The destroyer was stopped by two hits, and began listing and smoking heavily. Flasher got a spread of torpedoes away at a tanker before she was forced deep by a second destroyer, which dropped 16 depth charges. Rising to periscope depth, Flasher located the tanker burning and covered by yet a thir d destroyer. Speedily reloading, she prepared to sink the destroyer and finish off the tanker, and though almost blinded by rain-squalls, she did just this with a salvo of four torpedoes, two of which hit the destroyer, and two of which passed beneath her as planned to hit the tanker. Once more, counter-attack forced Flasher down, and when she surfaced she found no trace of the two damaged destroyers. The tanker, blazing away, was still guarded by three escorts until abandoned at sunset, when Flasher sank her with one torpedo. The two destroyers, both found after the war to have been sunk, were the Yugumo class KISHINAMI and the IWANAMI, (the last I can't not find out at this time which class of destroyer she was Jentschura, Jung and Mickel's definitive work on the IJN lists no combatant vessel with that name).

Flasher was decommissioned March 16, 1946 and "mothballed". On June 1, 1959 the USS Flasher SS 249 was "struck" from the Navy records. She was sold for scrap on June 1, 1963. The conning tower was removed and placed on display as a Memorial at the entranc e to Nautilus Park, a Navy housing area in Groton, Connecticut.

WAR PATROLS OF THE USS FLASHER
This book is available only from the author:

William McCants, 1015 Atlantic Blvd, Suite 249, Atlantic Beach, FL, 32233 for $27+$3SH.
The book is 8.5X5.5" with 465 pages, hardbound in embossed, simulated leather, fully indexed, with full-color dust jacket, a bibliography, and 80 charts, photos, and drawings.

This book has been endorsed by Capt. Edward Beach, Adm Galantin, Cmdr Alden. This boat with it's two daring skippers holds the record for tonnage sank in WWII.

Sounds of a Diesel Powered Submarine Diving
This may take a few minutes to download, but well worth it. Go ahead and click on it and keep on surfin'


Ship insignia [ edit | edit source ]

The insignia of the Flasher was adapted from the insignia of the original Flasher (SS-249), commissioned on 25 September 1943. Popular lore was that this insignia was designed by Walt Disney. However, other sources indicate that the logo was designed by a graphic artist who also worked for Disney, and that at best Walt Disney merely looked over his shoulder and provided some suggestions. During the final days of construction on the SSN-613, the crew developed several designs based on the original. The two ships' numbers were added and the electron orbits added to symbolize nuclear power. The insignia became official in 1965.


Flasher (SS-249)


USS Flasher off Cuba on 23 November 1943.

Commands listed for USS Flasher (249)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1T/Lt.Cdr. Reuben Thornton Whitaker, USN25 Sep 194331 Oct 1944
2T/Lt.Cdr. George William Grider, USN31 Oct 1944Mar 1946

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Notable events involving Flasher include:

8 Oct 1943
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker, USN) departed New London, Connecticut for Newport, Rhode Island for her torpedo trials.

11 Oct 1943
Having completed her torpedo trials, USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker, USN), returned to New London, Connecticut from Newport, Rhode Island.

13 Nov 1943
USS Flasher arrived at Key West, Florida for duty with the Fleet Sound School.

15 Nov 1943
USS Flasher conducted exercises off Key West.

16 Nov 1943
USS Flasher conducted exercises off Key West.

17 Nov 1943
USS Flasher conducted exercises off Key West.

18 Nov 1943
USS Flasher conducted exercises off Key West.

19 Nov 1943
USS Flasher conducted exercises off Key West.

20 Nov 1943
USS Flasher conducted exercises off Key West.

21 Nov 1943
USS Flasher departed Key West for the Panama Canal Zone.

15 Dec 1943
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. Reuben Thornton Whitaker) arrived at Pearl Harbor from New London.

6 Jan 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Mindoro, Philippines.

18 Jan 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese oiler Yoshida Maru (2920 GRT) about 140 nautical miles west-south-west of Marcus Island in position 23°50'N, 151°28'E.

5 Feb 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Taishin Maru (1722 GRT) about 60 nautical miles west of Mindoro, Philippines in position 13°09'N, 120°24'E. She also sank a Japanese sampan with gunfire in position 13°12'N, 120°22'E.

14 Feb 1944
While operation off Cape Santiago, Luzon, Philippines USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Minryo Maru (2224 GRT) in position 13°43'N, 120°39'E and the Japanese tanker Hokuan Maru (3712 GRT) in position 13°44'N, 120°29'E.

29 Feb 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) ended her 1st war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.

4 Apr 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) departed from Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea along the coast of French Indochina.

29 Apr 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and damaged the Vichy French cargo ship Song Giang Go (1065 GRT) in the South China Sea some 5 miles off Cape Varella, French Indochina in position 13°02'N, 109°28'E. The damaged freighter sank the next day.

30 Apr 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Vichy French gunboat Tahure (644 tons) in the South China Sea off Cape Varella, French Indochina in position 13°02'N, 109°28'E.

3 May 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant cargo ship Teisen Maru (5050 GRT) in the South China Sea about 300 nautical miles east of Cape Varella, French Indochina in position 12°54'N, 114°07'E.

28 May 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) ended her 2nd war patrol at Fremantle.

19 Jun 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) departed from Fremantle for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

29 Jun 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant cargo ship Niho Maru (6079 GRT) and torpedoed and damaged the Japanese fleet oiler Notoro (14050 GRT, offsite link) about 125 nautical miles south-east of Singapore in position 00°44'N, 105°45'E.

7 Jul 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese troop transport Koto Maru No.2 (3557 GRT) off Cape Varella, French Indochina in position 13°08'N, 109°28'E.

19 Jul 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese light cruiser Oi (5100 tons) (offsite link) in the South China Sea about 280 nautical miles east of Cape Varella, French Indochina in position 13°12'N, 114°52'E.

26 Jul 1944
While attacking a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea, USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant tanker Otorisan Maru (5280 GRT) in position 17°56'N, 118°07'E, and teams with USS Crevalle to sink the Japanese army cargo ship Tosan Maru (8666 GRT) in position 18°24'N, 118°02'E, the submarine shared this 'kill'.

The US submarines USS Angler (Lt.Cdr. F.G. Hess), USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) and USS Crevalle (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Walker), attack a convoy in the South China Sea, east of Luzon. Based on the firing sequences of the 3 subs, it is believed Angler scored a torpedo hit on the seaplane carrier Kiyokawa Maru (6863 GRT, offsite link) in position 18°30'N, 117°57'E. The ship made port with moderate damage. The matter is conjectural, since there is no possible way of determining actual hits obtained. A mere 10 seconds error in the logbook recordkeeping would necessitate a complete reassessment of the credits.

7 Aug 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) ended her 3rd war patrol at Fremantle.

30 Aug 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) departed from Fremantle for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Philippines.

18 Sep 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Saigon Maru (5350 GRT, offsite link) off Manila Bay, Philippines in position 14°20'N, 120°05'E.

27 Sep 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army transport Ural Maru (6374 GRT) and torpedoed and damaged the Japanese merchant tanker Tachibana Maru (6521 GRT) in the South China Sea west of Luzon, Philippines in position 15°45'N, 117°20'E.

4 Oct 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Taibin Maru (6886 GRT) in the South China Sea North of Luzon, Philippines in position 15°22'N, 119°51'E.

20 Oct 1944
USS Flasher (Cdr. R.T. Whitaker) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle.

15 Nov 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Grider) departed from Fremantle for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea off Camranh Bay, French Indo-China.

4 Dec 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Grider) torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Kishinami (offsite link) and damaged the Japanese merchant tanker Hakko Maru (10022 GRT) in the South China Sea about 275 nautical miles south-west of Manila in position 12°54'N, 116°27'E. Hakko Maru is later scuttled in position 13°12'N, 116°35'E.

22 Dec 1944
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Grider) torpedoed and sank the Japanese fleet tanker Omurosan Maru (9204 GRT) and the Japanese merchant tankers Otowasan Maru (9204 GRT) and Arita Maru (10238 GRT) in the South China Sea about 250 nautical miles north of Camranh Bay, French Indochina in position 15°07'N, 109°05'E.

2 Jan 1945
USS Flasher (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Grider) ended her 5th war patrol at Fremantle.

29 Jan 1945
USS Flasher (Cdr. G.W. Grider) departed from Fremantle for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

25 Feb 1945
USS Flasher (Cdr. G.W. Grider) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant cargo vessel Koho Maru (850 GRT) near Hainan in position 20°01'N, 111°19'E.

3 Apr 1945
USS Flasher (Cdr. G.W. Grider) ended her 6th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She was now sent to the US west coast for a major overhaul.

3 Aug 1945
During 3/4 August 1945, USS Bowfin (Cdr. A.K. Tyree, USN), conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Chew (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Mannion, USNR), USS Pruitt (Lt. D.B. Harby, USNR), USS Darby (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Martin, USNR) and USS Flasher (Cdr. G.W. Grider, USN).

Media links


U. S. Submarines in World War II
Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


Flasher SS-249 - History

A large edible fish, also known as tripletail, found in the western Atlantic from Cape Cod to northern South America.

(SS - 249: dp. 1 526 l. 311'9" b. 27'3" dr. 15'3" s.20k. cpl.60 a. 1 3", 10 21"tt. cl. Gato )

Flasher (SS-249) was launched 20 June 1943 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn. sponsored by Mrs. W. A. Saunders and commissioned 25 September 1943, Lieutenant Commander R. T. Whitaker in command.

Flasher arrived at Pearl Harbor from New London 15 December 1943 to prepare for her first war patrol, for which she sailed 6 January 1944. Bound for her patrol area off Mindoro, she sank her first target 18 January, sending a 2,900-ton former gunboat to the bottom. Adding to what would be the greatest total of enemy tonnage credited to an American submarine in World War II, she sank a freighter off Manila 5 February, and sank two cargo ships of the same convoy on 14 February. Flasher arrived at Fremantle 29 February to refit.

Action-bound once more, the submarine departed Fremantle 4 April 1944 for the coast of French Indochina on her second war patrol. On 29 April she contacted the river gunboat Tahure guarding a freighter off Hon Doi Islands, and sank both. After sinking a large cargo ship in the Sulu Sea 3 May, Flasher shaped course for Fremantle, arriving 28 May for refit until 19 June.

Flasher made her third war patrol in the South China Sea, where on 28 June 1944 she contacted a heavily escorted convoy of 13 ships. She made a cautious approach, undeterred by the escort, and shortly after midnight 29 June, broke into the convoy to sink a freighter and badly damage a large passenger cargo ship. Her next victim was a freighter, sunk 7 July. Twelve days later, Flasher sighted cruiser Oi escorted by a destroyer. Two attacks, each followed by a heavy depth charge retaliation from the destroyer, sufficed to sink this choice target, a fact confirmed several hours later when a periscope observation revealed only the destroyer in sight. Seven days later, she sank another important target, a merchant tanker, and the same day damaged another tanker later sunk by one of her sisters. With all her torpedoes gone, Flasher put back for Fremantle, where she replenished and refitted between 7 and 30 August.

During her fourth war patrol, in the Philippines, Flasher headed a coordinated attack group which included two other submarines. Although she was on lifeguard station during the air attacks preliminary to the invasion of the Philippines during part of this patrol, Flasher sank three ships, a former light cruiser on 18 September, a transport on 27 September, and a cargo ship on 4 October. She returned to Fremantle 20 October.

Heading the same attack group, Flasher now commanded by Lieutenant Commander G. W. Grider, sailed on her fifth war patrol 15 November 1944, bound for Camranh Bay. On 4 December one of her companions reported a tanker convoy, and Flasher set a course which would bring her to the target. As she made her approach in a heavy downpour, a destroyer suddenly loomed up before her, and Flasher launched her first spread of torpedoes at this escort. The destroyer was stopped by two hits, and began listing and smoking heavily. Flasher got a spread of torpedoes away at a tanker before she was forced deep by a second destroyer, which dropped 16 depth charges. Rising to periscope depth, Flasher located the tanker burning and covered by yet a third destroyer. Speedily reloading, she prepared to sink the destroyer and finish off the tanker, and though almost blinded by rainsqualls, she did just this with a salvo of four torpedoes, two of which hit the destroyer, and two of which passed beneath her as planned to hit the tanker. Once more, counter-attack forced Flasher down, and when she surfaced she found no trace of the two damaged destroyers. The tanker, blazing away, was still guarded by three escorts until abandoned at sunset, when Flasher sank her with one torpedo. The two destroyers, both found after the war to have been sunk, were Kishinami and Iwanami .

Flasher contacted another well-guarded tanker convoy on the morning of 21 December 1944, and she began a long chase, getting into position to attack from the unguarded shoreward side. In rapid succession, Flasher attacked and sank three of the tankers, receiving no counter-attack since the enemy apparently believed he had stumbled into a minefield. One of these tankers was the largest she sank during the war, the other two, of the same displacement, were tied for third-largest.

Refitting at Fremantle once more between 2 and 29 January 1945, Flasher made her sixth war patrol on the coast of Indochina. Contacts were few, but on 21 February she sank a sea truck by surface gunfire, and 4 days later sank a cargo ship with torpedoes. She completed her patrol upon her arrival at Pearl Harbor 3 April 1945, and sailed a few days later for a west coast overhaul.

Bound for Guam on a seventh war patrol at the close of the war, Flasher was ordered back to New London, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 16 March 1946.

Flasher received the Presidential Unit Citation for her brilliantly successful third, fourth, and fifth war patrols. For her six war patrols, each designated "Successful," she received six battle stars. She is credited with having sunk a total of 100,231 tons of Japanese shipping.


This Day In Naval History: May 3

1777 - During the American Revolution, the Continental lugger Surprise, led by Capt. Gustavus conyngham, captures the British mail packet Prince of Orange and the brig Joseph in the North Sea.

1898 - During the Spanish-American War, U.S. Marines from cruisers Baltimore and Raleigh (C 8), raise US flag over Cavite, Philippines.

1942 - USS Spearfish (SS 190) evacuates naval and military officers, including nurses, from Corregidor before surrendering island to Japan.

1944 - USS Flasher (SS 249) sinks the Japanese freighter, USS Sand Lance (SS 381) sinks Japanese transport, and USS Tautog (SS 199) sinks Japanese army cargo ship, USS Tinosa (SS 283) sinks the Japanese freighter.

1949 - The U.S. Navy executes its first firing of a high altitude Viking rocket at White Sands, N.M.

1975 - USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. Only America can make a machine like this, notes President Gerald R. Ford about the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. There is nothing like her in the world.

1980 - USS Peleliu (LHA 5) is commissioned in Pascagoula, Miss. She is the final Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship built and the first to be named in honor of the battles fought in the Palau Islands.|

1988 - USNS Victorious (T-AGOS 19) is launched from the McDermott Shipyards at Morgan City, La. The first-in-her-class ocean surveillance ship is acquired by the Navy in 1991.

2008 - USS North Carolina (SSN 777) is commissioned at Port of Wilmington, N.C., before sailing for its homeport of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.

(Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division)


USS Flasher (SS-249) Ensign. . .

USS Flasher (SS-249) Ensign.
USS Flasher (SS-249) was a Gato-class submarine that became one of the most successful U.S. submarines of WWII. Named for the fish "flasher" or Atlantic triple-tail, she was commissioned in September of 1943 and completed six war tours during which she sunk over twenty enemy vessels.

The Flasher's ensign is a 30" X 57" US 48-star, bunting, double appliqué flag with sewn stripes and a canvas header with grommets. The flag is marked on the obverse hoist with a Bulldog brand maker's mark and is stamped "3 X 5" and on the reverse hoist: "USS FLASHER SS-249" and "Clean Sweep 22 DEC." (This is a reference to her very successful fifth war patrol.)

The Flasher is officially credited with sinking 100,231 tons of enemy shipping on her six patrols. Her kill flag chronicled both warships and merchantmen - two cruisers, two destroyers, two gunboats, nine cargo vessels, six tankers and one transport. (NB: This count does not include any vessels under 500 tons and they were not included in wartime totals by the Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee.) Her six successful war patrols all emanated from Freemantle in Australia, a port much closer to her theatre of operations than Pearl Harbor. She was successful from the start and Flasher sank enemy targets on each of her patrols. Her last three patrols were so successful that she was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. This flag would be a welcome to any submariner, War in the Pacific or WWII collection.

The flag is in Good condition - used, worn and soiled. The top grommet is missing and the fly corners have begun to fray.

The WWII awards of the USS Flasher include the US Navy Presidential Unit Citation (3) the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign with six campaign stars and the World War II Victory Medal. Her name continued on when the USS Flasher (SSN-613) was commissioned in 1966.

This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.


Watch the video: . SUBMARINE VETERANS OF WWII NATIONAL EAST MEMORIAL - USS FLASHER SUBMARINE


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