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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services



Monday, August 6, 1945
Enemy Army Plane Attack

Departing Fremantle for her third war patrol, BULLHEAD (Lt. Cdr. E.R. Holt, Jr.) on 31 July, 1945, started for her area (from 110°-00’E to 115°-30’E, in the JavaSea). She was to leave her patrol area at dark on September 5 and head for Subic Bay, P.I. CAPITAINE and PUFFER were also to patrol in the Java Sea area, as were the British submarines TACITURN and THOROUGH.

BULLHEAD arrived in area on 6 August, but CAPITAINE did not arrive until 13 August. On 12 August, CAPITAINE ordered BULLHEAD to take position the following day in a scouting line with CAPITAINE and PUFFER. There was no reply and on 15 August, CAPITAINE reported, “Have been unable to contact BULLHEAD by any means since arriving in area.”

Since those submarines named above were in the same general area as BULLHEAD, and COD and CHUB passed through in transit at various times, it is difficult to point to one Japanese anti-submarine attack as the one that sank the BULLHEAD. However, the most likely one occurred on 6 August 1945, when an enemy army plane attacked with depth charges in position 8°-20’S, 115°-42’E. It claimed two direct hits, and for ten minutes thereafter, there was a great amount of gushing oil and air bubbles rising in the water. Since the position given is very near the Bali coast, it is presumed that the proximity of mountain peaks shortened BULLHEAD’s radar range, and prevented her from receiving a warning of the plane’s approach.

BULLHEAD sank four enemy ships, totaling 1,800 tons, and damaged three ships, for 1,300 tons, in her first two patrols. Her first patrol was made in the South China Sea from the latter part of March to the end of April 1945. No enemy contacts were made, but on 31 March and again on 24 April BULLHEAD bombarded PratasIsland with her 5-inch gun. She also rescued 3 airmen from a downed B-29 following an airstrike on the ChinaCoast. In May and June 1945, BULLHEAD patrolled the Gulf of Siam and the South China Sea during her second patrol. Here she sank two small freighters, a schooner and a sub chaser, and damaged two more sub chasers and another small freighter, all in gun actions.


Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 85

Namesort descending Service Branch