CDR S.D. Dealey
Commander S.D. Dealey guided his eminently successful ship, HARDER, out of the harbor at
On the afternoon of 20 August 1944, RAY, patrolling the same area, tracked a large convoy into
During the attacks that ensued, four ships, totaling 22,000 tons, were sunk, by Japanese admission. It is thought likely that HARDER sank one of them.
On the following, HADDO and HARDER conducted a combined attack on three small vessels off
The morning of 23 August HADDO contacted a tanker escorted by a destroyer, and blew the bow off the destroyer in a down-the-throat shot. She fired her last torpedo in this attack, and in response to urgent calls for assistant, HAKE and HARDER rendezvoused with her. HADDO, being out of torpedoes, “received Sam’s blessing” and left his wolfpack, heading south. HAKE and HARDER discussed plans for finishing off the damaged destroyer and then departed for their common objective off Caiman Point.
At 0453 on the morning of 24 August HAKE dove not far off Caiman Point and about four miles off
At 0647 upon coming to a northerly course, HARDER’s periscope was seen dead ahead at 600-700 yards. Sound also reported faint screws on this bearing, so HAKE turned away towards the south. At this point, the minesweeper gave three strong pings, whereupon HAKE saw her 2000 yards away swinging towards the two submarines. HAKE figured he had sound contact and went deep. The enemy kept pinging, but seemed to have the two targets located and undecided about what to do about it. At 0728 HAKE heard 15 rapid depth charges, none close. Two sets of screws were heard and each continued pinging on either quarter of HAKE as she evaded to the westward. By 0955 all was quiet.
HARDER was never heard from again. Her periscope was last sighted at 15°-50’N, 119°-43’E. Japanese records reveal that an antisubmarine attack was made on the same day at 15°-50’N, 119°-43’E with 440 pound depth charges. The enemy said, “much oil, wood chips and cork floated in the neighborhood.” Presumably HARDER perished in this depth charge attack.
HARDER was officially credited with sinking 20.5 enemy ships (the half credit was given for a ship sunk cooperatively with HADDO). This gave HARDER a total of 82,500 tons sunk and she damaged seven ships for 29,000 tons.
Her first patrol was conducted in Empire waters, starting in June 1943. She sank three freighters, and damaged seriously a freighter-transport, another freighter, a transport and a tanker. She went to the Empire again for her second patrol, and sank three freighters and a tanker, while she damaged a trawler.
HARDER was part of a wolfpack, of which PARGO and SNOOK were the other members, on her third patrol. In the open sea north of the
HARDER received the Presidential Unit Citation for her first five patrols, and Commander Dealey was posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor for his outstanding contribution to the war effort on HARDER’s fifth patrol.