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‘ONE OF THE FAMED ACTS OF INDIVIDUAL HEROISM DURING WORLD WAR II, WHEN COMMANDER GILMORE, FATALLY WOUNDED, FOR THE LAST TIME FROM THE BATTLE-SCARRED BRIDGE, COMMANDED, “TAKE ER DOWN,” BRINGING ABOUT THE BIRTH OF ONE OF NAVY’S GREAT TRADITIONS.’ Photographed by the Pacific Fleet Combat Camera Group, directed by John Ford.
Originally a public domain film, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Wikipedia license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
USS Growler (SS-215), a Gato-class submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy named for the growler. Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 2 November 1941 and sponsored by Mrs. Lucile E. Ghormley, wife of Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley, Special Naval Observer to the United Kingdom. The boat was commissioned on 20 March 1942 with Lieutenant Commander Howard W. Gilmore in command…
Growler’s first war patrol began 29 June 1942 as she cleared Pearl Harbor for her assigned patrol area around Dutch Harbor, Alaska; topping off at Midway Island on 24 June she entered her area on 30 June. Five days later she saw her first action; sighting three destroyers, Growler closed them submerged, launched her torpedoes and then surfaced. Her torpedoes struck the first two targets amidships putting them out of action…
Fourth patrol (January – February 1943)
1 January 1943 saw Growler sail from Brisbane. Entering her patrol area, again athwart the Truk-Rabaul shipping lanes, on 11 January, she waited only five days before sighting an enemy convoy. Maneuvering inside the escorts, Growler launched two torpedoes and saw them hit; then, as her war diary reports, she was in the unfortunate predicament of being about 400 yards (370 m) from the destroyer and had to dive without being able to continue the attack. She was credited with sinking Chifuku Maru, a 5,857 ton passenger/cargo ship.
The patrol continued as normal with two further attacks, but no sinkings until shortly after 01:00 7 February when Growler stealthily approached a gunboat for a night surface attack. The small fast ship suddenly turned to ram. Unable to avoid the collision, Gilmore ordered left full rudder and all ahead flank, and rammed the enemy amidships at 17 knots (31 km/h), bending Growler’s bow 18 feet to the port side.
As machine gun fire raked them at point-blank range, Commander Gilmore ordered the bridge cleared. As the commanding officer, Gilmore was the last to leave the bridge, but was grievously wounded before he could get below. Realizing that he was jeopardizing his boat’s escape, he ordered “Take her down!”. The executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Arnold F. Schade, shut the hatch and dived the boat. By saving his command at the cost of his own life, Gilmore became the first of seven World War II submariners to earn the Medal of Honor. Ensign William Wadsworth Williams and Fireman Third Class Wilbert Fletcher Kelley also lost their lives in this incident…
Eleventh patrol (October – November 1944)
Growler’s 11th and final war patrol began out of Fremantle on 20 October 1944 in a wolf pack with Hake (SS-256) and Hardhead (SS-365). On 8 November the wolf pack, again headed by Growler, closed a convoy for attack, with Growler on the opposite side of the enemy from Hake and Hardhead. The order to commence attacking was the last communication ever received from Growler. After the attack was underway, Hake and Hardhead heard what sounded like a torpedo explosion and then a series of depth charges on Growler’s side of the convoy, and then nothing. All efforts to contact Growler for the next three days proved futile. The submarine, veteran of seven successful war patrols, was listed as lost in action against the enemy, cause unknown. Possibly she was sunk by one of her own torpedoes, but it is probable that she was sunk by the convoy’s escorts, destroyer Shigure and coastal defense ships Chiburi and CD-19.
Growler received eight battle stars for her service in World War II…