That Time a U.S. Submarine in WWII Scored a Confirmed Kill on a Train

The USS Barb played a significant role in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The submarine was known for its unconventional tactics and daring missions, which made it one of the most successful American submarines of the war.

The USS Barb was involved in a variety of engagements, sinking numerous enemy ships and earning several awards and commendations for its crew.

However, the submarine is most famous for its final mission, where it destroyed a Japanese train, which stands as a testament to the ingenuity of the USS Barb's crew.

USS Barb's Innovative Commander

Commander Eugene B. "Lucky" Fluckey was the commanding officer of the USS Barb during World War II. Fluckey was born in Washington state in 1913 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1935. He was assigned to the USS Oklahoma and USS Mississippi before attending submarine school in 1941.

Fluckey took command of the USS Barb in May 1944, after the submarine had undergone a refit. He quickly established himself as an innovative and unconventional leader, developing new tactics and techniques to improve the Barb's effectiveness in combat. Fluckey's most famous mission was during the Barb's 12th patrol, where the submarine successfully employed rockets against Japanese shore installations and destroyed a Japanese train by strategically placing a 55-pound demolition charge.

Fluckey's leadership and ingenuity during the war earned him the Medal of Honor, the Navy's highest honor, which was awarded to him by President Harry S. Truman in 1945. Fluckey's Medal of Honor citation recognized his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty" during the Barb's successful attacks on Japanese shipping and shore installations.

After the war, Fluckey continued to serve in the Navy and eventually retired as a rear admiral. He went on to have a successful career in the private sector and remained an active member of the Naval community throughout his life. Fluckey's legacy as a leader and innovator in naval warfare continues to inspire naval officers to this day.

Confirmed Train Kill

The mission to place the 55-pound demolition charge was a daring and unconventional operation that demonstrated the remarkable capabilities of the USS Barb and its crew. On July 19, 1945, the Barb's commander, Commander Eugene B. "Lucky" Fluckey, noticed a Japanese coastal railway system running close to the Japanese coastline.

After three days of observation to establish train schedules, eight crewmembers secretly deployed ashore in the black of night. The men strategically placed a 55-pound demolition charge that was intended to explode when the next train passed.

As the crew departed the area in rubber boats, an incoming train hit the charge sending locomotive wreckage 200-feet in the air that crashed in a mass of flames and smoke. Twelve freight cars, two passenger cars, and one mail car derailed and piled up in a mound of twisted metal.

Impact of the attack on Japanese WWII war effort

The attack on the train was a significant blow to the Japanese war effort and helped to weaken their transportation network.

The detonation of the improvised explosives caused significant damage to the train and the tracks, disrupting the Japanese supply lines.

The success of this mission was due to the ingenuity and creativity of the USS Barb's crew, who were able to develop a unique solution to destroy a heavily guarded target in a risky and challenging environment.

The Japanese forces were taken by surprise, and they did not know that a submarine was responsible for the attack. The USS Barb's success demonstrated the remarkable capabilities of the submarine and its crew and proved to be a turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

Triumphant return to Pearl Harbor

After the successful attack on the Japanese train, the USS Barb continued its mission to disrupt Japanese shipping lanes in the Sea of Okhotsk. The submarine sank numerous Japanese ships, including a Japanese aircraft carrier, during this part of its mission. The USS Barb's success in disrupting Japanese shipping lanes in the Sea of Okhotsk was a critical part of the broader Allied campaign to weaken the Japanese war effort in the final months of the war.

The USS Barb returned to Pearl Harbor on October 10, 1945, after completing its mission in the Sea of Okhotsk. The submarine's crew was hailed as heroes upon their return, and Commander Fluckey was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership during the mission. Fluckey's award was a testament to his bravery and ingenuity in leading the USS Barb's crew during the attack on the Japanese train and the subsequent missions in the Sea of Okhotsk.

The USS Barb's success during its final mission cemented its place in the history of naval warfare. The submarine's unconventional tactics and innovative mission planning demonstrated the importance of flexibility and creativity in naval strategy. The USS Barb's legacy continues to inspire naval officers to this day, serving as a reminder of the bravery and ingenuity that are necessary to succeed in wartime.

Legacy of the USS Barb

The USS Barb's contributions to the Allied victory in World War II were significant. The submarine sank many Japanese ships during the war, disrupting Japanese shipping lanes and supply lines, and hindering the Japanese war effort. The submarine's most famous mission, where it destroyed a Japanese train, was a significant blow to the Japanese war effort and helped to weaken their transportation network.

The USS Barb's success was due to its crew's innovative and unconventional tactics, which served as a model for future naval missions. The submarine's use of the shallow waters off the coast of Japan, its loading of torpedoes with improvised explosives and steel plates, and its overall approach to mission planning were all examples of the importance of flexibility and creativity in naval warfare.

The USS Barb's lasting impact on naval warfare was significant. The submarine's innovative tactics and mission planning served as a model for future submarine commanders, demonstrating the importance of flexibility and creativity in achieving success in naval missions. The USS Barb's contributions to the Allied victory in World War II are a testament to the bravery and ingenuity of its crew, and its legacy continues to inspire naval officers to this day.

In conclusion, the USS Barb's final mission to destroy a Japanese train was a daring and unconventional operation that demonstrated the remarkable capabilities of the submarine and its crew. The USS Barb's contributions to the Allied victory in World War II and its lasting impact on naval warfare are a testament to the bravery and ingenuity of its crew, serving as an inspiration to future generations of naval officers.

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2 comments on “That Time a U.S. Submarine in WWII Scored a Confirmed Kill on a Train”

  1. I'm glad to see the Undersea War in the Pacific finally get the recognition it deserves. History books make much if the long Battle of the North Atlantic, but tend to barely touch on the impact the "Silent Service" had in the Battle for the Pacific, if at all.
    The story of the Brave Sailors that spent Long weeks in a claustrophobic environment, submerging to stalk and tale down the Imperial Japanese Navy needs told. Most are no longer with us as time has reaped them. Some, never made it back, as they sacrificed themselves for the country's protection.
    All must be remembered, and honored as shining examples of the Greatest Generation.

    Thank You, to all current and former members of our Armed Forces.

  2. How can more stories like this be incorporated into our schools?? I think this History would be so much more important than the debate between the sexes & who is which. Maybe our young people could be reminded OR introduced to the sacrifices and bravery of our military and how their present lives are impacted !! Thank you!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful memory. I had uncles who brought home stories, but you can never have too many!!!

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