The Terrible T off the Sunshine State, 73 years ago today
USS Tautog (SS-199), photographed from an altitude of 300 feet off the Florida coast by airship ZP-31 on 29 May 1945. Note the scoreboard painted on her conning tower.
Tautog (skippers: Willingham, Sieglaff, Basket, Higgs), one of a dozen Tambor-class submarines commissoned in the twilight before Pearl Harbor, was credited with sinking an amazing 26 Japanese ships, for a total of 72,606 tons across 13 war patrols in the Pacific. The “Terrible T” was ranked second by number of ships and 11th by tonnage on the tally sheets. This doesn’t include the number of ships she mauled but got away, such as the Japanese light cruiser Natori, which managed to somehow limp away with her stern and rudders shot off.
Tautog was decommissioned on 8 December 1945 with just five years under her keel, used for a decade as a pierside trainer at Naval Reserve Training Center, Milwaukee, and scrapped in 1959.