Lest We Forget

By Eric Wertheim

On 1 March, the Perch started an attack against an enemy convoy northwest of Soerabaja, Java. Upon sighting enemy destroyers, the commanding officer ordered the submarine down to 180 feet. At 100 feet, enemy depth-charge explosions began to toss the submarine about. Because of a depth miscalculation, the submarine bottomed out before reaching 150 feet. The enemy destroyers continued their devastating attack. The crew undertook more repairs in a valiant effort to save the boat, but after surfacing, the Perch was driven down again. The Japanese, convinced that the Perch was dead, left her limping to the surface.

On 3 March 1942, the Perch attempted a near-fatal test dive. Soon afterward, she was attacked by an overwhelming enemy force of two cruisers and three destroyers. The crew abandoned ship, and the Perch was scuttled. Her crew—53 of whom survived to see the end of the war—was captured by the Japanese. The Perch was stricken from the Navy list on 24 June 1942.


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