Sixty-six years ago today, Flier was finishing up her repairs, Redfin was on patrol, and Robalo was completing training runs day and night to get ready for their next patrol. It was also the anniversary of the Pickerel’s destruction.
When WWII began, Pickerel was already an older submarine, a sister of the Perch. She was operating near the Philippines on December 8, and as soon as she heard of the invasion, she started hunted enemy ships. She completed six war patrols, sinking two ships, before leaving Pearl Harbor for her ill-fated seventh patrol. After topping off fuel at Midway, she departed for Honshu, the northern main island of Japan, and was never heard from again. In August, the Navy announced her “overdue and presumed lost”.
She took 74 men with her.
After the war, Japanese records revealed that Pickerel likely sank at least two ships on her last patrol, then was destroyed by a depth charge attack on or around this date. It’s impossible to know what sank her, a ship or a plane since there were several ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) attacks in Pickerel’s patrol area at the same time.
Her wreck has not been found, and until it is, we’ll likely not know her exact fate.