In August of 1945, USS CAVALLA (SS-244) was on lifeguard duty off the coast of Japan. On the fifteenth of the month, she found out the hard way that wars do not end for everyone at exactly the same time. What follows is an excerpt from her sixth and final war-patrol report.
“1020: Received first word that war was over from the Secretary of the Navy.
“1115: Received ‘cease firing’ order from Comsubpac. All hands highly elated that this damn war is finally over, but unfortunately, 25 miles off the coast of Japan is a hell of a place to celebrate it.
“1146: Our fighter cover reported that all planes had received orders to return to base, so they all shoved off.
“1202: A plane which radar picked up about six miles, and gave a weak IFF response at four miles, suddenly appeared dead ahead, position angle about 60 degrees. Plane went into a dive directly for us just after we sighted it, and at about 1500 feet altitude dropped a 50 to 100 pound bomb. Increased to full speed and cleared the bridge. The bomb missed out starboard quarter about 100 yards. I was so busy watching bomb that I didn’t see the markings on the plane. Everything happened too fast for all of us. The plane did not strafe, but when about a mile astern commenced turning to come back on us. I lost interest in everything but deep submergence so at
“1203: Submerged. No damage was done by bomb and no further attacks were made. The plane was a fighter. Commenced drafting dispatch to Comsubpac and…contact report in aircraft code to all ships. Figured the Fleet might be interested in knowing the Japs haven’t gotten the news the war is over.
“1346: All clear at radar depth. Surfaced. Sent our two messages. No more excitement remainder of day.”