25 April 1944 to 21 June 1944

USS Bowfin set off from Fremantle for her fifth war patrol on 25 April 1944 and this time she and her crew started the 4,000-mile journey to Palau and the surrounding areas. Unbeknownst to the crew, this war patrol was going to be uneventful and they were not going to be credited with a single ship sunk or damaged. Once underway it took several weeks for Bowfin to come across an enemy ship. On 14 May a convoy was sighted and Bowfin fired six torpedoes at one of the vessels. Quickly after they were forced to dive; the crew believed they heard two torpedoes detonate. Once Bowfin was submerged the crew rigged for depth charges. As recorded in the fifth war patrol report, sixteen depth charges were dropped on Bowfin in just six minutes! This time the barrage damaged the boat, but thankfully not enough to sink them. After the clamor and explosions from the depth charges subsided they heard another loud noise which they believed was the vessel they hit, sinking into the depths. Unfortunately, this sinking was not credited to Bowfin, and one of the crew members documented in his journal that they later learned another submarine in the area had gotten to the enemy first.

After 15 May Bowfin continued to patrol the area around Palau, and was given lifeguard duties for the first U.S. airstrike on Palau Island. Later in the month, Bowfin started towards Midway and then on to Hawai’i where they ended a very uneventful war patrol under the new commander.


USS Bowfin was underway for 15,014 miles during her fifth patrol. CDR Corbus and higher authorities believed Bowfin sank 6,500 tons (one large vessel). Although the patrol was declared "successful," JANAC did not credit the sinking to USS Bowfin.

Bowfin Underway
Bowfin Underway