“And this we planned as a quiet day.” (USS Bugara Ship Log, 29 July 1945)

USS Bugara (SS 331), one of 120 Balao-class submarines completed during the war, was launched on 2 July 1944 by Electric Boat Company in Groton, CT. Commander A.F. Schade was the first commanding officer.

Her service from 21 February to 17 August 1945 proved to be one of the more interesting records of events from Balao-class ships. During that time, she conducted three war patrols in the Flores, Java, and South China Seas and the Gulf of Siam. Bugara’s first two war patrols were relatively routine with minimal interference.

In the span of just over one month, Bugara’s crew sank fifty-seven small enemy ships totaling 5,284 tons (12 junks, 24 schooners, 16 coasters, and 3 sea trucks). Respecting the rules of war, Bugara made sure to put native crews safely ashore before sinking their vessels. In many cases, foreign crew members were cordial to Bugara’s crew. As a result, they thoroughly disrupted the Bangkok-Singapore route of supplies for the Japanese. 

Other engagements made this particular patrol particularly noteworthy. On 2 August 1945, Bugara’s crew encountered a Japanese ship manned by a Chinese crew being attacked by Malayan pirates. Bugara rescued the Chinese, sank the ship, and successfully attacked the pirates. Here is an excerpt from the official report on 2 August (6-21 N, 102-20 E): 

“1320 – Contact #46 – A new 150-ton schooner, anchored in deep water. Suspected something funny here. As we approached, we saw 6 large Malay canoes close by. It developed that it was a Chinese crew on a Jap vessel carrying rice to Singapore under attack by Malay pirates. We took off the Chinese crew and their life boat. The pirates fled. We sank the Jap ship, then shot up all the pirates and their boats. Put the Chinese ashore – and they love us still, inasmuch as the pirates had already killed two of the crew.”

Following her return to Fremantle, Australia, at the conclusion of her third patrol in mid-August, she sailed to Subic Bay where she operated for the remainder of the war. For her wartime service, Bugara received three battle stars. 

How to Read the Third War Patrol Map:

Follow the travels of Bugara throughout her third war patrol from Subic Bay to Freemantle, Australia. Each plot point represents a lat-long measurement made by Bugara crew members between 14 July and 17 August. All spelling and colloquialisms were unchanged to maintain an accurate record of their patrol. The plot points are color-coded based on what happened on that particular date and time: 

• Green – Status OK/Normal operations
• Yellow – Ship/Plate Spotted, but no enemy action

• Red – Enemy Action

Below the map is a complete list of tonnage and cargo sunk by Bugara during her third war patrol.

Source Information: USS Bugara, Third War Patrol, Donation of EMC(SS) John Clear, USN, found digitally at HNSA and available in the Navy Department Library catalog.

Summary of Vessel and Tonnage Sunk by Bugara

DATE SHIP TYPE TONNAGE CARGO
7/24/45 Schooner 50 airplane wheels and tires, 15 cases of airplane parts.
7/24/45 Junk – HIAP SENG MARU 120 sugar and sewing machines
7/24/45 Coaster 25 sugar for Japanese
7/24/45 Coaster 25 sugar for Japanese
7/25/45 Schooner 75 50 tons of rice
7/25/45 Junk 25 sugar and matches
7/25/45 Schooner 51 sugar and coffee
7/25/45 Junk – KIAN HUAT 50 sugar
7/25/45 Schooner – JOO LEE MARU 120 sugar and miscellaneous stores
7/25/45 Coaster 20 empty
7/26/45 Trengannu 20 N/A
7/26/45 Junk – CHIT MING HO MARU 144 75 tons of rice
7/26/45 Sea Truck 50 drums of aviation gasoline
7/26/45 Schooner 75 50 tons of rice
7/26/45 Schooner 50 medical supplies, scrap iron, and rice
7/27/45 Schooner 20 miscellaneous gear
7/27/45 Schooner 75 50 tons of sugar
7/27/45 Schooner 200 150 tons of rice
7/28/45 Coaster 50 rice
7/28/45 Coaster 50 rice
7/28/45 Schooner 300 n/a
7/28/45 Schooner – KIAT ANN 75 sugar
7/28/45 Chusan-type Junk 25 rice
7/29/45 Schooner 200 200 barrels of sorghum molasses
7/29/45 IJN Auxiliary 400 cocoa bean
7/29/45 Junk – AYAMA 112 rice
7/29/45 Schooner 50 rice
7/30/45 Coaster 30 sugar
7/30/45 Schooner – TWAKO 29 sugar
7/30/45 Sea Truck 50 rice
7/31/45 Coaster 32 n/a
7/31/45 Schooner 40 rice
7/31/45 Schooner 100 rice and salt
7/31/45 Coaster 37 sugar
7/31/45 Coaster 33 rice
8/2/45 Schooner 211 miscellaneous gear
8/2/45 Coaster 20 coffee
8/2/45 Schooner 180 n/a
8/2/45 Coaster 18 rice
8/2/45 Schooner 117 rice
8/2/45 Schooner 150 n/a – hijacked by Malayan pirates
8/3/45 Sea Truck 56 rice
8/3/45 Japanese Junk No. 2218 100 45 tons of rice
8/4/45 Coaster 50 rice
8/4/45 Junk 300 rice
8/4/45 Schooner 450 copra and coconut oil
8/5/45 Schooner 200 coffee, sugar, sewing machines, and other gear
8/5/45 Junk 75 copra and rattan
8/5/45 Coaster 20  n/a
8/5/45 Schooner 64 coffee
8/6/45 Junk 125 sugar and rice
8/6/45 Coaster 16.6 miscellaneous gear
8/6/45 Junk 26 sugar
8/6/45 Junk 60 rice
8/7/45 Junk 60 rice
8/7/45 Coaster 26.5 n/a
8/7/45 Coaster 28 rice