December 1944: USS Bergall vs IJN Myōkō and Ushio

In December 1944, a US submarine stumbled upon a Japanese heavy cruiser. The brief battle resulted in epic journeys for both. The History Guy recalls an event where the story was as much in what happened after the battle as it was in the battle itself.

This is original content based on research by The History Guy. Images in the Public Domain are carefully selected and provide illustration. As very few images of the actual event are available in the Public Domain, images of similar objects and events are used for illustration.

You can purchase the "offshore" bow tie worn in this episode at The Tie Bar:

All events are portrayed in historical context and for educational purposes. No images or content are primarily intended to shock and disgust. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Non censuram.

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  • Look at not the sides but the heroism of the crew's to save there ships those men where heroes

    orderly_chaosorderly_chaosӨдрийн өмнө
  • Your stories are Brilliant! Thank you.🇺🇸🎩🇺🇸

    Stephen HenionStephen Henion10 өдрийн өмнө
  • good video

    Darren GilhomeDarren Gilhome15 өдрийн өмнө
  • I like what you do, I'd like to hear your take on Captain Porter and the ESSEX, a story much confused by who tells it.

    david houstondavid houston19 өдрийн өмнө
  • A well told story.

    Marc DentonMarc Denton25 өдрийн өмнө
  • I think it's a testament of luck for the Myoko. That ship had a charmed life and just would not die. Surviving two serious torpedo hits , and then surviving a midget submarine attack.

    Drew BurtDrew Burt28 өдрийн өмнө
  • Excellently written and produced piece. However, the narrator should have avoided the use of amphetamines before reading the script. My English is pretty good, and I had a lot of difficulty understanding. At times, the audio sounded like bursts from an MG42! S-L-O-W D-O-W-N please. But great historical piece from which I learned a lot.

    timothy bradytimothy bradyСарын өмнө
  • And so everyone made it safely home.

    Tom KittaTom KittaСарын өмнө
  • good story but slow down a little to say 33 1/3 not 78rpm

    steve driversteve driverСарын өмнө
  • 5:48 I think you mean 26,000 yards -- not 2600.

    HellBentHellBentСарын өмнө
  • I think WW2 submariners should get silver stars just for getting on a submarine.

    Robert HickertyRobert HickertyСарын өмнө
  • Aside from the great battles, warfare is full of small battles and skirmishes, which at first blush, may seem utterly insignificant, but even historians can't discern all the effects they have on the outcome of their larger conflicts. This is a classic case of both sides "doing their utmost in service to their country."

    Moìst MíkeMoìst MíkeСарын өмнө
  • 359 down votes!!! what the hell are they even doing in here?

    R ChristieR ChristieСарын өмнө
  • Everyone should watch the series 'Silent Serice' and see the actual event.

    John WoodJohn WoodСарын өмнө
  • It doesn’t take enemy action. In July 1975 I was serving on the USS Samuel Gompers heading West near the international dateline and on July 4 we had a boiler room fire when a fuel line broke. The newest fireman stayed behind and secured valves as all others in the space fled. After three hours the fire was out, damage repaired and we were again underway. About 36 hours later the high pressure part of the turbine self destructed, again leaving us dead in the water as we only had one propeller. After 4-5 hours the engineers had jury rigged a way to put steam to the low pressure section of the turbine and we headed back to Pearl Harbor. Our commanding officer was superstitious as the day the turbine blew he had declared we had gone from Saturday to Monday as we crossed the international dateline. When we retuned from deployment 6 months later he made sure we had two Sundays in one week.

    Martin WalkerMartin WalkerСарын өмнө
  • I great story wonderfully told.

    Holland Paul RonaldHolland Paul RonaldСарын өмнө
  • History Guy, your story of Myoto is one I personally greatly appreciate. My passionate interest in history goes back to my childhood and college credits transcript shows abundance of history courses. Myoto and its service in removing Japanese troops from Kiska, Aleutian Islands has a connection with my father and thus to me. Tenth Mountain Division, of which Dad was a BAR armed soldier, invaded Kiska expecting combat, then learned no Japanese remained. USA forces were stationed there for months to prevent return of hostile forces. While he was away, my mother gave birth to me and it was 9 months after my birth he returned home to his loving family.

    PayneCty GardenerPayneCty GardenerСарын өмнө
  • During the 10 long days of limping home to Australia, you wonder if the sailors who left the wounded Bergall for the Angler were ordered to leave or volunteered to go. Sailors don't want to leave a lucky boat. And the Bergall proved to be darned lucky.

    Mitchell HawkesMitchell HawkesСарын өмнө
  • War is hell.

    Robert NegronRobert NegronСарын өмнө
  • One complaint: After being stationed at RAF Seletar back in the early 1960's, I need to mention that the pronunciation of Seletar is:Sel -eat(as in eat lunch)- ar.

    Alan JamesAlan JamesСарын өмнө
  • In the early 80s I crossed the pacific in a general cargo (Bankline) three times. That ocean is Huge! And normally blue I never saw another boat. A bluewhale jumping and a very surprised turtle. Nothing else.

    paul stewartpaul stewartСарын өмнө
  • Excellent!

    Randy AtchleyRandy AtchleyСарын өмнө
  • This gentleman is the real deal! I was a gunnery officer on a bunch of old Gearing-class DD's both FRAMed and not. The latter were unaltered from 1944, their class intro. Later, I taught Naval History among other courses, at the secondary school level, took a sabbatical with Bob "Titanic" Ballard at WHOI. After proposing and researching Guadalcanal for the 1992 project of the JASON Project, I ended up, at the suggestion of "Bob" Reynolds of VALOR Tours fame, on five of his trips trips to the Solomons and then 4 trips aboard Cruise ships, "singing for my supper" as Bob put it. If you are well-read on the subject of WW II naval history, and when the cruise ships start cruising, I recommend these trips. History Guy is a natural....he is just as Ioonattica suggests below. Great stuff!

    Alfred DouglassAlfred DouglassСарын өмнө
  • The bigest tragedy of this tale happened in 2000. Scrapped!

    barker262barker262Сарын өмнө
  • Best story for me was how Potatoes where the ammo of choice of a Destroyer against a Japanese Sub.

    Coyote JCoyote JСарын өмнө
  • My father was a gunner on a tank - he survived when on two occasions his tank was destroyed- he then survived the battle of the bulge and the Ardennes forest battle- he endured and did what had to be done to survive

    Michael RhodesMichael RhodesСарын өмнө
  • A well-told story. Thank you.

    Nicholas BeckNicholas BeckСарын өмнө
  • Thanks for telling this story of an unknown WWII Pacific battle. So much can be learned from these small stories. Sometimes they convey the essence of warfare better than the big battle tales. For future videos, may I respectfully suggest a slightly larger amount of clarifying set up. For example in this video, before the introduction to each of the ships, you could have said something like: "The combatants included one American submarine and two Japanese ships, namely the .... " etc. A slower pace at the beginning of the video may draw in more non-experts. Also a few general area maps would have added some context. Thanks again.

    Chris McCarthyChris McCarthy2 сарын өмнө
  • Well done again, thanks Lance

    Robert CassRobert Cass2 сарын өмнө
  • The Japanese destroyer mounted 15 guns in 6 turrets? Dang...

    Jay BeeJay Bee2 сарын өмнө
  • Great story-- great movie.

    Keith MoriyamaKeith Moriyama2 сарын өмнө
  • Just wonderful. Love all of these videos!

    Jim KirkendallJim Kirkendall2 сарын өмнө
  • My great uncle Leonard Bratcher Bilbro was a torpedoes mate 2 nd class on the Bergall. I suspect that they all had a difficult time during that engagement in ww2.

    Byron BilbroByron Bilbro2 сарын өмнө
  • The husky cement aerobically use because temper pertinently treat abaft a racial kiss. miniature, overconfident neck

    We PurityWe Purity2 сарын өмнө
  • Very interesting. Thanks for sharing history that so many people probably didn't know about like me.

    Clifford S.Clifford S.2 сарын өмнө
  • There is a wreck here on Guam of a ship that was torpedoed by skipping the torpedo over the reef. Or so the story goes.

    A-A-Ron BrowserA-A-Ron Browser2 сарын өмнө
  • very good lecture

    Adrian VidlerAdrian Vidler2 сарын өмнө
  • The juicy believe supply correct because hovercraft intracellularly receive alongside a dangerous dessert. boorish, tall leaf

    Jestoni JaimeJestoni Jaime2 сарын өмнө
  • Incredible story. Glad you posted it.

    charles clagercharles clager2 сарын өмнө
  • Excellant

    John LutherJohn Luther2 сарын өмнө
  • This guy is a yawner. Talking heads don't make history come alive.

    Daniel ClarkDaniel Clark2 сарын өмнө
  • Great story, thanks for telling it.

    Darryl MDarryl M2 сарын өмнө
  • The descriptive pilot pathogenetically imagine because trout cumulatively visit above a rampant carriage. fanatical, bright apartment

    Martin LutharkinkMartin Lutharkink3 сарын өмнө
  • 0m

    David FrognerDavid Frogner3 сарын өмнө
  • He talks too fast and has a terrible delivery which is a pity because what he is trying to say is interesting

    James RiddleeJames Riddlee3 сарын өмнө
  • High history guy, hey here's a bit of history that is worth remembering. Why don't you tell the story about admiral Callahan and admiral Scott that were both killed in a battle on the high seas around Guadalcanal in iron bottom sound when they fought the Japanese Navy. There's history worth remembering. Please do a story about them.

    Mr. Bart.Mr. Bart.3 сарын өмнө
  • Wonderful video, so well-told -- yes, such a shame that we are so ready to take sides and fight with each other.

    Dan DamervilleDan Damerville3 сарын өмнө
  • Yet another interesting story which once again confirms that History Deserves to be Remembered. In another year, I'll be able to legally speak of my time in uniform. Hopefully I live long enough to get it said.

    J SullivanJ Sullivan3 сарын өмнө
  • It infuriates me that Poland even exists

    A SmithA Smith3 сарын өмнө
  • IMPEACH 46 !!!!! IMPEACH 46 !!!!! IMPEACH 46 !!!! IMPEACH 46 IMPEACH 46 !!!! IMPEACH 46 !!!! IMPEACH 46 !!!! IMPEACH 46 !!!!

    Dekoven1949Dekoven19493 сарын өмнө
  • Indochina was really the not very integrated Cambodia , Vietnam and Laos. The idea that these three would tolerate being united as one country,or occupied by the french... Well... They didn't

    LeonGLeonG3 сарын өмнө
  • another great video. thanks!

    Secret AgentSecret Agent3 сарын өмнө
  • The useful mechanic regrettably prepare because wind pathomorphologically note than a living hearing. obsolete, five chick

    Jestoni JaimeJestoni Jaime3 сарын өмнө
  • Interesting story beautifully presented.

    Dan PattersonDan Patterson4 сарын өмнө
  • Good one. I am a big history buff but until discovering this channel (on recommendationfrom Answers With Joe) I never thought about all the single ship battles of WW2, especially in the stories you frequently cover on the battle of the Atlantic.

    JayJay4 сарын өмнө
  • I like your videos, and the interesting things you have behind you! I served on the second USS Bergall (SSN-667) I'm writing to let you know that you're pronouncing the second syllable of Bergall incorrectly. The second syllable is pronounced just the same as the word "all", not like the name "Al", and the emphasis is on the first syllable, not the second. Thanks!

    Paterick CuttsPaterick Cutts5 сарын өмнө
  • Very Interesting. Thanks, Regards.

    Muhammad FahadMuhammad Fahad5 сарын өмнө
  • On a U.S. Stamp: These Immortal Chaplains... Interfaith in action, Who are they?

    Jazzy268Jazzy2685 сарын өмнө
  • ☑️🤔 Although he DOES do a FANTASTIC job of narrating these stories, and there was incredible bravery here, I think it's important to point out 2 aspects to this story that may lead to confusion. He talked about how impressive it was that the US submarine traveled 1,200 miles in enemy territory on the surface, as a result of their hull damage precluding them from submerging. Well..... That could leave people under the impression that WW2 era subs in this situation would normally travel those 1200 miles submerged. While what they did was certainly risky, and they deserved their awards, we should also consider↓these facts: 👉1). The reality is that WW2 submarines ALWAYS traveled on the surface. Unlike modern subs, they DID NOT have the capability to travel submerged at reasonable speeds for more than a few hours. They ONLY submerged TEMPORARILY, when in imminent danger, or to get closer for a deep water attack. Their batteries didn't have the energy storage capacity to do much more than move at VERY SLOW SPEEDS for a short period of time, to avoid danger. 👍Granted, under normal circumstances they could've remained submerged in daylight hours, running at VERY low speed, then surface after sunset, and traveled at normal speeds til daybreak. However that would've also meant spending nearly twice as much time in enemy waters. But..... then there's this⬇️ 👉2). By late 1944 & 45, there were FAR FEWER Japanese ships roaming the Pacific trying to sink allied warships than there were just 2-3-4 years earlier. Most were either "permanently docked" on the ocean floor, or run aground in Japanese coastal waters, badly damaged, used as stationary AA platforms(at best). By late 1944 & 45, the allies had ALSO practically wiped out Japanese air power in and around the Pacific. So the odds of being spotted by Japanese planes was miniscule compared with 1941- 43.

    HighlanderNorth1HighlanderNorth15 сарын өмнө
  • The narration is very difficult to listen to. Speaks too fast with strange emphasis. Takes away from the interesting history content

    Brenden VosperBrenden Vosper5 сарын өмнө
  • The elegant observation methodologically kneel because nylon muhly interfere about a accurate liquid. whispering, learned tuna

    Shota ToriumiShota Toriumi5 сарын өмнө
  • Very well done. Thank you.

    HorsefeathersHorsefeathers5 сарын өмнө
  • Excellent! History made interesting, not dry, stale monotonous rhetoric. Thoroughly enjoyed this "forgotten" piece of history retold! BRAVO!

    Lance LittrellLance Littrell6 сарын өмнө
  • Cool. 📻🙂

    Jeff KingJeff King6 сарын өмнө
  • Terrific narrative.

    Fredrick MillsteadFredrick Millstead6 сарын өмнө
  • Captain, the emergency fake shark fin has been deployed over the conning tower.

    P Chris21P Chris216 сарын өмнө
  • World War II is so chock full of anecdotes and engagements on a small scale that are none the less of historical interest and shed light on the nature of the larger conflict. They range from actions performed by individuals, squads, individual naval crafts ( as here) to larger units. Thank you, History Guy, for presenting such an interesting variety of them in such an accurate and entertaining way. Another historian who does this is Mark Felton. He has numerous historical videos documenting lesser known, yet fascinating, aspects of the war.

    Kevin McCaffreyKevin McCaffrey7 сарын өмнө
  • Very nice story

    Daniel MonteroDaniel Montero7 сарын өмнө
  • The IJN Ushio is the IJN vessel that transported my Uncle to a POW holding area in what is now indonesia after the crew sunk their sub the USS Perch

    KlohmaKlohma7 сарын өмнө
  • Enjoyed this very much. But PLEASE talk slower!

    BlisterBangBlisterBang7 сарын өмнө
  • I served aboard USS Bergall (SSN-667) from '78 thru '82. Heard the story about our sister boat USS Bergall (SS-320) during a meeting of submarine veterans of WWII. This was a very interesting production, putting video imagery helps to sew together the sea stories with the history.

    Pete JPete J7 сарын өмнө
  • Myoko was nowhere near being treaty compliant lol

    Smokey298Smokey2987 сарын өмнө
  • I'm fascinated by this war story, thank you.

    Kevin MKevin M8 сарын өмнө
  • Thanks for this story. I did not know of the encounter. The submarine captain certainly earned the decoration!

    C BC B8 сарын өмнө
  • The second USS Houston, now that's a story of survival.

    James Lackie JrJames Lackie Jr8 сарын өмнө
  • Green ties rule.

    bogipepperbogipepper8 сарын өмнө
  • That was a great story. Is it weird that halfway through the story I was rooting for both sides?

    Joseph DESTAUBINJoseph DESTAUBIN8 сарын өмнө
  • The Myoko, were it an Allied ship, would be well known. She must have had very good Captains & crews. Even by 1944, Myoko was still a nasty customer to deal with, especially with her experienced crew. I'm Australian and I admit I know very little about many of the men we fought against. The fact that it was a war with quarter neither asked or given, shouldn't blind us to learning more about our enemy. Respect also to the Bergall and her crew. People who aren't Australasian would not appreciate the vast distance between Bergall's home base at Fremantle and Indo China. I am glad both sides largely survived the encounter. Brave men of any nation have my utmost respect, as you can't truly be brave if you aren't scared.

    Uncle JoeUncle Joe8 сарын өмнө
  • Funny how you say "at a snail's pace of 6 knots". I sailed on the Installer and her top speed is 7 knots!!!

    Patrick PalmerPatrick Palmer8 сарын өмнө
  • My father was on the submarine tender USS Pelias stationed at both Fremantle and Exmouth during WWII. Ironically I was stationed at the Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt at Exmouth 25 years later during the Vietnam War.

    Janice RowanJanice Rowan8 сарын өмнө
  • Cool bow tie with the little white anchors. I never learned to tie a bowtie, just the clip-on variety. So, there is another skill in which you excel.

    Dr. C. David CoyleDr. C. David Coyle8 сарын өмнө
  • Well done, Professor.

    Dr. C. David CoyleDr. C. David Coyle8 сарын өмнө
  • Having extensive experience designing maintenance facilities I know that Acetylene is quite dangerous stuff & requires outdoor storage in reinforced 'bunker' type structures, so my initial thought was "wow they had acetylene tanks on board submarines", then I remembered it was WW2, yes, in wartime, & they also had torpedo's, (in this case) mines, & ammo for the 5" deck gun, so yeah, no big deal. I presume all navy vessels have acetylene even today. I also know the Japanese torpedo's had some sort of oxygen fuel propulsion that was very volatile & led to greater ship losses when hit. Then of course the av gas on carriers (& smaller amounts for scout planes on other ships)

    Sideshow BobSideshow Bob8 сарын өмнө
  • Perhaps you can make a video/documentary on the USA seizure of Hawaii and The Phillipines?

    Robert BennettRobert Bennett8 сарын өмнө
  • Sir I spent 7 years on USS Bergall (2) SSN 667. The proper enunciation of Bergall is Simple... Ber--gall. Our original namesake was a real reason why U.S.S. Bergall (SSN 667) proudly served throughout the "Cold War" (1969-1993) - you know that time where everything we did we could not talk about. She was a great boat and I was proud to have been on her. STSC(ss) Pat Davis

    Patrick DavisPatrick Davis8 сарын өмнө
  • Great sea story and I always love commentators who get on with it, so I don't have to set playback speed to 1.5x. For future reference: reticent != hesitant

    LizzylemonadeLizzylemonade8 сарын өмнө
  • Compelling story...very well told. This was my first visit to The History Guy .I'll be back soon.

    Rick LhotaRick Lhota8 сарын өмнө
  • Decent video about an interesting encounter.✔ What a shame the comments are full of cr@p, instead of discussion about the events portrayed. I read a sh1tload of stupid remarks before the actual incident was even mentioned.

    2H80vids2H80vids8 сарын өмнө
  • A wonderful story well told! Not to diminish, but I cannot resist noting the parallel between this episode and the airline flight about which I emailed you, and for which I have received no reply: Both situations involved heroism, extrication against impossible odds, and a similar number of lives preserved.

    Richard CarrRichard Carr8 сарын өмнө
  • Love the story but Man this guy is NERD!

    Mike TurnerMike Turner8 сарын өмнө
  • That’s Daniel-san at 3:09

    Gary SarrattGary Sarratt8 сарын өмнө
  • Thanks for the history.. I'd never heard of that battle

    Randy TraderRandy Trader8 сарын өмнө
  • my uncle was on the bergal he couldn't say enough about the capt. to hear him tell it he could walk on water while spitting torpedos.

    gotama420gotama4208 сарын өмнө
  • The commander of the Bergall postponed and endangered his mission and his ship to enter a battle under most unvavorable and dangerous conditions without NEED. That should have been questioned. His wager between a medal and a discharge may be have been explainable. Putting his crew at risk was not. At this stage of the war it was not a matter of holding a position to the last man anymore. It was a matter of bringing down the damaged enemy on a large scale with limited losses. With mines and standard U-Boat attacks but not with a charge of the light brigade, for example.

    Thomas FinkThomas Fink9 сарын өмнө
  • My freshman algebra and trig prof and my father’s commanding officer in VF-81 both graduated USNA in ‘34. My prof didn’t know my father’s boss. Wonder if they knew this sub skipper?

    jockellisjockellis9 сарын өмнө
  • Esoteric is not the word. Did you mean eclectic?

    Roger PattersonRoger Patterson9 сарын өмнө
  • Wonderful!

    John MackinnonJohn Mackinnon9 сарын өмнө
  • An interesting story, and the comments at the start are especially poignant as it is very true that the majority of naval engagements in both the world wars of the twentieth century (and in virtually all wars between naval powers) are relatively small scale ones involving individual ships or small squadrons, rather than set piece battles between fleets of ships of the line. In the Second World War in particular, one of the three battles that decided the fate of the European war (the Battle of Britain in 1940, the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942/3, and the Battle of the Atlantic) rarely involved warships bigger than destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and U-boats - and of course most of the ships and men that were lost were merchantmen and their crews. Even when large, capital ships were engaged and sunk, this was more often by smaller vessels such as torpedo boats, submarines, and of course aircraft, and the Battle of the Greenland Straits (when the Bismarck sank the biggest ship in the Royal Navy - HMS Hood) was one of the rare exceptions. There is a wonderful account by a young Royal Navy sub-lieutenant serving on a destroyer at the Battle of the North Cape where he recounts searching for the Scharnhorst in thick fog, and coming across it suddenly in between two fast moving banks of mist. The officer states that this was perhaps the only occasion in the history of naval warfare when a battle-cruiser was engaged at close range by a pom-pom gun (the only weapon which could be brought to bear in time). Fortunately for that officer and his shipmates, the fog closed in again before the Scharnhorst could bring its heavy guns round to return fire, My father and both of his brothers sailed as teenage merchant seamen in the Atlantic in WWII (the two who survived going on to join the Royal Navy as soon as they were old enough) and the only occasion when they saw battleships in action against the enemy was on the coast of Normandy in June 1944. The numerous smaller scale engagements were often vicious and bloody and they largely determined the outcome of the war at sea, at least in the European and Atlantic Theatre.

    Exiled_LondonerExiled_Londoner9 сарын өмнө
  • Good story and good telling with graphics. Lance have you considered the (at least) three war crimilal trials? It is interesting who put it on, who officiated, the locations, the defendents and their stories. And how do you swear-in a Buddhist or Shinto who does not believe in our God? And being in their part of the world yet. "So help me...[Who?])

    Michael DougfirMichael Dougfir9 сарын өмнө
  • Again, thank you Dr.!

    Darrell JonesDarrell Jones9 сарын өмнө