by Mike Hemming
"Captain, Nine minutes at 8 knots is up..."
"Very well, bring her up to 55 feet."
"Coming up to 55 feet from 150 feet, Aye."
"Bearing should be 030, Captain."
"Very well, slow to 1/3."
Slapping the handles down the Skipper does the quick crouching spin to check all around before stopping at 030.
"Zero three zero."
"0ne four double 0."
The low to the water dark hull sails on in the scope seemingly unknowing and uncaring to its impending doom.
The Captain stares a thousand miles into the hydraulic oiled descending shaft, his mind locked onto the job at hand.
"Set depth at one zero feet"
"Flood tube four and open outer door."
"Next observation will be a shooting observation."
"Have the COB report to the Conn."
"COB will you hit the firing key on this one?"
The COB with a strained look on his face, "Aye Skipper."
The Captain with a kind of sad smile says, "It won't be the first now will it?"
"No Skipper, but I hope it's the last like this."
"Been a long time since we walked down the pier together to this boat as non quals, huh Chief?"
"Yeah me an E2 and you an O1, I outranked you even then didn't I?"
The Captain chuckles, which ease the strain on both their faces, "Yes, you always did outrank me in some ways. You took grumpy old chief lessons long before you were even an E5."
Smiling for a second the COB says, "We have both come a long ways since those days, and now they are nearly at an end."
"Yes, up scope"
Again the awkward spin around the scope to stop with the submarine in the cross hairs.
"Zero two zero"
"One One double 0"
"Solution checks, Captain."
"Very well, this will be for MOT, Shoot tube four."
The COB's hand comes up quickly then pauses over the firing key and wavers there.
In a stern voice that cracks ever so slightly the Captain says, "Shoot the fish!"
The tough hard hand of the chief that doesn't match the pain in his eyes smashes down on the key.
"Tube four fired electrically," The chief reports sadly.
"Fifty Five seconds, Captain."
"COB, I better not have missed."
"Yes Sir, sorry, but it's hard to sink your qual boat."
"Skipper, Sonar reports, Torpedo running hot straight and normal."
"5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Skipper, Plus 1, 2, 3,"
The Captain looks through the periscope his "Damn" to be rewarded with the violent geyser of sea foam under the engine room of the sub. Lifted high already broken in two by the Mark 16 torpedo's explosion she is doomed to the rest of forever on the sea floor.
"COB take a look. It's a better end that being scrapped."
Looking, he sees the ends of the broken black hull disappear quickly into the deep blue sea.
"Yes she will rest with all her sisters now where she belongs, Skipper."
"She has served us well again."
This dedicated to those boats that gave the last final extra measure for us in weapons
S(T) Sunk as target from "US Submarines Through 1945" by Norman Friedman.
Jim Christley did research in other places and kindly allowed its use here. Also comments have been added by sailors that rode the boat that sank them or have knowledge of the sinking.
- SS-2 A-1 was target. Sold for scrapping 26 Jan 22 with USS Puritan.
- SS-3 A-2 Adder 16-Jan-22 1/26/1922 Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-4 A-3 Grampus Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-5 A-4 Moccasin 16-Jan-22 Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-6 A-5 Pike 16-Jan-22 Sunk by explosion 15 Apr 17 Salvaged Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-7 A-6 Porpoise 16-Jan-22 Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-8 A-7 Shark 16-Jan-22 Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-9 C-1 Octopus Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-10 B-1 Viper 16-Jan-22 Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-11 B-2 Cuttlefish 17-Jan-22 Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-12 B-3 Tarantula 17-Jan-22 Used as target. Hulk sunk in Manila Bay, near Corregidor
- SS-19 1/2 (Seal) G1 designated target 19 Feb 20 stricken 29 Aug 21. S(T) in Narragansett Bay, RI; sunk in 105' of water 20 Jun 21 just north of Taylor's Point.
- SS-26 Thrasher G4 had been designated a depth charge target 6 Dec 19 sold 15 Apr 20.
- SS-27 Tuna G2 foundered awaiting depth charge tests 30 Jul 19 partially raised and scrapped 1962. She lies off Pleasant Beach near Niantic Bay, CT in 80 feet of water.
- SS-48 L-8 15 Nov 22 S(T) in 110 feet of water, 3 Miles South of Brenton Reef Light, outside of Narragansett Bay in 1926 in a test of the ill fated Mk 6 magnetic exploder.
- SS-85 R8 19 Aug 36 bombing.
SS-94 R 17 to UK 9 Mar 42 Ret 6 Sept 44 served as target Stricken 22 Jun 45 sold 16 Nov 45.
- SS-121 S-16 S(T) 3 May 45 in 250 feet of water, 18 miles from Key West
- SS-122 S-17 S(T) 5 April 45
- SS-124 S-19 S(T) just off Pearl Harbor [London Treaty] on 18 Dec 38.
- SS-126 S-21 sunk as sonar target 23 Mar 45.
- SS-140 S-35 S(T) 4 Apr 46 after use as damage control hulk for new Fleet Damage Control School.
- SS-142 S-37 S(T) 4 Apr 46 "before being scuttled off San Diego?"
- SS-143 S-38 S(T) off San Diego 20 Feb 45.
- SS-164 Bass scuttled as a sonar target 12 Mar 45.
- SS-184 Skipjack Bikini target sunk 25 Jul 46 raised 2 Sept 46 S(T) 11 Aug 48.
- SS-196 Searaven Bikini target Jul 46 S(T) 11 Sept 48.
- SS-203 Tuna Bikini target, S(T) 24 Sept 48.
- SS-217 Guardfish S(T) 1 Oct 61 by Dogfish and Blenny 97 Miles south of Block Island
- SS-241 Bashaw S(T) 13 Sep 69
SS-242 scuttled as salvage trainer 3 Dec 70 off Hawaii.
- SS-243 Bream S(T) 7 Nov 69 by Sculpin (SSN 590) off southern California.
- SS-259 Jack S(T) by units of US Sixth Fleet on 1 Sep 68 after return from Greece. Sinking took place within 10 Miles of 32° 16' N x 132° 05' E. (By Entemedor, note from Frank Hill)
- SS-260 Lapon Loaned to Greece 8 August 1957. Returned to US control and S(T) in 1973
- SS-262 Muskellunge S(T) 9 Jul 68 by Tench (SS-417). She still had all the spare parts, tools, etc. aboard when she made the final dive. Any of you that were in New London at that time remember how hard it was to get spare parts to keep the diesel boats running, but the Squadron had a Jarhead guarding the brow so we couldn't salvage anything.
- SS-263 Paddle (Loaned to Brazil on 18 January 1957. She is reported as having sunk on or about 30 June 1968.
- SS-270 Raton sold 12 0ct 73 but reported used as target.
- SS-274 Rock sold 17 Aug 72 but reported used as target.
- SS-282 Tunny S(T) 19 Jun 70 by USS Volador SS490
- SS-283 Tinosa Scuttled Nov 60 after use as an ASW target.
- SS-285 Balao Main hull sunk as target off Charleston, South Carolina 30° 46.5'N x 74° 11'W on 4 Sep 63. The Conning tower and shears are at Navy Memorial Museum, Washington Navy Yard.
- SS-292 Devilfish S(T) by USS Wahoo (SS 565) in 2000 fathoms of water at 37° 05'N x 124° 8' W during a MK16 Mod8 service test on 14 Aug 68.
- SS-293 Dragonet S(T) 17 Sept 61 after explosives tests in Upper Chesapeake Bay in 150 feet of water.
- SS-299 Manta target ship 49-53 S(T) 16 Jul 69 off Norfolk Va.
- SS-300 Moray S(T) 18 Jun 70 off San Clemente Island.
- SS-302 Sabalo S(T) 15 Feb 73 in Sub Sink Ex Project Thurber.
- SS-305 Skate Bikini target Jul 46 then S(T) off San Clemente on 5 October 1948.
- SS-308 Apogon Bikini target sunk 25 Jul 46 Upright on bottom 800yd SW of Test Baker Site.
- SS-309 Aspro S(T) 16 Nov 62.
- SS-311 Archerfish S(T) 17 Oct 68 in 2000 fathoms of water at Lat 32°-23.0'N and Lng. 122°-58.1'W. At 2114Z this date a MK37-2 torpedo, fired from USS Snook (SSN-592), hit the stern and detonated, but did not sink the target. This was the second of two MK37-2 torpedoes employed; the first did not acquire or attack the target. At 2226Z, after being struck broadside by a MK14-5 torpedo, Archerfish split in half near the after battery hatch and descended to her final resting place off the coast of San Diego, California.
- SS-312 Burrfish S(T) 19Sept 69.
- SS-315 Sealion S(T) 8 Jul68.
- SS-317 Barbero S(T) 7 0ct 64 by Greenfish.
- SS-324 Blenny sunk as reef off Ocean City NJ. (Book is wrong on this. She was not sunk as target but as a fishing reef off Ocean City MD.)
- SS-331 Bugara lost under tow for target 1 Jun 71.
- SS-337 Carbonero S(T) 27 Aug 75.
- SS-342 Chopper sunk 21 Jul 76 while being rigged as tethered underwater target.
- SS-347 Cubera S(T) Date unknown by USS Salmon off the coast of San Diego. This was after she was towed from Venezuela, where she had been loaned in 1972.
- SS-362 Guavina S(T) 14 Nov 67 by Cubera with a Mk 16 off Cape Henry Va. I have a photo of the explosion from Cubera's periscope on back the date is given as 11 Nov 67.
- SS-377 Menhaden tethered underwater target 76 later sold.
- SS- 386 Pilotfish Sunk Bikini 25 Jul 46 raised S(T) 16 0ct 48.
- SS-392 Sterlet S(T) 31Jul 69 by Sargo.
- SS-393 Queenfish S(T)14 Aug 63 by Swordfish.
- SS-395 Redfish S(T) 16 0ct 69 by Sea Fox.
- SS-398 Segundo S(T) 8 Aug 70 by Salmon.
- SS-399 Sea Cat test hulk 1968-72 sold 18 May 73 (also reported sunk)
- SS-400 Sea Devil S(T) 24 Nov 64 was sunk by USS VOLADOR
- SS-490, a unit of SUBFLOT ONE/SUBRON FIVE by a MK37-1. LCDR Glenn M. Brewer was C.O. of VOLADOR at the time. I was on the TDjC and LT John B. Thomas, a former ENC(SS) aboard SEA DEVIL actually hit the firing plunger for the shot. Torpedo hit in the After Engine Room area. Sea Devil didn't sink until shelled (5 inch) by USS Halsey (DLG) later CG.
- SS-401 Sea Dog S(T) 18 May68.
- SS-404 Spikefish Reported S(T) 4 Aug 64
- SS-412 Trepang S(T) 16 Sept 69.
- SS-416 Tiru last fleet submarine in service; planned for conversion to remote control submersible target S(T) 2 0ct 76 by USS Silversides.
- SS-419 Tigrone S(T) on 25 Oct 76. USS Sea Devil (SSN-664) fired MK 48 warshot at submerged target. Weapon acquired several times but kept turning away . . . some conjectured at the time that the onboard computer would not validate the target for close-in due to the absence of any noise whatsoever emanating from the target which was suspended stationary from two salvage pontoons. Cable on one pontoon parted next morning in rough seas and target sank . . . Weapons Officer and TM3 on bridge of Sea Devil at the time . . . pontoon shot up out of water . . . lots of roiling air on surface . . . only flotsam spotted were pieces of wood decking.
- SS-422 Toro Sold Apr 65 (also reported sunk)
- SS-428 Ulua suspended 12 Aug 45 used as underwater explosion test hulk Norfolk 51-58 stricken 12 Jun 58.
- SS-568 Harder S(T) off Pearl Harbor, 1991
- SS-573 Salmon for converted to shallow water sonar target. Sunk near Hudson Canyon as bottom target, June 1993
- SSG-574 Grayback 13 April 86 Sunk as target in or near Subic Bay, RPI.
SS-576 Darter S(T) 7 Jan 92 off Pearl Harbor, HI. by USS Tautog (SSN 639) in a Mk 48 ADCAP test.