USS Scabbardfish (SS-397)
|Career (United States)|
|Name:||USS Scabbardfish (SS-397)|
|Builder:||Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine|
|Laid down:||27 September 1943|
|Launched:||27 January 1944|
|Commissioned:||29 April 1944|
|Decommissioned:||5 January 1948|
|Recommissioned:||24 October 1964|
|Decommissioned:||26 February 1965|
|Struck:||31 January 1976|
|Fate:||Transferred to Greece 26 February 1965, sold for spare parts 31 January 1976|
|Acquired:||26 February 1965|
|Class & type:||Balao-class diesel-electric submarine|
|Displacement:||1,526 tons (1,550 t) surfaced
2,391 tons (2,429 t) submerged
|Length:||311 ft 6 in (94.95 m) |
|Beam:||27 ft 3 in (8.31 m) |
|Draft:||16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) maximum|
|Propulsion:||4 × General Motors Model 16-278A V16 diesel engines driving electrical generators
|Speed:||20.25 knots (37 km/h) surfaced
8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged
|Range:||11,000 nm (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h)|
|Endurance:||48 hours at 2 knots (4 km/h) submerged
75 days on patrol
|Test depth:||400 ft (120 m)|
|Complement:||10 officers, 70–71 enlisted|
|Armament:||10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
(six forward, four aft)
1 × 5-inch (127 mm) / 25 caliber deck gun
Bofors 40 mm and Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
USS Scabbardfish (SS-397), a Balao-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the scabbarddfish, a long, compressed, silver-colored fish found on European coasts and around New Zealand.
Her keel was laid down on 27 September 1943 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. She was launched on 27 January 1944 sponsored by Ensign Nancy J. Schetky, and commissioned on 29 April 1944 with Lieutenant Commander F. A. Gunn in command.
After completing initial training at Portsmouth, and torpedo trials at Newport, Rhode Island, Scabbardfish reported to the Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, New London, Connecticut, for advance training and final outfitting. Upon completion thereof, she sailed to Key West, Florida, for ASW duties which began on 21 June 1944. On 1 July, she departed for Panama. Four days later, she transited the Panama Canal en route to the West Coast and Pearl Harbor.
Scabbardfish, as a unit of Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, arrived at Pearl Harbor on 24 July. After completing voyage repairs and final training, she departed for Midway Island on 17 August. After refueling there, she departed on her first war patrol in the Ryukyu Islands area.
First War Patrol
On 31 August, she sighted her first enemy ships, an inter-island steamer with two escorts. Scabbardfish fired two spreads of three torpedoes but all missed. After a light depth charge attack, she surfaced and continued steaming west.
On 19 September, west of Okinawa, she damaged the 5500-ton submarine tender Jingei with two hits. She also fired a spread "down the throat" of a Chidori-class escort but missed. As a consequence, she underwent a depth charge attack for three hours but suffered no damage. The remainder of her patrol proved fruitless, and the submarine returned to Midway Island, on 12 October, for refitting. Two weeks later, she sailed to Saipan, Mariana Islands, for further orders.
Second and Third War Patrols
Scabbardfish departed Saipan on 12 November to patrol in the seas southeast of Honshū. She arrived at her designated patrol area on 16 November and sank a 2100-ton inter-island steamer that day. Six days later she sank the 875-ton Kisaragi Maru and damaged a 4000-ton freighter. On 29 November, she sank Japanese submarine I-365, picking up one lone survivor named Sasaki.
SS-397 completed her patrol at Guam on 20 December 1944; remained there until 16 January 1945; and then sailed to Saipan. Upon arrival there, she underwent intensive training in wolfpack tactics. Her third war patrol began on 23 January when she began patrolling the sea lanes between the Philippine Islands and Ryukyu islands. In late February, she engaged 12 luggers and a trawler with her deck gun but was forced to submerge by an enemy plane. She was bombed but suffered no damage. She returned to Saipan on 6 March and was ordered to return to Pearl Harbor for refitting.
Fourth War Patrol
Scabbardfish returned to Guam in late April and underwent voyage repairs by submarine tender Holland (AS-3). On 29 April, she departed for the East China Sea. A change of orders assigned her to the Life Guard League, and, on 4 May, she rescued five crewmen from a ditched B-29 Superfortress. They were transferred to submarine Picuda (SS-382) two days later, and SS-397 continued to the Yellow Sea area. On 17 May, Scabbardfish fired a spread of torpedoes at a small freighter which was accompanied by two escorts. This proved to be a hunter-killer group, and when the torpedoes missed, they subjected the submarine to a grueling four-hour depth charge attack. The submarine sustained no serious damage and returned to Guam on 11 June to be refitted by submarine tender Apollo (AS-25).
Fifth War Patrol
Scabbardfish began her fifth, and last, war patrol on 1 July with another assignment to the Life Guard League. During the period from 25 July to 10 August she rescued seven pilots. When she returned to Saipan on 15 August, the cease fire had gone into effect, and Scabbardfish sailed to Pearl Harbor. She sailed from there on 6 September under orders which sent her to Eniwetok for ASW training duties. She remained there for a month; sailed to Guam for a month; and, on 14 November, stood out of Apra Harbor en route to San Francisco, California, via Midway Island. On 29 November 1945, the submarine arrived at Mare Island for her first overhaul, which was not completed until mid-March 1946.
Scabbardfish operated along the West Coast until 17 March 1947 when she entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard for her second major overhaul. The submarine departed directly from drydock, on 8 August, for San Diego, California. One month later, she called at Pearl Harbor for a few days and then continued sailing west on a simulated war patrol. After visiting the Palau Islands, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tsingtao, and Okinawa, she returned to San Diego on 11 December 1947.
On 3 January 1948, she was underway for Mare Island and, two days later, reported to the Pacific Reserve Fleet for inactivation. In February 1948, she was placed in reserve, out of commission, and berthed at Mare Island. Scabbardfish remained there until October 1964 when she was again placed in commission, preparatory to transferring her to the government of Greece.
Korean War Patrol
"Scabbardfish" participated in reconnaissance missions during the Korean War. In December 1952, when weather conditions required suspension of the Hokkaido area patrols, she was assigned a special patrol duty of the coast of China. This marked a time when submarines were being used increasingly for special operations including amphibious raids and other clandestine missions.
HS Triaina (S-86)
She was officially transferred on loan to the Royal Hellenic Navy on 26 February 1965, and commissioned as Triaina (S-86).
Ex-Scabbardfish was stricken from the American Naval Vessel Register on 31 January 1976 and purchased outright by Greece in April 1976. She was stricken from the Greek Navy in 1980 but still in use as a pier-side trainer as late as 1982.
- Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 285–304. ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
- Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 275–280. ISBN 0-313-26202-0.
- U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261
- U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305-311
- Cressman, Robert (2000). "Chapter VI: 1944". The official chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-149-3. OCLC 41977179. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
- The U.S. Navy in the Korean War By Edward J. Marolda
- Personal recollections - Rev. Lester F. Gallihue, Jr.
- Photo gallery at navsource.org