Sargo-class submarine

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USS Sargo
USS Sargo
Class overview
Builders: Electric Boat Company, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Mare Island Naval Shipyard[1]
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Salmon class[2]
Succeeded by: Tambor class[2]
Built: 1937–1939[1]
In commission: 1939–1946[1]
Completed: 10[2]
Active: 0[2]
Lost: 4[2]
Retired: 6[2]
Preserved: 0[2]
General characteristics
Type: Composite diesel-hydraulic and diesel-electric (early) or full diesel-electric (late) submarine[2]
Displacement: 1,450 tons (1473 t) standard, surfaced[3]
2,350 tons (2,388 t) submerged[3]
Length: 310 ft 6 in (94.64 m)[3]
Beam: 26 ft 10 in (8.18 m)[3]
Draft: 16 ft 7½ in – 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)[3]

4 × Hooven-Owens-Rentschler (H.O.R.) or General Motors diesel engines (two hydraulic-drive, two driving electrical generators in early boats, all driving electrical generators in late boats)[2][4]
2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries [3]
4 × high-speed General Electric electric motors with reduction gears[2]
two shafts [2]
5,200–5,500 shp (3.9–4.1 MW) surfaced[2]

2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged[2]
Speed: 20.8–21 knots (39 km/h) surfaced[3]
8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged[3]
Range: 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)[3]
Endurance: 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged[3]
Test depth: 250 ft (76 m)[3]
Complement: 5 officers, 54 enlisted[3]
Armament: 8 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
 (four forward, four aft)
 24 torpedoes [3]
1 × 3-inch (76 mm) / 50 caliber deck gun [3]
four machine guns

The Sargo-class submarines were the first US submarines to be sent into action after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, starting war patrols the day after the attack. They were built between 1937 and 1939.

The Sargo-class submarine USS Swordfish (SS-193) had the distinction of being the first US Navy vessel to sink a Japanese ship in World War II.

The Sargo class was very active during the war, sinking 73 ships, including a Japanese submarine.

USS Sailfish (SS-192) of this class sank the aircraft carrier Chuyo, which was carrying 21 survivors from the submarine USS Sculpin (SS-191); only one of these prisoners survived the sinking. Sculpin had been one of the ships assisting in the rescue of 33 men when USS Squalus (SS-192) sank during a test dive in 1939; Squalus was refloated and recommissioned as USS Sailfish.

After the Second World War, boats of this class were moved into a training role before being scrapped. USS Searaven (SS-196) was used in the Bikini Atoll atomic weapon tests in 1946. There was negligible damage so she was later expended as a target. USS Sailfish was also due to become a target in the same atomic weapon tests but she was scrapped instead in 1948.

Ships in class[edit]

Name Hull number Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Sargo SS-188 Electric Boat, Groton, CT 6 June 1938 Sold for scrap 19 May 1947 to Learner Company of Oakland, CA
Saury SS-189 Electric Boat, Groton, CT 20 August 1938 Sold for scrap 19 May 1947 to Learner Company of Oakland, CA
Spearfish SS-190 Electric Boat, Groton, CT 29 October 1938 Sold for scrap 19 May 1947 to Learner Company of Oakland, CA
Sculpin SS-191 Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine 27 July 1938 Damaged by depth charges and gunfire from the IJNS Yamagumo 19 November 1943; scuttled
Squalus SS-192 Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine 19 September 1938 Sank on trials 23 May 1939. Raised and recommissioned as USS Sailfish 9 February 1940

Sold for scrap 18 June 1948 to Luria Brothers and Company of Philadelphia, PA

Swordfish SS-193 Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA 4 January 1939 Depth charged by Japanese anti-submarine vessels 12 January 1945
Seadragon SS-194 Electric Boat, Groton, CT 21 April 1939 Sold for scrap 2 July 1948 to Luria Brothers and Company of Philadelphia, PA
Sealion SS-195 Electric Boat, Groton, CT 25 May 1939 Bombed by Japanese aircraft at Cavite Navy Yard 10 December 1941; scuttled 25 December 1941
Searaven SS-196 Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine 21 June 1939 Expended as target in Operation Crossroads atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll 11 September 1948
Seawolf SS-197 Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine 15 August 1939 Sunk by "friendly fire" from USS Richard M. Rowell (DE-403) 3 October 1944

See also[edit]

Media related to Sargo class submarines at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ a b c 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. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 269–270. ISBN 0-313-26202-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  4. ^ U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 202–204
  • Submarines, War Beneath The Waves, From 1776 To The Present Day, Robert Hutchinson.