USS Argonaut (SS-475)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Argonaut and HMCS Rainbow.
USS Argonaut (SS-475) 22 July 1963.jpg
USS Argonaut (SS-475) off the United States East Coast on 22 July 1963.
Career (United States)
Name: USS Argonaut (SS-475)
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine[1]
Laid down: 28 June 1944[1]
Launched: 1 October 1944[1]
Commissioned: 15 January 1945[1]
Decommissioned: 2 December 1968[1]
Struck: 2 December 1968[2]
Fate: Transferred to Canada, 2 December 1968[1]
HMCS Rainbow (SS-75).jpg
HMCS Rainbow (SS-75)
Career (Canada) Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Name: HMCS Rainbow (SS 75)
Acquired: 1968
Commissioned: 2 December 1968
Decommissioned: 31 December 1974
Fate: Scrapped in 1977
General characteristics
Class & type: Tench-class diesel-electric submarine[2]
Displacement: 1,570 tons (1,595 t) surfaced,[2] 2,414 tons (2,453 t) submerged[2]
Length: 311 ft 8 in (95.00 m)[2]
Beam: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)[2]
Draft: 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m) maximum[2]
Propulsion:

4 × Fairbanks-Morse Model 38D8-⅛ 10-cylinder opposed piston diesel engines driving electrical generators[2][3]
2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries[4]
2 × low-speed direct-drive Elliott electric motors [2]
two propellers [2]
5,400 shp (4.0 MW) surfaced[2]

2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged[2]
Speed: 20.25 knots (38 km/h) surfaced,[4] 8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged[4]
Range: 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 kn (19 km/h)[4]
Endurance: 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged,[4] 75 days on patrol
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m)[4]
Complement: 10 officers, 71 enlisted[4]
Armament: 10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
 (six forward, four aft)
 28 torpedoes[4]
1 × 5-inch (127 mm) / 25 caliber deck gun[4]
Bofors 40 mm and Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

USS Argonaut (SS-475) was a Tench-class submarine operated by the United States Navy (USN). Constructed at Portsmouth Navy Yard during the second half of 1944, Argonaut was commissioned into the USN in 1945 and operated during the final year of World War II, although her only contact with the Japanese was when she sank a junk in August.

During the 1950s, the submarine was modified for greater underwater endurance, and to carry a Regulus I missile. From 1963 to 1965, Argonaut operated in the Mediterranean.

The submarine was sold to Canada in 1968, commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Rainbow (SS 75), and operated until the end of 1974. The submarine was returned to the United States, and scrapped in 1977.

Construction[edit]

Argonaut was laid at Portsmouth Navy Yard at Kittery, Maine on 28 June 1944. She was launched on 1 October 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Allan R. McCann and commissioned on 15 January 1945, Lieutenant Commander John S. Schmidt in command.

Service history[edit]

World War II[edit]

USS Argonaut (SS-475) as she originally appeared, seen at the Panama Canal Zone during training in May 1945.

Argonaut held shakedown in the Portsmouth area and in Narragansett Bay and returned briefly to Portsmouth on 27 March for post-shakedown availability. She then sailed on 14 April for Key West, Florida, where she conducted special tests for lighter-than-air craft and training operations with the Fleet Sound School. Argonaut departed the Florida coast on 13 May to transit the Panama Canal en route Hawaii. Reaching Pearl Harbor on 11 June, the submarine spent two weeks in repairs and training exercises before beginning her first war patrol on 28 June.

She made a fuel stop at Saipan on 10 July and then proceeded to the Formosa Strait and the East China and Yellow Seas to search for enemy shipping. On 16 July, Argonaut spotted a downed aviator, picked him up, and later transferred him to Quillback. Her only contact with Japanese vessels during the patrol came on 12 August, when Argonaut sank a 25-ton junk with fire from her 40 mm and 20 mm guns. Since she terminated her patrol at Guam on 21 August, six days after Japan capitulated, this was her only combat action during World War II.

Post-war[edit]

Argonaut departed Guam on 1 September and proceeded, via Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal, to the Naval Frontier Base at Tompkinsville, New York. She arrived in New York on 4 October but continued on to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for an overhaul. Early in 1946, Argonaut was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and was based at Panama. While en route to Panama, Argonaut collided with light cruiser USS Honolulu (CL-48) off the United States East Coast between New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during a heavy fog. Both ships sustained minor damage and Argonaut continued on to Panama. Later in 1946, Argonaut became a unit of Submarine Squadron 2 (SubRon 2) based at New London, Connecticut.

In July 1952, the submarine underwent a major conversion at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, during which she received a snorkel system and a streamlined conning tower. These changes gave the submarine greater underwater endurance. Argonaut operated from New London until July 1955, when she was reassigned to SubRon 6 at Norfolk, Virginia. Following this move, Argonaut was converted to a guided-missile submarine armed with a Regulus I missile.

In 1958, Argonaut's home port was changed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she remained for a year, engaged primarily in missile operations. The submarine returned to Norfolk, Virginia in 1959. During an overhaul in early 1960, Argonaut's missile equipment was removed. When the alterations were completed, the submarine resumed her routine of supporting antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training operations out of Norfolk. Her Commanding Officer for 1960 to 1962 was lieutenant-commander (LCDR) Earl Resch.[5]

In June 1962, LCDR Theodore A. Curtin became Argonaut's Commanding Officer.[5] On 15 October 1962, Argonaut performed duties in conjunction with the naval quarantine of Cuba. She then had a routine overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The yard work was completed on 13 May 1963, and the submarine sailed to the New London area for refresher training. After further training in the Virginia Capes area, she got underway on 19 August for the Mediterranean and service with the 6th Fleet. Her ports of call during the deployment included Gibraltar; Suda Bay, Crete; Rhodes, Greece; İzmir, Turkey; Toulon, France; Marseille, France; Sanremo, Italy and Naples, Italy. The submarine returned to home port on 15 December.

Argonaut continued her routine of operations along the U.S. east coast with periodic deployments to the Mediterranean. LCDR Floyd Holloway[5] became her Commanding Officer in June 1964 (through 1966). On 1 December 1965 Argonaut commenced overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Argonaut left the shipyard on 10 June 1966 for sea trials, and on 20 January headed for New London for refresher training. She then provided services to the submarine school at New London through the remainder of 1966.

The submarine moved to Norfolk early in 1967, but left the Virginia Capes area on 9 January, bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico. Argonaut took part in Operation "Springboard" through the rest of January and most of February before leaving the Caribbean on 23 February to return to Norfolk, arriving there five days later. For the next two months, Argonaut prepared for a North Atlantic and Mediterranean cruise. She sailed on 26 May and made her first port call at Trondheim, Norway. The submarine also visited Cuxhaven, Germany; Leith, Scotland; Rota, Spain; Naples, Italy; and Valletta, Malta, before returning to her home port on 20 September. She remained in the local operating area through the duration of the year.

The submarine traveled to New London on 6 February 1968, entered drydock there on 9 February, and remained in it through 26 February. Argonaut left the keelblocks on 27 February and returned to Norfolk. She made a patrol in the Jacksonville, Florida operating area in mid-March and put in at Port Everglades, Florida on 22 March. Three days later the submarine got underway for her home port. Upon her arrival in Norfolk on 29 March, she assumed a schedule of local operations. This was interrupted by another cruise to Port Everglades in October. She returned that month to Norfolk and began preparations for deactivation. Argonaut was decommissioned on 2 December, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register that same day.

Royal Canadian Navy[edit]

She was sold to Canada, commissioned on 2 December 1968 in the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Rainbow (SS 75) and later decommissioned on 31 December 1974, returned to the United States and scrapped in 1977.

Awards[edit]

Argonaut earned one battle star for her World War II service.

Source[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f 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 Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 280–282. ISBN 0-313-26202-0. 
  3. ^ U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311.
  5. ^ a b c http://ussjuneau.net/CLAA119/Argonaut/pictures.htm