USS Ronquil (SS-396)

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Ronquil (SS-396) entering Pearl Harbor, c. 1944-45.
Career (US)
Name: USS Ronquil (SS-396)
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine[1]
Laid down: 9 September 1943[1]
Launched: 27 January 1944[1]
Commissioned: 22 April 1944[1]
Decommissioned: May 1952[1]
Recommissioned: 16 January 1953[1]
Decommissioned: 1 July 1971[1]
Struck: 1 July 1971[2]
Fate: Transferred to Spain, 1 July 1971[1]
Career (Spain) Spanish Navy Ensign
Name: SPS Isaac Peral (S-32)
Acquired: 1 July 1971
Decommissioned: 3 April 1984
General characteristics
Class & type: Balao class diesel-electric submarine[2]
Displacement: 1,526 tons (1,550 t) surfaced[2]
2,391 tons (2,429 t) submerged[2]
Length: 311 ft 6 in (94.95 m)[2]
Beam: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)[2]
Draft: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 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]
4 × high-speed Elliott electric motors with reduction gears [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 knots (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, 70–71 enlisted[4]
Armament: 10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
 (six forward, four aft)
 24 torpedoes[4]
1 × 5-inch (127 mm) / 25 caliber deck gun[4]
Bofors 40 mm and Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
General characteristics (Guppy IIA)
Displacement: 1,848 tons (1,878 t) surfaced[5]
2,440 tons (2,479 t) submerged[5]
Length: 307 ft (93.6 m)[6]
Beam: 27 ft 4 in (8.3 m)[6]
Draft: 17 ft (5.2 m)[6]
Propulsion: Snorkel added[5]

One diesel engine and generator removed[5]

Batteries upgraded to Sargo II[5]
Speed: Surfaced:
  • 17.0 knots (19.6 mph; 31.5 km/h) maximum
  • 13.5 knots (15.5 mph; 25.0 km/h) cruising

Submerged:

  • 14.1 knots (16.2 mph; 26.1 km/h) for ½ hour
  • 8.0 knots (9.2 mph; 14.8 km/h) snorkeling
  • 3.0 knots (3.5 mph; 5.6 km/h) cruising[5]
Armament: 10 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

 (six forward, four aft)[6]

all guns removed[5]

USS Ronquil (SS-396), a Balao-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy named after the ronquil, a spiny-finned fish found along the northwest coast of North America. It has a single dorsal fin and a large mouth and resembles the tropical jawfish.

Ronquil was laid down 9 September 1943 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, in Kittery, Maine; launched 27 January 1944, sponsored by Mrs. C. M. Elder; and commissioned 22 April 1944, Lieutenant Commander Henry S. Monroe in command.

World War II[edit]

After shakedown off the New England coast, Ronquil sailed for Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 8 July 1944; and, after preparatory training, sailed on her first war patrol (31 July – 8 September 1944) in the northeastern Formosa-Sakishima Gunto area. On 24 August the submarine sank two attack cargo ships: Yoshida Maru No. 3 (4,646 tons) and Fukurei Maru (5,969 tons). Ronquil’s second war patrol, from 30 September to 28 November 1944, was carried out in two phases. She first operated with a coordinated submarine attack group in the Bungo Suido area, and then joined six other submarines to carry out an antipatrol ship sweep off the Bonin Islands.

On her third war patrol, from 1 January to 14 February 1945, Ronquil patrolled the Bonins and did lifeguard duty in that area for Army bombers hitting the Japanese home islands. Her fourth war patrol from 11 March to 23 April 1945, brought her no worthwhile enemy targets but resulted in the rescue of 10 Army aviators from a B-29 bomber downed between the Bonins and Japan. The submarine's fifth and last patrol from 19 May to 26 July 1945, took her into the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea.

The end of the war in the Pacific found Ronquil off Pearl Harbor, training for another war patrol. She returned to San Diego in the fall of 1945 and engaged in training exercises off the California coast.

Post-war service[edit]

In January 1947, Ronquil departed San Diego for her first peacetime western Pacific deployment. This patrol lasted 114 days and took the submarine to Tahiti, the Carolines, the Marianas, Japan, and the Yellow Sea. On her return to San Diego, she resumed local operations before beginning a 3-year period of intensive training in offensive and antisubmarine warfare, embodying lessons learned during World War II as well as new postwar developments.

Ronquil entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard in May 1952 for decommissioning and "Guppy IIA" modernization: Her hull and sail were streamlined for greater submerged speed. She received new, increased-capacity batteries for underwater endurance, and a snorkel which enabled her to use her diesels at periscope depth. New electronics, including improved sonar and fire-control systems, were installed.

Ronquil was recommissioned on 16 January 1953, and on 12 June departed for Japan. She arrived at Yokosuka before sailing on to Tokyo on 19 July to take part in the "Black Ship Festival" commemorating Commodore Matthew Perry's opening of Japan in 1852. Throughout August and September, Ronquil participated in antisubmarine and other operations in the waters near Japan; this was to set the pattern for most of her later deployments.

On 11 December 1953 Ronquil returned to San Diego for a year of overhaul, refresher training, Naval Reserve training, and fleet exercises. She sailed for a second western Pacific tour on 21 March 1955, returning late in September. The next 2 years were devoted to operations off the west coast of the United States; on 31 July 1957, the submarine again deployed to the Far East for 7 months.

From 3 July to 7 July 1958, Ronquil took part, with other ships of the fleet, in an observance of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the "Great White Fleet" at San Francisco. She resumed normal operations, then sailed from San Diego on 6 April 1959 for a 5-month "WestPac" deployment. During July and August 1960, she participated in extensive antisubmarine exercises in the eastern Pacific with United States and Canadian forces.

In the early fall of 1961 Ronquil again sailed for the Far East, returning in March 1962. After taking part in a demonstration of antisubmarine operations for the national radio and television networks, she began a period of overhaul and local operations. The submarine departed San Diego in November 1963 for duty with the 7th Fleet; on her return to California, she again resumed operations off the west coast. Late in 1964 Ronquil began preparations for deployment to the Vietnam area. In February 1965 she sailed for Southeast Asia and a five-month deployment.

Filming Ice Station Zebra

In mid-1966, Ronquil rejoined the 7th Fleet, returning to San Diego in February 1967 for further work off the coast of California. This was interrupted in August, when Ronquil played the part of the fictional USS Tigerfish (SSN-509) in the motion picture Ice Station Zebra.

On 26 December the submarine was again underway for Japan. During this deployment, she took part in exercises with United States, British, Japanese, Australian, and Canadian forces. On 2 July 1968 Ronquil returned to the west coast. Ronquil departed for the Far East 4 July 1969, returning to San Diego on Christmas Eve.

At the end of January 1970 Ronquil began a period of repair and overhaul, followed by training and fleet exercises in the eastern Pacific. August 1970 brought another 7th Fleet deployment, returning to her homeport of San Diego on 5 March 1971. The Vietnam Service Medal was awarded for this deployment.

SPS Isaac Peral (S-32)[edit]

On 1 July 1971, Ronquil was decommissioned, struck from the Naval Register, and transferred to Spain, under the Mutual Security Assistance Act. The submarine was commissioned into the Spanish Navy as Isaac Peral (S-32), named after Spanish submarine pioneer Isaac Peral. Under her new commander Lt. Cmdr. Pedro Soler Yolif, she sailed from San Diego to her new homeport of Cartagena, Spain, arriving 22 August.

Isaac Peral faced retirement in 1982, but her service was extended until the commissioning of the new Siroco (S-72). The Spanish Navy decommissioned Isaac Peral on 3 April 1984.

Honors and awards[edit]

Ronquil earned six battle stars for World War II service.


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h 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. 275–280. 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 d e f g Friedman, Norman (1994). U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 11–43. ISBN 1-55750-260-9. 
  6. ^ a b c d U.S. Submarines Since 1945 pp. 242

External links[edit]