List of lost United States submarines

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US Navy submarines "Still on Patrol" plaque at the Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

These United States submarines were lost either to enemy action or to "storm or perils of the sea."

Before World War II[edit]

Ship name Hull number Date of loss Cause Approximate location
Turtle NA October 1776 Tender vessel sunk by British[1] Fort Lee, New Jersey
Alligator NA 2 April 1862 Broke loose from tow and foundered[2] Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
F-1 SS-20 17 December 1917 Lost in collision with F-3 San Diego, California
F-4 SS-23 25 March 1915 Foundered due to battery acid leak Honolulu, Hawaii
H-1 SS-28 12 March 1920 Grounding Magdalena Bay, Mexico
O-5 SS-66 28 October 1923 Collision with SS Abangarez Limon Bay, Panama
O-9 SS-70 20 June 1941 Foundered on test dive Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire
S-4 SS-109 17 December 1927 Collision with Coast Guard destroyer Paulding;
raised and recommissioned 16 October 1928
Provincetown, Massachusetts
S-5 SS-110 1 September 1920 Foundered on dive Delaware Capes, New Jersey
S-51 SS-162 25 September 1925 Collision with SS City of Rome Block Island, Rhode Island
Squalus SS-192 23 May 1939 Foundered on test dive; raised and renamed Sailfish Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire


  • USS G-2 (SS-27), decommissioned as a target, flooded and sank unexpectedly 30 July 1919 in Two Tree Channel near Niantic, Connecticut with the loss of three crew.
  • USS S-48 (SS-159) foundered 7 December 1921 in 80 feet of water on a pre-commissioning dive. She was raised and commissioned 14 October 1922.
  • USS R-8 (SS-85) Decommissioned on 2 May 1931, she was berthed at Philadelphia until 26 February 1936 when she sank at her mooring. Later raised, she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 12 May 1936 and on 19 August she was used as a target vessel for an aerial bombing test.

During World War II[edit]

During World War II, the U.S. Navy's submarine service suffered the highest casualty percentage of all the American armed forces, losing one in five submariners.[3] Some 16,000 submariners served during the war, of whom 375 officers and 3131 enlisted men were killed.[4]

Fifty-two submarines of the United States Navy were lost during World War II.[5] Two -- Dorado (SS-248) and Seawolf (SS-197)—were lost to friendly fire (with S-26 (SS-131) probably additional friendly fire, as the collision with USS Sturdy (PC-460) appears due to being mistaken for a U-boat), at least two more --Tulibee and Tang—to defective torpedoes, and six to accident or grounding.[6]

Another eight submarines went missing while on patrol and are presumed to have been sunk by Japanese mines, as there were no recorded Japanese anti-submarine attacks in their patrol areas. The other thirty-three lost submarines are known to have been sunk by the Japanese.

Ship name Hull number Date of loss Cause Approximate location
Albacore SS-218 7 November 1944 Lost to enemy mine Northeast of Hokkaido
Amberjack SS-219 16 February 1943 Lost to enemy action by torpedo boat Hiyodori and submarine chaser No. 18 New Britain
Argonaut SM-1 10 January 1943 Lost to enemy action by destroyers Isokaze and Maikaze New Britain
Barbel SS-316 4 February 1945 Lost to enemy air attack Borneo
Bonefish SS-223 19 June 1945 Lost to enemy action, depth-charged by kaibokan Okinawa, CD-63, CD-75, CD-158, and CD-207 Sea of Japan
Bullhead SS-332 6 August 1945 Lost to enemy air attack; last US submarine loss of the war Java Sea
Capelin SS-289 Lost after 2 December 1943 Cause unknown, possibly naval mine or attack by minelayer Wakataka Celebes Sea
Cisco SS-290 28 September 1943 Lost to air attack and gunboat Karatsu (ex-USS Luzon) Mindanao
Corvina SS-226 16 November 1943 Torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-176 Truk
Darter SS-227 24 October 1944 Accidental grounding in pursuit of Japanese cruiser Takao Palawan Passage
Dorado SS-248 15 October 1943 Sunk by friendly fire air attack (PBM Mariner of Patrol Squadron 210) or possibly mines laid by U-214 Panama Canal Zone
Escolar SS-294 Lost between 17 October and 13 November 1944 Cause unknown, probably naval mine Yellow Sea
Flier SS-250 12 August 1944 Sunk by naval mine Balabac Strait, Philippines
Golet SS-361 14 June 1944 Lost to enemy action by escorts Miya Maru and Bunzan Maru Northern Japanese waters
Grampus SS-207 5 March 1943 Lost to enemy action by destroyers Minegumo and Murasame, or possibly to air attack by 958th Kōkūtai naval aircraft New Britain
Grayback SS-208 27 February 1944 Lost to enemy air attack Ryukyu Islands
Grayling SS-209 Lost between 9 and 12 September 1943 Cause unknown; possibly rammed by transport Hokuan Maru Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
Grenadier SS-210 21 April 1943 Scuttled following enemy air attack Strait of Malacca
Growler SS-215 8 November 1944 Lost to enemy action by destroyer Shigure and two other escorts Philippines
Grunion SS-216 30 July 1942 Cause unknown; possibly rammed by merchant ship Kano Maru Kiska Island, Alaska
Gudgeon SS-211 18 April 1944 Cause unknown; possibly air attack Maug Islands or possibly Iwo Jima[7]
Harder SS-257 24 August 1944 Lost to enemy action by kaibokan CD-22 Dasol Bay, Philippines
Herring SS-233 1 June 1944 Lost to enemy shore batteries Kurile Islands
Kete SS-369 Lost between 19 and 31 March 1945 Cause unknown; possibly enemy submarine or mines Ryukyu Islands
Lagarto SS-371 3 May 1945 Lost to enemy action by Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka Gulf of Thailand
Perch SS-176 3 March 1942 Scuttled following enemy action by Japanese destroyer Ushio Java
Pickerel SS-177 Lost between 3 and 30 April 1943 Cause unknown; possible enemy actions include one by minelayer Shirakami and auxiliary subchaser Bunzan Maru on 3 April 1943 Northern Honshu
Pompano SS-181 Lost between 17 September and 30 October 1943 Cause unknown; possibly naval mine or enemy action Northern Honshu
R-12 SS-89 12 June 1943 Cause unknown; foundered on training exercise off Key West, Florida
Robalo SS-273 26 July 1944 Cause unknown; probably naval mine West of Palawan Island
Runner SS-275 Lost between 26 June and 15 July 1943 Cause unknown; possibly naval mine Hokkaido
S-26 SS-131 24 January 1942 probably mistaken for a U-boat and rammed by USS Sturdy (PC-460) Gulf of Panama
S-27 SS-132 19 June 1942 Accidental grounding Amchitka Island, Alaska
S-28 SS-133 4 July 1944 Lost during anti-submarine exercise Oahu, Hawaii
S-36 SS-141 20 January 1942 Accidental grounding Makassar Strait
S-39 SS-144 14 August 1942 Accidental grounding Rossel Island
S-44 SS-155 7 October 1943 Enemy action by Japanese escort Ishigaki Kurile Islands
Scamp SS-277 11 November 1944 Enemy action by kaibokan CD-4 and aircraft Tokyo Bay
Scorpion SS-278 Lost between 6 and 30 January 1944 Cause unknown; probably naval mine East China Sea
Sculpin SS-191 19 November 1943 Scuttled following enemy action by Japanese destroyer Yamagumo Gilbert Islands
Sealion SS-195 10 December 1941 Scuttled 25 December 1941 following irreparable damage in air attack 10 December Cavite Navy Yard, Philippines
Seawolf SS-197 4 October 1944 Probably sunk by "friendly fire" from USS Richard M. Rowell (DE-403) Morotai Island
Shark SS-174 Lost between 8 February and 7 March 1942 Cause unknown; possibly sunk by Japanese destroyer Yamakaze or other enemy action Molucca Sea
Shark SS-314 24 October 1944 Lost to enemy action by Japanese destroyer Harukaze Luzon Strait
Snook SS-279 Lost between 9 and 20 April 1945 Cause unknown South China Sea
Swordfish SS-193 Lost between 9 and 30 January 1945 Cause unknown; possibly enemy action or naval mine Ryukyu Islands
Tang SS-306 25 October 1944 Sunk by circular run of own torpedo Formosa Strait
Trigger SS-237 28 March 1945 Lost to enemy action by kaibokan Mikura, CD-33, and CD-59; assisted by air attack Ryukyu Islands
Triton SS-201 15 March 1943 Cause unknown; probably enemy action Admiralty Islands
Trout SS-202 29 February 1944 Cause unknown; probably enemy action by Japanese destroyer Asashimo Okinawa
Tullibee SS-284 26 March 1944 Sunk by circular run of own torpedo Palau Islands
Wahoo SS-238 11 October 1943 Lost to air and surface attack by submarine chasers CH-15, CH-43 and 3 E13A1 Jakes La Perouse Strait

Additional casualties[edit]

There are two additional casualties to submarines in World War II that are sometimes considered as effectively two additional losses.

USS Halibut (SS-232) was damaged by Japanese air and surface forces on 14 November 1944. She was able to reach Saipan and later Pearl Harbor on 1 December, departing San Francisco for Portsmouth Navy Yard on 16 February 1945. There it was determined that she was a constructive total loss and beyond economical repair, but might be useful as a school ship, similar to the postwar immobile pierside training submarines. However, her career in this capacity was brief, and Halibut was decommissioned at Portsmouth Navy Yard 18 July 1945 and sold for scrap in January 1947.

USS Lancetfish (SS-296) was commissioned on 12 February 1945 and sank at pier 8 at the Boston Navy Yard on 15 March 1945, apparently without loss of life and reportedly still incomplete. She was raised eight days later, decommissioned on 24 March 1945, and never completed or fully repaired.[8][9][10] Postwar, she was listed as a Reserve Fleet submarine until stricken in 1958 and scrapped in 1959, having never gone to sea.

Additional incidents[edit]

The former USS R-19 (SS-96) was transferred to the Royal Navy 9 March 1942 and renamed as the RMS P.514. On 21 June 1942 she was rammed by the Royal Canadian Navy minesweeper HMCS Georgian and sank with all hands.

The former USS S-49 (SS-160) was sold in 1931 to a private owner for use as a tourist attraction, with the hulk reacquired by the U.S. Navy for "experimental purposes" in 1941. She foundered and sank in the Patuxent River 16 December 1942.

The former USS S-25 (SS-130) was transferred to the Royal Navy 4 November 1941 and renamed as the RMS P.551 then transferred to the Polish Navy in exile and renamed ORP Jastrząb. On 2 May 1942 she was attacked in a friendly fire incident by a Royal Navy minesweeper and destroyer and sank with all hands.

The USS R-1 (SS-78), originally commissioned on 16 December 1918 and decommissioned after more than 12 years of service, was recommissioned and served for five additional years during WWII. R-1 was decommissioned at Key West on 20 September 1945 and was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 10 November. Still at Key West awaiting disposal on 21 February 1946, the submarine sank in 21 feet (6.4 m) of water. Raised three days later, she was sold for scrap on 13 March 1946

After World War II[edit]

Ship name Hull number Date of loss Cause Approximate location
Cochino SS-345 26 August 1949 Lost to accidental fire and battery explosion Norwegian Sea
Scorpion SSN-589 Lost between 22 May and 5 June 1968 Cause unknown; numerous theories have been advanced. Recent deep submergence photography indicates the possibility of an implosion event not unlike the USS Thresher. North Atlantic Ocean, 400 nautical miles (740 km) southwest of the Azores
Stickleback SS-415 20 May 1958 Collision with USS Silverstein (DE-534) Oahu, Hawaii
Thresher SSN-593 10 April 1963 Exact cause unknown; one theory is a seawater leak led to a reactor plant shutdown, compounded by a heavy trim (excess negative buoyancy) and an inadequate ballast tank blow system. Another theory is that a reactor plant scram occurred for tests; a flaw caused an inability to operate key reactor valves and other valves, which prevented emergency surfacing or a problem in the procedures for a scram caused the inability to operate a very important steam plant valve causing a loss of propulsion. Any of these problems could have caused the boat to sink beyond crush depth. 200 nautical miles (370 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Additional incidents[edit]

USS Tarpon (SS-175) Was decommissioned on 15 November 1945 and sold for scrap 8 June 1957. The Tarpon foundered in deep water, south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on 26 August 1957, while under tow to the scrap yard.

USS Guitarro (SSN-665) flooded and sank pier-side prior to commissioning at Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 15 May 1969. Two shipyard teams, apparently unaware of each other's efforts, were conducting work involving filling tanks in both the forward and after portions of the submarine. Eventually the lack of coordination led to flooding through the bow hatch.[11] The submarine was raised, but completion was delayed 32 months. Guitarro was commissioned on 9 September 1972.

USS Bugara (SS-331) was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register 1 October 1970. On 1 June 1971, while under tow near Cape Flattery, Washington state, Bugara swamped and sank accidentally.[12]

USS Bonefish (SS-582) was not repaired after a fire near Florida on 24 April 1988 that killed three crewmembers. She was decommissioned 28 September 1988 and hulked 17 August 1989. The hull was later purchased by Northrop Grumman for testing.

USS Miami (SSN-755) experienced a fire during overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 23 May 2012 that caused significant damage, though with no loss of life. A civilian shipyard worker confessed to arson. Although repairs were considered, using components from the decommissioned USS Memphis (SSN-691), the estimated cost of $700 million was considered uneconomical in a time of reduced budgets. Miami was decommissioned on 28 March 2014, to be disposed of via the nuclear Ship-Submarine Recycling Program.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Diamant, p. 33
  2. ^ USS Alligator photo page at
  3. ^
  4. ^ Blair, p.877.
  5. ^ ″United States Submarine Losses World War II″, Naval History Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington: 1963 (Fifth Printing)
  6. ^ Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1975), pp.991-2, ISBN 0-553-01050-6.
  7. ^ Gudgeon (SS-211) at
  8. ^ Bauer & Roberts, p. 275
  9. ^ Friedman through 1945, p. 297
  10. ^ Silverstone, p. 199
  11. ^ Report of the Armed Services Investigating Subcommittee on the sinking of Guitarro, 30 June 1969
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Navy news about USS Miami fire
  14. ^ McDermott, Jennifer, "Fire-stricken submarine USS Miami is decommissioned", The Day, 29 March 2014; reprinted in Stars and Stripes

External links[edit]