List of lost United States submarines
These United States submarines were lost either to enemy action or to "storm or perils of the sea."
Before World War II
|Ship name||Hull number||Date of loss||Cause||Approximate location|
|Turtle||NA||October 1776||Tender vessel sunk by British||Fort Lee, New Jersey|
|Alligator||NA||2 April 1862||Broke loose from tow and foundered||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
|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|
Additionally, 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 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.
During World War II
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. Some 16,000 submariners served during the war, of whom 375 officers and 3131 enlisted men were killed.
Fifty-two submarines of the United States Navy were lost during World War II. 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.
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 after 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|
|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; possibly enemy action by 4 escorts with aircraft or 1 submarine||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|
There are two additional casualties to submarines in World War II that are sometimes considered as effectively two additional losses, plus the loss of one S-boat used as an experimental hulk. 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 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. Postwar, she was listed as a Reserve Fleet submarine until stricken in 1958 and scrapped in 1959, having never gone to sea.
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.
After World War II
|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 and failure of the ballast tank blow system. Another "theory" is reactor plant scram occurred for tests, the inability to operate key reactor valves due to a flaw caused the inability to operate these valves and other valves to emergency surface. A problem in the procedures for a scram caused the inability to operate a very important steam plant valve causing a loss of propulsion. All these problems would have caused the boat to sink beyond crush depth.||200 nautical miles (370 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts|
Additionally, USS Guitarro (SSN-665) flooded and sank pierside 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. The submarine was raised, but completion was delayed 32 months. Guitarro was commissioned 9 September 1972.
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.
- Diamant, p. 33
- USS Alligator photo page at NavSource.org
- Blair, p.877.
- ″United States Submarine Losses World War II″, Naval History Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington: 1963 (Fifth Printing)
- Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1975), pp.991-2, ISBN 0-553-01050-6.
- Bauer & Roberts, p. 275
- Friedman through 1945, p. 297
- Silverstone, p. 199
- 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.
- Report of the Armed Services Investigating Subcommittee on the sinking of the Guitarro, 30 June 1969
- Navy news about USS Miami fire
- McDermott, Jennifer, "Fire-stricken submarine USS Miami is decommissioned", The Day, 29 March 2014; reprinted in Stars and Stripes
- Diamant, Lincoln (2004). Chaining the Hudson: The Fight for the River in the American Revolution. New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-2339-8. OCLC 491786080.
- Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-26202-0.
- Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
- Friedman, Norman (1994). U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 1-55750-260-9.
- Silverstone, Paul H., U.S. Warships of World War II, Ian Allan, 1965, ISBN 0-87021-773-9.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.