List of most successful American submarines in World War II

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Size of the Japanese merchant fleet during World War II (all figures in tons)[1]
Date Additions Losses Net change End of period total Index
12 July 1941 6,384,000 100
12/1941 44,200 51,600 −7,400 6,376,600 99
1942 661,800 1,095,800 −434,000 5,942,600 93
1943 1,067,100 2,065,700 −998,600 4,494,400 77
1944 1,735,100 4,115,100 −2,380,000 2,564,000 40
1/45 – 8/45 465,000 1,562,100 −1,097,100 1,466,900 23

In World War II, the United States Navy used submarines heavily. Overall, 263 US submarines undertook war patrols,[2] claiming 1,392 ships and 5,583,400 tons during the war.[3][a] Submarines in the United States Navy were responsible for sinking 540,192 tons or 30% of the Japanese navy and 4,779,902 tons of shipping, or 54.6% of all Japanese shipping in the Pacific Theater. Submarines were responsible for laying 18,553 mines.[4][5] At the beginning of the war, Japanese merchant ships had a carrying capacity of around six million tons. By the end of the war, in August 1945, the capacity was two million, with only 320,000 in condition to carry cargo.[6]

Submarine warfare began on 7 December 1941, when the Chief of Naval Operations ordered the navy to "execute unrestricted air and submarine warfare against Japan."[7] It appears the policy was executed without the knowledge or prior consent of the government.[5] The London Naval Treaty, to which the U.S. was signatory,[5] required submarines to abide by prize rules (commonly known as "cruiser rules"). It did not prohibit arming merchantmen,[5] but arming them, or having them report contact with submarines (or raiders), made them de facto naval auxiliaries and removed the protection of the cruiser rules.[8][9] This made restrictions on submarines effectively moot.[5] U.S. Navy submarines also conducted reconnaissance patrols, landed special forces and guerrilla troops and performed search and rescue tasks.[10] The submarines were so successful that by early 1944, they struggled to find targets.[11] The war against shipping was the single most decisive factor in the collapse of the Japanese economy, and the Cabinet of Japan reported to the National Diet after the war that “the greatest cause of defeat was the loss of shipping.”[7][12]

Starting in 1941, submarines patrolled the American Theater, hunting German U-boats and protecting shipping lanes. Submarine Squadron 50, formed in 1942, served in the European Theater. The squadron was present in several invasions, and hunted blockade runners, first off of Spain and later Norway. The ships scored several hits, but a lack of targets led to them being returned to the United States.[11]

Total tonnage[edit]

The USS Tang

With 116,454 tons sunk, the USS Tang sank the most tonnage of shipping in World War II. Its tonnage was revised from the Joint Army–Navy Assessment Committee (JANAC) report, which initially credited Tang with fewer sinkings. (93,824 tons and 24 ships) In 1980, the relevant JANAC section was officially replaced and updated.[13] The Tang sank more than 16,000 tons over the second highest submarine, the USS Flasher (100,231). All 23 other submarines sank between 99,901 (USS Rasher) and 59,800 (USS Archerfish) tons. Fourteen of the submarines were Gato-class, six were Balao-class, four were Tambor-class and one was Sargo-class.

Top-scoring American submarines of World War II by tonnage sunk
Boat Type Total
tonnage[14]
Ref(s)
Tang Balao-class submarine 116,454[b] [15][16]
Flasher Gato-class submarine 100,231 [15][17]
Rasher Gato-class submarine 99,901 [15][18]
Barb Gato-class submarine 96,628 [15][19]
Silversides Gato-class submarine 90,080 [15][20]
Spadefish Balao-class submarine 88,091 [21][22]
Trigger Gato-class submarine 86,552 [21][23]
Drum Gato-class submarine 80,580 [21][24]
Jack Gato-class submarine 76,687 [21][25]
Snook Gato-class submarine 75,473 [21][26]
Tautog Tambor-class submarine 72,606 [21][27]
Seahorse Balao-class submarine 72,529 [21][28]
Guardfish Gato-class submarine 72,424 [21][29]
Seawolf Sargo-class submarine 71,609 [21][30]
Gudgeon Tambor-class submarine 71,047 [21][31]
Sealion Balao-class submarine 68,297 [21][32]
Bowfin Balao-class submarine 67,882 [21][33]
Thresher Tambor-class submarine 66,172 [21][34]
Tinosa Gato-class submarine 64,655 [21][35]
Grayback Tambor-class submarine 63,835 [21][36]
Pogy Gato-class submarine 62,633 [21][37]
Bonefish Gato-class submarine 61,345 [21][38]
Wahoo Gato-class submarine 60,038 [21][39]
Sunfish Gato-class submarine 59,815 [21][40]
Archerfish Balao-class submarine 59,800 [21][41]

Ships sunk[edit]

The USS Tautog

With 33 ships sunk, the USS Tang sank the most tonnage of shipping in World War II. Its tonnage was revised from the Joint Army–Navy Assessment Committee (JANAC) report, which initially credited Tang with fewer sinkings. (93,824 tons and 24 ships) In 1980, the relevant JANAC section was officially replaced and updated.[13] The Tautog sank the second most, with 26. The other submarines sank from 23 (Silversides) to 14 (Kingfish) ships. Seventeen ships were Gato-class, four were Balao-class and three were Tambor-class.

Top-scoring American submarines of World War II by ships sunk
Boat Type Ships
sunk[14]
Ref(s)
Tang Balao-class submarine 33[c] [15][16]
Tautog Tambor-class submarine 26 [21][27]
Silversides Gato-class submarine 23 [15][20]
Flasher Gato-class submarine 21 [15][17]
Spadefish Balao-class submarine 21 [21][22]
Seahorse Balao-class submarine 20 [21][28]
Wahoo Gato-class submarine 20 [21][39]
Guardfish Gato-class submarine 19 [21][29]
Rasher Gato-class submarine 19 [21]
Seawolf Sargo-class submarine 18 [21][30]
Trigger Gato-class submarine 18 [21][23]
Snook Gato-class submarine 17 [21][26]
Barb Gato-class submarine 17 [15][19]
Thresher Tambor-class submarine 17 [21][34]
Bowfin Balao-class submarine 16 [21][33]
Harder Gato-class submarine 16 [21]
Tinosa Gato-class submarine 16 [21][35]
Pogy Gato-class submarine 16 [21][37]
Sunfish Gato-class submarine 16 [21][40]
Drum Gato-class submarine 15 [21][24]
Flying Fish Gato-class submarine 15 [21]
Greenling Gato-class submarine 15 [21]
Jack Gato-class submarine 15 [21][25]
Grayback Tambor-class submarine 14 [21]
Kingfish Gato-class submarine 14 [21][36]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the Pacific Theater, figures vary for the American and European Theaters
  2. ^ O'Kane 1989, p. 458. Her commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard O'Kane, explains the Joint Army–Navy Assessment Committee (JANAC) report initially credited Tang with fewer sinkings. (93,824 tons and 24 ships) In 1980, the relevant JANAC section "was officially replaced by the credits in the patrol reports."
  3. ^ O'Kane 1989, p. 458. Her commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard O'Kane, explains the Joint Army–Navy Assessment Committee (JANAC) report initially credited Tang with fewer sinkings. (93,824 tons and 24 ships) In 1980, the relevant JANAC section "was officially replaced by the credits in the patrol reports."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parillo, Mark (1993). The Japanese merchant marine in World War II. Annapolis Md.: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-677-1.
  2. ^ Gruner, 2012 p.3
  3. ^ Gruner, 2012 p.6
  4. ^ JANAC, 1947 p.vi
  5. ^ a b c d e Holwitt, Joel Ira (1 April 2009). "Execute against Japan": the U.S. decision to conduct unrestricted submarine warfare. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-60344-083-7 – via Project MUSE.
  6. ^ "U.S. Pacific Submarines In World War II". Historical Naval Ships Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  7. ^ a b "U.S. Pacific Submarines In World War II". Historical Naval Ships Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  8. ^ Doenitz, Karl (21 March 1997). Memoirs, ten years and twenty days. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-80764-0.
  9. ^ Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic run: the Royal Canadian Navy and the battle for the convoys. Annapolis Md.: Naval Institute Press.
  10. ^ Blair, Clay (1 March 2001). Silent victory: the U.S. submarine war against Japan. Annapolis Md.: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-217-9.
  11. ^ a b "Silent Victory 1940- 1945". www.public.navy.mil. Archived from the original on 2018-01-26. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  12. ^ Poirier, Michel Thomas (20 October 1999). "Results of the German and American Submarine Campaigns of World War II". Submarine Warfare Division. Archived from the original on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  13. ^ a b O'Kane 1989, p. 458
  14. ^ a b "Japanese Naval and Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II by All Causes". Joint Army–Navy Assessment Committee. 1947. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i 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.
  16. ^ a b "Tang I (SS-306)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. 25 September 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Flasher (SS-249)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 21 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Rasher (SS-269)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 19 January 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Barb I". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 22 June 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Silversides I (SS-236)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 9 September 2015.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao 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.
  22. ^ a b "Spadefish I (SS-411)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 15 September 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Trigger I (SS-237)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 30 September 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Drum (SS-228)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 21 February 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Jack I (SS-259)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 22 July 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Snook I (SS-279)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 10 September 2015.
  27. ^ a b "Tautog I (SS-199)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 25 September 2015.
  28. ^ a b "Seahorse I (SS-304)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 8 September 2015.
  29. ^ a b "Gaurdfish I (SS-217)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 13 July 2015.
  30. ^ a b "Seawolf I (SS-197)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 8 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Gudgeon I (SS-211)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 13 July 2015.
  32. ^ "USS Sealion (SS-315)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 8 September 2015.
  33. ^ a b "Bowfin (SS-287)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 21 April 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Thresher I (SS-200)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 30 September 2015.
  35. ^ a b "Tinosa I (SS-283)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 30 September 2015.
  36. ^ a b "Grayback I (SS-208)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 13 July 2015.
  37. ^ a b "Pogy I (SS-266)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 24 April 2015.
  38. ^ "Bonefish I (SS-223)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 26 June 2015.
  39. ^ a b "Wahoo I (SS-238)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 23 October 2015.
  40. ^ a b "Sunfish I (SS-281)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 24 September 2015.
  41. ^ "Archer-Fish (SS-311)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 2 February 2016.

Bibliography[edit]