USS Burrfish (SS-312)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Burrfish (SS-312) entering Pearl Harbor, c. 1944.
Burrfish entering Pearl Harbor c. 1944
United States
Name: USS Burrfish
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine[1]
Laid down: 24 February 1943[1]
Launched: 18 June 1943[1]
Commissioned: 13 September 1943[1]
Decommissioned: 10 October 1946[1]
Recommissioned: 2 November 1948[1]
Decommissioned: 17 December 1956[1]
Recommissioned: 17 January 1961[1]
Decommissioned: 11 May 1961[1]
Struck: 31 July 1969[2]
Identification: SS-312
Fate: Transferred to Canada, 11 May 1961[1]
Name: HMCS Grilse
Acquired: 11 May 1961
Commissioned: 11 May 1961
Decommissioned: 2 October 1969
Identification: SS-71
Fate: Returned to the U.S. Navy and sunk as a target off San Clemente Island, California, 19 November 1969
General characteristics
Class & type: Balao-class diesel-electric submarine[2]
  • 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]
  • 20.25 knots (38 km/h) surfaced[6]
  • 8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged[6]
  • 11,000 nmi. surfaced at 10 knots
  • (20,000 km at 19 km/h)[6]
  • 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged[6]
  • 75 days on patrol
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m)[6]
Complement: 10 officers, 70–71 enlisted[6]

USS Burrfish (SS/SSR-312) was a Balao-class submarine of the United States Navy named for the burrfish, a swellfish of the Atlantic coast. The vessel entered service in 1943 and saw action during World War II and in the postwar era. In 1961 Burrfish was loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy where she served as HMCS Grilse (SS-71) and was used primarily as a training boat from 1961 until 1969.

Construction and career[edit]

Burrfish was launched on 18 June 1943 by Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, sponsored by Miss Jane Elizabeth Davis, daughter of Senator James J. Davis from Pennsylvania. The boat was commissioned 14 September 1943, Commander William Beckwith Perkins, Jr. in command.

Burrfish's war operations extended from 2 February 1944 to 13 May 1945 during which period she completed six war patrols, sinking one 5,894-ton German tanker Rossbach in Japanese waters on 7 May 1944 and, along with USS Ronquil, a 200-ton patrol boat on 17 November 1944. Her operating area extended from the Western Caroline Islands to Formosa and the waters south of Japan. During her third war patrol the ship accomplished several special missions, conducting reconnaissance of the beaches of Palau and Yap where landings were planned.

On 20 December 1944, prior to her fifth war patrol, Lieutenant Commander M. H. Lytle relieved Commander W. B. Perkins, Jr. as commanding officer of Burrfish.[7]

Burrfish arrived at Pearl Harbor from her last war patrol 13 May 1945. On 16 May she was ordered to return to the United States for major overhaul and arrived at Portsmouth Navy Yard on 19 June. On 12 October 1945 she reported to New London, Connecticut, for inactivation and was placed out of commission in reserve on 10 October 1946.

On 2 November 1948 Burrfish was recommissioned and assigned to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for conversion to a radar picket submarine. Her designation was changed to SSR-312 on 27 January 1949 and her conversion was completed in November 1949.

Burrfish returned to duty with the active fleet 7 February 1950 and was assigned to Submarine Squadron 6 at Norfolk. Between February 1950 and June 1956 she completed three tours with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea; participated in several major type and inter-type exercises; and operated along the eastern seaboard as a radar picket ship.

On 5 June 1956 Burrfish sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to New London where she reported for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve 17 December 1956 and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Service with the Royal Canadian Navy[edit]

The submarine was recommissioned on 17 January 1961 as SS-312, decommissioned on 11 May 1961, and loaned to Canada, where she was commissioned in the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Grilse (SS-71), the second vessel to bear the name. Grilse was acquired by the Royal Canadian Navy for use as a training vessel for anti-submarine warfare training on the Pacific coast.[8] She was struck from the Naval Register, on 19 July 1969. Grilse was officially paid off from the Royal Canadian Navy on 2 October 1969 and returned to the US Navy the same day. Burrfish was sunk as a target off San Clemente Island, California, on 19 November 1969.[8]


Burrfish received five battle stars for her World War II service.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 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 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. ^ a b c d e Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 271–280. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9. 
  4. ^ U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
  5. ^ a b c U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  6. ^ a b c d e f U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  7. ^ "U.S.S. Burrfish, Report of the Fifth War Patrol". Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Macpherson and Barrie, p.267

External links[edit]