USS Catfish (SS-339)

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Catfish (SS-339) underway, during her visit to the Far East, 1956.
Catfish underway, during her visit to the Far East, 1956.
United States
Name: USS Catfish
Builder: Electric Boat Company, Groton, Connecticut[1]
Laid down: 6 January 1944[1]
Launched: 19 November 1944[1]
Commissioned: 19 March 1945[1]
Decommissioned: 1 July 1971[1]
In service:
  • World War II
  • Korean War
Struck: 1 July 1971[2]
Identification: SS-339
Fate: Transferred to Argentina, 1 July 1971[1]
Name: ARA Santa Fe
Acquired: 1 July 1971
In service: Falklands War
Fate: Captured by British during Falklands War and scuttled
General characteristics (As completed)
Class and type: Balao-class diesel-electric submarine[2]
  • 1,526 tons (1,550 t) surfaced[2]
  • 2,424 tons (2,463 t) submerged[2]
Length: 311 ft 9 in (95.02 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]
Range: 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (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]
General characteristics (Guppy II)
Class and type: none
  • 1,870 tons (1,900 t) surfaced[7]
  • 2,440 tons (2,480 t) submerged[7]
Length: 307 ft (93.6 m)[8]
Beam: 27 ft 4 in (7.4 m)[8]
Draft: 17 ft (5.2 m)[8]
  • Snorkel added[7]
  • Batteries upgraded to GUPPY type, capacity expanded to 504 cells (1 × 184 cell, 1 × 68 cell, and 2 × 126 cell batteries)[7]
  • 4 × high-speed electric motors replaced with 2 × low-speed direct drive electric motors[7]
  • Surfaced:
  • 18.0 knots (33.3 km/h) maximum
  • 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h) cruising
  • Submerged:
  • 16.0 knots (29.6 km/h) for ½ hour
  • 9.0 knots (16.7 km/h) snorkeling
  • 3.5 knots (6.5 km/h) cruising[7]
Range: 15,000 nm (28,000 km) surfaced at 11 knots (20 km/h)[8]
Endurance: 48 hours at 4 knots (7 km/h) submerged[8]
  • 9–10 officers
  • 5 petty officers
  • 70 enlisted men[8]
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • WFA active sonar
  • JT passive sonar
  • Mk 106 torpedo fire control system[8]

USS Catfish (SS-339), a Balao-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for the catfish.

U.S. Navy service[edit]

Catfish was launched 19 November 1944 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Connecticut; sponsored by Mrs. J. J. Crowley; and commissioned 19 March 1945, Lieutenant Commander W. A. Overton, USNR, in command.

Catfish sailed from New London 4 May 1945 for Pearl Harbor, arriving 29 June. After training and the installation of new equipment, she proceeded to Guam for special training, then departed 8 August on her first war patrol, a special mission to locate a minefield off Kyūshū. When the cease-fire order was given 15 August, she was ordered to the Yellow Sea for surface patrol and lifeguard duty. She returned to Guam 4 September, thence to the West Coast, arriving at Seattle 29 September.

Based at San Diego, Catfish operated locally on the west coast and made two cruises to the Far East during which she conducted simulated war patrols and provided services to the Seventh Fleet.

Catfish was extensively modernized in a GUPPY II conversion (August 1948–May 1949), giving her greater submerged speed and endurance. She was on another Far Eastern cruise when war broke out in Korea in which area she made a reconnaissance patrol in support of the United Nations forces. Catfish returned to the States 20 October 1950 and was based in San Diego.

After that the submarine carried out training exercises with Naval Reservists off the west coast, operated with the Canadian Forces in joint antisubmarine warfare exercises, and made several cruises to the Far East.


Argentine Navy service as ARA Santa Fe[edit]

Catfish was decommissioned, struck from the Naval Register, and sold to Argentina, 1 July 1971, where she was renamed ARA Santa Fe. In 1982, during the Falklands War Santa Fe was badly damaged and subsequently captured by British forces. Deemed too costly to economically repair as a war prize she was sunk in Grytviken Sound, South Georgia.


  1. ^ a b c d e f 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. 275–280. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9. 
  4. ^ U.S. Submarines Through 1945 p. 261
  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. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h U.S. Submarines Since 1945 pp. 242

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