USS Cavalla (SS-244)

Coordinates: 29°20′08″N 94°46′42″W / 29.33556°N 94.77833°W / 29.33556; -94.77833
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USS Cavalla (SS-244)
Cavalla, possibly making her way to the International Naval Review in 1957.
Cavalla, possibly making her way to the International Naval Review in Norfolk, Va., 1957. She is in hunter-killer submarine (SSK) configuration, with a streamlined sail and large bow sonar housing for the BQR-4 sonar system.
United States
BuilderElectric Boat Company, Groton, Connecticut[1]
Laid down4 March 1943[1]
Launched14 November 1943[1]
Sponsored byMrs. M. Comstock
Commissioned29 February 1944[1]
Decommissioned16 March 1946[1]
Recommissioned10 April 1951[1]
Decommissioned3 September 1952[1]
Recommissioned15 July 1953[1]
Decommissioned3 June 1968[1]
  • SSK-244 on 18 February 1953
  • SS-244 on 15 August 1959
  • AGSS-244 on 1 July 1963
Stricken30 December 1969[1]
StatusMuseum ship at Galveston, Texas as of 21 January 1971[2]
NotesSank the Japanese carrier Shōkaku
General characteristics
Class and typeGato-class diesel-electric submarine[2]
  • 1,525 long tons (1,549 t) surfaced[2]
  • 2,424 long tons (2,463 t) submerged[2]
Length311 ft 9 in (95.02 m)[2]
Beam27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)[2]
Draft17 ft (5.2 m) maximum[2]
  • 21 kn (24 mph) surfaced[3]
  • 9 kn (10 mph) submerged[3]
Range11,000 nmi (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 kn (19 km/h)[3]
  • 48 hours at 2 kn (4 km/h) submerged[3]
  • 75 days on patrol
Test depth300 ft (90 m)[3]
Complement6 officers, 54 enlisted[3]
USS Cavalla (submarine)
USS Cavalla is located in Texas
USS Cavalla
USS Cavalla
USS Cavalla is located in the United States
USS Cavalla
USS Cavalla
LocationE. end of Seawolf Park,
Galveston, Texas
Coordinates29°20′08″N 94°46′42″W / 29.33556°N 94.77833°W / 29.33556; -94.77833
Area0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
NRHP reference No.08000477[7]
Added to NRHP27 May 2008

USS Cavalla (SS/SSK/AGSS-244), a Gato-class submarine, is a submarine of the United States Navy named for a salt water fish, best known for sinking the Japanese aircraft carrier Shōkaku.

Her keel was laid down on 4 March 1943 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 14 November 1943 (sponsored by Mrs. M. Comstock), and commissioned on 29 February 1944, Lieutenant Commander (later Rear Admiral) Herman J. Kossler, USN, (class of 1934) in command.

Operational history[edit]

Departing New London 11 April 1944, Cavalla arrived at Pearl Harbor 9 May, for voyage repairs and training. On 31 May 1944 the sub put to sea on active service for the first time.

First patrol[edit]

On her maiden patrol Cavalla, en route to her station in the eastern Philippines, made contact with a large Japanese task force on 17 June. Cavalla tracked the force for several hours, relaying information which contributed to the United States victory in the Battle of the Philippine Sea (commonly known as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot") on 19–20 June 1944. On 19 June, she caught the carrier Shōkaku recovering planes, and quickly fired a spread of five torpedoes, with four hits. Shōkaku sank at 11°50′N 137°57′E / 11.833°N 137.950°E / 11.833; 137.950. After a severe depth charging by three destroyers, Cavalla escaped to continue her patrol, having suffered relatively minor damage by depth charges from the Urakaze. The feat earned her a Presidential Unit Citation.

Second patrol[edit]

Cavalla's second patrol took her to the Philippine Sea as a member of a wolfpack operating in support of the invasion of Peleliu 15 September 1944.

Third patrol[edit]

On 25 November 1944, during her third patrol, Cavalla encountered two Japanese destroyers and made a surface attack which destroyed the Shimotsuki at 02°21′N 107°20′E / 2.350°N 107.333°E / 2.350; 107.333. The companion destroyer began depth charge attacks, while Cavalla evaded on the surface. Later in the same patrol, on 5 January 1945 Cavalla made a night surface attack on an enemy convoy and sank two converted net tenders (Kanko Maru, Shunsen Maru) at 05°00′S 112°20′E / 5.000°S 112.333°E / -5.000; 112.333.[8]

Fourth and fifth patrols[edit]

Cavalla cruised the South China and Java Seas on her fourth and fifth war patrols. Targets were few and far between, but she came to the aid of an ally on 21 May 1945. A month out on her fifth patrol, the submarine sighted HMS Terrapin, damaged by enemy depth charges and unable to submerge or make full speed. Cavalla stood by the damaged submarine and escorted her on the surface to Fremantle, arriving 27 May 1945.

Sixth patrol[edit]

Cavalla received the cease-fire order of 15 August while lifeguarding off Japan on her sixth war patrol. A few minutes later she was bombed by a Japanese plane that apparently had not yet received the same information or heard the Gyokuon-hōsō radio broadcast. She joined the fleet units entering Tokyo Bay 31 August, remained for the signing of the surrender on 2 September, then departed the next day for New London, arriving 6 October 1945. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 16 March 1946.


Recommissioned 10 April 1951, Cavalla was assigned to Submarine Squadron 8 and engaged in various fleet exercises in the Caribbean and off Nova Scotia. She was placed out of commission 3 September 1952 and entered Electric Boat Co. yard for conversion to a hunter-killer submarine (reclassified SSK-244, 18 February 1953). The SSK conversion included remodeling Cavalla's bow with the addition of a curved housing for a BQR-4 sonar system. The conversion included removal of two bow torpedo tubes, along with remodeling the original conning tower and bridge into the sail visible today.[9]

Cavalla was recommissioned 15 July 1953 and assigned to Submarine Squadron 10. Her new sonar made Cavalla valuable for experimentation, and she was transferred to Submarine Development Group 2 on 1 January 1954, to evaluate new weapons and equipment, and to participate in fleet exercises. She also cruised to European waters several times to take part in NATO exercises, and visited Norfolk, Va., for the International Naval Review (11–12 June 1957). On 15 August 1959, her classification reverted to SS-244.[10]

In November, 1961, Cavalla was ordered to Puerto Rico and provided electrical power via umbilical connection to USS Thresher (SSN-593) which had suffered a diesel generator failure while the nuclear reactor was shut down. Cavalla successfully assisted Thresher's restart of her reactor. Thresher was lost during post-overhaul sea trials on 10 April 1963 during a deep dive.[11]


USS Cavalla (SS-244), at the Seawolf Park in Galveston, Texas.

Cavalla was reclassified an "auxiliary submarine", AGSS-244, in July 1963. Cavalla was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register on 30 December 1969.

On 21 January 1971, Cavalla was transferred to the Texas Submarine Veterans of World War II. She now resides at Galveston Naval Museum in Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, just north of Galveston, Texas. Cavalla has undergone an extensive restoration process (see photos, below), and is open for self-guided tours. Among the early benefactors was then President of the Texas United States Submarine Veterans of World War II, Paul Francis Stolpman, and the former Texas secretary of state George Strake, Jr.[12]


See also[edit]


  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. 271–273. ISBN 0-313-26202-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e f U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  4. ^ 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. 270–280. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9. OCLC 24010356.
  5. ^ U.S. Submarines Through 1945 p. 261
  6. ^ a b c U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  7. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2 November 2013.
  8. ^ Lettens, Jan (15 November 2014). "Kanko Maru [+1945]".
  9. ^ "The Cavalla - Cold War Missions - SSK Conversion". Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  10. ^ Yarnall, Paul R. "USS Cavalla I (SS-244)". Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  11. ^ "The Cavalla-Thresher Incident". Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  12. ^ "USS Cavalla: Sponsors and Contributors". Retrieved 13 October 2009.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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