USS Flier (SS-250)

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USS Flier (SS-250) off the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California (USA), 20 April 1944 (NH 98325).jpg
United States
BuilderElectric Boat Company, Groton, Connecticut[1]
Laid down30 October 1942[1]
Launched11 July 1943[1]
Sponsored byMrs. A. S. Pierce
Commissioned18 October 1943[1]
FateMined in the Balabac Strait, 13 August 1944[2]
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 (39 km/h) surfaced[3]
  • 9 kn (17 km/h) 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 Flier (SS-250) was a Gato-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the flier.[7]

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Flier′s keel was laid down 30 October 1942 by Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 11 July 1943, sponsored by Mrs. A. S. Pierce), and commissioned on 18 October 1943.[7]

First war patrol[edit]

Flier reached Pearl Harbor from New London, Connecticut, on 20 December 1943, and prepared for her first war patrol, sailing 12 January 1944.[7] However, the submarine ran aground near Midway Island on 16 January. Macaw, a Chanticleer-class submarine rescue ship, attempted to pull Flier free but ran aground herself and sank. Flier was eventually saved by Florikan and towed to first Pearl Harbor and then the Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs.[8] On 21 May she sailed again for action, heading for a patrol area west of Luzon. She made her first contact on 4 June, attacking a well-escorted convoy of five merchantmen.[7] Firing three torpedoes at each of two ships, she sent the transport Hakusan Maru 10,380 tons to the bottom and scored a hit on another ship, before clearing the area to evade countermeasures.[7][8]

On 13 June 1944, Flier attacked a convoy of 11 ships, cargo carriers and tankers, guarded by at least six escorts. The alert behavior of the escorts during the attack resulted in a severe counterattack on Flier before she could observe what damage she had done to the convoy. On 22 June, she began a long chase after another large convoy, scoring four hits for six torpedoes fired at two cargo ships that day, and three hits for four torpedoes launched against another cargo ship of the same convoy the next day.[7]

Second war patrol[edit]

Flier put into Fremantle submarine base, Western Australia, to refit between 5 July and 2 August 1944, then sailed on her second war patrol, bound for the coast of Indochina via the Lombok Strait, Macassar Strait and Balabac Strait. At about 2200 on 12 August, while transiting Balabac Strait on the surface, she struck a naval mine. She sank in about a minute, but 15 officers and men were able to clamber out. Eight of them reached the beach of Byan Island after 17 hours in the water. Philippine guerrillas guided them to a coastwatcher, who arranged for them to be picked up by submarine, and on the night of 30–31 August, they were taken on board by Redfin.[7][9]

Flier received one battle star for World War II service on her single war patrol, designated "successful." She is credited with having sunk 10,380 tons of Japanese shipping. See also List of U.S. Navy losses in World War II.[7]


On 1 February 2009, the U.S. Navy announced the discovery of Flier near the Philippines' Balabac Strait (7°58′43.21″N 117°15′23.79″E / 7.9786694°N 117.2566083°E / 7.9786694; 117.2566083Coordinates: 7°58′43.21″N 117°15′23.79″E / 7.9786694°N 117.2566083°E / 7.9786694; 117.2566083[10]). The discovery of a Gato-class submarine was made during an expedition by YAP Films, based in part on information provided by a survivor of the sinking of Flier. Further research by the Naval History and Heritage Command revealed that no other submarine, American or Japanese, had been reported lost in that general vicinity. In addition, footage of the wreck showed a gun mount and radar antenna, both of which were similar to the same equipment seen in contemporary photographs of Flier. The ship rests in 330 ft (100 m) of water.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b c d e f g h "Flier". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  8. ^ a b "USS Flier (SS-250), 1943-1944". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  9. ^ Moore, Stephen (2016). As Good As Dead: The Daring Escape of American POWs From A Japanese Death Camp. New York: Caliber. pp. 126–128. ISBN 9780399583551.
  10. ^ "Dive Detectives" National Geographic Program "Submarine Graveyard"
  11. ^ "Navy Confirms Sunken Sub in Balabac Strait is USS Flier". United States Navy. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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