USS Sea Poacher (SS-406)
|Name:||USS Sea Poacher (SS-406)|
|Builder:||Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine|
|Laid down:||23 February 1944|
|Launched:||20 May 1944|
|Commissioned:||31 July 1944|
|Decommissioned:||15 November 1969|
|Struck:||15 August 1973|
|Fate:||Transferred to Peru, 1 July 1974|
|Name:||Initially BAP Pabellón de Pica (S-49), changed a few weeks later to La Pedrera|
|Acquired:||1 July 1974|
|Class and type:||Balao class diesel-electric submarine|
|Displacement:||1,526 tons (1,550 t) surfaced
2,401 tons (2,440 t) submerged
|Length:||311 ft 8 in (95.00 m)|
|Beam:||27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)|
|Draft:||16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) maximum|
|Propulsion:||4 × Fairbanks-Morse Model 38D8-⅛ 10-cylinder opposed piston diesel engines driving electrical generators
|Speed:||20.25 knots (38 km/h) surfaced
8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged
|Range:||11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h)|
|Endurance:||48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged
75 days on patrol
|Test depth:||400 ft (120 m)|
|Complement:||10 officers, 70–71 enlisted|
|Armament:||10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
(six forward, four aft)
1 × 5-inch (127 mm) / 25 caliber deck gun
Bofors 40 mm and Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
|General characteristics (Guppy IA)|
|Class and type:||Balao-class submarine (?)|
|Displacement:||1,830 tons (1,859 t) surfaced
2,440 tons (2,479 t) submerged
|Length:||307 ft 7 in (93.8 m)|
|Beam:||27 ft 4 in (8.3 m)|
|Draft:||17 ft (5.2 m)|
Batteries upgraded to Sargo II
|Range:||17,000 nm (28,000 km) surfaced at 11 knots (20 km/h)|
|Endurance:||36 hours at 3 knots (6 km/h) submerged|
5 petty officers
64–69 enlisted men
|Armament:||10 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
(six forward, four aft)
Sea Poacher (SS-406) was built by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine; launched on 20 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. J. H. Spiller, wife of Commander Spiller, hull superintendent at the Navy Yard; and commissioned on 31 July 1944, Commander Francis M. Gambacorta in command.
World War II
Following underway trials, training, and shakedown in the Portsmouth, N.H., and New London, Conn., areas, Sea Poacher transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 25 October 1944. Although her first two war patrols were unproductive, during the third, conducted in the Kuril Islands area, Sea Poacher torpedoed and sank a Japanese trawler and, four days later, sent two fishing boats to the bottom in a surface attack. During the latter action, three crewmen were injured when the 20 millimeter gun exploded. Due to the seriousness of their injuries, the patrol was terminated ahead of schedule, and the submarine returned to Midway.
1946 – 1974
From 1946 to 1949, Sea Poacher was based at Balboa, Canal Zone, as a unit of Submarine Squadron 6 (SubRon 6) engaging in fleet exercises and antisubmarine training, and, on 1 June 1949, was transferred to Key West, Fla., as a unit of SubRon 4. In 1951, the submarine became the first GUPPY IA conversion performed at the Charleston Naval Shipyard.
For the remainder of her 25-year career, Sea Poacher operated for the most part in the Key West, Fla., and Caribbean areas, providing services to various units of the Atlantic Fleet with time out for tours of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and various exercises with NATO forces. On 10 July 1952, while operating in the Key West area, the submarine had the unique experience of rescuing a blimp which had suffered an engine casualty and was floating helplessly in the water. The submarine promptly came to the aid of the stricken airship and proceeded to tow it the 40 miles (64 km) back to its base at Naval Air Station, Boca Chica, Fla.
In July 1959, Sea Poacher was transferred to SubRon 12, also based at Key West, and continued to serve as a unit of this squadron for the remainder of her active service. In the fall of 1962, Sea Poacher was deployed with other Atlantic Fleet units maintaining the quarantine imposed on Cuba during the missile crisis.
In 1969, Sea Poacher concluded her service with a 3 1⁄2-month deployment to the eastern and northern Atlantic areas to participate in antisubmarine training exercises with units of the Spanish and Portuguese navies. Upon returning to Key West, the submarine operated locally and in the Caribbean until 20 October when she set sail for Philadelphia and in-activation. Sea Poacher was reclassified an Auxiliary Submarine AGSS-306 on 1 November, decommissioned on 15 November 1969, and was assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia. On 30 June 1971, she reassumed the designation of a fleet submarine (SS). On 15 August 1973, her name was struck from the Navy List, and the submarine was sold to Peru in July 1974.
Honors and awards
BAP La Pedrera (S-49)
Sea Poacher was transferred (sold) under terms of the Security Assistance Program, to Peru, 1 July 1974. She was commissioned into the Peruvian Navy, initially as BAP Pabellón de Pica (S-49), but her name was changed a few weeks later to La Pedrera. She was taken out of service in 1995, and relegated to pierside training.
- 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.
- 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.
- U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
- U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305-311
- 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.
- U.S. Submarines Since 1945 pp. 242
- Photo gallery of Sea Poacher at NavSource Naval History
- seapoacher.com: USS Sea Poacher Association Official Website