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For the submarine named Ghazi, bought by the Pakistan Navy in 2000, see NRP Cachalote (S165)
PNS Ghazi
USS Diablo while in the Caribbean in 1949
Ghazi in action.
Career (US)
Name: USS Diablo (SS-479)
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine[1]
Laid down: 11 August 1944[1]
Launched: 1 December 1944[1]
Commissioned: 31 March 1945[1]
Decommissioned: 1 June 1964[1]
Struck: 4 December 1971[2]
Fate: Transferred to Pakistan, 1 June 1964[1]
Career (Pakistan)
Name: PNS Ghazi
Acquired: 1 June 1964
Refit: 1971
Honors and
2 Sitara-e-Jurat, President's citations and 8 other awards.
Fate: Sank during the Indo-Pakistan War, 4 December 1971[3][4][5][6]
General characteristics
Class & type: Tench-class diesel-electric submarine[2]
Displacement: 1,570 long tons (1,595 tonne) surfaced[2]
2,414 tons (2,453 t) submerged[2]
Length: 311 ft 8 in (95.00 m)[2]
Beam: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)[2]
Draft: 17 ft (5.2 m) maximum[2]
  • 4 × Fairbanks-Morse Model 38D8-⅛ 10-cylinder opposed piston diesel engines driving electrical generators[7][8]
  • 2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries[9]
  • 2 × low-speed direct-drive Elliott electric motors[7]
  • two propellers [7]
  • 5,400 shp (4.0 MW) surfaced[7]
  • 2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged[7]
Speed: 20.25 knots (37.50 km/h; 23.30 mph) surfaced[10]
8.75 knots (16.21 km/h; 10.07 mph) submerged[10]
Range: 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km; 13,000 mi) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)[10]
Endurance: 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) submerged[10]
75 days on patrol
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m)[10]
Complement: 10 officers, 71 enlisted (US service)[10]
7 officers and 69 men (Pakistani service)
Armament: 10 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes (6 forward, 4 aft), 28 torpedoes[10]
1 × 5-inch (127 mm)/25-caliber deck gun
1 × Bofors 40 mm cannon (US service)
1 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannon (later 2)
2 × .30 cal. machine guns (Pakistani service)
Minelaying capability after refit

PNS Ghazi (previously USS Diablo (SS-479); reporting name: Ghazi) was a Tench-class diesel-electric submarine[2] and the first ever attack submarine of Pakistan Navy (PN), leased from United States in 1963. She saw action in the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan. The submarine could be armed with up to 28 torpedoes and, in later years, was re-fitted in Turkey for mine-laying capability. Starting from being the only submarine in the war theater in 1965, it remained the Pakistan Navy's flagship submarine until she sank near the eastern coast of India during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War en route to the Bay of Bengal under mysterious circumstances.[11] The Indian Navy credits Ghazi's sinking to the destroyer INS Rajput;[3][4][5] however, Pakistan's official sources state that "the submarine sank due to either an internal explosion or accidental detonation of mines being laid by the submarine off the Vishakapatnam harbour" with neutral sources confirming Rajput still in its port when the submarine sank.[6][12][13][14]

Service with United States Navy

USS Diablo (SS/AGSS-479), a Tench-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the diablo, a member of the batfishdisambiguation needed family, common in the West Indies and along the southern coast of the United states. Her keel was laid down by the Portsmouth Navy Yard. She was launched on 1 December 1944 sponsored by Mrs. V. D. Chapline, and commissioned on 31 March 1945 with Lieutenant Commander G. G. Matherson in command.

Diablo arrived at Pearl Harbor from New London, Connecticut, on 21 July 1945. She sailed for her first war patrol 10 August with instructions to stop at Saipan for final orders. With the cease fire, her destination was changed to Guam where she arrived 22 August. On the last day of the month she got underway for Pearl Harbor and the East Coast arriving at New York City on 11 October. Except for a visit to Charleston, South Carolina, in October, she remained at New York until 8 January 1946.

From 15 January 1946 to 27 April 1949 Diablo was based in the Panama Canal Zone participating in fleet exercises and rendering services to surface units in the Caribbean Sea. From 23 August to 2 October 1947 she joined Cutlass (SS-478) and Conger (SS-477) for a simulated war patrol down the west coast of South America and around Tierra del Fuego. The three submarines called at Valparaíso, Chile, in September while homeward bound. Diablo sailed to Key West, Florida, for antisubmarine warfare exercises, from 16 November to 9 December 1947, and operated from New Orleans, Louisiana, for the training of naval reservists in March 1948.

Diablo arrived at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, her new home port, 5 June 1949, and participated in Operation "Convex" in 1951, and alternated training cruises with duty at the Sonar School at Key West. Her home port became New London in 1952 and she arrived there 17 September to provide training facilities for the Submarine School. From 3 May to 1 June 1954 she was attached to the Operational Development Force at Key West for tests of new weapons and equipment. She participated in Operation "Springboard" in the Caribbean from 21 February to 28 March 1955, and continued to alternate service with the Submarine School with antisubmarine warfare and fleet exercises in the Caribbean and off Bermuda, as well as rendering services to the Fleet Sonar School and Operational Development Force at Key West. Between February and April 1959 she cruised through the Panama Canal along the coasts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile for exercises with South American navies. On 27 May 1960 she entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for an overhaul which continued through October 1960. Originally launched in 1944 as the Diablo, a long-range Tench-class submarine built by the Portsmouth Navy Yard. She was launched on 1 December 1944, and commissioned on 31 March 1945. In 1962, her hull classification symbol was changed to AGSS-479.

In 1963, Diablo was transferred to the Pakistan on a four-year lease under the terms of the Security Assistance Program. After an extensive overhaul and conversion to Fleet Snorkel configuration in the United States, she was commissioned into the Pakistani Navy as PNS Ghazi on 1 June 1964. She reported for duty in Karachi in September of that year.

Service with Pakistan Navy

Ghazi was the first submarine to be operated by a navy in the Indian subcontinent becoming a serious threat to the Indian Navy.

1965 war

Ghazi, the only submarine in the conflict arena,[15] was deployed in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 to attack heavy ships of the Indian Navy, and the ships aiding Operation Dwarka. Though the submarine did not score any hits, it was a significant threat to any ships that came out of harbour (with that being its mission), but none came out. It won 10 awards including two decorations of Sitara-e-Jurat and the President's citations. The commanding officer Commander Karamat Rahman Niazi (later 4-star admiral), second-in-command Lieutenant Commander Ahmed Tasnim, and Lieutenant Zafar Muhammad Khan won a Sitara-e-Jurat. After the war, the submarine was sent to Turkey for a $1.5 million refit in 1967-68. Her spares were to be provided from Turkish stocks.

1971 war

Sensing a deteriorating military scenario with the transfer of Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant close to East Pakistan, the Pakistan Military decided to negate the threat by deploying its flagship submarine. On 14 November, Ghazi sailed out of harbour on a reconnaissance patrol under the command of Cdr. Zafar Muhammad Khan with 92 hands on board. It was expected to report on 26 November. The submarine sailed 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometres) around the Indian peninsula from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal.

After the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, Indian Navy went to a rapid program of modernization and expansion due the success of Operation Dwarka carried out by Pakistan Navy.[16] Pakistan's Eastern Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding Rear-Admiral Mohammad Shariff had proposed the idea of deploying of single combatant squadron of warships and strengthening the naval defense of East-Pakistan.

The Naval Combatant Headquarters of the Pakistan Navy considered the proposals till the end of the year of 1971. None were considered feasible and the Pakistan Navy in the eastern theater was in no position to counter the Indian naval challenge by the end of the year. Pakistan's response to Indian military deployments around East Pakistan were a series of ad hoc measures, taken from time to time. Dispatch of Ghazi to India's eastern seaboard, not part of the original plans, was one such step taken at the insistence of the Pakistan military high command to reinforce Eastern Command. The Pakistan Army's Combatant Headquarter, the GHQ, mounted pressure on the Pakistan Navy to extend the sphere of its operations into the Bay of Bengal. This increased with the growth of Indian and Indian-inspired naval activities in and around East Pakistan. Ghazi, aging but being the only submarine which had the range and capability to undertake operations in the distant waters under control of the enemy, was pressed into operation to destroy or damage Vikrant.[17]

The officer in command of the submarine service branch of the Pakistan Navy and the junior officers and commander of Ghazi had objected to the plan as it was proposed by the army and naval officers during the briefing session. It was difficult to sustain such naval operations in a distant area of Bay of Bengal, in the total absence of repair, logistics and recreational facilities in the vicinity. At this time, submarine repair facilities were totally absent at Chittagong — the only Pakistani sea port in the east during this period. To her earlier commanders, the mission was considered highly dangerous and impossible to achieve by sending an obsolete submarine behind enemy lines. The commanders at NHQ overruled the objections, and instead planned a reconnaissance operation, which led to launching of the submarine operations in the eastern theater. Per the recommendation of senior naval officers and commanders, Ghazi's command was changed immediately to the newer and younger naval officers. On 14 November 1971, Ghazi sailed out from her base under the new command of Commander Zafar Muhammad Khan, who was promoted to this rank 4 days before, with 92 men aboard.


The mysterious sinking of Ghazi took place somewhere around 4 December 1971 during Pakistani Navy's submarine assault on the aircraft carrier Vikrant and/or mine-laying mission on Vishakapatnam Port, Bay of Bengal.[17]

On 14 November 1971, Ghazi sailed out of harbour on a reconnaissance patrol mission under the command of Cdr. Zafar Muhammad Khan with 93 hands on board. It was expected to report on 26 November.[17] Deployment of Ghazi was part of Pakistan Navy reconnaissance operations in Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal. The Ghazi was 400 miles off Bombay on 16 November, off Ceylon on 19 November, and entered the Bay of Bengal on 20 November 1971. She started looking for the Vikrant on 23 November off Madras but was not aware that she was 10 days too late and the Vikrant was actually somewhere near the Andaman islands. Vice Admiral Krishnan sent for Captain Inder Singh, the commanding officer of the Rajput for detailed briefing at about 16:00 on 1 December and told him that a Pakistani submarine had been sighted off Ceylon and was absolutely certain that the submarine would be somewhere around Madras/Vishakapatnam. He made it clear that once Rajput had completed refueling, she must leave the harbor with all navigational aids switched off.[18]

At 23:40 on 3 December, taking on board a pilot, Rajput moved through the channel to the exit from Vishakhapatnam.[18][19]

Exactly at midnight, shortly after passing the entrance buoy, starboard lookout reported breaker on the surface of the water right on the nose. Singh, changing the course at full speed across the specified point and ordered to lose at this point, two depth charges, and that was done. The explosions were "stunning", and the ship suffered a serious concussion. However, visible results of this attack are not given. Rajput for some time surveyed the area dumping bombs, no longer found any contact — either visual or acoustic. A few minutes later the destroyer continued on her way to the coast of East Pakistan.[18][19]

Ghazi sank with all 92 hands on board due to unknown circumstances[17] off the Vishakapatnam coast, allowing the Indian Navy to effect a naval blockade of then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

Intelligence and deception

According to Indian Vice Admiral Mihir K. Roy, who was Director of Intelligence during this period, its existence was revealed when signal addressed to naval authorities in Chittagong was intercepted, requesting information on a lubrication oil only used by submarines and minesweepers.[17][20]

Management from the Indian Navy began to realize that the Pakistanis would inevitably be forced to send in the Bay of Bengal their submarine Ghazi as the sole ship which could operate in these waters. At that time, Vice Admiral N. Krishnan was the Flag officer Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Navy's eastern Naval Command. From his point of view, it was pretty clear that Pakistan would have deployed the Ghazi in the Bay of Bengal and a part of its plan was an attempt to sink the Indian aircraft carrier Vikrant. Fearing a possible attack primarily against its own aircraft carrier deployed in the region, Indian commanders had taken early action, in the period preceding the outbreak of hostilities, to slip Vikrant aircraft carrier groups at a secret anchorage in the Andaman Islands, designated as "X-Ray". On 13 November, Vikrant with escort ships went from Madras to this point. At the same time concerted action was taken to disseminate information designed to mislead the enemy about the true location of the aircraft carrier, and to foster confidence that the carrier was stationed at Visakhapatnam.[18]

Contracts were placed for delivery in Visakhapatnam of large quantities of food, especially meat and fresh vegetables, allegedly destined for the Eastern Fleet ships. A private telegram was allegedly sent from Vishakhapatnam from one of the sailors of the aircraft carrier, inquiring about the health of his ailing mother. All these activities were apparently successful in deceiving the enemy. 25 November, the Pakistani command sent communication to the Ghazi saying that "intelligence indicates the finding of an aircraft carrier in port".[19]


Ghazi was expected to report back to Karachi Naval dockyard on November 26 of 1971. Commanding officer of Ghazi, Commander Zafar Muhammad Khan was ordered to submit a report over the mission's course. On November 26, Ghazi failed to return to her base, and the base commander had repeatedly sent communication signals to Ghazi, but they weren't answered. Anxiety grew day by day at the Naval Combatant Headquarter, The NHQ. Desperate for her return to the base, the NHQ had pressed frantic efforts to establish communications with the Ghazi, but they too failed. Before the 1971 naval hostilities broke out, earlier commanding officers and submariners of Ghazi had doubted about the fate of the submarine had already begun to agitate the minds of submariners and many senior officers at Naval Headquarters (NHQ). The NHQ commanders attributed to their junior officers that several reasons could, however, be attributed to the failure of the submarine to communicate.

On December 9, Indian Navy strangely issued a statement about the fate of Ghazi. The first indication of Ghazi's tragic fate came when a message by NHQ of India, claiming sinking of Ghazi on the night of 3 December, was intercepted. The Indian NHQ issued the statement few hours before the loss of INS Khurki, and prior to launch of Operation Python.

Neutral witnesses

An independent testimony stems from an Egyptian officer who claimed that the Indian ships were docked at the Visakhapatnam harbour when the explosions from the supposed Indian sinking of Ghazi occurred, and that "it was not until about an hour after the explosion that two Indian naval ships were observed leaving harbour".[12][21]

Pakistani version

According to Pakistan's Naval Intelligence (NI), the Ghazi sank when the mines it was laying were accidentally detonated.[22] Another more plausible theory, also favored by Pakistan, is that the explosive shock from one of the depth charges set off the torpedoes and mines (some of which may have been armed for laying) stored aboard the submarine. The Pakistani Naval Command counter argued: the Ghazi itself may have inadvertently passed over the mines during the mine laying operations; patrolling Indian vessels or Indian depth charges may also have tripped the count mechanism of one or more mines. One of the reasons to believe this as true is that Indian divers found the damaged parts of the submarine to be blown inside out.[18][23]

The Hamoodur Rahman commission, which was constituted by Pakistan Government to investigate the military and political causes of the country's defeat in the 1971 war, never carried out an investigation into the incident.[24]

Indian version

After the war India undertook an investigation into the incident. India claimed that the submarine was sunk following a series of successful manoeuvres by the Indian Navy. Later some items of the ship like the logbook and official Pakistani tapes, were displayed in India's Eastern Naval Command.[25] A submarine rescue vessel, INS Nishtar was sent to check the debris. India later built a "Victory Memorial" on the coast near where the Ghazi was sunk.[26]

The official history of Indian Navy ‘Transition to Triumph’, authored by Vice-Admiral (Retd) G M Hiranandani, quotes naval records and top naval officials who commanded operations on the eastern waterfront as saying that INS Rajput was sent from Vizag to track down Ghazi. The book also noted that the time of dropping of the charges, the explosion which was heard by the people of Vizag and that of a clock recovered from Ghazi, matched.[27]

Admiral Roy of India states: "The theories propounded earlier by some who were unaware of the ruse de guerre (attempt to fool the enemy in wartime) leading to the sinking of the first submarine in the Indian Ocean gave rise to smirks from within our own (Indian) naval service for an operation which instead merited a Bravo Zulu (flag hoist for bravery)".[20]

Admiral S. M. Nanda, who commanded the Indian Navy during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, states : "In narrow channels, ships, during an emergency or war, always throw depth charges around them to deter submarines. One of them probably hit the Ghazi. The blow-up was there, but nobody knew what it was all about until the fisherman found the lifejacket".[28]

Recovery of sunk vessel

Following this both the United States and the Soviet Union offered to raise the submarine to the surface at their own expense. The Government of India, however, rejected these offers and allowed the submarine to sink further into the mud off the fairway buoy of Vishakapatnam.[20]

See also

  • Ghazi Shaheed


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 280–282. ISBN 0-313-26202-0. 
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Rediff On The NeT: End of an era: INS Vikrant's final farewell". Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum - Lead Article". Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-first Century By Geoffrey Till
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 275–282. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9. 
  8. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
  9. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305-311
  11. Till, Geoffrey (2004). Seapower: a guide for the twenty-first century. Great Britain: Frank Cass Publishers. p. 179. ISBN 0-7146-8436-8. Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  12. 12.0 12.1
  13. Joseph, Josy (12). "Now, no record of Navy sinking Pakistani submarine in 1971". TOI website. Times Of India. Retrieved 28 May 2010. "Pakistani authorities say the submarine sank because of either an internal explosion or accidental blast of mines that the submarine itself was laying around Vizag harbour." 
  14. "The truth behind the Navy's 'sinking' of Ghazi". Sify News website. Sify News. 25. Retrieved 29 May 2010. "After the war, however, teams of divers confirmed that it was an internal explosion that sank the Ghazi." 
  15. Roy, Mihir K. (1995). War in the Indian Ocean. Lancer Publishers. pp. 83–85. ISBN 978-1-897829-11-0. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  16. See the article of Genesis of Break away at Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Till, Geoffrey (2004). Seapower: a guide for the twenty-first century. Great Britain: Frank Cass Publishers. p. 179. ISBN 0-7146-8436-8. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 "Bharat Rakshak Monitor: Volume 4(2) September–October 2001". Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Войны, история, факты. Альманах". Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Mihir K. Roy (1995) War in the Indian Ocean, Spantech & Lancer. ISBN 978-1-897829-11-0
  23. Transition to triumph: history of the Indian Navy, 1965-1975 By G. M. Hiranandani
  25. Trilochan Singh Trewn (July 21, 2002). "Naval museums give glimpse of maritime history". The Tribune. Retrieved May 16, 2007. 
  26. "Victory at Sea memorial at Vizag".,+a+war+memorial/article/3984. 
  27. Vice-Admiral (Retd) G M Hiranandani, Transition to Triumph: Indian Navy 1965–1975. ISBN 1-897829-72-8
  28. Sengupta, Ramananda (22 January 2007). "The Rediff Interview/Admiral S M Nanda (retd) 'Does the US want war with India?'". Interview. India: Rediff. Retrieved 26 March 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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