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USS Hammerhead (SS-364)
Hammerhead (SS-364) launches sideways into the Manitowoc River.
Hammerhead (SS-364) slides into the Manitowoc River.
Career (US)
Name: Hammerhead
Builder: Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, Wisconsin[1]
Laid down: 5 May 1943[1]
Launched: 24 October 1943[1]
Commissioned: 1 March 1944 – 9 Feb 1946[1]
6 Feb 1952 – 21 August 1953[1]
16 July – 23 October 1954[2]
Struck: 1 January 1972[3]
Fate: Transferred to Turkey,
23 October 1954[3]
Career (Turkey) Turkish Jack
Name: TCG Cerbe (S 341)
Acquired: 23 October 1954
Commissioned: 23 October 1954
Decommissioned: 4 May 1972
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class & type: Gato-class diesel-electric submarine[3]
Displacement: 1,525 long tons (1,549 tonne) surfaced[3]
2,424 tons (2,460 t) submerged[3]
Length: 311 ft 9 in (95.02 m)[3]
Beam: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)[3]
Draft: 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m) maximum[3]
  • 4 × General Motors Model 16-278A V16 diesel engines driving electrical generators[4][5]
  • 2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries[6]
  • 4 × high-speed General Electric electric motors with reduction gears[4]
  • two propellers [4]
  • 5,400 shp (4.0 MW) surfaced[4]
  • 2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged[4]
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h) surfaced[7]
9 knots (17 km/h) submerged[7]
Range: 11,000 nmi (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h)[7]
Endurance: 48 hours at 2 knots (4 km/h) submerged[7]
75 days on patrol
Test depth: 300 ft (90 m)[7]
Complement: 6 officers, 54 enlisted[7] (peace); 80-85 (war)[8]
Armament: 10x21 in (53 cm) torpedo tubes (six forward, four aft; 24 torpedoes)
one 3 in (76 mm)/50 caliber deck gun
two .3 in (7.62 mm) machineguns[9]

USS Hammerhead (SS-364), a Balao-class[10] submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the hammerhead shark; a shark found in warm seas with a flattened anterior forward of the gill slits, presenting a hammer-like silhouette when viewed from above.

The first Hammerhead was launched 24 October 1943 by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. of Manitowoc, Wisc.; sponsored by Mrs. R. W. Berry; and commissioned 1 March 1944, Commander J. C. Martin in command. After a month's training in Lake Michigan Hammerhead was placed in a floating drydock and towed down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, La., where she arrived 8 April 1944. She subsequently proceeded to Balboa, Canal Zone, for further training, and thence to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

First patrol, June – August 1944

The submarine departed Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol 6 June 1944 in company with Steelhead (SS-280) and Parche (SS-384). Cruising the seas south of Formosa, her first engagement came 9 June when she sank a sampan with gunfire. She then encountered a coastal oiler 29 June and closed for the attack, but the topedoes failed to strike home and a surprise aerial attack forced the sub down. Next day Hammerhead damaged several ships of a convoy. She made port at Fremantle, Australia 17 August 1944.

Second patrol, September – November 1944

Hammerhead's second war patrol was conducted in the Java and South China Seas. She departed Fremantle 9 September and made her first attack the night of 1 October, when a convoy consisting of four cargo ships, one oiler, and three escorts was detected off Borneo. Hammerhead fired 10 torpedoes, scored a total of 6 hits, and sent 3 of the cargo ships to the bottom. The morning of 20 October the submarine found still another six ship convoy, and after evading one of the escorts delivered a six-torpedo attack. Two more cargo ships fell victim to Hammerhead's marksmanship. The submarine returned from this highly successful patrol 2 November 1944, and was later awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her outstanding performance.

Third and fourth patrols, November 1944 – March 1945

The submarine commenced her third war patrol 25 November, returning to the South China Sea. On this cruise she operated with Lapon (SS-260) and Paddle (SS-263), and although several attacks were made, no sinkings resulted. She returned to Fremantle 17 January 1945.

Hammerhead departed on her fourth war patrol 19 February, in company with Baya (SS-318). Patrolling off Cape Varella, she detected a convoy and two escorts 23 February and while closing the cargo ships obtained a perfect shot on an escort. A spread of four torpedoes sank Japanese frigate Yaku. Due to the illness of her commanding officer, the submarine was forced to end her patrol, and moored at Subic Bay 3 March 1945.

Fifth and sixth patrols, March – May 1945

Beginning her fifth war patrol 10 March 1945, Hammerhead proceeded to the coast of Indochina, where on 29 March she detected a large escorted convoy. Working her way inside the screen, the submarine was able to get a clear shot at an escort vessel, and a single hit broke her in two. After sinking the escort, Hammerhead damaged other members of the group before retiring. She returned from this war patrol 6 April 1945, mooring at Subic Bay, Philippines.

For her sixth war patrol Hammerhead operated in the Gulf of Siam. She arrived 6 May and that night encountered a small tanker and two escorts. After missing with two torpedoes at extreme range the submarine found the mark in a second attack, sinking the tanker Kinrei Maru. Hammerhead attacked other ships of the convoy without success and after a depth charge attack decided to break off. Sighting a cargo carrier 14 May with only an aircraft escort, Hammerhead made a perfect approach and sank the ship with two torpedoes. She returned from this patrol 25 May.

Seventh patrol, June – August 1945

Hammerhead departed Fremantle 21 June on her seventh and last war patrol, also carried out in the Gulf of Siam, in company with three other submarines. Her major attack of this patrol occurred 10 July, when she sank cargo ships Sakura Maru and Nanmei Maru No. 5. The patrol was brought to a close 21 August 1945 at Pearl Harbor.

Decommissioning, 1945

Hammerhead arrived Mare Island, Calif., for decommissioning 20 August 1945 and decommissioned 9 February 1946. She was then placed in the Reserve Fleet at Mare Island.

Second period in commission, 1952-1953

Hammerhead was brought out of reserve during the Korean War, recommissioned 6 February 1952, and engaged in training duty on the West Coast between San Diego and San Francisco, Calif., until 21 August 1953. when she decommissioned for return to the Reserve Fleet.

TCG Cerbe (S 341)

Earmarked for loan under the Military Assistance Program, the veteran submarine was converted to a GUPPY submarine at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and recommissioned once more 16 July 1954 to prepare for transfer. Decommissioned and loaned to Turkey 23 October 1954, she was recommissioned by the Turkish Navy as TCG Cerbe (S 341), the first submarine of that name. Initially designated S 03, she was later redesignated S 341. The submarine was formally sold to Turkey 1 January 1972, and subsequently scrapped.


Hammerhead received seven battle stars and a Navy Unit Commendation for World War II service. All seven of her war patrols were designated successful.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 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. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 271–273. ISBN 0-313-26202-0. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 275–280. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9. 
  5. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 p. 261
  6. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305-311
  8. Lenton, p.79.
  9. Lenton, H. T. American Submarines (Doubleday, 1973), p.79.
  10. Lenton, p.78.

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