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USS Queenfish (SS-393)
Queenfish, post WW II. She became the model for boats that did not receive GUPPY or other special conversions.
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine[1]
Laid down: 27 July 1943[1]
Launched: 30 November 1943[1]
Commissioned: 11 March 1944[1]
Decommissioned: 1 March 1963[1]
Struck: 1 March 1963[1]
Fate: Sunk as a target, 14 August 1963[1]
General characteristics
Class & type: Balao class diesel-electric submarine[2]
Displacement: 1,526 long tons (1,550 tonne) surfaced[2]
2,391 tons (2,429 t) submerged[2]
Length: 311 ft 6 in (94.95 m)[2]
Beam: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)[2]
Draft: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) maximum[2]
  • 4 × Fairbanks-Morse Model 38D8-⅛ 10-cylinder opposed piston diesel engines driving electrical generators[3][4]
  • 2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries[5]
  • 4 × high-speed Elliott electric motors with reduction gears[3]
  • two propellers [3]
  • 5,400 shp (4.0 MW) surfaced[3]
  • 2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged[3]
Speed: 20.25 knots (38 km/h) surfaced[6]
8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged[6]
Range: 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h)[6]
Endurance: 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged[6]
75 days on patrol
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m)[6]
Complement: 10 officers, 70–71 enlisted[6]

USS Queenfish (SS/AGSS-393), a Balao-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the queenfish, a small food fish found off the Pacific coast of North America.

The first Queenfish was laid down by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, 27 July 1943; launched 30 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Robert A. Theobald; and commissioned 11 March 1944, Lieutenant Commander Charles E. Loughlin in command.

First patrol: August – October 1944

After shakedown off the east coast and further training in Hawaiian waters, Queenfish set out on her first patrol 4 August 1944, in Luzon Strait. She joined "Ed's Eradicators", a wolf pack which also included Barb (SS-220) and Tunny (SS-282). The wolfpack was under the command of E.R. Swinburne who rode aboard Eugene B. Fluckey's "Barb"

Tunny had to withdraw after being damaged by air attack, but on 31 August, Queenfish made her first kill, 4,700-ton tanker Chiyoda Maru. On 9 September she scored twice more, on 7,097-ton passenger-cargo ship Toyooka Maru and 3,054-ton transport Manshu Maru.

ComSubPac ordered the Eradicators to assist another wolf pack in rescuing Allied POWs who had been on transports in another convoy. The Japanese had picked up their own survivors from the wreckage, but they made no attempt to save any survivors from among the 2,100 British and Australian POWs embarked in the transports. The submarines managed to get 127 out of the water. An approaching typhoon terminated the hunt and the patrol. Queenfish put into Majuro for refit 3 October.

U.S.S. Queenfish rescuing British and Australian prisoners of war, survivors of the Japanese ship Rakuyo Maru (National Archives and Records Administration)

Second and third patrols: October 1944 – January 1945

Queenfish’s second war patrol was conducted in the northern part of the East China Sea. This time Cdr. Loughlin had pack command as well as ship command. "Loughlin's Loopers" included Barb and Picuda (SS-382). On 8 November Queenfish sank 1,051-ton Keijo Maru and the 1,948-ton Hakko Maru. On 9 November, she sent 2,131-ton Chojusan Maru, a former gunboat, to the bottom. Alerted by ComSubPac to the approach of a large convoy from Manchuria carrying reinforcements for the Philippines, the "Loopers" and another wolfpack, the "Urchins", combined to attack. Queenfish struck first on 15 November, sinking the 9,186-ton aircraft ferry Akitsu Maru. Over the next two days the subs destroyed eight ships of the convoy, including the 21,000-ton carrier and the largest of the troop transports. The attacks cost the Japanese army defending the Philippines the bulk of a division.

Having received the Presidential Unit Citation for her first two patrols, Queenfish spent her third war patrol, 29 December to 29 January 1945, in the Formosa Straits and waters adjacent to the China coast without sinking any ships.

Fourth patrol: February – April 1945

Queenfish returned to the same area for her fourth war patrol, 24 February to 14 April, as a member of another wolf pack. Cdr. William S. Post, Jr., the senior commanding officer in Spot (SS-413), also had Sea Fox (SS-402) in his wolf pack, "Post's Panzers", the second of that name. After Spot expended all her torpedoes, she left to reload; pack command devolved on Cmdr. Loughlin.

On 1 April Queenfish sank 11,600-ton passenger-cargo ship Awa Maru. Unfortunately her victim was a ship whose safe passage had been guaranteed by the United States government, since she was to carry Red Cross relief supplies to Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. The sinking occurred in heavy fog, and Awa Maru was not sounding her fog horn, as required by international treaty. The incident caused considerable controversy. When the one survivor picked up by Queenfish told his story, Queenfish was ordered back to port; Cdr. Loughlin was relieved of command, tried by court-martial and convicted of one of three charges, negligence in obeying orders and received a "Letter of Admonition" from the Secretary of the Navy. Loughlin survived to continue an illustrious career that led to flag rank.

On 12 April Queenfish rescued the 13-man crew of a U.S. Navy PB4Y-2 of VPB-108 which ditched on 8 April after becoming lost.[7]

Queenfish spent her fifth patrol under Cdr. Frank N. Shamer on lifeguard duty in the East China Sea-Yellow Sea area. She was at Midway preparing for another patrol when the war ended.

Post-World War II operations, 1945 – 1963

After overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Queenfish assumed duties as Flagship, Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet. Homeported at Pearl Harbor after the war, Queenfish returned to the Far East during March 1946 and in June–July 1949, but spent most of the period to 1950 in training operations in the eastern Pacific. In late 1947 she operated in the Bering Sea.

In February and March 1950 Queenfish took part in combined Operations with units of the U.S. Pacific and British Fleets. She made cruises to Korean waters in 1951 and 1953. In February 1954 she sailed to her new homeport of San Diego. The next four years were spent operating off the west coast of the United States, with the exception of two weeks in Hawaii in late 1956. On 16 January 1958 she departed for a 6-month deployment to WestPac, returning to San Diego 27 July to resume operations off the west coast of the United States.

Queenfish was used for the opening and closing scenes and some exterior shots in the 1959 movie Operation Petticoat.[8]

Queenfish was reclassified AGSS-393 1 July 1960. She decommissioned and was struck from the Navy List 1 March 1963. Slated for scrapping, she was instead sunk as target by the nuclear-powered submarine Swordfish (SSN-579) on 14 August 1963.

Honors and awards

Queenfish was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, and received six battle stars for World War II service.

Raiding career

8 Japanese ships

Date Type Name Tonnage Location
31 August 1944 Tanker Chiyoda Maru 4,700 tons 21°21′N 121°06′E / 21.35°N 121.1°E / 21.35; 121.1
9 September 1944 Passenger/Cargo Toyooka Maru 7,097 tons 19°45′N 120°56′E / 19.75°N 120.933°E / 19.75; 120.933
9 September 1944 Transport Manshu Maru 3,054 tons 19°45′N 120°56′E / 19.75°N 120.933°E / 19.75; 120.933
8 November 1944 Cargo Keijo Maru 1,051 tons 31°9′N 129°38′E / 31.15°N 129.633°E / 31.15; 129.633
8 November 1944 Cargo Hakko Maru 1,948 tons 31°09′N 129°38′E / 31.15°N 129.633°E / 31.15; 129.633
9 November 1944 Ex-Gunboat Chojusan Maru 2,131 tons 31°17′N 129°10′E / 31.283°N 129.167°E / 31.283; 129.167
15 November 1944 Aircraft Ferry Akitsu Maru 9,186 tons 33°15′N 128°10′E / 33.25°N 128.167°E / 33.25; 128.167
1 April 1945 Passenger/Cargo/Relief Awa Maru 11,600 tons 25°25′N 120°7′E / 25.417°N 120.117°E / 25.417; 120.117
Total 40,767 tons


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 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 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. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 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. 
  4. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305-311
  7. Grivno, Steve, "Last Flight of 'Zebra 442' ", Air Enthusiast, Stamford, Lincs., UK, Number 125, September–October 2006, pp.46–55.

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