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USS S-41 (SS-146)
USS S-41 (SS-146).jpg
USS S-41 in the Far East sometime between 1924 and 1941.
Name: USS S-41
Builder: Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 17 April 1919
Launched: 21 February 1921
Commissioned: 15 January 1924
Decommissioned: 13 February 1945
Struck: 25 February 1946
Fate: Sold for scrap, November 1946
General characteristics
Class & type: S-class submarine
Displacement: 854 long tons (868 t) surfaced
1,062 long tons (1,079 t) submerged
Length: 219 ft 3 in (66.83 m)
Beam: 20 ft 8 in (6.30 m)
Draft: 15 ft 11 in (4.85 m)
Speed: 14.5 knots (16.7 mph; 26.9 km/h) surfaced
11 knots (13 mph; 20 km/h) submerged
Complement: 42 officers and men
Armament: • 1 × 4 in (102 mm) deck gun
• 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
Service record
Operations: World War II
Awards: 4 battle stars

USS S-41 (SS-146), a, was a first-group (S-1 or "Holland") S-class submarine of the United States Navy. Her keel was laid down on 17 April 1919 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in San Francisco, California. She was launched on 21 February 1921 sponsored by Mrs. John F. Conners, and commissioned on 15 January 1924 with Lieutenant A. H. Donahue in command.

Service history

Asiatic fleet, 1924-1941

S-41 preparing to dive on 26 February 1924.

Through the summer of 1924, S-41 operated out of San Francisco, completing her trials and conducting exercises. On 17 September, she departed the West Coast with her division, Submarine Division 17, and headed for the Philippine Islands. Arriving at Manila on 5 November, she joined the Asiatic Fleet and, through the winter of 1925, engaged in exercises with surface and submarine units in Philippine waters. In May, she departed Manila for Tsingtao, whence she conducted operations, with her division, off the China coast into September. She then returned to the Philippines and resumed type exercises, patrols, and joint United States Army-United States Navy exercises in the Manila Bay-Subic Bay area.

For the next fifteen years, S-41’s schedule, and that of her division, remained basically the same; summer months were spent in Chinese waters, winters in the Philippines. The S-boats, primarily engaged in operations as a division during that period, occasionally interrupted their schedule and operated independently on special missions.

In January 1932, after Japanese forces attacked Shanghai, S-41 was ordered to assist in the evacuation of American nationals from the area.

As the decade progressed, Japanese actions in China became increasingly hostile, and S-boat schedules became more varied. Operations and patrols from China and the Philippines were extended to include, by the spring of 1938, the East Indies.

In 1940, S-41’s China deployment was shortened to two months. At the end of June, she returned to the Philippines, where she conducted familiarization cruises into 1941. That year was spent at Cavite and Olongapo for overhauls; in the South China Sea for fleet exercises; and in the waters off Luzon on patrol.

World War II

First war patrol, December 1941

On 8 December 1941, S-41 was in Manila Bay. After hearing of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, she patrolled off Looc Bay, Tablas Island, in an attempt to impede the Japanese offensive. But the Japanese thrust continued.

Second war patrol, December 1941

S-41 returned briefly to Manila for replenishment but departed again on 24 December. Into the new year, 1942, she patrolled off the Lingayen area. On 4 January she retired from Luzon and moved south toward the Netherlands East Indies. By 12 January, she was off Tarakan; by 15 January, Balikpapan; and by 25 January, after patrolling Makassar Strait, she was at Soerabaja. On 4 February, she departed that north Java base and returned to Makassar Strait. Thirteen days later, she torpedoed a Japanese transport off Cape Mangkalihat and was credited with a kill by the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDA).

On 10 March, she concluded her patrol at Fremantle, Western Australia. The Netherlands East Indies had fallen.

Third war patrol, May 1942

Throughout the patrol, S-41’s gyrocompass had given continuous trouble, and her periscope had proven faulty. Repairs were made at Fremantle and at Brisbane, Queensland; and, on 9 May, she departed the latter port for the Solomon Islands. Encountering poor weather during the patrol, she operated in the Shortland Islands and Treasury Islands through the end of the month and returned to Brisbane on 6 June.

Fourth war patrol, July 1942

On 22 July, she headed out of Moreton Bay, returned for emergency repairs; and, on 7 August, got underway for the New Britain-New Ireland area. She fired on several enemy ships, including a submarine with probable damage, and her patrol was noted for its "absence of serious material failures" — an achievement unique in boats of her class at that time.

Fifth war patrol and overhaul, September 1942

At Brisbane from 2–21 September, she got underway for Hawaii on the latter date and, after patrolling in the Ellice Islands, arrived at Pearl Harbor on 13 October. On 29 October, she put into San Diego, California, and the next day began an extensive overhaul which lasted into April 1943. On 23 April of that month, she departed southern California for the Aleutian Islands.

Sixth war patrol, May 1943

Arriving at Dutch Harbor on 11 May, S-41 departed four days later and took up patrol duties off Paramushiro in the Kuril Islands, on 21 May. On 27 May, she scored a probable kill on a four-masted fishing schooner; and, in the pre-dawn darkness of 31 May, she torpedoed a cargo ship in a night surface attack. From the violent internal explosion and fires which followed the initial torpedoing, the victim was presumed to have been carrying high explosives or light, volatile liquids.

Seventh and eighth war patrol, July 1943

On 15 June, S-41 returned to Dutch Harbor. Thirteen days later, she got underway for Attu, whence she departed for the Kuril Islands on 3 July. Fog, heavy seas, sampans, fishing nets, and the erratic performance of torpedoes hindered her movements and impaired her hunting during that 33-day patrol and during her final patrol, again off Paramushiro, in late August and early September.


With the onset of winter, S-41 was reassigned to training duty; and, after an overhaul, she commenced those operations out of Pearl Harbor. She returned to San Diego for inactivation in December 1944, and she was decommissioned on 13 February 1945. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 25 February 1946; and, in November of that year, her hulk was sold, for scrapping, to the National Metal and Steel Corporation, Terminal Island, Los Angeles, California.

S-41 earned four battle stars during World War II.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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