USS S-30 (SS-135)

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USS S-30 (SS-135).jpg
USS S-30 making 11 knots on one engine during sea trials off San Pedro, California, on 26 August 1920.
US flag 48 stars.svgUnited States
Name: USS S-30
Builder: Union Iron Works
Laid down: 1 April 1918
Launched: 21 November 1918
Commissioned: 29 October 1920
Decommissioned: 9 October 1945
Stricken: 24 October 1945
Fate: Sold for scrap
General characteristics
Class and type: S-class submarine
  • 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)
  • 14.5 knots (16.7 mph; 26.9 km/h) surfaced
  • 11 knots (13 mph; 20 km/h) submerged
Complement: 38 officers and men
Service record
Operations: World War II
Victories: 2 battle stars

USS S-30 (SS-135) was an S-class submarine of the United States Navy during World War II.


S-30 was laid down on 1 April 1918 by the Union Iron Works at San Francisco, California. She was launched on 21 November 1918 sponsored by Mrs. Edward S. Stalnaker, and commissioned on 29 October 1920 with Lieutenant Commander Stuart E. Bray in command.

Service history

Based at San Pedro, California, with her home yard at Mare Island, S-30 conducted tests and exercises off the California coast into the summer of 1921. Then, on 15 August, she was placed in ordinary. Recommissioned in full on 14 February 1922, she was ordered to New London, Connecticut, where she was placed in ordinary again on 21 June for engine alterations by the prime contractor, the Electric Boat Company.

Trials and exercises off the southern New England coast followed her recommissioning in full on 21 November; and, in January 1923, she moved south to the Caribbean Sea to participate in winter maneuvers and Fleet Problem I, conducted to test the defenses of the Panama Canal Zone. In April, she returned to California and resumed operations off that coast with her division, Submarine Division (SubDiv) 16. During the winter of 1924, she again participated in fleet exercises and problems in the Canal Zone and in the Caribbean and, in the winter of 1925, she prepared for transfer to the Asiatic Fleet.

S-30 departed Mare Island, with her division, in mid-April. During May, she conducted exercises and underwent upkeep in the Hawaiian Islands; and, on 16 June, she continued on to the Philippines. On 12 July, she arrived at the Submarine Base, Cavite, Luzon, whence she operated until 1932. Her division rotated between exercises and patrols in the Philippines during the winter and operations off the China coast during the summer. In 1932, her division was ordered back to the eastern Pacific Ocean; and, on 2 May, she departed Manila for Pearl Harbor, her home port until transferred back to the East Coast in 1937.

Sailing from Pearl Harbor on 19 May 1937, S-30 arrived at New London on 8 August. For the next year and one-half, she trained along the Atlantic Ocean seaboard. Then, in May 1939, she was placed in commission, in reserve. On 1 September 1940, she was returned to full commission.

World War II

As World War II began its second year, German U-boats were raiding shipping in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean. The American S-boats, designed in World War I, were assigned to Submarines, Patrol Force (Submarines, Atlantic Fleet after February 1941) and were carrying out multipurpose missions which involved training and development of tactical skills.

First, Second, and Third (Defensive) War Patrols

S-30, homeported at New London, operated along the mid-Atlantic and northeast coasts into the spring of 1941. She then served briefly in the Bermuda area; returned to New London; and, in early July, 1942, proceeded to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for overhaul. In September, she emerged from the yard; returned to New England; and resumed submarine and antisubmarine warfare training operations.

She continued those duties in the Long Island Sound, Narragansett Bay, Casco Bay, and Placentia Bay areas, until after the United States officially entered the war. With 1942, however defensive patrols were added to her duties, and her division, SubDiv 52, was reassigned to the Panama Canal Zone. Departing New London on 31 January, she hunted for enemy submarines along her route which took her via Bermuda and Mona Passage into the Caribbean Sea. On 16 February, she arrived at Coco Solo, whence she conducted two defensive patrols in the western approaches to the canal, from 1031 March and from 14 April to 13 May, before she was ordered to California to prepare for service in the Aleutian Islands. Into July, she underwent repairs at San Diego, California; and, at mid-month, she started for Alaska. While en route, engine trouble forced her into Mare Island, and, on 1 August, she headed north again.

Fourth War Patrol (First Offensive)

On 12 August, 1942, S-30 departed the submarine base at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, on her first offensive war patrol. Moving through fog, she arrived off Attu Island on 16 August; sighted only the hazy outline of Cape Wrangell; and continued on to patrol across the anticipated Japanese shipping lanes between that island and the northern Kuril Islands. On the afternoon of 7 September, she was attacked by three enemy destroyers some ten miles north of the cape and, in that two and one-half hour encounter, gained her first close experience with Japanese depth charges. Three days later, she turned for home.

Fifth War Patrol

On 24 September, S-30 got underway for her fifth war patrol, her second in the Aleutians. A cracked cylinder in her port engine forced her back to Dutch Harbor on 27 September; and, on 30 September, she again moved west. On 3 October, she entered her patrol area and commenced hunting enemy ships along traffic lanes west of Kiska; but, by 9 October, additional engineering casualties, cracks, and leaks had developed and forced her to return to Unalaska. From there, the submarine was ordered to San Diego for an overhaul. During her yard period, she received a fathometer, a new distilling unit, and more up-to-date radar equipment. Then, from mid-February 1943 into March, she provided training services to the West Coast Sound School. On 16 March, she sailed for Dutch Harbor.

Sixth War Patrol

Following the submarine's arrival in the Aleutians on 21 March, 1943, air compressor failure and malfunctioning of her fathometer delayed her departure until 13 April. She then headed for Attu. On 15 April, she crossed the 180th meridian and, keeping Dutch Harbor dates, arrived at her destination on 17 April. For the next few days, she reconnoitered and, when possible photographed the island's principal coves, bays, and harbors. On 26 April, she was ordered to the east of 176°E and south of 52°40'N, where she remained until after an Allied strike against Attu. The next afternoon, she returned to the island but was unable to determine the extent of damage inflicted.

Seventh War Patrol

On 2 May, 1943, S-30 departed the area; returned to Dutch Harbor for refit; and, on 24 May, sailed west again, this time for the northern Kurils. On 31 May (Dutch Harbor date), she entered her assigned area; and, on 5 June, off the Kamchatka peninsula, she attacked her first target, a large sampan. Her guns set the enemy vessel on fire; but, as it burned, a Japanese destroyer appeared on the horizon and began closing the surfaced submarine at high speed. Three minutes later, the destroyer opened fire on the diving S-boat.

S-30 commenced an approach on the destroyer, but just as she reached firing bearing, she lost depth control. A few seconds later, depth charging started. In the next 20 minutes, 33 depth charges were dropped by the destroyer. Others followed sporadically over the next five hours. S-30 was then able to clear the area. On 6 June, the ship's crew repaired all minor damage and commenced efforts to remove two torpedoes which had been crushed in the number-three and number-four tubes. The one in the latter tube was removed on 7 June, but the one in the number-three tube remained until the completion of the patrol.

On 8 June, S-30 headed down the Paramushiro coast; approached Onekotan; then transited Onekotan Strait and set a course for Araito. During the next two days, she sighted four targets but was able to close only the last two, merchantmen in column, contacted on 10 June (the 11th local date). Fog closed in rapidly as she made her approach; then blanketed the area as she launched three torpedoes. Two explosions were heard, but nothing could be seen. Post-war examination of Japanese records revealed that she had sunk Jinbu Maru, a 5228-ton cargo ship.

During the ensuing depth charging, S-30 began to move out of the area. Within two and one-half hours, she had left the pinging of the searchers behind and had resumed her own hunting. On 12 June, she retransited Onekotan Strait. The following day, she fired on a convoy, but missed. On 14 June, she departed the area; and, on 22 June, she returned to Dutch Harbor to begin extracting the damaged torpedo and commence refitting.

Eighth War Patrol

On 5 July, 1943, S-30 got underway on her eighth war patrol, which took her back to the Kurils and into the Sea of Okhotsk. She patrolled on both sides of the island chain and across the traffic lanes leading to Soya Strait and to Yokosuka. She took periscope pictures of facilities on various islands. She sighted several targets, but was unable to close on most and was unsuccessful on those she attacked. On 20 July, she attacked what appeared to be an inter-island steamer, but which turned straight down the torpedo track and dropped six depth charges in quick succession. S-30 went deep, reloaded and prepared to reattack. The target, however, was lost in the fog.

S-30 continued her patrol. A week later, she sent three torpedoes against a Japanese merchantman estimated at 7000 tons. Two hits, breaking-up noises, and distant depth charging were reported by the sound operator, but the damage went unverified. Four days later, she attacked another cargoman under similar circumstances. One torpedo was reported to have hit. Screw noises from the target stopped, breaking-up noises were heard, and periscope observation showed no ship at the site of the attack. But any damage which might have been inflicted was never verified.

Ninth War Patrol

S-30 left the Kurils behind and headed east on 7 August, 1943. Two days later, she arrived in Massacre Bay, Attu, whence she conducted her last war patrol. On that patrol, from 26 August to 23 September, she again hunted in the shipping lanes along the eastern and western sides of the Kurils. Again, several targets were lost in fog; nevertheless, she took pictures of the islands. Then, in mid-September, she added a new dimension to her activities and attempted to shell the enemy garrison on Matsuwa. Fog had interfered with an earlier attempt to bombard that post, but cleared off early on the morning of 15 September (local date) as she neared the firing point with her crew at battle stations. But, when the order to fire was given, the gun failed to respond. A new firing pin was a fraction of an inch too short, and the effort had to be abandoned.


The following day, S-30 was ordered home. En route, on 17 September, 1943, she was sighted and bombed by a Japanese patrol plane. Failure of the port motor at that moment caused anxiety; but the submarine escaped serious damage. On 23 September, she arrived at Dutch Harbor. Within the week, she headed south to San Diego, where, with others of her class, she provided training services for the West Coast Sound School for the remainder of World War II. In mid-September 1945, she proceeded to Mare Island, where she was decommissioned on 9 October. Fifteen days later, her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register, and, in December 1946, she was sold and delivered to the Salco Iron and Metal Company, San Francisco, for scrapping.

S-30 was awarded two battle stars for her World War II service.

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This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .The entry can be found here.