USS Sea Cat (SS-399)

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USS Sea Cat;0839902.jpg
History
Flag of the United States.svgUnited States
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine [1]
Laid down: 30 October 1943 [1]
Launched: 21 February 1944 [1]
Commissioned: 16 May 1944 [1]
Decommissioned: 2 December 1968 [1]
Struck: 2 December 1968 [1]
Fate: Sold for scrap, 18 May 1973 [1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Balaoclass diesel-electric submarine [2]
Displacement:
  • 1,526  tons (1,550  t) 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]
Propulsion:
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]
Armament:

USS Sea Cat (SS/AGSS-399), a Balao-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for a shortened form of sea catfish, a marine fish of little food value found off the southeastern coast of the United States commissioned on the 16th of May 1944, with Commander Rob Roy McGregor in command. During World War II Sea Cat operated within the Pacific theatre, conducting four war patrols in wolf packs accounting for up to 17400 tons in the form of three cargo ships and an enemy vessel (17000 tons unconfirmed by wartime Japanese records). Sea Cat earned three battle stars for her World War II service.

Submarine Watercraft capable of independent operation underwater

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Contents

After two and one-half years of exercises out of Balboa, her home port was changed to Key West in June 1949. In the autumn, it was decided to have a number of experimental changes made to the ship during her forthcoming overhaul, and she was redesignated AGSS-399 on 30 September. On 7 November, she arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where the work was done. The modifications and repairs were completed on 11 March 1950, and the submarine returned, via New London, to Key West. She operated from that base until she got under way on 9 January 1952 for Philadelphia and another overhaul. After her arrival on 15 January, she was converted to a Fleet Snorkel submarine and redesignated SS-399. She operated in Floridas waters and the Caribbean until she was decommissioned on 2 December 1968 and struck from the Navy list on the same day. She was sold for scrapping, 18 May 1973.

Key West City in Florida, United States

Key West is an island and city in the Straits of Florida on the North American continent. The city lies at the southernmost end of U.S. Route 1, the longest north-south road in the United States. Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and the westernmost island connected by highway in the Florida Keys. The island is about 4 miles (6.4 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, with a total land mass of 4.2 square miles (11 km2). Duval Street, its main street, is 1.1 miles (1.8 km) in length in its 14-block-long crossing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Straits of Florida and the Atlantic Ocean. Key West is about 95 miles (153 km) north of Cuba at their closest points.

Philadelphia Naval Shipyard naval shipyard of the United States

The Navy Yard, formerly known as the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Philadelphia Naval Business Center, was an important naval shipyard of the United States for almost two centuries. It is now a large mixed-use campus that employs nearly 15,000 people across a mix of industries, and includes cutting edge cell therapy production facilities, global fashion companies, and a commercial shipyard.

Florida State of the United States of America

Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.

World War II service

Sea Cat was laid down on 30 October 1943 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine; launched on 21 February 1944, sponsored by Mrs. E. L. Cochrane; and commissioned on 16 May 1944, Commander Rob Roy McGregor in command.

Kittery, Maine Town in Maine, United States

Kittery is a town in York County, Maine, United States. Home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey's Island, Kittery includes Badger's Island, the seaside district of Kittery Point, and part of the Isles of Shoals. The town is a tourist destination known for its many outlet stores.

Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military forces. The ceremonies involved are often rooted in centuries old naval tradition.

After shakedown and trials off the New England coast, the new submarine departed New London, Conn., on 28 August and proceeded via the Panama Canal to Hawaii. Following training in Hawaiian waters, Sea Cat departed Pearl Harbor on 28 October and headed, via Midway and Saipan, for the South China Sea where she operated in a wolf pack which also included Pampanito (SS-383), Pipefish (SS-388), and Searaven (SS-196).

New England Region in the northeastern United States

New England is a region composed of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick to the northeast and Quebec to the north. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south. Boston is New England's largest city, as well as the capital of Massachusetts. The largest metropolitan area, with nearly a third of New England's population, is Greater Boston, which also includes Worcester, Massachusetts, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.

Naval Submarine Base New London United States Navys primary East Coast submarine base

Naval Submarine Base New London is the United States Navy's primary East Coast submarine base, also known as the "Home of the Submarine Force". It is located in Groton, Connecticut, directly across the Thames River from its namesake city of New London.

Panama Canal Large artificial waterway in the Republic of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

The Panama Canal is an artificial 82 km (51 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. Canal locks are at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. The original locks are 34 m wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016. The expanded canal began commercial operation on June 26, 2016. The new locks allow transit of larger, post-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo.

During the war patrol, Sea Cat fired torpedoes at two Japanese merchantmen which, together, displaced about 15,000 tons. Her commanding officer thought that they had both been sunk, but a postwar study of Japanese records did not confirm either sinking. After 61 days at sea, including 37 days in her patrol area, Sea Cat arrived at Guam for refit.

Japan Country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Guam Island territory of the United States of America

Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the westernmost point and territory of the United States, along with the Northern Mariana Islands. The capital city of Guam is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo. The inhabitants of Guam are called Guamanians, and they are American citizens by birth. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamorros, who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Guam has been a member of the Pacific Community since 1983.

The submarine got underway again on 1 February 1945 for her second war patrol which she conducted in the East China Sea in a wolf pack which included Segundo (SS-398) and Razorback (SS-394). During operations off the coast of Kyūshū, she damaged a 300-ton cargo ship by gunfire and attacked a 2,000-ton ship with torpedoes. Although she reported sinking the latter, Japanese records do not seem to support the claim. Sea Cat completed the patrol upon arriving at Midway on 24 March.

East China Sea A marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean between the south of Korea, the south of Kyushu, Japan, the Ryukyu islands and mainland China

The East China Sea is a marginal sea east of China. The East China Sea is a part of the Pacific Ocean and covers an area of roughly 1,249,000 square kilometres (482,000 sq mi). To the east lies the Japanese island of Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands, to the south, lies the South China Sea, and to the west by the Asian continent. The sea connects with the Sea of Japan through the Korea Strait and opens to the north into the Yellow Sea. The states which border the sea include Japan, Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.

USS <i>Segundo</i> (SS-398) submarine

USS Segundo (SS-398) was a Balao-class submarine, of the United States Navy named for the segundo, a cavalla fish of Caribbean waters.

USS <i>Razorback</i> (SS-394)

USS Razorback (SS-394), a Balao-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named after the razorback, a species of whale found in the far southern reaches of the Pacific Ocean. It is arguably the longest-serving combat front-line submarine still existing in the world, having been commissioned by two different countries for 56 years of active duty. In 2004, the state of Arkansas adopted the submarine and is now a museum ship at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

On 27 April, the submarine sailed for the Yellow Sea where she and six other submarines preyed upon Japanese shipping. Sea Cat accounted for 400 tons of enemy vessels by gunfire, and she picked up two survivors of the sunken enemy ships for questioning before returning to Pearl Harbor on 25 June.

She headed toward the Kuril Islands on 6 August for her fourth war patrol; but, upon arrival in her patrol area, learned that hostilities had ceased. She was ordered to proceed to the Japanese home islands and was in Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender ceremony on 2 September. Sea Cat earned three battle stars for her World War II service.

She then sailed for the Marianas and reached Guam on 7 September. Following a brief stay at Apra Harbor, the submarine headed home. Following operations in the San Diego area into the spring of 1946, the ship proceeded to San Francisco Bay and arrived at Mare Island on 15 April 1946 for overhaul.

Post War duties in Atlantic

Yard work completed on 26 July, Sea Cat sailed back to San Diego, whence she departed on 12 August for her first simulated war patrol. On this cruise she visited Hawaii; Canton Island; Swains, Samoa, and Atafu Island; Tsingtao, and Shanghai.

Then, transferred to the Atlantic Fleet, the submarine arrived at Balboa, Canal Zone, on 12 January 1947. After two and one-half years of exercises out of Balboa, her home port was changed to Key West in June 1949. In the autumn, it was decided to have a number of experimental changes made to the ship during her forthcoming overhaul, and she was redesignated AGSS-399 on 30 September. On 7 November, she arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where the work was done. The modifications and repairs were completed on 11 March 1950, and the submarine returned, via New London, to Key West. She operated from that base until she got under way on 9 January 1952 for Philadelphia and another overhaul. After her arrival on 15 January, she was converted to a Fleet Snorkel submarine and redesignated SS-399.

Overhaul and conversion completed. Sea Cat departed Philadelphia on 26 June 1952 and returned to Key West. She operated from that base for the remainder of her career, spending most of her time in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and in waters off the southern coast of the United States. In July 1966, she interrupted her customary routine by crossing the Atlantic for a four-month deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

Upon returning to Key West on 30 October, the submarine resumed her former routine and operated in Florida waters and the Caribbean until she was decommissioned on 2 December 1968 and struck from the Navy list on the same day. She was sold for scrapping, 18 May 1973.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 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. 1 2 3 4 5 6 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. 1 2 3 4 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   978-0-313-26202-9.
  4. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
  5. 1 2 3 U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305-311