|Builder:||Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine|
|Laid down:||23 July 1936|
|Launched:||24 August 1937|
|Commissioned:||15 December 1937|
|Decommissioned:||15 November 1945|
|Struck:||30 April 1948|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap, 18 May 1948|
|Class and type:||Salmon-class composite diesel-hydraulic and diesel-electric submarine|
|Length:||308 ft 0 in (93.88 m)|
|Beam:||26 ft 1 1⁄4 in (7.957 m)|
|Draft:||15 ft 8 in (4.78 m)|
|Range:||11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)|
|Endurance:||48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged|
|Test depth:||250 ft (76 m)|
|Complement:||5 officers, 54 enlisted|
USS Snapper (SS-185), a Salmon-class submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy of the name and the second to be named for the snapper. Her keel was laid down by the Portsmouth Navy Yard on 23 July 1936. She was launched on 24 August 1937, sponsored by Mrs. Katharine R. Stark, wife of Rear Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, and commissioned on 16 December 1937 with Lieutenant F. O. Johnson in command.
On 10 May 1938, Snapper departed Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for her shakedown cruise, visited Cuba, the Panama Canal Zone, Peru, and Chile, and returned to Portsmouth on 16 July. There, she conducted final acceptance trials and underwent post-shakedown overhaul.
On 3 October, Snapper was assigned to Submarine Squadron (SubRon) 3 based at Balboa, Canal Zone, where she participated in training and fleet exercises until 15 March 1939, when she set sail for repairs at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Departing Portsmouth on 9 May, she stopped at New London, Connecticut, and then got underway for the West Coast, arriving at San Diego, California, on 2 June. On 1 July, the submarine set sail for Pearl Harbor and maneuvers in the Hawaiian area, followed by overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California, from 1 December 1939 to 1 March 1940.
Following her return to San Diego, Snapper was assigned to SubRon 6 and got underway for Hawaii on 1 April, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 9 April. Except for a brief voyage to San Diego in October and November 1940, Snapper remained in the Hawaiian area participating in training exercises and fleet tactics until 3 May 1941, when she departed for overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard. Upon completion, she became a unit of SubRon 2 based at San Diego. During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Snapper was operating in the Philippine Islands area.
On 19 December, Snapper departed Manila for her first war patrol, covering the shipping lanes between Hong Kong and Hainan Strait until 8 January 1942, when she set sail for Davao Gulf in the Philippines. On 12 January, she made an unsuccessful attack on a Japanese supply ship which escaped when Snapper was forced down by an escorting destroyer. While off Cape San Agustin on 24 January, she attacked another supply ship without success, again being forced deep by destroyer escorts. On 1 February, as the submarine approached Bangka Strait, she was detected by an enemy destroyer which made a fruitless depth charge attack. In return, Snapper fired two torpedoes but both failed to find the target. Snapper arrived at Soerabaja, Java, on 10 February and then continued on to Fremantle, Western Australia.
Snapper departed Fremantle on 6 March for the approaches to Tarakan, Indonesia, and her second war patrol. Finding no suitable targets there, she was directed to Davao Gulf where, on 31 March, she closed a large armed tender or auxiliary cruiser. She fired two bow torpedoes at 600 yards (500 m) and, after reversing course, came to periscope depth to observe the enemy ship dead in the water. After firing one torpedo from her stern tube, she was forced deep to evade an attacking escort ship. Later that night, she was ordered to Mactan Island to unload ammunition and take on board 46 tons of food for the besieged island of Corregidor. Arriving there on 4 April, she transferred her cargo to submarine rescue vessel Pigeon (ASR-6), took on board 27 evacuees, and headed back to Fremantle, evading Japanese destroyer patrols on the way.
On 23 April, Snapper received word that Searaven (SS-196) was in trouble and reversed course to go to her aid. After towing the stricken submarine to Fremantle, she sailed for Albany and then returned to Fremantle.
Snapper’s third war patrol was conducted in the Flores Sea, Makassar Strait, and the western Celebes Sea. Despite intensive efforts, the submarine found no worthwhile targets and returned to Fremantle from a disappointing patrol on 16 July.
On 8 August, Snapper headed for the South China Sea and her fourth war patrol. On 19 August, she fired two torpedoes at a cargo ship but lost contact when forced to evade an escort ship. The only other targets sighted during this patrol were at too great a distance or on a course and speed that prevented the submarine from closing.
Although both the fifth and sixth war patrols were also unproductive, during the seventh, conducted in the vicinity of Guam, Snapper sank her initial victim of the war. According to her war diary, she sighted two vessels moored in the extreme northeast corner of Apra Harbor, Guam, and decided to patrol submerged off the harbor until they departed. Seven days later, on 27 August, she headed to the north of the harbor, firing three torpedoes at the first target and one at the second. As she quickly departed the vicinity, Snapper observed one hit on the first target, sinking the passenger-cargo ship Tokai Maru, stern first.
On 2 September, Snapper closed a convoy of five cargo ships and two escorts. The primary targets, the cargo ships, zigged away; and, when the port escort came into view "head on," the submarine fired a "down-the-throat" shot at the escort, Japanese frigate Mutsure, that blew the enemy's bow completely off and enveloped her in flames as she sank. The submarine quickly cleared the locality as the other escort commenced a depth charge attack. On 6 September, Snapper intercepted another convoy and fired three torpedoes; but all were misses. On 17 September, she terminated her seventh patrol at Pearl Harbor.
Snapper’s eighth war patrol was conducted off Honshū, Japan, from 19 October to 14 December. While battling heavy seas on 29 November, the submarine sighted a convoy of five ships and two escorts and began to close the range. She fired three bow torpedoes and scored two hits that set the cargo ship Kenryu Maru ablaze as she settled by the bow and sank.
On 14 March 1944, following overhaul at Pearl Harbor, Snapper began her ninth war patrol, conducted in the area of the Bonin Islands. Few worthwhile targets were sighted during this patrol. On 24 March, she contacted a convoy of 12 ships and fired eight torpedoes with six hits. She was credited with damaging a freighter but, due to heavy seas, was unable to continue the attack. Enemy escorts and heavy seas continually prevented any further attacks, and Snapper returned to Midway Island on 29 April.
Snapper spent her tenth war patrol engaged in lifeguard duties near Truk in support of bombardment missions by the United States Army Air Forces. On 9 June, while the submarine was patrolling on the surface, an enemy plane broke quickly from a low cloud and attacked. As Snapper quickly dove, one bomb struck directly above the hatch instantly killing one crewman (AS-15) at Majuro Atoll on 13 June, and Snapper continued her lifeguard duty until returning to Pearl Harbor on 21 July.and injuring several others, including the commanding officer. As the submarine continued to dive, shells were heard striking her hull. Upon surfacing, it was found that her pressure hull had not been damaged, but a heavy oil slick indicated a puncture of a fuel oil ballast tank. Minor repairs were made. Two wounded enlisted men were transferred to submarine tender Bushnell
On 5 September, Snapper departed Pearl Harbor for her eleventh and final war patrol, conducted in the Bonin Islands area. On 1 October, the submarine encountered two enemy vessels escorted by a small patrol craft. The submarine fired her bow torpedoes at the large target then swung for a "down-the-throat" shot at the smaller vessel. Hits were scored on both vessels resulting in the sinking of the passenger-cargo ship Seian Maru, and the coastal minelayer, Ajiro. Snapper then took up lifeguard station off Iwo Jima until 18 October and terminated her eleventh patrol at Midway on 27 October, before continuing on to Pearl Harbor.
Snapper departed Pearl Harbor on 2 November and set sail for overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard. Getting underway from Mare Island on 9 March 1945, the submarine arrived at San Diego on 11 March and engaged in local training operations for several months. She transited the Panama Canal on 20 May and arrived at New London, Connecticut, on 27 May where she operated until decommissioned at Boston, Massachusetts, on 17 November 1945. Snapper was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 April 1948 and sold for scrap to the Interstate Metals Corporation of New York City, on 18 May 1948.
Snapper received six battle stars for World War II service.
USS Thresher (SS-200), a Tambor-class submarine, was the most decorated United States Navy submarine of World War II. Her keel was laid down 27 May 1939 at the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 27 March 1940 sponsored by RADM Claud A. Jones and commissioned on 27 August 1940, with Lieutenant Commander William Lovett Anderson in command.
USS Bang (SS-385) was a United States Navy Balao-class submarine, named after the bang, a dark blue or black fish of the Atlantic herring family found in the coastal waters of the United States north of North Carolina.
USS Skate (SS-305) was a Balao-class submarine in service with the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946. She was used as a target ship in the 1946 atomic bomb tests and finally sunk as a target ship in October 1948.
USS Tautog (SS-199), a Tambor-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the tautog, a small edible sport fish, which is also called a blackfish.
USS Trout (SS-202) was a Tambor-class submarine of the United States Navy, serving in the Pacific from 1941 to 1944. She received 11 battle stars for World War II service and three Presidential Unit Citations, for her second, third, and fifth war patrols. Trout also delivered ammunition to the besieged American forces on Corregidor and brought out 20 tons of gold bars and silver pesos from the Philippine currency reserve to Pearl Harbor. During 1941, she was used as a target by a series of tests determining the vulnerability of submarines to depth charge attacks.
USS Tullibee (SS-284), a Gato-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the tullibee. Her keel was laid down on 1 April 1942 at Mare Island, California, by the Mare Island Navy Yard. She was launched on 11 November 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Kenneth C. Hurd; and commissioned on 15 February 1943, Commander Charles F. Brindupke in command.
USS Harder (SS-257), a Gato-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the harder, a fish of the mullet family found off South Africa. One of the most famous submarines of World War II, she received the Presidential Unit Citation. Her skipper throughout her service, the resolute and resourceful Commander Samuel D. Dealey (1906–1944), "a submariner's submariner", was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, as well as four Navy Crosses during his lifetime.
USS Salmon (SS-182) was the lead ship of her class of submarine. She was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the salmon, a soft-finned, game fish which inhabits the coasts of America and Europe in northern latitudes and ascends rivers for the purpose of spawning.
USS Tuna (SS-203) was a United States Navy Tambor-class submarine, serving in the Pacific during World War II and earning seven battle stars for her service. After the war, she participated in the Bikini Atoll atomic testing in 1946.
USS Tambor (SS-198), the lead ship of her class of submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the tambor.
USS Tarpon (SS-175), second ship of this name, was laid down on 22 December 1933 at Groton, Connecticut, by the Electric Boat Corporation; launched on 4 September 1935; sponsored by Miss Eleanore Katherine Roosevelt, daughter of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Henry L. Roosevelt; and commissioned on 12 March 1936, Lt. Leo L. Pace in command.
USS Finback (SS-230), a Gato-class submarine was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the finback.
USS Pollack (SS-180), a Porpoise-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the pollack, a food fish resembling the true cod, but with the lower jaw projecting and without the barbel.
USS Skipjack (SS-184), a Salmon-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named after the fish. Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut, on 22 July 1936. She was launched on 23 October 1937 sponsored by Miss Frances Cuthbert Van Keuren, daughter of Captain Alexander H. Van Keuren, Superintending Constructor, New York Navy Yard. The boat was commissioned on 30 June 1938 with Lieutenant Herman Sall in command. She earned multiple battle stars during World War II and then was sunk, remarkably, by an atomic bomb during post-war testing. Among the most "thoroughly sunk" ships, she was refloated and then sunk a second time as a target ship two years later.
USS Stingray (SS-186), a Salmon-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named the stingray. Her keel was laid down in the Portsmouth Navy Yard on 1 October 1936. She was launched on 6 October 1937 sponsored by Mrs. Olive G. McLean, widow of Rear Admiral Ridley McLean, who had had a distinguished career in the submarine service, and was commissioned on 15 March 1938 with Lieutenant L. N. Blair in command.
USS Sturgeon (SS-187), a Salmon-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the sturgeon. Its 1944 sinking of the Japanese troopship Toyama Maru, killing more than 5,000 Japanese, was one of the worst maritime disasters in history, and its 1942 sinking of the prisoner ship Montevideo Maru was the worst maritime disaster in Australian history.
USS Kingfish (SS-234), a Gato-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the kingfish.
USS Shad (SS-235), a Gato-class submarine, was the first submarine and second vessel of the United States Navy to be named for the shad, a fish of the herring family, common along coasts of the United States.
USS Balao (SS/AGSS-285) was the lead ship of the United States Navy's Balao-class submarines during World War II and named for the balao, a small schooling marine fish.
USS Seahorse (SS-304), a Balao-class submarine, was the first submarine and second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the seahorse, a small fish whose head and the fore part of its body suggest the head and neck of a horse.