USS Queenfish (SS-393)


USS Queenfish (SS-393)

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 USS|Barb|SS-220|3 and USS|Tunny|SS-282|3. 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.

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 USS|Picuda|SS-382|3. 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 USS|Spot|SS-413|3, also had USS|Sea Fox|SS-402|3 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. After the war, it was confirmed that "Awa Maru" was loaded with munitions and contraband. Loughlin survived to continue an illustrious career that led to flag rank.

On 12 April "Queenfish" rescued the 13-man crew of a Navy flying boat.

"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 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 USS|Swordfish|SSN-579|3, 14 August 1963.

"Queenfish" was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (US), and received 6 battle stars for World War II service.

"Queenfish" was used for the opening and closing scenes and some exterior shots in the movie "Operation Petticoat". [ [http://queenfish.org/noframes/petticoat.html queenfish.org] ]

Raiding career

8 Japanese ships

References

*DANFS|http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/q1/queenfish-i.htm|http://hazegray.org/danfs/submar/ss393.txt

External links

*navsource|08/08393|Queenfish
* [http://www.rddesigns.com/ww2/queenfish.html Sinkings by boat: USS "Queenfish"]
* [http://www.subnet.com/FLEET/ss393.htm subnet.com: USS "Queenfish"]
* [http://queenfish.org/noframes/393.html USS "Queenfish" website]


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