Saturday, February 11, 2012

In Memoriam - USS Shark (SS-174) - 11 February 1942

USS Shark (SS-174), the first submarine in the U.S. Navy to feature all-welded construction, was lost with all hands on or about 11 February 1942, somewhere off the Philippines. Shark was conducting her second war patrol. She was the first American submarine to be lost during a war patrol.

Following the war, an examination of Japanese records revealed three attacks which might have claimed Shark. One depth charge attack on 11 February, another anti-submarine attack on 17 February, and a third operation on 21 February. Additionally, in 1944, a Japanese press release claimed that a Japanese subchaser rammed an American submarine in Manipa Strait in February, 1942. However the attack described in the press release is not mentioned in the official Japanese records.

Since both English and Dutch submarines were also operating in the area at the same time as Shark, it is impossible to determine if any or all of the above mentioned attacks were successful in sinking Allied submarines. Another possibility is that of some kind of operational accident. However, based on the available records, the attack on 11 February is thought to have been the most likely cause of Shark's loss.

Official U.S. Navy photograph from the Naval Historical Center. Patch from the the AIMM collection.


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