Thursday, January 12, 2012

In Memoriam - USS Swordfish (SS-193)

Swordfish (SS-193) was a very successful submarine, despite being a pre-war Sargo-class submarine with only four torpedo tubes forward (Razorback, like most WWII submarines had six torpedo tubes forward). During her career, Swordfish sank a destroyer and sank or damaged 28 merchant ships, including three that she engaged on the surface with her 3" 50-caliber deck gun.

also holds the distinction for being the first U.S. submarine to sink a Japanese vessel during World War II. She also participated in the evacuation of critical personnel from the Philippines, including the President of the Philippines and his family.

USS Swordfish (SS-193) was lost with all hands during her thirteenth war patrol.

She had been ordered to conduct photographic reconnaissance of Okinawa, in preparation for the planned amphibious assault on the island, a Japanese stronghold. She transmitted a radio message on January 3rd and was never heard from again.

January 12th is given as the most likely date of her loss, as USS Kete (SS-369) reported radar contact with a submarine that morning, and then heard the sounds of a depth charge attack in the same area about four hours later. It is generally believed that the radar contact was with Swordfish, making it likely that she was lost in the subsequent depth charge attack. However, Japanese records do not record any attack, so her true fate may never be known.


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