Sunday, June 19, 2011

In Memoriam - USS S-27 (SS-132) - Grounded on 19 June 1942

USS S-27 (SS-132) was an S-class submarine, built in the period after the First World War and incorporating many of the lessons learned about submarine operations during that conflict. During the 1920s and 1930s, S-27 operated in the Pacific. When World War II started, S-27 was undergoing a routine overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

At the end of the overhaul, S-27 was dispatched to the Aleutian Campaign. After conducting a reconnaissance of Constantine Harbor on Amchitka Island and finding no sign of Japanese activity (the village had been evacuated), S-27 headed for Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces.

However, the dense fog prevented S-27 from knowing exactly where she was, and a swift current pushed her five miles off course. Despite moving slowly, S-27 grounded on Amchitka Island. Unable to free herself, and suffering damage from the pounding surf, the decision was made to abandon ship and transfer the crew ashore. This was done without incident, and the crew occupied the abandoned buildings in Constantine Harbor.

On 24 June, a PBY Catalina on patrol spotted signs of activity, and landed to investigate. The entire crew was rescued.


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