Saturday, July 30, 2011

In Memoriam - USS G-2 (SS-27) - July 30, 1919

This very early submarine was designed in the late 1900s, with construction starting in 1909. Originally named USS Tuna, her name was changed prior to commissioning (all named US submarines were given letter and number designations on 17 November 1911, and this practice continued until just before the start of World War II).

G-2 spent much of her time conducting exercises and training, as the exact role of submarines was still being studied. (G-2's maximum depth was less than 50 feet.)

During the First World War, G-2 was used as a training boat for the then newly established submarine school in Groton, CT. She did conduct several short war patrols, searching for reported German U-Boats.

She was decommissioned on April 2, 1919 and was scheduled to be used as a target for testing depth charges. While being used for that duty, she sank at her moorings near Niantic Bay, CT, killing three of her inspection crew. Too deep for the salvage technology of the day, she was left where she sank. In 1962, she was partially salvaged by the U.S. Navy, then allowed to re-sink at the same spot.

Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Robalo (SS-273) - Lost 26 July 1944

USS Robalo (SS-273) was a Gato-class submarine built by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Commissioned on 28 September, 1943, she was assigned to the Pacific Theater.

On her third war patrol, Robalo was assigned to patrol the South China Sea. She made a contact report on 02 July, 1944, but was not heard from again. She was reported overdue and was presumed lost.

After the war, it was learned that Robalo had struck a Japanese mine in the Palawan Strait on 26 July. Only four men, an officer and three enlisted men survived and were able to swim ashore. Unfortunately, they were captured by the Japanese, and after spending time in a prison camp, were loaded aboard a Japanese destroyer in August, 1944 for transport back to the Japanese home islands to work in a prison work camp. However, both of the destroyers that departed the Philippines that month were sunk.

Photograph courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.