42 Men Lost

June 12, 1943

USS R-12 (SS 89)
R-12 (SS 89) probably in the Canal Zone

  • R-1 Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: March 28, 1918, at Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, MA
  • Launched: August 15, 1919
  • Commissioned: Sepetember 23, 1919
  • Displacement: 569 tons surfaced; 680 tons submerged
  • Length: 186′ 2″
  • Beam: 18′
  • Depth limit: 200′
  • Complement: 2 officers, 27 enlisted
  • Armament: four 21″ torpedo tubes forward, 8 torpedoes, one 3″/50 deck gun

In February 1942, R-12 commenced patrols primarily from Guantanamo Bay and Key West, Florida. During March and April 1943 she was at New London, then in May she returned to Key West, Florida, where she trained submariners for the remainder of her career.

Shortly after noon on June 12, 1943, R-12, while underway to conduct a torpedo practice approach, sounded her last diving alarm. As she completed preparations to dive, the forward battery compartment began to flood. The collision alarm was sounded and a report was made that the forward battery compartment was flooding. Orders were given to blow main ballast, but the sea was faster. In about 15 seconds R-12 was lost with all but the 5 men on watch on the bridge: 42 officers and men and the Brazilian observers she was carrying were unable to escape.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS R-12 (SS 89)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Originally contributed by Mike Smolinski.
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One Response to “USS R-12 (SS 89)”

  1. Adair Says:

    I served with a survivor of the R-12, F J Zions during the mid fifties
    aboard LST 1126.Zions and I maintained the Main Engines aboard ship.
    Zions retired from Naval Service in 1959.

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