Submarine Losses


1 Man Lost

January 8, 2005

USS San Francisco (SSN 711)
January 27, 2005 Damage to the bow of the USS San Francisco SSN-711

  • Los Angeles Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: May 26, 1977, at Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va.
  • Launched: October 27, 1979
  • Commissioned: April 24, 1981
  • Displacement: 6,100 tons surfaced; 6,900 tons submerged
  • Length: 361′ 11″
  • Beam: 32′ 10″
  • Operating depth: greater than 400′
  • Complement: 12 officers, 115 enlisted
  • Armament: four 21″ torpedo tubes

On 8 January 2005 at about 0200 GMT, San Francisco collided with an undersea mountain about 350 miles south of Guam while operating at flank (maximum) speed and more than 500 feet deep. The collision was so serious that the vessel was almost lost – accounts detail a desperate struggle for positive buoyancy to surface after the forward ballast tanks were ruptured. Twenty-three crewmen were injured, and Machinist’s Mate Second Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died on 9 January from head injuries. Other injuries to the crew included broken bones, lacerations, and a back injury. San Francisco’s forward ballast tanks and sonar dome were severely damaged, but her inner hull was not breached and there was no damage to her nuclear reactor. She surfaced and transited to Guam on 10 January.

The Navy immediately stated that there was “absolutely no reason to believe that it struck another submarine or vessel.” Later, an examination of the submarine in drydock showed unmistakably that the submarine had indeed struck an undersea mountain which had only vague references on the charts available to San Francisco.

USS San Francisco (SSN 711)USS San Francisco (SSN 711)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Originally contributed by Mike Smolinski.
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81 Men Lost

February 29, 1944

USS Trout (SS 202)
Coming alongside USS Detroit (CL-8) at Pearl Harbor in early March 1942, to unload a cargo of gold that she had evacuated from the Philippines. The gold had been loaded aboard Trout at Corregidor on February 4, 1942.

  • Tambor Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: August 28, 1939, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME
  • Launched: May 21, 1940
  • Commissioned: November 15, 1940
  • Displacement: 1,475 tons surfaced; 2,370 tons submerged
  • Length:307′ 2″
  • Beam: 27′ 3″
  • Depth limit: 250′
  • Complement: 5 officers, 54 enlisted
  • Armament: ten 21″ torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3″/50 deck gun, two .50 caliber machine guns, two .30 caliber machine guns

On February 8th, the submarine began her 11th and final war patrol. TROUT topped off with fuel at Midway and, on the 16th, headed via a great circle route toward the East China Sea. She was never heard from again.

Japanese records indicate that one of their convoys was attacked by a submarine on February 29, 1944 in the patrol area assigned to TROUT. The submarine badly damaged one large passenger-cargo ship and sank the 7,126-ton transport SAKITO MARU. Possibly one of the convoy’s escorts sank the submarine. On April 17, 1944, TROUT was declared presumed lost.

Japanese records examined after the war showed that destroyer ASASHIMO, presumably an escort in the convoy of SAKITO MARU, detected a submarine and dropped 19 depth charges. Oil and debris came to the surface and the destroyer dropped a final depth charge on that spot. TROUT went down with all 81 hands.

Naval Historical Center

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS Trout (SS 202)USS Trout (SS 202)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Patch on left contributed by Mike Smolinski, patch on right contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)
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78 Men Lost

June 28, 1943

USS Runner (SS 275)
Heading out for sea trials in October 1942, the Runner (SS 275), will soon make her first war patrol. This Portsmouth built boat had the anchor mounted on the port side and a high bridge as built. This would soon be cut down. Her “SJ” radar is mounted in front of her number one scope.

  • Gato Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: December 8, 1941, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME
  • Launched: May 30, 1942
  • Commissioned: July 30, 1942
  • Displacement: 1,526 tons surfaced; 2,410 tons submerged
  • Length: 311′ 8″
  • Beam: 27′ 4″
  • Operating depth: 300′
  • Complement: 6 officers, 54 enlisted
  • Armament: ten 21″ torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3″/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine g

On May 27, under command of Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Bourland, she departed Midway for the Kuril Islands chain and waters off northern Japan. No report was heard from her. Captured Japanese records indicated that she sank the cargo ship Seinan Maru on June 11 in Tsugaru Strait off Hokkaidō, and the passenger-cargo ship Shinryu Maru on June 26 off the Kuril Islands.

A summary of Japanese antisubmarine attacks received since the close of hostilities contains no mention of an attack, which could explain the loss of RUNNER. Thus her loss must be ascribed to an enemy minefield, of which there were at least four in the area to which she was assigned, to an operational casualty, or to an unreported enemy attack. Destruction by a mine is considered the most likely of these possibilities.

Runner was awarded one battle star for World War II service.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS Runner (SS 275)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Originally contributed by Mike Smolinski.
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33 Men Lost

June 20, 1941

USS O-9 (SS 70)
Afloat immediately after launching, at the Fore River Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, January 27, 1918.
Note the icy water.

  • O Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: February 15, 1917, at Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, MA
  • Launched: January 27, 1918
  • Commissioned: July 27, 1918
  • Displacement: 521 tons surfaced; 629 tons submerged
  • Length: 172′ 4″
  • Beam: 18′ 0″
  • Depth limit: 200′
  • Complement: 2 officers, 27 enlisted
  • Armament: four 18″, torpedo tubes, 8 torpedoes, one 3″/23 deck gun

On the morning of June 20, 1941, O-9 and two of her sisters, O-6 (SS 67) and O-10 (SS 71), left as a group from the submarine base in New London, Connecticut, for the submarine test depth diving area east of the Isle of Shoals. Upon reaching their designated training area, some 15 miles off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, O-6 made the first dive, followed by O-10. Finally, at 0837, O-9 began her dive. At 1032 O-9 had not surfaced.

Rescue ships swung into action immediately. Sister ships O-6 and O-10, submarine Triton (SS 201), submarine rescue vessel Falcon (ASR 2), and other ships searched for the sub. That evening, pieces of debris with markings from O-9 were recovered. In water 450 feet (140 m) deep, O-9 was thought to be crushed, since her hull was only designed to withstand depths of around 200 feet (60 m).

Divers went down from 1300 on June 21 until 1143 on June 22. Divers could stay only a short time at the 440-foot depth but nonetheless set endurance and depth records for salvage operations until those operations were cancelled as they were considered too risky. Rescue operations were discontinued on June 22, The boat and her thirty-three officers and men were declared lost as of June 20. On June 22, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox conducted memorial services for the 33 officers and men lost on the boat.

On September 20, 1997 O-9 was finally located. Salem, New Hampshire-based Klein Sonar Company provided a vessel and sonar equipment which were used to discover O-9’s final resting place. Her hull is crushed from just abaft the conning all the way to the stern, though the forward hull appears intact. There are no plans to salvage O-9. Her exact location is secret and the area has been designated an official Naval burial ground.

Naval Historical Center

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

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No Men Lost

June 19, 1942

USS S-27 (SS 132)
Portside view of the S-27 (SS 132), entering Pearl Harbor circa 1925

  • S-1 Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: April 11, 1919, at the Fore River Plant, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, MA
  • Launched: October 11, 1922
  • Commissioned: January 22, 1924
  • Displacement: 854 tons surfaced; 1,062 tons submerged
  • Length: 219′ 3″
  • Beam: 20′ 8″
  • Depth limit: 200′
  • Complement: 4 officers, 34 enlisted
  • Armament: four 21″ torpedo tubes, 12 torpedoes, one 4″/50 deck gun

Ordered north to the Aleutian Islands, she departed San Diego on May 20; steamed to Port Angeles, Washington; thence, continued on to Alaskan waters where she commenced patrol operations in June. On May 12, a little over a week after the beginning of the war in the Aleutians, she put into Dutch Harbor, took on provisions, refueled, and then headed west with orders to patrol in the Kuluk Bay area and to reconnoiter Constantine Harbor, Amchitka. On the night of June 16-June 17, she was ordered to Kiska. On June 18, she reconnoitered Constantine Harbor found no signs of enemy activity in that evacuated village, and moved on to round the southern end of the island, whence she would proceed to Kiska. In mid afternoon, she rounded East Cape and that night when she surfaced, fog obscured her position. Lying to charge on both engines, she was carried about five miles from her estimated dead-reckoned position. The fog prevented knowledge of the drift. At midnight, she got underway, slowly, on one engine and continued to charge on the other. Soon after 0043 on June 19, breakers were sighted about 25 yards forward of the bow. “Back emergency” orders were given. Seconds later, she grounded on rocks off St. Makarius Point.

Waves bumped her violently against the rocks, rolling her 10 to 15 degrees on each side. Her motors were continued at “back emergency,” but she was held firm by a submerged rock. Fuel was blown. Efforts to back off were continued, but the lightened ship swung harder against the rocks. Her starboard screw struck a rock and was disabled. Efforts were made to force the ship ahead to clear the stern; but, she could move only about twenty feet forward before she was again held fast. The immediate area was sounded. No passage was found. By 03:30, the pounding of the sea had increased and plans were made to move the greater part of the crew off. Dispatches of her plight, sent first at 01:15, were continued. Six were sent in all. One, giving no position, was received at Dutch Harbor.

A ferry system, using a rubber boat and lines rigged between the ship and the beach, was set up. Men, provisions, clothing, guns, and medical supplies were transferred safely. By 11:00, all but six, the commanding officer, Lieutenant H.L. Jukes, and five others, were ashore. All equipment was destroyed. Classified material was burned. At 15:30, three of the remaining men went ashore. The side plating was now loose, the torpedo room was flooding. At 15:50, the radioman, executive officer, and commanding officer left the submarine.

The night of June 19–20 was spent in an unsheltered cove. On June 20, camp was set up at Constantine Harbor, using the buildings and heating equipment which had survived a Japanese bombing. By June 21, the camp was fully organized: routines, including sentries and lookouts, had been established. Trips to and from the cove continued for three days. S-27 was reboarded on June 21 and June 22; thereafter, the presence of chlorine gas prohibited further visits to take off more supplies.

On June 24, a PBY Catalina on a routine flight spotted the activity at Constantine Harbor; landed; and took off 15 of the survivors. On June 25, three planes were sent in to bring off the remainder. All guns salvaged from S-27 were destroyed. Nothing was left except the submarine’s abandoned hulk and canned provisions, blankets, and winter clothing.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS S-27 (SS 132)USS S-27 (SS 132)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Patch on left contributed by Mike Smolinski, patch on right contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)
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85 Men Lost

June 18, 1945

USS Bonefish (SS 223)
Stern view of the Bonefish (SS 223) showing her starboard torpedo tubes, on the building ways at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT, March 7, 1943.

  • Gato Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: June 25, 1942, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT
  • Launched: March 7, 1943
  • Commissioned: May 31, 1943
  • Displacement: 1,526 tons surfaced; 2,424 tons submerged
  • Length: 311′ 9″
  • Beam: 27′ 3″
  • Operating depth: 300′
  • Complement: 6 officers, 54 enlisted
  • Armament: ten 21″ torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3″/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns

Upon completion of refit on May 28, 1945 Bonefish got underway in company with Tunny (SS 282) and Skate (SS 305), as part of “Pierce’s Polecats”, commanded by Tunny’s skipper, Commander George E. Pierce. Equipped with a new mine-detecting device, the submarines were ordered to penetrate the Sea of Japan to sever the last of the Japanese overseas supply lines. Bonefish successfully threaded her way through the minefields by Tsushima Island as she transited the Korea Strait to enter the Sea of Japan for an offensive patrol off the west central coast of Honshū.

During a rendezvous with Tunny on June 16, Bonefish reported sinking Oshikayama Maru, a 6,892-ton cargo ship. In a second rendezvous on June 18, she requested and received permission to conduct a daylight submerged patrol of Toyama Wan, a bay farther up the Honshū coast. The attack group was to depart the Sea of Japan via La Perouse Strait on the night of June 24th. Bonefish did not make the scheduled pre-transit rendezvous. Still, Tunny waited in vain off Hokkaidō until the 27th. On July 30, Bonefish was presumed lost.

Japanese records reveal that the 5,488-ton cargo ship Konzan Maru was torpedoed and sunk in Toyama Wan on June 19 and that an ensuing severe counterattack by Japanese escorts brought debris and a major oil slick to the water’s surface. There can be little doubt that Bonefish was sunk in this action.

Bonefish (SS 223) earned Navy Unit Commendations for her first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth war patrols, and seven battle stars for her World War II service.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS Bonefish (SS 223)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Originally contributed by Mike Smolinski.
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82 Men Lost

June 14, 1944

USS Golet (SS 361)
Looking like an oar driven galley, the Golet (SS 361) appears across the Manitowoc River immeadiatley before launching on August 1, 1943

  • Gato Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: January 27, 1943, at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI
  • Launched: August 1, 1943
  • Commissioned: November 30, 1943
  • Displacement: 1,526 tons surfaced; 2,424 tons submerged
  • Length: 311′ 9″
  • Beam: 27′ 3″
  • Operating depth: 300′
  • Complement: 6 officers, 54 enlisted
  • Armament: ten 21″ torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3″/50 deck gun, two .30 cal. machine guns

Lieutenant James S. Clark took command of Golet, departed Midway Island on May 28, 1944 to patrol off northern Honshū, Japan, and was never heard from again.

Golet had been scheduled to depart her area on July 5 and was expected at Midway Island about July 12 or July 13. She failed to acknowledge a message sent her on July 9 and was presumed lost July 26, 1944.

Japanese antisubmarine records available after the war revealed that Golet was the probable victim of a Japanese antisubmarine attack made June 14, 1944. These records mention that the attack brought up corks, rafts, and other debris and a heavy pool of oil, all evidence of the sinking of a submarine.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS Golet (SS 361)USS Golet (SS 361)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Patch on right contributed by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, WI, home of the Cobia SS 245. Patch on left courtesy of Mike Smolinski.
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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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