Gato class submarine
The United States Navy "Gato" class
submarinedesign was rushed into production in 1940 and was the forerunner of all US World War IIsubmarine designs. The class was 77 strong and sunk more than 1,700,000 tons of Japanese shipping. New construction of the class began in 1941 as the war in Europeescalated. More than half the class was built at Electric Boatat Groton, Connecticut; 3 new slipways were added to the north yard to accommodate their production.
The "Gato" class served mainly in the
Pacificocean but they did operate from the Caribbeanand the Atlanticfor short periods of time. In the latter case, in support of Operation Torch, the allied landings in North Africain 1942. Gato class submarines "Flasher", "Rasher", and "Barb" obtained the first three places in the league table of confirmed sinkings by US submarines in World War II. The "Gato" class was responsible for sinking three Japanese submarines - "I-29", "I-168" and " 1-351".
The "Gato" class was initially plagued by the problems with the
Mark 14 torpedoin the early war years. These tended to run too deep, explode prematurely, run erratically or circularly, or fail to detonate. These problems were identified and were largely solved by late 1943, allowing the "Gato" class to accumulate prolific numbers of tonnage sunk.
Several "Gato" class submarines were installed with new equipment. "Herring" used
bathythermographin covert operations, "Haddock" was fitted with the type SJ surface surveillance radar and "Muskellunge" was the first US submarine to be armed with electrically powered torpedoes. "Barb" became the first submarine to fire rockets while "Grouper" was fitted with a primitive combat information centre.
At the end of
World War II, the "Gato" class were moved into the training roles and some of the class were converted into radar picketboats. Some of the class did see action with the US 7th fleet off Vietnamin 1966. "Tunny" was converted to carry the Regulus missileand served from 1953 to 1965 in this role. "Redfin" was used in trials of inertial guidance systems for the Polaris missilesubmarines after 1959.
The last active boat was "Rock" which was decommissioned in September 1969 and sunk as a target.
Six "Gato"s are on display in the
United States. USS|Cavalla|SS-244|3 is at Seawolf Park, USS|Cobia|SS-245|3 is at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, and USS|Drum|SS-228|3 is at Battleship Memorial Park. The USS|Cod|SS-224 is on display in Cleveland. It does not have doors cut through its pressure hull nor stairwells added. The USS|Croaker|SS-246 is on display in Buffalo, New York, and the USS|Silversides|SS-236 is on display in Muskegon, Michigan.
A few highlights
* formed the basis of the largest class of American submarines ever built, counting the USS|Balao|SS-285|2 & USS|Tench|SS-417|2, which weren't substantially different.
Howard W. Gilmore, earned the Sub Force's first combat Medal of Honorfor ordering his boat to dive after he was wounded 7 February 1943by fire from provision ship "Hayasaki" and was unable to reach the hatch in time.
* In USS|Grunion|SS-216|2,
Mannert L. Abeleearned the Sub Force's first Navy Cross, when his boat vanished off Kiskain July 1942.
* was the only U.S. boat in the
Pacific Warlost to grounding.
* became famous in Edward L. "Ned" Beach's book "Submarine!" (which was a kind of
*, commanded by the Sub Force's most famous skipper, Dudley W. "Mush" Morton, was the first U.S. sub into the
Sea of Japan. She was sunk exiting in 1943 after a second excursion.
* sank Japanese tank reinforcements which were en route to Iwo Jima.
* was the top-scoring U.S. boat of the war, with 100,231 tons officially credited to her by the Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee
* was commanded by
Samuel D. Dealey, the only submariner of the war (perhaps the only one ever) to sink five enemy destroyers, four in a single patrol.
* was lent to the Japanese after the war, under the name "Kuroshio".
* sank the carrier "Shokaku". "Shokaku" had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
* sank the carrier "Taiho".Taiho was the flagship of Ozawa's fleet during the
Battle of the Philippine Sea
* went to the rescue of a grounded Dutch submarine O-19, taking its crew on board and destroying the submarine when it could not be gotten off the reef, the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue in history.
* —w2c|:Category:Submarines of the United States
* "Submarines, War Beneath The Waves, From 1776 To The Present Day", By Robert Hutchinson
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