USS Redfin (SS-272)

USS "Redfin" (SS/SSR/AGSS-272), a "Gato"-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for the redfin, any of several North American fishes with reddish fins.

"Redfin" (SS-272) was laid down 16 February 1942 by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, Wisc.; launched 4 April 1943; sponsored by Mrs. B. B. Wygant; and commissioned 31 August 1943, Lt. Comdr. R. D. King in command.

First war patrol, January – March 1944

Departing New Orleans 15 October 1943, "Redfin" proceeded to Fremantle, Australia. On her first war patrol 4 January to 17 February 1944, she encountered an enemy convoy of four ships in the South China Sea 16 January and damaged the IJN Destroyer Amatsukaze. From 8 March to 14 March, she patrolled north of Australia to defend against a possible Japanese attack.

Second war patrol, March – May 1944

On her second war patrol 19 March to 1 May, "Redfin" sank the 1,900-ton Japanese destroyer "Akigumo" off Zamboanga, Mindanao, 11 April. During the night of 15 April16 April, she sank two Japanese passenger-cargo ships, "Shinyu Maru", 4,621 tons, and "Yamagata Maru", 3,807 tons. On the night of 22 April23 April, she landed four of her crew near Dent Haven, Borneo, to evacuate a British reconnaissance party. Attacked by the Japanese, the landing party returned to "Redfin", but the British agents were later evacuated by an Australian officer, and transferred to USS|Harder|SS-257|3.

Third war patrol, May – July 1944

On her third war patrol, 26 May to 1 July, she landed six Philippine guerrillas on a small island near Balabac Strait 8 June. Proceeding to scout the enemy naval base at Tawi Tawi, she sank the 5,142-ton Japanese tanker "Asanagi Maru" on 11 June. She also warned American forces in the Marianas of the departure from Tawi Tawi of the Japanese task force that was later defeated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea on 19 June and 20 June. Operating off Leyte on 24 June, she sank the 3,028-ton Japanese passenger-cargo ship "Aso Maru", before returning to Fremantle.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth war patrols, August 1944 – September 1945

Departing Fremantle 6 August, she laid a minefield off the west coast of Borneo on 19 August and rescued eight survivors of USS|Flier|SS-250|3 at Palawan Island on 30 August. After lifeguard duty for airstrikes against Balikpapan, Borneo, she departed Fremantle 26 October, and sank the 15,226-ton Japanese tanker "Nichinan Maru No. 2" west of the Philippines 8 November.

Completing her fourth war patrol 7 January 1945, she proceeded to Mare Island Naval Shipyard, San Francisco Bay, California, where she received special mine detection gear. Underway from Pearl Harbor 30 May to 10 July, and later from 30 July to 5 September she made mine surveys first off Honshū and Hokkaidō, and later off Kyūshū, Japan.

Radar picket submarine, 1953–1959

Decommissioned at New London, Conn., 1 November 1946, she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in April 1951 for conversion, and was reclassified SSR-272. Recommissioned 9 January 1953, she engaged in radar-picket duty for the next 6 years in American coastal waters, off northern Europe, and in the Mediterranean.

Auxiliary research submarine, 1959–1967

In April 1959 she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and received an inertial guidance system. "Redfin" became a laboratory and training ship for the testing of inertial guidance systems used in Polaris submarines. She preceded the first ballistic missile submarine USS|George Washington|SSBN-598|3 as flagship of Submarine Squadron 14.

After searching for the lost USS|Thresher|SSN-593|3 in April 1963, she was reclassified AGSS-272 on 28 June. Operating in the Atlantic, she continued to assist in special research and development projects, including the Polaris A-3 missile, until she decommissioned 15 May 1967 to become a Naval Reserve Training Ship at Baltimore, Md. "Redfin" was struck from the Navy List on 1 July 1970 and sold to the North American Smelting Co., Wilmington, Del., on 3 March 1971.

"Redfin" received six battle stars for World War II service.


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