Tag Archives: submarines

What a 20-pack of diesel boats look like in hard storage

Here we see at least 20 inactivated boats of the WWII-era Salmon/Sargo, Gato, and Balao classes at rest at Mare Island, California on 3 January 1946.

Click to bigup

Click to bigup USN photo # 17-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. Text courtesy of David Johnston, USNR. Photo via Navsource

Front row left to right: Sand Lance (SS-381), next two could be Sealion (SS-315) and Seahorse (SS-304), Searaven (SS-196), Pampanito (SS-383), Gurnard (SS-254), Mingo (SS-261), Guitarro (SS-363), Bashaw (SS-241).

Back row left to right: Unknown, Tunny (SS-282), next three could be Sargo (SS-188), Spearfish (SS-190), and Saury (SS-189), Macabi (SS-375), Sunfish (SS-281), Guavina (SS-362), Lionfish (SS-298),Piranha (SS-389).
The Scabbardfish (SS-397) is docked in ARD-11 on the other side of the causeway.

Although out of commission, most of these boats remained in pier-side service as classroom for Naval Reserve units for years and many returned to active duty in either the U.S. or allied fleets– in fact, two are still afloat today.

  • Sand Lance would be transferred to Brazil as the Rio Grande do Sul (S-11) in 1962 and struck ten years later.
  • Sealion who sank the Japanese battleship Kongō, would be recalled to operate in Korea and as a SEAL boat in Vietnam, would be struck in 1977 and sunk as a target off Newport on 8 July 1978.
  • Seahorse would never be beautiful again and would be sold for scrap, 4 December 1968.
  • Searaven, who tried to reinforce Corregidor, was A-bombed at Bikini then sunk as a target off southern California on 11 September 1948.
  • Pampanito has been a museum ship in San Francisco since 21 November 1975.
  • Gunard was sold for scrap, 29 October 1961.
  • Mingo was transferred to Japan in 1955 as the Kuroshio, then sunk as a target in 1973.
  • Guitarro was transferred to Turkey as TCG Preveze (S 340) and remained in service until 1972.
  • Bashaw was GUPPY’d and returned to service until 1969 then scrapped in 1972.
  • Tunny gave hard service in Korea and Vietnam, then expended as a target in 1970.
  • Sargo, another Corregidor vet, was scrapped in 1947.
  • Spearfish was likewise scrapped in 1947.
  • Macabi was transferred to Argentina as ARA Santa Fe (S-11) and remained in service until 1971.
  • Sunfish only left Mare Island again when was scrapped in 1960.
  • Guavina was converted to a submarine tanker (AGSS-362) and was to be used to refuel P6M SeaMaster strategic flying boats at sea. However, as SeaMaster never took off, she was scrapped sunk as a target off Cape Henry, 14 November 1967 (see below).
  • Piranha was scrapped in 1970 after 24 years at Mare Island.
  • Lionfish was brought back for Korea and after she was finally struck was donated to become a museum ship at Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts in 1972.
  • Scabbardfish was transferred to Greece as Triaina (S-86) and remained in service until 1980– the longest-serving of the above subs.
  • As for ARD-11, the Auxiliary Repair Dock, she was given to Mexico in 1974 and her final fate is unknown.
 USS Guavina (AGSS-362), refueling a P5M-1 Marlin flying boat off Norfolk, Virginia (USA), in 1955. Prior to World War II several submarines were fitted to refuel seaplanes. During the war, Germany and Japan used this technique with some success. After the war this technique was experimented with within the US Navy. It was planned to use submarines to refuel the new jet powered P6M Seamaster flying boats. As part of this program Guavina was converted to carry 160,000 gallons for aviation fuel. To do this blisters were added to her sides and two stern torpedo tubes were removed. When the P6M project was canceled, there was no further need for submarine tankers. This concept was never used operationally in the US Navy.


USS Guavina (AGSS-362), refueling a P5M-1 Marlin flying boat off Norfolk, Virginia (USA), in 1955. Prior to World War II several submarines were fitted to refuel seaplanes. During the war, Germany and Japan used this technique with some success. After the war this technique was experimented with within the US Navy. It was planned to use submarines to refuel the new jet powered P6M Seamaster flying boats. As part of this program Guavina was converted to carry 160,000 gallons for aviation fuel. To do this blisters were added to her sides and two stern torpedo tubes were removed. When the P6M project was canceled, there was no further need for submarine tankers. This concept was never used operationally in the US Navy.