In service for less than two years during World War lI, the USS Batfish (SS-310) and those who sailed in her won 9 battle stars, sank 15 enemy ships, damaged numerous others, and even rescued three, wet but happy, Army pilots whose B-25 bomber had crashed into the Sea of Japan. In that respect she was typical of the U.S. Navy's Submarina Force. But, as a "submarina killer submarine", Batfish was without a peer in that illustrious company of U.S. Submarines that dominated the naval actions of those drama-packed years.
The story of how this carne about is one of the epics of World War II. It takes us back almost thirty years to the opening months of 1945 whan a shortage of Japaneee surfaoe targets began to develop and United States submarines began to actively hunt out their Imperial Navy rivals. Batfish hit first and hardest when in february, operating in Luzon Straite on her sixth war patrol, she encountered three of the enemy's five remaining submarines then operating in Philippine waters. Although under torpedo and bomb attack from both Japanese and American aircraft, Batfish in a deadly three day underwater battle, "relentlessly tracked down the enemy and in three separate, brilliantly executed attacks, launched her torpedees with devastating speed and skill and demolished" the Imperial Japanese Navy Submarines
R0-55, R0-112, and R0-11. Three submarines in three days! when the third enemy submarine went down on February 12, Batfish turned in a record that was equaled by no other submarine in history. For this action Batfish received the Presidential Unit Citation.
The Japanese submarines were equipped with radar, which, while helping them locate enemy targets, also made them vulnerable to attack. The Batfish was able to locate them by searching for their radar emissions.
Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 10"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 15' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth Limit, 400 ft; Complement 6 Officers 60 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 5"/25 deck gun, one 40mm gun, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesels-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks-Morse main generator engines., 5,400 hp, Fuel Capacity, 94,400 gal., four Elliot Motor Co., main motors with 2,740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
(For more information about this submarine see here: www.ussbatfish.com)
May 5, 1943 Launching of the USS Batfish SS-310 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Kittery, Maine
Batfish (SS-310), during her shakedown period off the New England coast, 30 September 1943
Officers and crew line the deck of the Batfish (SS-310) as she enters Pearl Harbor, circa 1944. Note the battle flag flying from her periscope shears
DO H.W. Kreis, J L Garnet stern planes on Batfish (SS-310), circa 1945
Signalmen attach Japanese flags to the periscope shears and radar of the Batfish (SS-310) as she enters Pearl Harbor, May 1945
1944 USS Batfish SS-310 off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
An unidentified crewman seen in USS Batfish SS-310 during World War II
Batfish (SS-310) heading for San Francisco at war's end, 1945
Batfish (SS-310) docks at end of war patrol against Japanese ships