USS Dogfish (SS-350)

History of the USS Dogfish
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History of the USS Dogfish

The keel for the USS Dogfish SS-350, a Balao Class diesel electric submarine, was laid down on 22 June 1944 at the Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT. She was launched on 27 October 1945, sponsored by Mrs. Armand M. Morgan. Dogfish was commissioned on 29 April 1946, with Cdr. Thomas S. Baskett in command. During WWII, Commander Baskett served with distinction as CO of the USS Tautog SS-199 and USS Tench SS-417 having made successful war patrols in the Pacific in both. Commander Baskett's wartime commands are credited with sinking 12 enemy vessels having a total displacement of 27,272 tons.

Following commissioning, Dogfish sailed out of New London on local duties and cruised to the Caribbean and Bermuda on a shake down cruise.

From August 1947 to April 1948, Dogfish underwent a conversion to a GUPPY II submarine at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. This modernization included additional battery capacity, hull and superstructure streamlining and a snorkel system. An improved air conditioning system contributed to better crew comfort.

Following her GUPPY conversion, Dogfish served in experimental projects as well as normal operations at New London. From 31 October to 19 November 1948 she took part in large-scale fleet exercises ranging from the waters off Florida to Davis Strait between Labrador and Greenland.

She cruised to Scotland, England, and France between 4 February and 3 April 1949 and joined in a convoy exercise off Cape Hatteras in February and March 1952, and operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean during the next 3 years.

In late January 1950, Dogfish concluded an overhaul at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. In route back to home port in New London, Connecticut, while submerged, an explosion of her number three and four main batteries threatened to send her to a fate that has befallen other less lucky diesel boats. Were it not for the instinctively quick and correct action taken to disconnect the crippled batteries by crewmen John Quimby Greene and Guy Paul Clemans, who were asleep in the After Battery compartment, or Maneuvering Room Controllermen Swede Erickson and Burl Reed who were on watch when the incident occurred, Dogfish's career might have come to a premature end that day in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, the unhesitatingly swift actions of these fine submariners literally saved the day.

Dogfish sailed from New London 1 March 1955 for her first tour with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, returning to her home port 6 June. She called at Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 4 to 14 June 1956 during NATO Operation "New Broom." On 8 November, she stood by and fought the fires on the trawler AGDA during local operations out of New London. She cruised to Faslane Bay, Scotland between 31 January and 12 April 1958 to evaluate new equipment, and from 23 May to 8 August 1959 served in the Mediterranean. In October and November, she took part in NATO antisubmarine warfare exercises. After extensive overhaul, she resumed local operations from New London through 1960.

During the 1960s, Dogfish participated in numerous fleet training exercises with U.S. Naval ASW forces in the Atlantic fleet and routinely conducted daily and weekly ops training enlisted and officer Submarine School students in New London. She made almost yearly Springboard cruises to the Caribbean and several Mediterranean cruises where she operated with the 6th Fleet.

In 1965, under command of Cdr. Robert Weatherly, Dogfish transited the North Atlantic, and after spending several days in Londonderry Ireland, participated in operation CANUS SLAMEX. Playing the role of an aggressor missile submarine, Dogfish successfully transited the North Atlantic, deftly evading Canadian and U.S. Navy ASW surface forces without detection, and simulated the launching of her ersatz missiles along the east coast of the continental US. That year, Dogfish was awarded the Navy "E" for operational efficiency.

Measuring 307 feet in length, 27 feet at the beam and with a test depth of 412 feet, she carried six torpedo tubes forward and four aft. When surfaced and at diving trim and when fully fueled and with a full weapons load of 24 torpedoes, Dogfish displaced approximately 1,800 tons with a draft of 16.5 feet. Dogfish was equipped with four General Motors Model 278a, V-16, 1,600 HP @ 750 RPM, 2-cycle diesel engines. Each engine supplied power to a General Electric 1,124 Kw generator that supplied power to the two electric main motors for propulsion and or to the four lead-acid storage batteries, which provided power when submerged.

In 1963 the addition of a vastly improved BQS-4 sonar system, ECM capability and a much more sophisticated Kollmorgen periscope gave her a greater ability to avoid detection by ASW surface ships and true state-of-the-art combat capability. Additionally, during a 1966 yard overhaul at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, her number two main engine was removed to make way for a high capacity 30 psi blower and motor. The modification, known as a Prairie Masker system, supplied air to a system of small tubes welded to the exterior of the hull. When snorkeling, the small holes bored in these tubes, which ringed the circumference of the hull, emitted an envelope of bubbles around the ship's engineering spaces which greatly lowered hull noise emissions. Although effective at quieting noise emissions, this feature required one engine to supply power to the blower motor, thereby limiting the snorkeling submarine to charge only at a one engine rate.

Coincidentally, the Portsmouth Shipyard repair officer assigned to oversee Dogfish's 1966 overhaul was Ltjg Hobart "Snuffy" Seaward, who twenty years earlier, along with his cousin, Bill Seaward, had been a member of her commissioning crew and was a plank owner.

Like many other WWII vintage diesel boats, Dogfish underwent numerous modernizations and renovations during her lifetime in a continuing evolutionary process that sought to provide U.S. Navy submarines with a qualitative edge over potential adversaries.

Dogfish is pictured above as she appeared in 1966 following a yard overhaul in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where, among other things, a new fiber-glass "hurricane" type sail was installed. At this time, Dogfish was the flagship of Submarine Squadron Eight (SUBRON 8) and Submarine Division One (SUBDIV 1) of the Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet (SUBLANT), and homeported in New London, Connecticut.

Although Dogfish missed all of the action of World War II, she, and others like her, formed the backbone of the U.S. Navy's submarine force during the transitional cold war period of the 1950s and 1960s as the "Nuke" submarine navy came of age. She was more than capable of fulfilling her main operational objective of keeping the sea lanes of the Atlantic Ocean open to allied shipping in the event of war in Europe

Following more than twenty six years of service, Dogfish was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy List and was sold to Brazil on 28 July 1972. She was commissioned by the Brazilian Navy as the Guanabara (S-10) and served in that capacity until 1983, when she was deleted and subsequently scrapped.


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This page last updated: July 1, 2010