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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

V-7 (SF-10 / SC-3)
Dolphin (SS-169)
Active Service

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Charlie - Zulu

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Keel Laying - Fitting Out


Dolphin Class Submarine: Authorized as V-7 (SF-10), re-designated (SC-3), Laid down, as V-7 (SC-3),14 June 1930, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME.; Launched, 6 March 1932; Commissioned USS Dolphin (SS-169), 1 July 1932; Decommissioned, 12 October 1945, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, NH; Struck from the Naval Register, 24 October 1945; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 26 August 1946. Dolphin earned 2 battle stars for her service during World War II.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,560 t., Submerged: 2,215 t.; Length 319' 1" ; Beam 27' 11"; Draft 13' 1"; Speed, surfaced 17 kts, submerged 8 kts; Depth Limit 250'; Complement 5 officers 52 enlisted; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes forward, two 21" torpedo tubes aft, 18 torpedoes; one 4"/50 deck gun, four 30 cal. mgs.; Propulsion, diesel electric, Maschinfabrik - Augusburg- Nurnburg, New York Navy Yard diesel engines, hp 3500, Fuel Capacity, 103,018 gal., Electro Dynamic Electric Motor Co., electric motors, hp 1750, Battery Cells 240, twin propellers.
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Size Image Description Source
SS 169 91k Ice cold Dolphin (SS-169) alongside the Alaska coast on her voyage to the far North during July 1934.
She cruised on the west coast with occasional voyages to Pearl Harbor, Alaska, and the Canal Zone for exercises and fleet problems.
US Navy photo courtesy of Megan Edwards. Partial text courtesy of DANFS.
SS-169 56k Commemorative postal cover marking the Dolphin's (SS-169) Alaska cruise in July, 1934. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-169 113k Holland (AS-3) at anchor during the 1930s, with Barracuda (SS-163) tied up to her port side. Dolphin (SS-169) is partially visible, tied to Holland's starboard side. USNHC photo # NH 65018.
SS-170,169.163,164,165,168 & 167 86k Holland (AS-3), with seven submarines alongside, in San Diego harbor, California, 24 December 1934. The submarines are (from left to right):
Cachalot (SS-170);
Dolphin (SS-169);
Barracuda(SS-163);
Bass (SS-164);
Bonita (SS-165);
Nautilus (SS-168); and
Narwahl (SS-167).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-63334, now in the collections of the National Archives. Photo courtesy of the USNHC.
Navy Day 78k Commemorative postal cover marking:
Bass (SS-164);
Dolphin (SS-169);
Porpoise (SS-172);
Argonaut (SS-169);
Nautilus (SS-168);
Cuttlefish (SS-171)
Barracuda (SS-163);
Narwahl (SS-167)
Bonita (SS-165); &
Cachalot (SS-170)
on Navy Day, 27 October 1935.
Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-172 119k Holland (AS-3) with seven submarines alongside, circa 1936-1939. These "boats" are, from left to right:
Nautilus (SS-168);
Narwhal (SS-167);
Shark (SS-174), marked "P3";
Dolphin (SS-169), marked "D1";
Porpoise (SS-172), marked "P1";
Pike (SS-173), marked "P2"; and
Tarpon (SS-175), marked "P4".
NH # 3036, courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center.
SS-172 82k Holland (AS-3) with seven submarines alongside, circa 1936-1939. These "boats" are, from left to right:
Nautilus (SS-168);
Narwhal (SS-167);
Shark (SS-174), marked "P3";
Dolphin (SS-169), marked "D1";
Porpoise (SS-172), marked "P1";
Pike (SS-173), marked "P2"; and
Tarpon (SS-175), marked "P4".
NH # 3037, courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center.
SS-172 90k Holland (AS-3) with seven submarines alongside, circa 1936-1939. These "boats" are, from left to right:
Nautilus (SS-168);
Narwhal (SS-167);
Shark (SS-174), marked "P3";
Dolphin (SS-169), marked "D1";
Porpoise (SS-172), marked "P1";
Pike (SS-173), marked "P2"; and
Tarpon (SS-175), marked "P4".
NH # 3038, courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center.
SS-172 96k Holland (AS-3) with seven submarines alongside, circa 1936-1939. These "boats" are, from left to right:
Nautilus (SS-168);
Narwhal (SS-167);
Shark (SS-174), marked "P3";
Dolphin (SS-169), marked "D1";
Porpoise (SS-172), marked "P1";
Pike (SS-173), marked "P2"; and
Tarpon (SS-175), marked "P4".
NH # 3039, courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center.
Fleet Maneuvers 17kCommemorative postal cover marking Fleet Maneuvers of the following subs off Midway, 5 April 1937:
Argonaut (SS-166), Nautilus (SS-168), Dolphin (SS-169), Porpoise (SS-172), Pike (SS-173), & Shark (SS-174).
Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-169 23k Commemorative postal cover and photo inset showing the Dolphin(SS-169) on 16 October 1937 before Dolphin departed San Diego for her new home port, Pearl Harbor, on 1 December 1937. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle. Text courtesy of DANFS.
SS 169 320k Tai Sing Loo trademark photo of a vessel entering Pearl Harbor passing a palm tree.
This photo might be on the occasion when Dolphin (SS-169) departed San Diego on 1 December 1937 for her new home port, Pearl Harbor, arriving a week later.
US Navy photo by Tai Sing Loo, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS-169 25k Commemorative postal cover marking the Dolphin's (SS-169) deep dive, 28 November 1939. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-171741kSUBMARINE D-1 with PAT O'BRIEN, GEORGE BRENT, WAYNE MORRIS stars the real life Dolphin (SS-169) on 11 January 1938.AP Wire photo courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo added 12/27/12.
SS 169 127k Dolphin (SS-169), at the Underwater Sound School, Hawaii, circa 1940.
US Navy photo courtesy of Megan Edwards.
SS 169 222k A surfaced Dolphin (SS-169),circa 1940. US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS 169 44k Dolphin (SS-169), in this undated photo, was an attempt to prune back submarine size. She would have had at least two sister ships but for the London Treaty of 1930, which cut size even further.
Photo & partial text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS 169 228k In the late 1930's the Dolphin (SS-169) was painted overall gloss black. US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS 169 247k Dark Dolphin (SS-169). US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Submarine Base,Pearl Harbor 144k Aerial view of the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, with part of the supply depot beyond and the fuel farm at right, looking north on 13 October 1941.
Note the fuel tank across the road from the submarine base, painted to resemble a building. The building beside the submarine ascent tower (in left center, shaped like an upside-down "U") housed the U.S. Fleet Headquarters at the time of the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. Office of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the Fleet's Commander in Chief, was in the upper left corner of the building's top floor.
Wharton (AP-7) is in right foreground. Among the submarines at the base are Tuna (SS-203), Gudgeon (SS-211), Argonaut (SS-166), Narwhal (SS-167), Triton (SS-201) and Dolphin (SS-169). Holland (AS-3) and Niagara (PG-52) are alongside the wharf on the base's north side. In the distance (nearest group in upper left) are the battleship Nevada (BB-36), at far left, Castor (AKS-1) and the derelict old mine-layer Baltimore. Cruisers in top center are Minneapolis (CA-36), closest to camera, and Pensacola (CA-24), wearing a Measure 5 painted "bow wave".
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-451125, now in the collections of the National Archives.
SS 167 53k Oil/alkyd on canvas by the artist John Meeks entitled "Pearl".
Just a few minutes after America's unexpected and violent entry World War II, this painting depicts the scene at the submarine base with Dolphin (SS-169) (to the left) and Narwhal (SS-167) acquitting themselves to the best of their abilities, and honorably, during the first wave of the attack.
In the background, a pall of smoke rises from the disaster that has befallen "Battleship Row" and the Navy Yard, and Japanese "Kate" torpedo bombers race in from the south to add to the mayhem.
A lone "Kate", its torpedo already spent, circles - perhaps to take photographs. As it crosses astern of the moored submarines, their hastily prepared anti-aircraft fire scores a hit and it sustains fatal damage. Credit for the 'kill' is shared by Narwhal, Tautog (SS-199) and a destroyer (- although in detailed battle reports, the skipper of Dolphin claims the victory...).
Photo & text courtesy of subart.net.
Pearl Harbor106Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii view looking northward, with the Navy Yard industrial area in the foreground and the Marine Barracks in the lower right, 28 July 1942. Ford Island is at left, with Oklahoma (BB-37) and Arizona (BB-39) under salvage nearby. San Diego (CL-53) is in the upper center.
West Virginia (BB-48) is in Drydock Number One, in the lower left, and California (BB-44) is alongside the wharf at the extreme right. Cruisers alongside the pier in right center are Northampton (CA-26) (left) and Pensacola (CA-24). Submarines alongside 1010 Dock, just beyond Drydock # 1, are Trout (SS-202), Pollack (SS-180), Dolphin (SS-169) and Cachalot (SS-170). Note camouflage on many of the Navy Yard's buildings.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 84002, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of The Honorable James V. Forrestal.
SS 169 112k Dolphin (SS-169), shown about 1943, is little modified from her peacetime appearance. She was then being used to train submariners at Pearl Harbor. After an inspection revealed considerable corrosion in her tanks, she was sent back to New London for less demanding work.
Torpedoes were stowed, as shown, in the external tubes abaft the bridge fairwater. Designated torpedo capacity was initially 18; in 1933, the General Board ordered that 3 more torpedoes be stowed externally, as shown, in a space originally planned for boat stowage.
Note the separate generator engine in the compartment forward of the engine room.
Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS-169 18k Commemorative postal cover marking the Dolphin's (SS-169) 40th anniversary, June 1970. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.

View the Dolphin (SS-169)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
USS Dolphin, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack
PigBoats.COM TM, A Historic Look at Submarines.

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