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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch on left contributed by Mike Smolinski, patch on right contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

V-9 (SC-5)
Cuttlefish (SS-171)

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Delta - Juliet

Cachalot Class Submarine: Authorized as V-9 (SC-4); Laid down, 7 October 1931, as Cuttlefish (SS-171) at Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 21 November 1933; Commissioned USS Cuttlefish (SS-171), 8 June 1934; Decommissioned, 24 October 1945, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.; Struck from the Naval Register, 3 July 1946; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 12 February 1947. Cuttlefish received two battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,130 t., Submerged: 1,650 t.; Length 274'; Beam 24' 0"; Draft 12' 11"; Speed, surfaced 17 kts, submerged 8 kts; Depth Limit 250'; Complement 4 officers 39 enlisted; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes forward, two 21" torpedo tubes aft, 18 torpedoes; one 3"/50 deck gun, two 30 cal. mgs.; Propulsion, diesel electric, Maschinfabrik - Augusburg- Nurnburg, Electric Boat Co., diesel engines, hp 3100, Fuel Capacity, 83,290 gal., Westinghouse Electric Co., electric motors, hp 1600, Battery Cells 240, twin propellers.
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SS-171323kLaunching of the Cuttlefish (SS-171) on 21 November 1933.AP Wire photo courtesy of Ron Reeves.
SS-171143kA photo of a model on the Cuttlefish (SS-171) as built.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
SS-17161kCommemorative postal cover marking the commissioning of the Cuttlefish (SS-171), 8 June 1934. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-171139kCuttlefish (SS-171) with bow planes rigged out just prior to diving, on builder's trials off Connecticut, summer 1934. USN photo from NARA # 19-N-14770, courtesy of Daniel Dunham. Photo I.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
SS-171100kCuttlefish (SS-171) probably on post commissioning trials, late summer 1934.
She was one of the last two V-boats (SS-163-171), a link between the big cruisers and the much smaller submarines that the London Treaty of 1930 forced the U.S. Navy to accept. Although externally she was much like the later "fleet submarines," internally she was quite different, with vastly different propulsion.
Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
USN photo from NARA # 19-N-15253, courtesy of Daniel Dunham. Photo I.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
SS-171136kCuttlefish (SS-171) probably on post commissioning trials, late summer 1934.USN photo from NARA # 19-N-15260, courtesy of Daniel Dunham. Photo I.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
SS-171424kCuttlefish (SS-171), probably on post commissioning trials, late summer 1934.
Note her bell.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS-17118kCommemorative postal cover marking the Cuttlefish's (SS-171) shakedown cruise to New Orleans, 3 September 1934. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-17116kCommemorative postal cover & photo marking the first Xmas of the Cuttlefish (SS-171), 25 December 1934. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-171118kCuttlefish (SS-171) surfacing with an odd stern first angle, circa 1935-38, location unknown. USN photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandfather, Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. served aboard the Cuttlefish at New London Naval Yard in the mid 1930's and was lost at sea while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
I.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR) & Ric Hedman, Darryl Baker, John Hummel & John Hart.
SS-17179kCuttlefish (SS-171), in port, during the mid-1930s. US Naval Historical Center, # NH 77108.Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1972.
SS-171141k Starboard broadside photo of the Cuttlefish (SS-171) circa 1935.USN photo courtesy of John L. Ross. Photo I.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
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);
Narwhal (SS-167)
Bonita (SS-165); &
Cachalot (SS-170)
on Navy Day, 27 October 1935.
Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-17168kCommemorative postal cover marking the third anniversary of the launching of the Cuttlefish (SS-171), 8 June 1937. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-17118kAdmiral Robert Lee Dennison, then Lieutenant Commander, commanded the Cuttlefish (SS-171) from 1937-1938. USN photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
SS-17127kCommemorative postal cover marking the Cachalot (SS-170) & Cuttlefish (SS-171) celebration of Xmas & New Years, 1938.Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-17183kCuttlefish (SS-171) circa 1939.USN photo courtesy of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS-171638kPort side view of the Cuttlefish (SS-171) about to enter Pearl Harbor, HI., circa 1939.USN photo by Tai Sing Loo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
AS 3 59k Panoramic photograph of Holland (AS-3) moored at Buoy 19, San Diego, CA, 1940, with eleven submarines alongside. Submarines are (from left to right):
Salmon (SS-182);
Seal (SS-183);
Stingray (SS-186);
Perch (SS-176);
Pollack (SS-180);
Cachalot (SS-170);
Cuttlefish (SS-171);
Skipjack (SS-184);
Sturgeon (SS-187);
Snapper (SS-185)

and Sargo (SS-188).
SS-182 through SS-187 were members of Submarine Division 15, commanded by R.W. Christie. Richmond (CL-9), flagship of the Commander Submarine Force, Pacific, is in the right distance.
USN photo # NH 68481, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of US Naval Institute, James C Fahey Collection.
SS-17157kCuttlefish (SS-171) is shown in a prewar configuration. Although C & R developed the basic design, the builder, E.B., was responsible for detailed arrangement. It provided a separate crew's mess, as in the much larger V-4 & 5 classes (SS-166-168). Both versions of this design had full double hulls, a feature taken from WW I German practice: narrow tanks at the ends proved very difficult to clean & preserve.
Note the boat's direct-drive diesel. Note also the considerable space around the conning tower, within the large bridge fairwater. As in later boats, the fairwater was drastically cut down in WW II & the 3-in gun relocated forward at the bridge.
Drawing by Jim Christley. Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
USN photo courtesy of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS-17181kCuttlefish (SS-171) firing a torpedo while submerged, in company with a number of amberjacks, dolphins and other fish. Painting by Harrison Miller, 1942. Official USN photo # 80-G-K-13794, now in the collections of the National Archives.
SS-171450kBlack and white full size print of the above painting of the Cuttlefish (SS-171), firing a torpedo while submerged, in company with a number of amberjacks, dolphins and other fish. Painting by Harrison Miller, 1942. Official USN photo courtesy of George K.Chastain, Executive Director of The Belle W. Baruch Foundation.
SS-17176kCuttlefish (SS-171), underway, circa mid-1943, while serving on training duty out of New London, Connecticut. Official USN photo # 80-G-K-3350, now in the collections of the National Archives.
SS-17176kCuttlefish (SS-171), submerging, while serving on training duty out of New London, Connecticut, circa mid-1943. Official USN photo # 80-G-K-3348, now in the collections of the National Archives.
SS-17170kCuttlefish (SS-171) making a practice dive, while serving on training duty out of New London, Connecticut, circa mid-1943. Official USN photo # 80-G-K-3349, now in the collections of the National Archives.
SS-171258k Cuttlefish's (SS-171) bow knifes sharply upward as it surfaces on 8 June 1943. The photograph is included in Lewis Parks's photo album entitled "Submarine Pictures W. War II."
Photo # 2015-50 courtesy of trumanlibrary.org.
SS-171279kAn unidentified United States Navy officer stands atop the submarine [Cuttlefish (SS-171)?] lookout with binoculars ready should unidentified aircraft or ships appear. The photograph is included in Lewis Parks's photo album entitled "Submarine Pictures W. War II."
Photo # 2015-52 courtesy of trumanlibrary.org.
SS-171563kCuttlefish (SS-171) lathes, June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-68657, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-171554kThe Officer of the Deck of Cuttlefish (SS-171) takes a bearing in the conning tower, 9 June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-41791, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-1711.52kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): Crew quarters are compact, but comfortable. Here during off duty hours, seaman read, shine shoes, or just sit and talk. Photographed 8 June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-41788, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-171853kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): As the submarine moves along on the surface, crew members ready the deck gun for action. Photographed 8 June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-41787, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-1711.48kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): Wearing an oxygen "lung," a seaman comes up through the escape hatch in a practice rescue drill. Photographed 8 June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-41782, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-171516kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): The food served on submarines is famed throughout the Navy. Here is a ship’s cook is getting turkeys ready for dinner. Photographed 8 June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-41781, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-1711.36kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): Submarines are powered by diesel engines when operation on the surface. Here Machinist Mates check the mammoth twin diesels in the engine room. Photographed 8 June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-41780, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-1711.04kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): Lookouts scan the seas from conning tower of the submarine. Photographed 8 June 1943.U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-41778, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
SS-171515kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): Officer wardroom, circa WWII. U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-68658, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
Photo added 08/10/16.
SS-171481kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): berthing compartments, circa WWII. U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-68655, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
Photo added 08/10/16.
SS-171248kLife onboard Cuttlefish (SS-171): Ye local watering hole, circa WWII. U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-68654, now in the collections of the National Archives courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via flickr.com.
Photo added 08/10/16.
SS-17155kCuttlefish (SS-171) off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 15 November 1943. Photograph # 19-N-54178, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
SS-17149kCuttlefish (SS-171) off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 15 November 1943. Photograph # 19-N-54180, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
SS-171315kMid war views of the of the Cuttlefish (SS-171), portside at port and starboard at starboard.USN photo # 80G-419709 & 80G-419715 (inset), from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
SS-17132kCommemorative postal cover marking the 40th anniversary of the decommissioning of the Cuttlefish (SS-171) at Philadelphia, Pa, 24 October 1985.Courtesy of Jack Treutle.

View the V-9 / Cuttlefish (SS-171)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
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
PigBoats.COM TM, A Historic Look at Submarines.


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