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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch contributed by Mike Smolinski

Porpoise (SS-172)

Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Quebec - Mike

Porpoise Class Submarine: Laid down, 27 October 1933, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME.; Launched, 20 June 1935; Commissioned USS Porpoise (SS-172), 15 August 1935; Decommissioned, 15 November 1945; Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet; Placed in service as a Naval Reserve Training Ship at Houston, TX, 8 May 1947; Placed out of service and simultaneously struck from the Naval Register, 13 August 1956; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 14 May 1957, to Southern Scrap Material Co., Ltd., New Orleans, LA. Porpoise earned 5 battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,310 t., Submerged: 1,934 t.; Length 301' ; Beam 24' 11"; Draft 13' 1"; Speed, Surfaced 19 kts, Submerged 8 kts; Maximum Operating Depth 250'; Complement 5 Officers, 45 Enlisted; Armament, six 21" torpedo tubes, four forward, two aft, 18 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric drive, Winton Engine Co., diesel engines, 4300hp, Fuel Capacity, 93,129 gal., Elliot Motor Company electric motors, 2,085 hp, Battery Cells, 240, twin propellers.
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Porpoise 19k Commemorative postal cover marking the launching ceremony of the Porpoise's (SS-172), 20 June 1935. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-172 94k Porpoise's (SS-172) original Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Stuart S. Murray. USN photo submitted by Bill Gonyo.
SS-172 101k Porpoise (SS-172) commissioning ceremony, at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 15 August 1935. At the head of the gangway, Captain A.W. Brown is reading commissioning orders to the new submarine's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Stuart S. Murray, and the rest of her officers and crew. A Chief Petty Officer is by the flagstaff, ready to hoist the National Ensign. USNHC # NH 42645, courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center.
SS-172 98k Colors are raised as the Porpoise (SS-172) goes into commission, during ceremonies held at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 15 August 1935. Officers saluting at the head of the gangway are Captain A.W. Brown and Porpoise's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Stuart S. Murray. USNHC # NH 42646, courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center.
Porpoise 78k Commemorative postal cover marking Porpoise's (SS-172) first day in service, joining the Navy 22 October 1935. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
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-172 156k Porpoise (SS-172) was the first of a new generation of submarines that developed into the successful WW II fleet boats. Her design shows much of the standard above water configuration for U.S. submarines completed through 1942. Many features of her internal arrangement were adopted in Dolphin (SS-169): Officer's quarters above the forward battery, control room below the conning tower & above the pump room, crew's quarters above the the after battery, the engine room & a maneuvering room above the motor room.
Dolphin differed in haqving a large gallery above an auxillary (battery-charging) machinery room abaft the crew's mess / after battery forward of the main engine room. In Porpoise, a small galley & washroom with storeroom below, was worked in at the after end of the control room.
Drawing by Jim Christley. Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Porpoise 18k Commemorative postal cover and photo inset marking the Porpoise's (SS-172) shakedown cruise, 3 March 1936. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Porpoise 21k Southern shakedown:
Porpoise (SS-172) poised pierside at Miami, Florida.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
SS-172 59k Postal cover - Shakedown Cruise, Sponsored by ANCS members on board 315 316 & 317, post marked - Porpoise (SS-172), 24 April 1936. Courtesy of Daniel W. Gless.
SS-172 62k Port bow view of the Porpoise (SS-172), underway, 1936. Photo # 43-1319a, courtesy of U.S. National Archives.
SS-172 60kPorpoise (SS-172) near New London, Connecticut, in about 1936. USNHC # 49968, 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.
Porpoise 23k Commemorative postal cover marking the second anniversary of the commissioning of the Porpoise (SS-172), 15 August 1937. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Porpoise 133k Commemorative postal cover marking Porpoise (SS-172) on the 4th of July, 1938. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Porpoise 21k Commemorative postal cover marking Thanksgiving aboard the Porpoise (SS-172) , 24 November 1938. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS-172 123k Holland (AS-3) in Alaskan waters with submarines Pollack (SS-180) and Porpoise (SS-172) alongside, circa the later 1930s. NH # 68480, courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center.
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.
SS-172 129kHandwritten on the back reads: "This is the series of "P" boats built in '38-'39; Pike (SS-173), Porpoise (SS-172), Permit (SS-178), Shark (SS-174) ,& Tarpon (SS-175). Picture was taken in San Diego - The Pike & Porpoise are the only ones afloat today."
From left to right: Shark, Permit, Perch, Porpoise, Tarpon & Pike. "This Picture has been Officially released by the Navy Department."
USN photo courtesy of m.flickr.com via Bill Gonyo.
Perch97kSix U.S. Navy submarines nested together, circa 1939-1941. Probably seen from Canopus (AS-9) in Manila Bay, Philippines. The inboard submarine is not identified. The others are (from left to right):
Pike (SS-173);
Tarpon (SS-175);
Porpoise (SS-172);
Perch (SS-176); and
Permit (SS-178).
Collection of Jack L. Wheat, who served in Canopus. USN photo # NH 99672, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
Sunfish 319k Progress photo, stern view, at Mare Island on 2 July 1942.
The Tunny (SS-282) is alongside.
In front of the two boats are the Pike (SS-173) & Porpoise (SS-172). Beyond them lies the Argonaut (SS-166) and new Destroyer Escorts under construction.
Text i.d. courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
USN photo # BS 34397 via NARA College Park, courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Photo added 04/25/17.
SS-172 166kPorpoise (SS-172) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 13 October 1942. Note the barrage balloons in the distance. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
SS-172 45k Porpoise (SS-172) was still in much of her prewar form when this photo was taken on 13 October 1942. Porpoise shows the flat stern introduced in the big V-boats (SS-163-71).
By this time, two external tubes had been added forward, and a fixed loop antenna is visible atop the bridge fairwater. Little changed since the boat was completed except for a 20-mm gun platform.
Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS-172 95k Details of early war modifications to Porpoise (SS-172) are shown here. The new mast carries an SD-air warning radar. Circled just abaft it are a radio-receiving loop antenna and, above it, an SJ surface-search radar antenna. Abaft both are the boat's two periscopes: the tall one with its eyepiece in the conning tower, the short one with an eyepiece in the control room. Further aft is a 20-mm mount, the gun for which has not been mounted. The submarine still has her prewar-type covered bridge with glassed-in eye ports. Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS-172 75kPorpoise (SS-172) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 13 October 1942. USNHC # 19-N-35997, photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
SS-172 114kPorpoise (SS-172) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 13 October 1942. Barge YC-312 is alongside. White outlines mark recent alterations to Porpoise, among them a degaussing cable housing aft. USNHC # 19-N-35999, photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Porpoise 479k Japanese Naval Radio Station on Enubuj Island, Kwajelein Atoll, Marshall Islands. The two tripod radio masts are estimated to be 120-150 high and 250 apart. Taken thru the periscope of Porpoise (SS-172). Photographed 10 May 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-63993 now in the collections of the National Archives, courtesy of National Museum of the U.S. Navy via flickr.com.
SS-172 79kPorpoise (SS-172) broadside view off the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, 20 July 1944. USNHC # 19-N-69265, photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
SS-172 53k Porpoise (SS-172), off Philadlephia Navy Yard, surface view, "Bow." 20 July 1944. USN photo # 1464-44, courtesy of NARA.
Porpoise 989k Nine page PDF history of the Porpoise (SS-172). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Fremantle 365k This plaque was unveiled 20 March 1995 by His Excellency Major General P.M. Jeffery OA MC, Govenor of Western Australia to commemeorate the sacrifices made by Allied submarined that operated out of Fremantle, Western Australia during WW II. Photo courtesy of Ron Reeves.

View the Porpoise (SS-172)
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
Porpoise (SS 172)

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