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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

Permit (SS-178)

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Sierra - Delta

Perch Class Submarine: Laid down, 6 June 1935, at Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT.; Launched, 5 October 1936; Commissioned, USS Permit (SS-178), 17 March 1937; Decommissioned, 15 November 1945; Placed in service, in reserve, 24 January 1947, at Philadelphia Navy Yard Reserve Basin, for service as dockside training submarine for Submarine Naval Reservists at Philadelphia Navy Yard; Struck from the Naval Register, 26 July 1956; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 28 June 1958, for $162,850, to A. G. Schoonmaker, Inc., New York City, NY. Permit earned ten battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,330 t., Submerged: 1,997 t.; Length 300' 7" ; Beam 21' 5"; Draft 13' 10"; Speed, Surfaced 21 kts, Submerged 9 kts; Maximum Operating Depth, 250'; Complement 5 Officers, 45 Enlisted; Armament, six 21" torpedo tubes, 18 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, four .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric, Winton diesel engines, HP 4300, Fuel Capacity, 92,801 gals.; GE motors, HP 2368, 240 battery cells, twin screws.
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Permit88kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the laying of the keel of the Permit (SS-178), originally named Pinna, 6 June 1935. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Permit20kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the laying of the keel of the Permit (SS-178), originally named Pinna, 6 June 1935. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Permit173kPermit (SS-178) was launched 5 October 1936 & sponsored by Mrs. Harold G. Bowen. Her husband, Admiral Harold G. Bowen, was the Chief of the Bureau of engineering from 1935 to 1939.Photo courtesy of personal.umich.edu
Permit66kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the Permit's (SS-178) first anniversary, 17 March 1936. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Permit67kView of the fore poppet in place, as Permit (SS-178) was being prepared for launching at the Electric Boat Company shipyard, Groton, Connecticut, 4 October 1936.Note the flooding holes in Permit's hull. USN photo # NH 99629, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Photographed by the Electric Boat Company, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Collection of Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen, Sr., USN.
Permit90kView of the Permit's (SS-178) stern, as she was being prepared for launching at the Electric Boat Company shipyard, Groton, Connecticut, 4 October 1936.Note Permit's starboard propeller, rudder, after torpedo tube door and propeller guard. USN photo # NH 99630, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Photographed by the Electric Boat Company, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Collection of Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen, Sr., USN.
Permit475kPermit (SS-178) launching, at the Electric Boat Company shipyard, Groton, Connecticut, at 12:15 PM on 5 October 1936. USN photo # NH 99628, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Photographed by the Electric Boat Company. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Collection of Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen, Sr., USN.
Permit52kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the launching of the Permit (SS-178), 5 October 1936. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Permit61kPermit (SS-178) underway on 11 August 1937, during her shakedown period. USN photo # NH 42701, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
Permit61kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the commissioning of the Permit (SS-178), 17 March 1937. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Permit67kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the shakedown cruise of the Permit (SS-178), 23 June 1937. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Permit67k Permit (SS-178) underway soon after completion, circa 1937. USN photo # NH 44003, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
Permit54k Permit (SS-178) underway, circa 1937. Official USN photo # NH 99627, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Navy Day 193721kCommemorative postal cover marking the boats of the P-class (SS-176/81) first Navy Day, 27 October 1937;
Perch (SS-176), Pickerel (SS-177), Permit (SS-178), Plunger (SS-179), Pollack (SS-180) & Pompano (SS-181).
Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
SS 178, 179 and 18081kPhoto entitled "Weekly Inspection, Permit (SS-178). The Pollack (SS-180) and the Plunger (SS-179) flank the Permit." Naval Recruiting Dept, New York, circa late 1937.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
SS 178581kDeck gun of the Permit (SS-178). Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
Permit836kPicturesque photo of Permit (SS-178) paddling past parts unknown.Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Permit133kSailors aboard the Permit (SS-178) inspect telephone marker, 30 June 1939.
"Officers inspect telephone marker buoy aboard submarine Permit, which leaves San Diego tomorrow for Hawaii. Similar buoy, released by Squalus (SS-192), permitted quick rescue."
Photo courtesy of the George D. McDowell Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photographs @ digital.library.temple.edu
Photo added 09/13/17.
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.
Permit69k Permit (SS-178) alongside another submarine, circa 1939-1941. Probably seen from Canopus (AS-9) in Manila Bay, Philippines. USN photo # NH 99671, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Collection of Jack L. Wheat, who served in Canopus.
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).
USN photo # NH 99672, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Collection of Jack L. Wheat, who served in Canopus.
SS 182 103k Submarines in San Diego harbor, California, 1940 Moored alongside Holland (AS-3), from which the photograph was taken, the submarines are (from left to right): Salmon (SS-182); Seal (SS-183); Pickerel (SS-177); Plunger (SS-179); Snapper (SS-185) and Permit (SS-178). Note the small motor boats, of the type carried by fleet submarines prior to World War II. One of the men standing on Salmon's (SS-182) deck is Yeoman Clayton Johnson, who in 1969 was a Commander serving at the Naval History Division. Enterprise (CV-6) is in the distance, tied up at Naval Air Station, North Island.
USN photo # NH 68479, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute. James C. Fahey Collection.
Permit82k Permit (SS-178) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 12 January 1943. USN photo # NH 44004, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
Permit133k Plan view of the Permit (SS-178) looking forward along her starboard side, taken at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, on 12 January 1943, following overhaul. Note radar antennas for SJ surface search radar (by the periscope at left) and SD aircraft detection radar (bar atop the pole in center). White outlines mark recent alterations. Barges YF-239 (outboard) and YF-200 are in the right distance. USN photo # 19-N-40140, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Permit120k Plan view of the Permit (SS-178) looking aft along her starboard side, taken at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, on 12 January 1943, following overhaul. Note crewmembers unpacking provisions at right, among them a crate of "Sunkist" oranges. Barge< b>YF-239 is alongside Permit. USN photo # 19-N-40141, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Permit73k Permit (SS-178) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, on 13 January 1943, following overhaul. Note that she has been refitted with an external torpedo tube on each side of her bow.USN photo # 19-N-40145, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Navy Day 193763kOil on canvas painting by the artist Jim Christley entitled "Off To War".
Although mismanaged and crippled with defective torpedoes, the boats such as this one of the Perch-class (SS-176/81) headed out to do battle with the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Photo & text courtesy of subart.net.
Pickerel? 697k Descrition on photo legend says "Submarine on patrol duty off Midway Island, 21 May 1943."
The following two texts attempts to qualify data to support an i.d.

1. The boat in the photo is beyond a doubt a Perch class boat, and the pic was taken in mid 1943. The configuration matches that of the mid war mods made to the Perch class boats, with the telling features being the superstructure at the stern, the ring style bull nose at the bow, and the location of the SD air search radar mast, in the unique position on the forward gun deck of the fairwater.
Checking DANFS, Pollack (SS-180) was in Midway waters in May of 1943, but there is a problem with this. The boat in the photo has external torpedo tubes at the bow. This was a mod added to only Porpoise (SS-169), Pike (SS-173), Tarpon (SS-175), Pickerel (SS-177), and Permit (SS-178) (of this class). The first three boats can be ruled out mostly due to the configuration of the stern and the lack of raised platforms on the bow above the new torpedo tubes. So that rules out Pollack and leaves Pickerel and Permit, but neither boat was in Midway waters in May 1943.
The header of the photo says it was is taken by Copahee (CVE-12) on 21 May 1943. DANFS says After training at Pearl Harbor Copahee sailed from San Diego 25 February to begin transport duty carrying aircraft, aviation stores and personnel to the forward bases in the New Hebrides, Fijis,, and New Caledonia as well as islands in the Hawaiian chain until 7 June 1943. Pickerel departed Pearl Harbor 18 March 1943 and, after topping off with fuel at Midway 22 March, headed for the eastern coast of Northern Honshu and was never heard from again.
Permit departed Midway 6 April for her 8th war patrol in the traffic lanes leading from the Marianas to Truk Atoll, Caroline Is., and after several encounters, returned to Pearl Harbor 25 May.
So where does that leave us? If you make an assumption that the date on the photo was the date the Bureau received the photo, and not the date it was taken, then this boat must be Pickerel or Permit. Pickerel was lost in April 1943 in Japanese waters, so I am leaning towards Permit. The assumption about the photo date is not entirely unjustified, as we have seen several times before where the Bureau of Aeronautics has made egregious errors in photo captions.
So to sum up, there is an roughly 80% chance this boat is Permit, with an outside odds on it being Pickerel.

2. I'm going to suggest Pickerel based upon two visible items in the photograph that I can find in photos of Pickerel. The first is the square antenna which is in both photos (in red in the attachment). Its in photos of Pickerel but I can't find it in photos of Permit. The second is the "thickening" of the railing at the fore end of the forward 20mm platform. I don't know what it is, but its in both photos. Its pointed out with a grey arrow in the other attachment.
While not certain, there is also a slight discontinuity in the sharp trialing edge of the fairwater in the mystery boat which may correspond to the ready service locker that I suspect Pickerel had there. Photos of this area are from a distance and indistinct, but if Pickerel's deck gun was originally aft the locker was probably there. Her deck gun would be moved forward during her late 1942 yard period. Its admittedly thin.
If I'm correct, then this might be the last photo of Pickerel before her loss.
Photo & text i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR), John Hummel & Robert Morgan.
Insert photos courtesy of Robert Morgan.
USN photo # 80-G-88091, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Bashaw 767k Bashaw (SS-241) and Permit (SS-178) on her lucky 13th patrol alongside Euryale (AS-22), 5 August 1944. Photo i.d. via Dave Wright.
USN photo # 80-G-264305 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Permit50kPermit (SS-178), at South Boston Navy Yard, circa 15 November 1945 to 4 February 1946. This conning tower photo shows Permit's war record of enemy vessels sunk.Photo by Vincent Grobbel, BM1, USCG, USS Davenport (PF-69), courtesy of Mike Grobbel.
Permit124kPermit (SS-178), at South Boston Navy Yard, circa 15 November 1945 to 4 February 1946. This conning tower photo shows Permit's war record of enemy vessels sunk. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Permit113kArtwork of an insignia and battle flag used during the later part of World War II. US Naval Historical Center Photo #NH 93519-KN.
Permit100kWorld War II battle flag. US Naval Historical Center Photo #NH 93518-KN.
Seadragon 286kCrewmen relax around Seadragon's (SS-194) deck gun in this post war photo.
Note the Permit (SS-178) in the background.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Permit1.84kPermitting people to peep at Permit (SS-178), Philadelphia Navy Yard on Family Day, 19 May, 1956.Photo courtesy of NARA, Record Group 181: Records of Naval Districts and Shore Establishments, 1784 - 2000.
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 Permit (SS-178)
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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