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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


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

Searaven (SS-196)

Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Lima - Tango

Sargo Class Submarine: Laid down, 9 August 1938, at Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 21 June 1939; Commissioned, USS Searaven (SS-196), 2 October 1939; Decommissioned, 11 December 1946; Struck from the Naval Register, 21 October 1948; Final Disposition, sunk as a target, 11 September 1948. Searaven earned ten battle stars during World War II.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,450 t., Submerged: 2,350 t.; Length 310' ; Beam 27' 1"; Draft 13' 8"; Speed, Surfaced 20 kts, Submerged 7.75 kts; Max Operating Depth, 250'; Complement 5 Officers 50 Enlisted; Armament, eight 21" torpedo tubes, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 caliber machine guns, two .30 caliber machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric, four Hoover, Owens, Rentschler Co. diesel engines, (replaced in 1943-1944 with four General Motors 278A diesel engines), 5,500 hp, Fuel Capacity, 90,000 gals. four General Electric Co. electric motors, 2,740 hp, Battery Cells 252, twin propellers.
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Searaven 137k Mrs. Cyrus W. Cole as she prepares to christen the Searaven (SS-196). Her husband, Cyrus Willard Cole, commandant of Portsmouth Navy Yard, stands behind her. Their son, Cyrus C. Cole, stands next to his father. USN photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Photo added 10/21/17.
Searaven 85k Searaven (SS-196) ready for launching, at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 21 June 1939. Photograph # 19-N-43047, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Searaven 63k Searaven (SS-196) enters the water during her launching at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, 21 June 1939. Photograph # 19-N-43049, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Searaven 213k Three photo PDF of Searaven (SS-196) during her trials. United States National Archives, Photo Nos. 19-N-21877, N-2187778 & 21881 courtesy of Mike Green.
Searaven 589k Searaven (SS-196) having her finishing touches at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, 1 July 1939. A.P. Wire courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
Searaven 23k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Searaven's (SS-196) commissioning, 2 October 1939. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Searaven 18k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Searaven's (SS-196) commissioning, 2 October 1939. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Searaven 76k Searaven (SS-196) receives her Deep Dive Diploma, 9 January 1940. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 26k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Searaven's (SS-196) shakedown cruise, 20 February 1940. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Searaven 491k Starboard view of the Searaven (SS-196), off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during her trials, 13 May 1940. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Searaven 42k Searaven (SS-196) off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during her trials, 13 May 1940. Photograph # 19-N-21882, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Searaven 43k Searaven (SS-196) off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during her trials, 13 May 1940. Photograph # 19-N-21880, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Navy Day46k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Navy Day, 27 October 1940, commemorating the participation of:
Sailfish (SS-192),
Seadragon (SS-194),
Sealion (SS-195),
Searaven (SS-196),
Seawolf (SS-197),
Tambor (SS-198),
Tautog (SS-199),
Thresher (SS-200), &
Triton (SS-201).
Note: YN1 Loyal Day was a plankowner of Sealion and aboard when she was bombed on 10 December 1941.
Courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Searaven 112k Stern view of Searaven (SS-196) departing Mare Island on 8 May 1943. She was in overhaul at the yard from 19 February to 18 May 1943. USN photo # 3380-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 112k Broadside view of Searaven (SS-196) off Mare Island on 8 May 1943. She was in overhaul at the yard from 19 February to 18 May 1943. USN photo # 3382-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 108k Bow on view of Searaven (SS-196) off Mare Island on 8 May 1943. She was in overhaul at the yard from 19 February to 18 May 1943. Note barrage balloon in the background. USN photo # 3384-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 124k Stern plan view of Searaven (SS-196) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 13 May 1943. She was in overhaul at the yard from 19 February to 18 May 1943. Circled areas indicate modifications made during the overhaul. Workers are painting the hull. USN photo # 3552-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tirante268kUndated pre-war image of the Osaka Shosen KK-owned general cargo ship Toa Maru underway. Toa Maru ( 6,732grt): IJN transport 1942. Torpedoed and sunk on 25 November 1943, N of Ponape (08 degrees 20' N, 158' E) by the submarine Searaven (SS-196). Photo courtesy of Mitsui OSK archives via "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" by Roger W. Jordan, courtesy of Robert Hurst.
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.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet 900k Inactivated submarines at Mare Island on 3 January 1946.
Front row left to right: Sand Lance (SS-381), next two could be Sealion (SS-315) and Seahorse (SS-304), Searaven (SS-196), Pampanito (SS-383), Gurnard (SS-254), Mingo (SS-261), Guitarro (SS-363), Bashaw (SS-241).
Back row left to right: Unknown, Tunny (SS-282), next three could be Sargo (SS-188), Spearfish (SS-190), and Saury (SS-189), Macabi (SS-375), Sunfish (SS-281), Guavina (SS-362), Lionfish (SS-298),Piranha (SS-389).
The Scabbardfish (SS-397) is docked in ARD-11 on the other side of the causeway.

The mixture of boats from the Salmon/Sargo, Gato, and Balao classes illustrate the clear differences in the conning tower fairwaters and the periscope shears that can be used to identify boats. The high bridges with the uncovered support frames (the "covered wagon" look) of the Gatos and Salmon/Sargo's contrast with the low and sleek look of the Balao's. The fatter, more robust periscope shears of the Balao's are markedly different from the thinner shears with more supporting structure of the Gatos and Salmon/Sargo's.
The differences in the pattern of the superstructure limber holes can also be used for identification purposes. The single row of large semi-circular holes indentify Electric Boat or Manitowoc boats. A dual row of smaller rectangular holes mark the government built boats. Also note that the EB/Manitowoc boats have the deck mounted, T-shaped JP sonar head on the starboard side of the forward deck, while the government boats have it on the port side.
EB/Manitowoc boats had the anchor on the starboard side, the government boats on the port side. A close look will show that some of the boats have had the anchor removed and the hawsepipe plated over as part of the mothball process.
Most of the boats have the late war radar outfit of the SJ surface search (small dish) and SV air search (large dish). The Balao's and some of the Gatos have the SS dish mounted on a separate large mast aft of the periscopes. The older Salmon/Sargo's and Gatos have a much smaller mast. Searaven appears to have had her radars already removed.
Searaven is actually sporting a late war SJ surface search antennae mounted to starboard of the periscopes. This is a rare installation. Most often it was mounted forward (early war) or aft (late war) of the 'scopes shears. Her air search set is a late war SD antennae mounted on a stub mast directly aft of the 'scopes. Searaven never received the much more capable SV air search set. Having been assigned to training duties after November, 1944 it was probably felt that the SV set was not necessary.
One strange thing: almost all of the boats appear to have the outer doors of the forward torpedo tubes open. Even though the boats have an interlock system that prevents the breech and outer doors from being opened at the same time, this is an unusual thing to do and a potential source of catastrophic flooding.
USN photo # 17-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Text courtesy of David Johnston, USNR.
Who Am I?289kInactivated submarines at Mare Island in early 1946.
Front row left to right: Sand Lance (SS-381), next two could be Sealion (SS-315) and Seahorse (SS-304), Searaven (SS-196), Pampanito (SS-383), Gurnard (SS-254), Mingo (SS-261), Guitarro (SS-363), Bashaw (SS-241).
Back row left to right: Unknown, Tunny (SS-282), next three could be Sargo (SS-188), Spearfish (SS-190), and Saury (SS-189), Macabi (SS-375), Sunfish (SS-281), Guavina (SS-362), Lionfish (SS-298),Piranha (SS-389).
The Scabbardfish (SS-397) is docked in ARD-11 on the other side of the causeway.
Tiru (SS-416) is on the ways in upper left hand side of photo. Two ferry boats (to the right of Tiru's ways) are YHB-2 / [ex-Post of Stockton] and YHB-21 / [ex-Tamalpais].
Photo i.d. courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Searaven 46k Plan view, amidships looking aft, showing details of the Searaven's (SS-196) fairwater. Taken at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, 6 February 1946. Note that her deck guns have been removed. Photograph # 19-N-93360, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Searaven 422k Stern view of Searaven (SS-196) off Mare Island on 7 February 1946. USN photo # 542-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 435k Broadside view of Searaven (SS-196) off Mare Island on 7 February 1946. She was in overhaul at the yard from 18 October 1945 until 8 February 1946. USN photo # 544-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 371k Bow on view of Searaven (SS-196) departing Mare Island on 7 February 1946. USN photo # 546-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 103k Searaven (SS-196) underway, 11 March 1946. In another three months she would be one of the target ships in the 1946 atomic bomb test Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll. She escaped the tests with only negligible damage. Courtesy of John Hummel.Text courtesy of DANFS.
Pacific Reserve Fleet 278k Three veterans of Operation Crossroads are shown at Mare Island on 17 October 1946 in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Left to right: Dentuda (SS-335), Searaven (SS-196) and Tuna (SS-203); Parche (SS-384) is aft of these three. Bluegill (SS-242) and Hackleback (SS-295) are to the left. USN photo # 3618-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Searaven 1.20kSearaven (SS-196) in the Mare Island Channel on 14 October 1946. Note the damage to the superstructure plating but the Operation Crossroad "Baker" test damage reports states that this damage was not due to the test blast but due to bad corrosion problems plaguing the submarine. USN photo # 36x1-10-46 TH, from the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

View the Searaven (SS-196)
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
PigBoats.COM TM, A Historic Look at Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
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