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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch contributed by Mike Smolinski

Seawolf (SS-197)

Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Lima - Whiskey

Sargo Class Submarine: Laid down, 27 September 1938, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME.; Launched, 15 August 1939; Commissioned, USS Seawolf (SS-197), 1 December 1939; Final Disposition, while on 15th patrol, accidentally sunk by depth charge attack from Richard M. Rowell (DE-403), 3 October 1944, off Morotai, with loss of 100 lives; Struck from the Naval Register, 20 January 1945. Seawolf received 13 battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,400 t., Submerged: 2,350 t.; Length 310' 6" ; Beam 27' 1"; Draft 13' 8"; Speed, Surfaced 20 kts, Submerged 7.75 kts; Complement 5 Officers, 50 Enlisted; Maximum Depth Limit, 250'; Armament, eight 21" torpedo tubes, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 cal machine guns, two .30 cal machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric engines, GE diesel engines, HP 5500, Fuel Capacity, 190,000 gals., GE motors, HP 2740, 252 battery cells. twin propellers.
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Seawolf 1.36k Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) Photo & text courtesy of wikipedia.com.
Photo added 06/05/16.
Seawolf 24k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the keel laying of the Seawolf (SS-197), 27 September 1938, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 56k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the keel laying ceremonies of the Seawolf (SS-197), 27 October 1938, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 130k Seawolf (SS-197) was sponsored by Mrs. Edward C. Kalbfus; 15 August 1939. Unfortunatley, there are no photos of her on the web besides her grave, so her more famous husband, Admiral Edward Clifford Kalbfus, will have to do.
He was a four-star admiral in the United States Navy who was commander of the Battle Force of the United States Fleet from 1938 to 1939 and President of the Naval War College from 1934 to 1936 and 1939 to 1942.
He appears here as member (left) of the Navy Court of Inquiry into the Pearl Harbor Attack, 1944.
Photo & text courtesy of wikipedia.com.
Photo added 06/05/16.
Seawolf 780k Seawolf (SS-197) sliding down the gangways, 15 August 1939 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Seawolf 48k Seawolf (SS-197) shortly after launching, 15 August 1939. Photo courtesy of seawolf-ssn575.com.
Photo added 06/05/16.
Seawolf 405k Seawolf (SS-197) shortly after launching, 15 August 1939. Wide World / Associated Press photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
Seawolf 24k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the Seawolf's (SS-197) launching, 15 August 1939. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 1.03k Seawolf (SS-197) commissioning plank 1 December 1939, from Roy W. Bateman. Photo courtesy of George R. Bateman.
Seawolf 21k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the Seawolf's (SS-197) first day in commission, 1 December 1939. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 88k Seawolf (SS-197), photographed soon after completion, circa 1939-1940. One of the war's great fighting subs, she made her first patrols under one of the wars great under-sea skippers-"Fearless Freddie" Warder. Few subs had more adventures than the "Wolf", bagged more game. Under hard hitting Comdr. R. L. Gross, she sank 12 Jap vessels." Photo & text courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Seawolf 74k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the Seawolf's (SS-197) deep dive on 12 March 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 19k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the Seawolf's (SS-197) shakedown cruise to the Panama Canal Zone, 18 May 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 882k After fitting out, Seawolf (SS-197) departed Portsmouth on 12 April 1940 for her shakedown cruise which lasted until 2 June and took her as far south as the Panama Canal Zone. Seawolf was next assigned to the Pacific Fleet with her home port, San Diego.
She is seen here on 5 August 1940.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Seawolf 22k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the Seawolf's (SS-197) first birthday, 1 December 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 246k Seawolf (SS-197), underway, circa 1941. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Seawolf 48k Seen by Seawolf (SS-197) at Davao Gulf-Sagami Maru in Talomo Bay. Periscope snapshot shows jungly shoreline; camouflaged ship loading hemp. Then she got a load of - fish from "Fearless Freddie" Warder." Photo & text courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Seawolf 39k Down goes Sagami Maru as out goes Seawolf (SS-197), chased by Zeros. Photo bears out text "maru loading hemp can come to end of rope." Photo & text courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Seawolf 17k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the torpedoing of six Japanese vessels by the Seawolf's (SS-197) "Fearless Freddie" Warder" between February - April 1942. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Seawolf 337k "Fearless Freddie" Warder". As a lieutenant commander, he was skipper of the Seawolf (SS-197) from 1939 to 1943. The submarine resupplied the besieged island fortress of Corregidor in the Philippines in spring 1942 and sank a Japanese destroyer, cruiser, transport ship and several other vessels on seven missions in the following months.
The 38-year-old officer was awarded the Navy Cross, one of the service's highest honors, for his work. The citation noted that, after firing its torpedoes, the Seawolf was often the target of prolonged depth-charge attacks by Japanese destroyers. But Lieutenant Commander Warder kept a veneer of calm for his men and brought the Seawolf home unscathed each time. Soon, he learned that his crew and sailors from other ships were calling him Fearless Freddie, though never within his earshot. He detested the nickname because he was afraid just like everyone else under enemy fire, and he believed that the real heroes were those who had died.
Promoted to commander, he was in charge of several submarines operating in the Mariana Islands. In addition to the Navy Cross, his wartime decorations included a Bronze Star, Legion of Merit and several other medals. Rear Adm. Frederick B. Warder served his country until he retired in 1962.
USN photo from the book: These Men Shall Never Die by Lowell Thomas (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1943), p. 80.) Text and photo submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Seawolf 138k Seawolf (SS-197) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 3 March 1943, at the end of an overhaul. White outlines mark recent alterations, among them relocation of her 3"/50 deck gun and installation of radar antennas atop her periscope shears . Official USN photo # NH 99552, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Seawolf 131k Seawolf (SS-197) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 3 March 1943, at the end of an overhaul. Note Seawolf's propeller guards, and newly-constructed LSTs in the background. Official USN photo # NH 99553, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Seawolf 388k Port side view of the Seawolf (SS-197) underway off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 7 March 1943.The two large white objects (one high on the hill aft of the sail and other forward off Seawolf's bow are grounded barrage balloons. USN photo from the collections of the Vallejo Naval & Historic Museum & submitted by Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 126k Seawolf (SS-197) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 7 March 1943. USN photo # MI-1646-43 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Seawolf 65k Bows on view of the Seawolf (SS-197) underway off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 7 March 1943. Official USN photo # NH 99550, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Seawolf 65k Stern view of the Seawolf (SS-197) underway off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 7 March 1943. Official USN photo # NH 99551, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Seawolf 83k The Seawolf (SS-197) is seen off Mare Island on 7 March 1943. USN photo # 1649-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 365k The patrol boat (former Momi class destroyer) HIJMS No.39 (ex - Tade) is shown sinking thorough Seawolf's (SS-197) periscope. She was torpedoed and sunk by the submarine Seawolf on 23 April 1943, 150 m NE off Yonaguni, Okinawa, (23 degrees 45' N, 122 degrees 45' E). USN Photo # 80-G-67288 courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Seawolf 456k The following 6 photos are a series of Seawolf (SS-197) submerging (bow view) and they are all dated 8 May 1944. I believe she had just completed overhaul at Hunters Point Navy Yard in San Francisco and photos were taken during a test dive.
The first photo shows her running on the surface.
USN photo # 2810-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 250k The second photo shows her bow and deck gun just starting to become awash. USN photo # 2811-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 253k The third photo shows her bow submerged & deck gun receding further awash. USN photo # 2812-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 208k The fourth photo shows her deck gun starting to be covered by the foam of her submerging. USN photo # 2813-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 187k The fifth photo shows her bow & deck gun almost completely covered by her submerging. USN photo # 2814-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 431k The sixth & last photo shows her conning tower starting to become awash. USN photo # 2815-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 261k The Seawolf's (SS-197) crew firing her aft 20MM AA gun, 8 May 1944 after completing an overhaul at Hunters Point Navy Yard in San Francisco, CA. USN photo # 2820-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seawolf 34k Seawolf (SS-197) patrol scorecard. Courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Seawolf 26k Albert Marion Bontier, Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Seawolf (SS-197), at the time of her loss. USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.
Seawolf 69k Google Earth satellite photo of the site and surrounding islands of Seawolf's (SS-197) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Seawolf and her crew.View courtesy of Google Earth.
Seawolf 34k The Richard M. Rowell (DE-403) anchored in San Pedro Bay off Samar Island, PI, Sep. 1945, less than one year after sinking the Seawolf (SS-197) by accident. Photo courtesy of James V. Nichols.
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.
Seawolf 32k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Seawolf (SS-197).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Seawolf 1.05k 7 page PDF history of the Seawolf (SS-197) and her WW II patrols. USN photos courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
PDF added 06/05/16.
Tolling the Boats 117k Joyce DaSilva, the wife of Jesse DaSilva of the Tang (SS-306), one of the nine survivors of the boat, tosses a flower into a reflecting pool to honor the memory of one of the 52 submarines lost during World War II at the National Submarine Memorial-West on board Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif. On this Veterans Day, the Submarine Veterans of World War II transferred ownership of the memorial to the U.S. Navy.

The following text is from The Coming Fury by Bruce Catton., pg. 478.
"Major Sullivan Ballou of Rhode Island was killed in the battle, and just before it he had wrote to his wife, Sarah, Sarah, to tell her that he believed he was going to be killed and to express a tremulous faith that could see a gleam of light in the dark:
"But O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and float unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you in the gladdest days and in the gloomiest nights, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your chest it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait, for we shall meet again!"
Text i.d. courtesy of Marlynn Starring. Photo i.d. courtesy of Chuck Senior, Vice Commander, Los Angeles-Pasadena Base, USSVI.
USN photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
Seawolf 54k Seawolf (SS-197) off the Hunters Point Naval Drydocks, San Francisco, California, 9 May 1944, following overhaul. In less than 6 months the boat and all her crew would be K.I.A.

In Memorium:

In the Second Book of Shmuel (Samuel), 22nd chapter, 5th through the 20th verses, translated from the original in Hebrew and published by the Koren Publishers of Jerusalem, Israel, 1982, can perhaps aptly describe the fate of the crew and all other U.S. submariners who died defending their county:

"When the waves of death compassed me / the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; / the bonds of She'ol encircled me; / the snares of death took me by surprise; / in my distress I called upon the Lord, / and cried to my G-D: / and he heard my voice out of his temple, / and my cry entered into his ears. / Then the earth shook and trembled; /the foundations of heaven moved / and shook because of his anger /...the heavy mass of waters, and thick clouds of the skies /... And the channels of the sea appeared, / the foundations of the world were laid bare, / at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast at the breath of his nostrils. / He sent from above, he took me; / he drew me out of many waters; / he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. / They surprised me in the day of my calamity: / but the Lord was my stay / He brought me forth also into a large place: / he delivered me because he delighted in me./"
Official USN photo # NH 67016, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

View the Seawolf (SS-197)
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
On Eternal Patrol
PigBoats.COM TM - A Historic Look at Submarines
ComSubForPac USS SEAWOLF (SS 197) October 3, 1944 - 100 Men Lost
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
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