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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Tambor (SS-198)

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Golf - November

Tambor Class Submarine: Laid down, 16 January 1939, at Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 20 December 1939; Commissioned, USS Tambor (SS-198), 3 June 1940; Decommissioned, 10 December 1945, at Portsmouth, NH; Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet; Placed in service and assigned to Naval Reserve Training Center, Detroit, MI., from April 1947 to 1959; Struck from the Naval Register, 1 September 1959; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping. Tambor received 11 battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,475 t., Submerged: 2,370 t.; Length 307' 2" ; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 13' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20 kts, Submerged 8 kts; Max. Depth Limit 250'; Complement 5 Officers 54 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 caliber machine guns, two .30 caliber machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric, four General Motors diesel engines, 5,400 hp, Fuel Capacity 93.993 gal., four General Electric motors, 2,740 hp, Battery Cells, 252, two propellers.
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Tambor 13k The Sebastes ruberrimus Tambor or Red Rockfish. Photo courtesy of mbayaq.org. Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation.
Tambor 19k Commemorative postal cover marking the keel laying of the Tambor (SS-198), 16 January 1939, at Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Tambor 80k Miss Lucia Long Ellis, Sponsor for the Tambor (SS-198), breaks a bottle of champagne on the boat's bow. The date was 20 December 1939 at 4:15PM. Electric Boat Photo courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Tambor 21k Commemorative postal cover marking the Tambor's (SS-198) launching, 20 December 1939. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Tambor 19k Commemorative postal cover marking the commissioning of the Tambor (SS-198), 3 June 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Tambor 257k 'Up Periscope!, Up Production!. Tambor (SS-198), first of her class to be delivered to the Navy-as you would see her from a sister ship. USN photo courtesy of Ron Reeves, HTC. USNR (ret.)
Tambor 121k Among the newest and most powerful of U.S. submarines, the Tambor (SS-198) was commissioned in 1940. Ten 21 inch torpedo tubes, six fore and four aft, plus its 3 inch deck gun and two anti aircraft machine guns make it a craft to be feared by the enemy. Displacement is 1,450 tons on the surface, length almost 300 feet, and speed almost 22 knots. Such submarines often have a range of 15,000 miles. Text courtesy of CARD-O chewing gum. Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
Tambor 16k Commemorative postal cover marking the Tambor's (SS-198) visit to Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone, in September 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Tambor 696k Tranquil town setting finds the Tambor (SS-198) underway in a New England river, US Navy photo, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Tambor 137k Tambor (SS-198) underway during her shakedown period off the New England coast, circa 1940-41. US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Tambor 14k Tambor (SS-198), underway during her shakedown period off the New England coast, circa 1940-41. US Navy photo courtesy of Hyperwar US Navy in WWII.
Tambor 19k Commemorative postal & photo inset of the Tambor (SS-198) 2 September 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
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.
Tambor 203k These U.S. Navy diagrams show how the Torpedo Data Computer (TDC) was to have been used. At left is the pair of own and target dials, showing the target and the submarine. The officer making the approach had to work out the course needed to obtain a given track angle. If the two dials were mentally superimposed (as at center), they showed the angle between the courses of the submarine and the target.

For a stern shot, the necessary course angle appeared opposite the angle on the bow corresponding to the desired track angle. For a bow shot, the necessary course angle was read off 180 degrees from the angle on the bow. True (as well as relative) bearings were shown on these dials because they corresponded to directions actually steered.

Arrows on the TDC indicated torpedo course and gyro angle, as shown at right (solid arrow for bow tubes, broken arrow for stern tubes). The arrows on the target dial indicated present track angle, the angle at which the torpedo would hit if it were fired at any given moment (i.e., how good a shot was likely to be).

Present track angle for a straight shot could be read off the dials by transposing the number on the outer ring opposite the submarine's disengaged axis to the target outer ring, then reading the corresponding inner number. In this example, submarine & target are on converging courses.

The Tambor (SS-198-203 class) was the first designed specifically to accommodate the TDC.
Majority text & photo courtesy of U.S. Navy via Terry Lindell as it appeared in the book
U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Partial text courtesy of chinfo.navy.mil.
Tambor 252k Tambor (SS-198) victim. US Navy photo, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Tambor 97k Tambor (SS-198), off Diamond Head, Hawaii, circa 1943. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Tambor 46k Tambor (SS-198) was fitted with a 5 in/51 gun. She is shown off San Francisco after a refit, 6 December 1943. Note the double row of additional limber holes.
Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press. US Navy photo.
Tambor 51k Tambor (SS-198), taken at Mare Island on 6 December 1943. Among the noticeable changes are a reduced bridge silhouette. USN / USNI photo.
Tambor 108k Bow on view of the Tambor (SS-198), off San Francisco on 6 December 1943. US Navy Photo # 8089-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tambor 107k Stern view of the Tambor (SS-198), off San Francisco on 6 December 1943. US Navy Photo # 8090-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tambor 119k Broadside view of the Tambor (SS-198), off San Francisco on 6 December 1943. US Navy Photo # 8092-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tambor 440k Pre-war view of the Goyo Shosen KK - owned general cargo ship underway. In 1941-42 the IJN converted Goyo Maru (8,469 grt) into a fleet tanker; severely damaged and beached at Truk 16 May 1942 after torpedo attack by Tautog (SS-199); salvaged; torpedoed and sunk on 3 February 1944 while in convoy, NE of Formosa (29 degrees 11' N, 124 degrees 45' E) by Tambor (SS-198). Photo courtesy of Japanese Naval Vessels of World War Two as seen by U.S. Naval Intelligence". Text taken from two sources: "Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945" by Jentschura, Jung and Mickel, translated by Antony Preston and J.D. Brown, and "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" by Roger W. Jordan, courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Tambor 88k Broadside view of Tambor (SS-198) off Mare Island on 23 February 1945. US Navy Photo # 1381-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. The photo is off a negative from the Vallejo Naval Historic Museum.
Tambor 242k Aft plan view of Tambor (SS-198) at Mare Island on 24 February 1945. She was in overhaul at the yard from 11 December 1944 until 9 March 1945. US Navy Photo # 1398-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tambor 201k Forward plan view of Tambor (SS-198) at Mare Island on 24 February 1945. Shipyard records indicate that Ray (SS-271) and Greenling (SS-213) were berthed immediately aft of Tambor and behind these two boats were Cero (SS-225) and Raton (SS-270). US Navy Photo # 1400-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tambor 217k Tambor's (SS-198) battle flag. US Navy photo, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Tambor 185k Routed onward to the United States, Tambor (SS-198) arrived at San Francisco on 10 December 1944. After an extended overhaul, the submarine sailed for Puget Sound on 9 March 1945. Upon her arrival there, Tambor began training operations with Navy patrol aircraft under Fleet Air Wing 6. On 17 September, she departed the west coast for Portsmouth, N.H. Tambor was decommissioned there on 10 December 1945 and placed in reserve.
Officers and CPO's of the Tambor pose on 1 August 1945.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo courtesy of Lance Dean.
Tambor 223k Award ceremony at Puget Sound for the Tambor's (SS-198) crew on 1 August 1945. Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo courtesy of Lance Dean.
Seal 970k Five photo PDF of the Tambor (SS-198). Photos courtesy of Mel Douyette @ coldwarsubmarines.com
Photos added 04/24/14.

View the Tambor (SS-198)
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
HISTORIC SUBMARINE DOCUMENTARY AND TRAINING FILMS
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