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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Triton (SS-201)

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Victor - Foxtrot


Tambor Class Submarine: Laid down, 5 July 1939, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME.; Launched, 25 March 1940; Commissioned, USS Triton (SS-201), 15 August 1940; Triton was reported overdue from patrol and presumed lost, 10 April 1943. Post-war examination of Japanese records revealed that on 15 March 1943, three Japanese destroyers attacked a submarine a little northwest of Triton's assigned area and subsequently observed an oil slick, debris, and items with American markings. Triton received five 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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Triton 22k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) keel laying, 5 July 1939, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Triton514kTriton's (SS-201) launching party. Photo courtesy of Wendy S. Gulley, Archivist Submarine Force Museum, Naval Submarine Base NLON Groton, CT.
Photo added 09/20/13.
Triton 142k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) launching, 25 March 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Triton 98k Cast iron model of the Triton (SS-201) and Shark (SS-174) class submarines. Photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandfather, Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. was lost at sea while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Triton 206k Triton (SS-201) slides down the ways at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME., 25 March 1940. US Navy photo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Triton 24k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) first day in commission, 15 August 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.
Triton 46k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) deep dive, 4 December 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Triton 111k Triton (SS-201) underway at sea, circa 1940, seen from a blimp. Photo dated July 1943, but taken about two or three years earlier. High aerial view, taken from off Triton's port side, forward. Her bow is cropped out of the view, and her after portion is somewhat obscured by the blimp's engine and its supporting structure. Triton is in pre-war configuration, with the "201" painted on her sail in large numerals. USNHC photo # 80-G-42357, submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Triton 229k An American Submarine Teaches a Blimp the Tricks of Hitler's U-boats.
One of the airships motors, suspended from an outrigger, hangs over the Triton (SS-201) during a 1941 cruise off New Jersey. Today the submarine would scarcely dare to show herself in theses waters lest she be bombed. Wartime blimps and surface craft shoot first and ask questions afterword.
Photo courtesy of International News, from the the 1941 edition of National Geographic Magazine, page # 84 & submitted by Ron Reeves.
Triton 100k Triton (SS-201) underway, circa 1941, with another submarine in the background. Probably taken with Trout (SS-202) and other submarines, when they conducted training operations with Submarine Division 62 until 29 November 1941 when she stood out of Pearl Harbor to conduct a simulated war patrol off northern Midway. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # NH 99279, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Submarine Base,Pearl Harbor 144k Aerial view of the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, with part of the supply depot beyond and the fuel farm at right, looking north on 13 October 1941.
Note the fuel tank across the road from the submarine base, painted to resemble a building. The building beside the submarine ascent tower (in left center, shaped like an upsidedown "U") housed the U.S. Fleet Headquarters at the time of the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. Office of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the Fleet's Commander in Chief, was in the upper left corner of the building's top floor.
Wharton (AP-7) is in right foreground. Among the submarines at the base are Tuna (SS-203), Gudgeon (SS-211), Argonaut (SS-166), Narwhal (SS-167), Triton (SS-201) and Dolphin (SS-169). Holland (AS-3) and Niagara (PG-52) are alongside the wharf on the base's north side. In the distance (nearest group in upper left) are the battleship Nevada (BB-36), at far left, Castor (AKS-1) and the derelict old minelayer Baltimore. Cruisers in top center are Minneapolis (CA-36), closest to camera, and Pensacola (CA-24), wearing a Measure 5 painted "bow wave".
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-451125, now in the collections of the National Archives.
Triton 17k Triton (SS-201) is shown in prewar configuration. A 0.50 caliber machine gun was set up forward of her bridge. The gun could not be permanently mounted, nor could it be located atop the bridge because of its interference with radio antennas. Submariners disliked this arrangement. It entailed delay, which meant that a submarine often could not defend herself against a surprise attack. Drawing by Jim Christley. Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Triton 78k Triton (SS-201) at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 16 July 1942.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 99280.
Triton 138k Color drawing of the Subchaser No. 46 (left)(indicative of the class of submarine chaser which might have sunk the Triton (SS-201) and the destroyer Shimakaze (right) as depicted by Takeshi Yuki, "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships").
The Triton might very well have been sunk by the Japanese Mutsuki class destroyer Satsuki or Subchaser No. 24 north of Admiralty Islands, according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action.
Photo courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
Triton 53k Color print of the Japanese Mutsuki-class destroyer Satsuki which might very well have been sunk the Triton (SS-201) north of Admiralty Islands, according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action. Photo courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
Triton 4k Map showing the area where the Triton (SS-201) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport ship Kiriha Maru (3057 BRT) and torpedoes and damages the Japanese merchant Mito Maru (7061 BRT) some 145 miles northwest of the Admiralty Islands in position 00.37N, 145.30E. Triton reports this "kill" on 11 March but she is never heard from again. Photo & text courtesy of Great Circle Mapper - Karl L Swartz / uboat.net.
Triton 79k Google Earth satellite photo of the Triton's (SS-201) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Triton and her crew. View courtesy of Google Earth.
Triton 107k Another theory on the loss of the Triton (SS-201) suggests that it may have been sunk by "friendly fire" in the Brisbane River or somewhere near Brisbane between 27 and 29th March 1943.
If so, this is a Google Earth satellite photo of the Triton's last approximate position based during post-war debriefings.
View courtesy of Google Earth.
Triton 84k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Triton (SS-201).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Triton 18k George Kenneth Mackenzie, Jr., Lieutenant Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Triton (SS-201) at the time of her loss. USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.
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 written to his wife, 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.
U.S. Navy photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
Triton 963k A marked crew.
Crew photo of the Triton (SS-201), possibly after returning to Pearl Harbor on 7 September. She then entered the navy yard for an overhaul that lasted until 6 December 1943.
Those individuals marked with Xs might well be those who perished with her on her last patrol.

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./"
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.

View the Triton (SS-201)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway .
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and sites of Interest
ComSubForPac USS TRITON (SS 201) March 15, 1943 - 74 Men Lost
USS Triton (SS-201)
American Submrine SS-201 Triton, was it sunk by friendly fire?
Who sank the TRITON?
On Eternal Patrol
PigBoats.COM TM, A Historic Look at Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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