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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch contributed by Mike Ostlund, author of
Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em: The Mysterious Loss of the WWII Submarine USS Gudgeon.

Gudgeon (SS-211)

Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Lima - Zulu

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is left to right
Presidential Unit Citation - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (11)

Gar Class Submarine: Laid down, 22 November 1939, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Launched, 25 January 1941; Commissioned, USS Gudgeon (SS-211), 21 April 1941, at Mare Island Navy Yard; Final Disposition: Sunk as a result of aerial attack at 06:30 AM of 18 April 1944, from two 250 kilogram bombs on the bow and bridge from a plane from the 901 Air Group (Kokutai)at 22-45' N 143-40'E, approximatley 166 miles southeast of Iwo Jima, according to Mike Ostlund, author of Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em: The Mysterious Loss of the WWII Submarine USS Gudgeon.
On 7 June 1944, officially declared overdue and presumed lost; Struck from the Naval Register, (date unknown); Gudgeon was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, and received eleven 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 8.75 kts; Complement 5 Officers, 54 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 dual purpose deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric, four General Motors Co., diesel engines, 5.400 hp, Fuel Capacity, 96,365 gals., four General Electric Co., electric motors, 2,740 hp, Battery cells 252, twin propellers.
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Gudgeon 280k First day cover for the keel laying of the Gudgeon(SS-211) on 22 November 1939. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 91k Newsclipping from the 23 November 1939 edition of the Vallejo Times-Herald picturing the Honorary Keel Layers for the Gudgeon (SS-211), at Mare Island on 22 November 1939. From left to right are: Phil Creedon, quarterman (senior supervisor) rigger and George Mercer, electrical engineer in the welding enclosure. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 88k Newsclipping from the 23 November 1939 edition of the Vallejo Times-Herald: CDR A. M. Pitrie salutes while the Star Spangled Banner is played during the keel laying of Gudgeon (SS-211) at Mare Island on 22 November 1939. CDR Pitrie, Shipyard Manager, had just declared "the keel is well and truly laid". Structure in the middle of the photo is a welding enclosure. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Silversides & Gudgeon 221k Silversides (SS-236) & Gudgeon (SS-211), on the building ways at Mare Island, Cal. 2 January 1941. Silversides illustrates double hulled construction. The inner circular section is the pressure hull, the framing, which surrounds it, supports a thin streamlined outer hull. Such a configuration leaves the interior of the pressure hull unencumbered by framing and allows for a streamlined outer hull whose shape is not determined by the need to resist water pressure.
YO-45 is under construction aft of the two submarines.
USN photo courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press, courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Gudgeon 129k General view of the launching of the Gudgeon (SS-211), looking forward, 24 January 1941. USN photo # 237-41 courtesy of mareislandlostboats.org.
Gudgeon 131k Detailed Operating Schedule for launching of the Gudgeon (SS-211), at Mare Island on 25 January 1941. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 546k Newsclipping from the 21 April 1941 edition of the Vallejo Times-Herald picturing Mrs. W. S. Pye, Sponsor, christening the Gudgeon (SS-211) on 25 January 1941. Others in the photo are from left to right: Capt. Andrew Denney, Acting Shipyard Commandant; Mrs. Greer Duncan, wife of Capt Greer Duncan and Maid of Honor; CDR Lemuel P. Padget, aide to commandant; Mrs. Pye; and Capt. F. Crisp, yard manager with his back to camera. Text courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. USN photo courtesy of Mike Ostlund, author of Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em: The Mysterious Loss of the WWII Submarine USS Gudgeon.
Gudgeon 233kCommissioning of the Gudgeon (SS-211) on 21 April 1941. Mare Island Navy Yard Ship Files, NARA San Francisco, Photo # 890-41 courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Gudgeon 276kCommissioning of the Gudgeon (SS-211) on 21 April 1941. Lt. Comdr. Elton W. Grenfell, first CO of the boat, is on the right near the hatch, holding his orders. Mare Island Navy Yard Ship Files, NARA San Francisco, Photo # 896-41 courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Gudgeon 303k The Gudgeon (SS-211) at the end of the ways during her launching at Mare Island on 25 January 1941. USN photo # 251-41, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 67k The Gudgeon (SS-211) is entering the water during her launching at Mare Island on 25 January 1941. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 714kGudgeon (SS-211) in the Mare Island Channel after her launching at Mare Island on 25 January 1941. Launching cradle is forward of the submarine's bow. Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum Photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 481k The Gudgeon (SS-211) is waterborne at Mare Island, Cal., 25 January 1941. Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Gudgeon 230k First day postal cover commemorating the launching of Gudgeon (SS-211), 25 January 1941. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 64k First day postal cover commemorating the commissioning of Gudgeon(SS-211), 21 April 1941. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 27k Gudgeon (SS-211), port side view, circa 21 April 1941. Courtesy of MMCM (SS) Greg Peterman, USN, Retired.
Gudgeon 520k Historical Data Plate of the Gudgeon (SS-211), issued on 1 July 1941. US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs24659, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert..
Gudgeon 344k Aft port quarter view of the Gudgeon (SS-211) off Mare Island on 7 July 1941. She departed the yard for the last time on 11 July 1941. USN photo # 1422-41, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 137k Gudgeon (SS-211) before & after her bridge was given a slender silhouette, 1943. Courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Side by side photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Gudgeon 74k The Gudgeon (SS-211), before her wartime overhaul at Mare Island. USN photo.
Submarine Base,Pearl Harbor 1.14k 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 upside-down "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 mine-layer Baltimore. Cruisers in top center are Minneapolis (CA-36), closest to camera, and Pensacola (CA-24), wearing a Measure 5 painted "bow wave".
Text from USN photo # 80-G-451125, now in the collections of the National Archives.
USN photo # 80-G-651517 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Photo added 04/18/16.
Submarine Base,Pearl Harbor 1.07k Two additional aerial views 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. USN photo # 80-G-651516 & 651518 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Photo added 04/18/16.
Navy Day20k Commemorative postal cover marking Navy Day, 27 October 1941 and the following submarines commissioned since the previous year:
Trout (SS-202),
Tuna (SS-203),
Mackerel (SS-204),
Marlin (SS-205),
Gar (SS-206),
Grampus (SS-207),
Grayback (SS-208),
Grayling (SS-209),
Grenadier (SS-210) &
Gudgeon(SS-211).
Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Gudgeon 76k Arriving at her assigned station West of Midway Atoll on 15th January 1942 the I-173 (HIJMS Kaidai Type KD 6A class) began her hunt for allied shipping. Several days passed with no contacts and as her supplies began to run low, orders reached the I-173 to return to Yokosuka. During the early morning hours of 27th January the I-173 surfaced as usual to run her diesel engines to recharge her batteries and use her higher surface speed to shorten her trip. As she ran along the surface, the sound of her propellers was picked up by sonar operators on the Gudgeon (SS-211), a patrolling U.S. Submarine. The American submarine was quick to react and promptly steered an intercept course with the sonar contact, and quickly confirmed it to be a Japanese Submarine, running on the surface and not engaged in a typical zig-zagging pattern to avoid submarine attacks. Closing to within 1,800 yards of her target, the Gudgeon lined up her shot and sent a spread of three torpedoes into the path of the I-173, two of which struck the sub directly amidships. Damage to the I-173 was total, as the force of the explosions almost broke the submarine in two. The I-173 momentarily settled back to an even keel after the impacts, but then promptly began to jackknife and sank at this location with all hands on 27th January 1942. Her loss went into the history books as being the first warship ever sunk by an American Submarine in combat. Text & photo courtesy of combinedfleet.com via Bill Gonyo.
Photo inset courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Photo courtesy of Shizuo Fukui.
Gudgeon 230k Torpedo! The arrowing wake promises a direct hit. Frantic crewmen of Japanese submarine I-173 see their doom written in froth. Gudgeon (SS-211), (Commander Greenfell) was victor in this sub vs. sub battle west of Midway. Downed in January 1942, I-173 was the first warship ever sunk by a U.S. submarine. Drawing by Lt. Cmdr. Fred Freemen, courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Gudgeon 28k Lt. Comdr. Elton W. Grenfell, first CO of the Gudgeon (SS-211) during her first two war patrols. USN photo courtesy of Mike Ostlund, author of Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em: The Mysterious Loss of the WWII Submarine USS Gudgeon.
Gudgeon 252k On her eighth war patrol, conducted as she sailed from Australia to Pearl Harbor 15 April to 25 May 1943, Gudgeon (SS-211) chalked up three more kills. Her first came 28 April as she sank Kamakura Maru, a former ocean liner. The 17,52-ton transport was the largest Japanese transport, and one of the largest enemy ships sunk by an American submarine. Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
Gudgeon 179k Amidships plan view looking forward of Gudgeon (SS-211) at Hunters Point on 5 August 1943. USN photo # 5722-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 272k Plan view amidships of Gudgeon (SS-211) at Hunters Point on 5 August 1943. US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs50789, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert..
Gudgeon 476k Bow on view of Gudgeon (SS-211) at Hunters Point on 7 August 1943. USN photo # 5760-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 375k Starboard broadside view of Gudgeon (SS-211) at Hunters Point on 7 August 1943. US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs24659, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert..
Gudgeon 121k Broadside view of Gudgeon (SS-211) at Hunters Point on 7 August 1943. USN photo # 5766-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 139kStarboard bow view of the Gudgeon (SS-211) at Hunters Point on 7 August 1943. Mare Island Navy Yard Ship Files, NARA San Francisco, Photo # 5767-43, courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Gudgeon 93k Gudgeon (SS-211), oil painting by Lloyds of Vallejo Art Studio, date unknown. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tuna 776k Painting of the Tuna (SS-203), Gudgeon (SS 211) and Fulton (AS-11) by Lloyds of Vallejo. All three ships were constructed at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gudgeon 123k Imperial Japanese Navy G3M bomber (Nell) in flight, which may have sunk the Gudgeon (SS-211) on 18 April 1944, according to Mike Ostlund, author of Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em: The Mysterious Loss of the WWII Submarine USS Gudgeon. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org.
Gudgeon 11.1k Admiral Elton W. Grenfell appears here in his later years after commanding the Gudgeon (SS 211).
A 106 page PDF history of the Gudgeon appears here.
Photos courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Gudgeon 147k Google Earth satellite photo of the site and surrounding islands of Gudgeon (SS-211) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Gudgeon and her crew.View courtesy of Google Earth.
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.
Gudgeon 91k Kazan-retto (Volcano Islands)area where the Gudgeon (SS-211) was at the time of her loss on 18 April 1944.
Photo Aqua MODIS 03 May 2004 03:50 UTC image.
Parts of the Marianas Island chain area is the deepest on the planet, over 5 miles deep, which would submerge Mt. Everest by over 6,000 feet.
Photo courtesy of Earth sciences and image analysis laboratory, NASA/Goddard space flight center / oceandots.com.
Gudgeon 242k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Gudgeon (SS-211).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Gudgeon 16k Robert Alexander Bonin, Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Gudgeon (SS-211) 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 wrote 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.
USN photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
Gudgeon 74k The human factor: Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, Cemetary on White Street. Bill Remaley was lost on Gudgeon (SS-211), 12 May, 1944.

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./"
Courtesy of usssubvetsofwwii.org

View the Gudgeon (SS-211)
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
ComSubForPac US Pacific Fleet - USS Gudgeon (SS 211) 7 June 1944 - 79 Men Lost

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