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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

Grunion (SS-216)
Keel Laying - Loss

Radio Call Sign: November - Uniform - Delta - Papa

To Additional Pages

Aftermath
A Life & Beyond
Initial Discovery 2006
ROV Pictures of the Wreckage
Hypotheses of the Sinking


Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 1 March 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 22 December 1941; Commissioned USS Grunion (SS-216), 11 April 1942; Final Disposition, last report 30 July 1942, reported overdue from patrol off Kiska Island, Alaska, 5 October 1942, all hands assumed lost; Struck from the Naval Register, 2 November 1942. Grunion received one battle star for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 9"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 15' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Complement 6 Officers 54 Enlisted; Operating Depth, 300 ft; Submerged Endurance, 48 hrs at 2 kts; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10 kts; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel electric reduction gear with four General Motors main generator engines, HP 5400, Fuel Capacity, 97,140 gals., four General Electric main motors, HP 2740, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin propellers.
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Grunion16kCommemorative postal cover marking the keel laying of the Grunion (SS-216) at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 1 March 1941. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Grunion251kStern view of the Grunion (SS-216) on the launching ways on 22 December 1941 at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. General Dynamics Electric Boat photo courtesy of Bruce and John Abele, sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942.
Grunion229k The Grunion (SS-216) slides down the launching ways on 22 December 1941 at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Electric Boat photo courtesy of John Crouse of St Mary's Sub Museum / ussgrunion.com.
Grunion64kThe Grunion (SS-216) being towed to dock immeadiatley following her launching on 22 December 1941 at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. USN / Electric Boat photo courtesy of Bruce, Brad and John Abele, sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942.
Grunion23kCommemorative postal cover marking Grunion's (SS-216) launching, 22 December 1941. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Grunion62kU.S. Naval Submarine Base, New London, Groton, Connecticut:
Members of the 4th Command Class at the Submarine Base, February 1942.
Those present are, bottom row left to right:
Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele; first command would be the Grunion (SS-216). He would be K.I.A. while commmanding the Grunion, 30 July 1942.
Lieutenant Commander Thomas B. Klakring; first command would be the Guardfish (SS-217),
Commander Karl G. Hensel, Officer in Charge;
Lieutenant Commander George W. Patterson, Jr., Senior Assistant; and
Lieutenant Commander Jesse L. Hull; first command would be the Finback (SS-230).
Top row, left to right:
Lieutenant Commander Howard W. Gilmore; first command would be the Growler (SS-215). He was postumously awarded the Medal of Honor after he was K.I.A. on the bridge of the Growler, 7 February 1943.
Lieutenant Commander Philip H. Ross; first command would be the Halibut (SS-232),
Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. Taylor; first command would be the Haddock (SS-231),
Lieutenant Commander Albert C. Burrows; first command would be the Swordfish (SS-193) and
Lieutenant Commander Leonard S. Mewhinney; first command would be the Saury (SS-189).
Official U.S. Navy Photograph # 80-G-88577, now in the collections of the National Archives. Courtesy of the USNHC.
Grunion46kGrunion (SS-216), upon completion at Electric Boat Company in March, 1942. This configuration with the enclosed shears was as designed. Soon this was cut away to lessen the surface silhouette. This was done in stages during the course of the war. Text courtesy of The Floating Drydock, Fleet Subs of WW II by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
USN photo courtesy of Bruce, Brad and John Abele, sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942.
Grunion431kGrunion (SS-216) bow view at rest, off Groton, Connecticut, 20 March 1942. US Navy photo, courtesy of Electric Boat Corporation via Ed Zajkowski.
Grunion406k Stern view of the Grunion (SS-216) at rest, 20 March 1942 at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.US Navy photo, courtesy of Electric Boat Corporation & ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Grunion9kPDF article written by Brad Abele about the loss of the Grunion (SS-216).
Pictured is Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele on the bridge of the Grunion, 11 April 1942.
USN photo courtesy of Bruce, Brad and John Abele, sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942. Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel.
Grunion30kThe Grunion (SS-216) heading up the Thames River following her commissioning at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. on 11 April 1942. USN photo courtesy of Bruce, Brad and John Abele, sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942.
Grunion88k Commissioning party photo of the Grunion's (SS-216) crew and wives enjoying the evening at the New London Sub Base, CT. on 11 April 1942.
Identified members are listed below.
USN photo courtesy of Bruce, Brad and John Abele,sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942.
Grunion508kDeep Submergence Cruisograph from Carson Raymond Martin, Chief Motor Machinist's Mate of the Grunion (SS-216) on 7 May 1942. An accompanying letter from the Navy Dept Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington DC, dated 1 June 1943 added:

My dear Mrs. Martin: Your husband, Carson Raymond Martin, Chief Motor Machinist's Mate, U.S. Navy, formerly attached to the Grunion, was certified by the former Commanding office of the submarine to have been aboard when it submerged to a maximun dept of 315 feet, on May 7th, 1942, in Block Island Sound.

In recognition of this accomplishment, A Deep Submergence Certificate was ordered for him at that time, but unfortunately, it cannot now be delivered to him. It can neither be signed by the Diving Officer or the Commanding Officer, since they are likewise among the missing personnel.

The Bureau feels that you will greatly treasure this certificate as a memento of your husband's service, and is pleased to forward it to you.
Very truly yours,
Randall Jacobs
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Chief of Naval Personnel
A.C. Jacobs Commander, U.S.BN.R.
Head of Casualties and Allotments Section by direction.
USN photo courtesy of Meryl Kretschmann, daughter of Carson Martin, K.I.A. aboard the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942.
Grunion4k Map showing the approximate location where Grunion (SS-216) picks up 16 survivors from the American merchant Jack that was torpedoed and sunk on 27 May 1942 by the German submarine U-558 about 100 miles southwest of Port Salut, Haiti in position 17.36N, 74.42W.Photo courtesy of Great Circle Mapper - © Karl L Swartz & text courtesy of uboat.net.
Subchaser 138k Color drawing of the Subchaser No. 46 (left)(indicative of the class of submarine chaser which the Grunion (SS-216) sank, and the destroyer Shimakaze (right) as depicted by Takeshi Yuki, "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships". Photo courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
Grunion5k Map showing the approximate location where Grunion (SS-216) torpedoes and sinks the Japanese submarine chasers Ch 25 and Ch 27 (both 460 tons) west of Sredni Point, Kiska, Aleutians in position 52.02N, 177.42E. Grunion would be lost not far from this position.Photo courtesy of Great Circle Mapper - © Karl L Swartz & text courtesy of uboat.net.
Grunion100kThe Kano Maru in Kiska Harbor, 1942. Photo courtesy of Richard Lane via ussgrunion.com.
Grunion70k Situated to the northeast of Little Sitkin in the Rat Islands is the 6 km by 7 km island of Segula. The island is dominated by its 1,153 meter high volcano. The Grunion (SS-216) would be lost not far from this position.
Note: Segula is a Hebrew word meaning treasure.
Photo ISS005-E-18284 was taken on 23 October 2002 00:43 UTC, courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center., via oceandots.com.
Grunion146kUS Navy PBY patrol plane flying past Segula Island in the Aleutian Islands, 1944. Photo from the Photo Essay The Aleutian Islands.Photographer:Dmitri Kessel, courtesy of Life.
Grunion376kSegula Volcano from the deck of the Maritime Maid. Southwest coastline. Picture Date: 27 September 2005 13:58:03.
Photo courtesy of C. A. Neal, Alaska Volcano Observatory, the U.S. Geological Survey, BigTopo 7, and AllTopo 7 via avo.alaska.edu.
Grunion752kTopographic map of Little Sitkin, Khvostof, Davidof, and Segula. Picture Date: 2005. Photo courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory, the U.S. Geological Survey, BigTopo 7, and AllTopo 7 via avo.alaska.edu.
Grunion252kThe Grunion's (SS-216) assigned operating area was off the island of Kiska, shown in detail in this map. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Amar Andalkar & skimountaineer.com. via Alaska Volcano Observatory & avo.alaska.edu.
Grunion148k U. S. COAST & GEODETIC SURVEY “Preliminary Chart. Aleutian Islands. Kiska Island & Kiska Harbor” Wash. D.C. 1944. Depicts shoreline topography with bays, inlets & passes & includes hundreds of depth soundings plus detailed courses & navigational notes. Photo courtesy of gracegalleries.com. Rare Old Maps of Alaska by Grace Galleries of Harpswell, Maine.
Grunion103k U. S. COAST & GEODETIC SURVEY “Preliminary Chart. Alalska-Aleutian Islands. Kiska Island.” Wash. D.C. 1944. Grey/blue/yellow color. 23X46. Fine large chart shows all of Kiska Island & depicts Vega Bay with topographical & hydrographical details. Locates Sea Lion Pass, Krysi Pass, Segula Island & Pass, McArthur Reef & Pass, and Rat Island. Includes thousands of depth soundings & depicts courses, buoys & beacons & navigational notes on tides, lights & abbreviations. Photo courtesy of gracegalleries.com. Rare Old Maps of Alaska by Grace Galleries of Harpswell, Maine.
Grunion112kFull text of Ocean floor structures, northeastern Rat Islands, Alaska: in Investigations of Alaskan volcanoes, U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin B 1028-G, p. 161-167, 1 plate, scale 1:125,000.Snyder, G. L., 1957.Photo courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory & avo.alaska.edu.
Grunion5mPlate of Ocean floor structures, northeastern Rat Islands, Alaska: in Investigations of Alaskan volcanoes, U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin B 1028-G, p. 161-167, 1 plate, scale 1:125,000.Snyder, G. L., 1957.Photo courtesy of Alaska Volcano Observatory & avo.alaska.edu.
Grunion455kKiska volcano with some of the estimated 1.16 million Least Auklets and ~500,000 Crested Auklets at Sirius Point, on the north side of the volcano. Picture Date: 19 June 2008. Photo courtesy of Cyrus Read, E. Klett, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, via avo.alaska.edu.
Grunion95k Battle Map by Seilchi Aiura obtained by R. Cressman of Ship's History Museum, showing the locations of the Kano Maru & Grunion (SS-216). USN photo courtesy of Bruce, Brad and John Abele, sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942.
Grunion237kCopy of a page out of the Battle report and Battle Map article (written in Japanese) by Seilchi Aiura which shows a diagram produced by the author which describes the attack in some detail....If the diagram is accurate, then the Grunion (SS-216) was just moments away from reaching safety behind the stricken vessel when she was hit. This was probably what she was attempting by her maneuvers. Whether she would have been safe from the 13mm gun at the rear of the Kano Maru is not known.
It also shows the path of the Grunion and the location and direction of each of the six shots. The dotted line is sometimes a path of bubbles and the solid line is where the periscope was up and spotted. At the end of the path is where the 8cm shell hit the wave caused by the conning tower. From Aiura "confirmed direct hits and exploding sound was heard and then tremendous amount of dark brown liquid was flushing out from the sea." From another witness that saw the explosion "after a while a black thin bar appeared on the surface then fell and submerged".
USN photo courtesy of Bruce, Brad and John Abele, sons of Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele, K.I.A., while commmanding the Grunion (SS-216), 30 July 1942. Text courtesy of Bruce Abele & ussgrunion.com.
Grunion146kCopy of a page out of the Battle report and Battle Map article (written in Japanese) with English translation which shows a diagram produced by the author which describes the attack in some detail. Photo & text courtesy of Bruce Abele.
Grunion141kCopy of a page out of the Battle report and Battle Map article (written in Japanese) with English translation which shows a diagram produced by the author which describes the attack in some detail. Photo & text courtesy of Bruce Abele.

View the Grunion (SS-216)
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
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
ussgrunion.com
ussgrunionblog
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