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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Kingfish (SS-234)

Radio Call Sign: November - Bravo - Juliet - Charlie

Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 29 August 1941, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH; Launched, 2 March 1942; Commissioned USS Kingfish (SS-234), 20 May 1942; Decommissioned, 9 March 1946; Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet; Placed in service in reserve as a pierside training ship at Providence, R. I. from 6 October 1947 to 1 March 1960; Struck from the Naval Register, 1 March 1960; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 6 October 1960, to Albert Heller. Kingfish received nine battle stars for World War II service.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,410 t.; Length 311' 10"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 15' 2"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Complement 6 officers, 54 enlished; 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 Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines, 5400 hp, Fuel Capacity, 94,400 gals., four Elliot Motor Co., electric motors, 2740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin screws.
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Kingfish 21k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the keel laying of the Kingfish (SS-234), 29 August 1941, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Kingfish 22k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the keel laying of the Kingfish (SS-234), 29 August 1941, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Herring 850k Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., U.S. submarine Herring (SS-233) bow view in building ways #115 from forward catwalk, 6 October 1941.
The Kingfish (SS-234) would be under construction on the right hand ways, with the Halibut (SS-232) on the left hand ways.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman.
USN photo # 537-41 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert, Webmaster & Editor
Runner1.30kBow view of Runner (SS-275) from the North catwalk, 3 January 1942, Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME. US National Archives photo # 19lcm 33 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Editors Note: None of the photos from NARA would have seen the light of day here if it were not for the effort of Sean Hert. to scan and send them to me. He and Tracy White have done this innumerable times and I owe them a heart felt debt of perpetual thanks for being my legs from over 6,000 miles away.
Runner864kStern view of Runner (SS-275) from the South catwalk, 3 January 1942.
When this photo was taken, Portsmouth had four building ways in place, but they were not arranged in sequence! If you were to look into the big building shed from the water the ways were numbered 2, 4, 3, and 1. Therefore, the boat seen in these photos under construction on Runner's (SS-275) port side on 03 January 1942 was the Kingfish (SS-234), on Way #3.
The Shad (SS-235) is on Way # 2.
Here is where it gets interesting. Sometime between the date of this photo and 20 March 1942 (about 3 1/2 months later) the workers at Portsmouth rearranged the scaffolding between these two ways and inserted a fifth way (#1A)! The keel of Scorpion (SS-278) was laid there on 20 March while Runner was still under construction. By that date the way that Kingfish vacated (#3) now had Scamp (SS-277) on it.
US National Archives photo # 19lcm 34 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR) & Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 216k The crew of the Kingfish (SS-234) salute the National Ensign as she slides down the launching ways at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH; at 12:40 PM on 2 March 1942. US Navy photo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Kingfish 280k The crew of the Kingfish (SS-234) line the rails as she slides down the launching ways at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH; at 12:40 PM on 2 March 1942. US Navy photo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Kingfish 57k Broadside view of Kingfish (SS-234), 1942. US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Kingfish 18k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of Kingfish's (SS-234) first day in commission, 20 May 1942. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Kingfish 423k On 23 March 1943, while on her third war patrol, Kingfish (SS-234) underwent a severe depth charge attack north of Formosa. A total of over forty depth charges were dropped in the vicinity of Kingfish during the 71/2-hour period she was under attack. Serious damage was caused by the final pattern of six charges, two of which detonated close over the after portion of the ship while the boat was running at 300 foot depth, forcing her to the bottom in 350 feet of water.
In spite of sustaining considerable permanent pressure hull deformation in various areas and widespread interior damage, no vital systems or machinery were put out of commission and watertight integrity remained substantially intact. Six hours after the termination of the attack, and without undue difficulty, Kingfish was able to surface and clear the area at full power on all main engines.
This report is based on the information contained in the references and on an informal interview with the then Commanding Officer. The photographs were furnished by the U.S. Navy Yard, Mare Island. The Plate was prepared by the Bureau from data contained in the enclosures to reference (b).
Photo & text courtesy of ibiblio.org.
Kingfish405kView of Kingfish (SS-234) showing depressions in port side shell plating from frames 103-108 near lubricating oil tanks. Damage was caused by depth charge explosions on 24 March 1943 off Formosa, with the starboard side of the boat similarly damaged. Source: Navy Department Library, War Damage/Loss Report No.58, Kingfish (SS-234).
Photo added 12/16/14.
Kingfish364kDamage to starboard QB sonar projector on the Kingfish (SS-234). Both the port and starboard projectors were extended when the boat was forced to the bottom by depth charge explosions on 24 March 1943 off Formosa. Source: Navy Department Library, War Damage/Loss Report No.58, Kingfish (SS-234).
Photo added 12/16/14.
Kingfish 99k Broadside view of the Kingfish (SS-234) off Mare Island Navy Yard on 5 June 1943. She was in overhaul at the yard from 2 April until 16 June 1943. USN / Mare Island photo # 4213-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 104k Broadside view of the Kingfish (SS-234) off Mare Island Navy Yard on 5 June 1943. She was in overhaul at the yard from 2 April until 16 June 1943. USN / Mare Island photo # 4215-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 1.30k Kingfish (SS-234) heading down the Mare Island channel on 5 June 1943. Note barrage balloon above the stern of the submarine. USN / Mare Island # photo 4212-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 268k Port quarter view of Kingfish (SS-234), 7 June 1943.
The ship with the large bridge is Alchiba (AKA 6) in dry dock #3. The pilot house and funnel to the left belong to Calistoga YFB-21, which is berth outside dry dock #3.
The Mare Island Planning & Estimating Division's battle damage report for Kingfish due to her depth charging in March 1943.
USN / Mare Island # photo 4236-43, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Photo & text i.d. & PDF courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 138k Wearing overall black paint, the Kingfish (SS-234), is seen here in this 7 June 1943 photo at Mare Island CA., for a refit. At this time, the standard practice was to paint the boats in this measure. Photo and text courtesy of The Floating Drydock, "Fleet Subs of WW II" by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
Kingfish 272k Plan view aft of Kingfish (SS-234) off Mare Island on 3 September 1944. The barge YC-293 is to her starboard side. USN / Mare Island photo # 5868-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 270k Amidship plan view looking aft of Kingfish (SS-234) off Mare Island on 3 September 1944. The barge YC-293 is to her port side. USN / Mare Island photo # 5669-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish1.10kPlan view of the Kingfish (SS-234) at Mare Island, 3 September 1944. US National Archives photo # 19lcm 5870 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Kingfish607kBroadside view of the Kingfish (SS-234) at Mare Island, 8 September 1944. US National Archives photo # 19lcm 5644 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Kingfish 195k Broadside view of Kingfish (SS-234) off Mare Island on 8 September 1944. She was in overhaul from 28 June until 13 September 1944. USN / Mare Island photo # 5645-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 189k Bow on view of Kingfish (SS-234) in the Mare Island channel on 8 September 1944. USN / Mare Island photo # 5643-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 246k Stern view of Kingfish (SS-234) off Mare Island on 8 September 1944. She was in overhaul from 28 June until 13 September 1944. USN / Mare Island photo # 5647-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Kingfish 97k Kingfish (SS-234), port side view, at East Boston in 1961 awaiting scrapping. © Richard Leonhardt.
Kingfish 88k Kingfish (SS-234), starboard side view, at Boston in 1961 awaiting scrapping. © Richard Leonhardt.

View the Kingfish (234)
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

USS Kingfish SS 234

Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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