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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch courtesy of BMCS Don McGrogan, USN (ret.)

Harder (SS-257)

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Lima - Alpha

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Presidential Unit Citation
Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 1 December 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 19 August 1942; Commissioned USS Harder (SS-257), 2 December 1942; Sunk on 6th patrol by depth charging in Dasol Bay, west coast of Luzon Island, PI, 24 August 1944, all hands lost; Struck from the Naval Register, (date unknown). Harder was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and received 6 battle stars 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 Hoover, Owens, Rentschler Co. main generator diesel engines, 5,400HP, Fuel Capacity, 97,140 gal., four Allis Chalmers Manufacturing Co. main motors, 2,740HP, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin screws.
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Harder 18k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the keel laying of the Harder (SS-257), 1 December 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
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NR If a sponsor of a ship can have an impact on the boat, then certainly the sponsor's father (Vice Admiral John F. Shafroth Jr.) can leave a bigger impact (he also weighed 280 pounds). The Harder (SS-257) was sponsored by Miss Helen M. Shafroth, daughter (no photo) wikipedia.org. ....Shafroth was appointed Commander of Task Unit 34.8.1 of the Third Fleet under Admiral William F. Halsey on 14 July 1945 and his command consisted the battleships South Dakota (BB-57), Indiana (BB-58) and Massachusetts (BB-59) as well as the heavy cruisers Quincy (CA-71) and Chicago (CA-136) and nine destroyers. He was tasked to attack the ironworks at Kamaishi in northern Honshu. At the time the city had a population of 40,000 and the ironworks was among the largest in Japan. However, due to shortages of coking coal and other raw materials, the ironworks was running at less than half its capacity. It was the first naval bombardment of mainland Japan during the World War II. Photo courtesy of life.com
Harder 420k Workmen on the deck of the Harder (SS-257) while on the ways on her launching day at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 19 August 1942. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Harder 798k The Harder (SS-257) slides down the ways at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 19 August 1942. Courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Harder 139k The aircraft transport Sagara Maru at Seletar, Singapore, 26 June 1942. Sagara Maru is wearing a camouflage scheme of a radiating angular design same on both sides. Colour scheme is made up of Dark grey, light grey and dark blue (blue tone painted aft). Beached 22 June 1943, Omaezaki, Honshu (34 degrees 52' N, 138 degrees 20' E) after torpedo attack by the submarine Harder (SS-257). Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum. Photo # MH5825 via Robert Hurst.
Harder 163k Aft plan view of the Harder (SS-257) at Mare Island on 7 February 1944. Harder was in overhaul at the shipyard from 12 December 1943 until 19 February 1944. The stern of Prince William (CVE-31) is to the right. USN photo # 919-44 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Harder 152k Plan view forward of the Harder (SS-257) at Mare Island, CA. 7 February 1944 following a refit and overhaul. USN photo # 921-44 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Harder 74k Harder (SS-257) at Mare Island, CA. 19 February 1944 following a refit and overhaul. USN photo # 1147-44 courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Harder 95k Stern view of the Harder (SS-257) at Mare Island, CA. 19 February 1944 following a refit and overhaul. USN photo # 1145-44 courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Harder 117k Bow view of the Harder (SS-257) at Mare Island, CA. 19 February 1944 following a refit and overhaul. USN photo # 1149-44 courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Harder 103k Broadside view of the Harder (SS-257) at Mare Island, CA. 19 February 1944 following a refit and overhaul. USN photo # 1146-44 courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Harder 302k The Harder (SS-257) is seen here in this 19 February 1944 photo taken at Mare Island during refit. The newly installed gun access hatch and door is seen on the forward part of the bridge. Also, a 5"/51 cal gun has been installed with an extension added to the deck. The pressure proof locker is for ready service ammunitation. Added to the front of the number 1 scope is a reinforcing guard to protect the scope housing during crash drives. The "SJ" metal radar mast has been moved to behind the scopes. Text courtesy of The Floating Drydock, "Fleet Subs of WW II" by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
USN photo # MI-920-44 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Harder 326k Some of the crew of Harder (SS-257) on deck with ship's pennant. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Harder 104k Harder (SS-257) on deck with ship's pennant. E.J.Levin at left, served as Comm Officer for 4 patrols. Courtesy of John Levin.
Harder 47k E.J.Levin at right with the Harder's (SS-257) pennant, 1944. Courtesy of John Levin.
Harder 56k Com. Dealey, skipper of the Harder (SS-257), on right on deck with the ship's pennant, February 1944. Courtesy of John Levin.
Harder 402k Ten photo PDF of Harder (SS-257) crew photos and events during her career. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Harder 470k Harder (SS-257) at Mare Island on 19 February 1944. USN photo # MI-1148-44, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Harder 37k Harder (SS-257) moving dangerously close to shore, as she teams up with a SOC scout-observation seaplane to rescue Ensign John Gavlin in the face of Japanese gunfire from the trees. Photo from Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1947-1995, and submitted courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Harder 1.14k Harder (SS-257) rescuing aviator Ensign John Gavlinoff Woleai, Caroline Islands on 1 April 1944. Note the SOC Seagull cruiser float-plane taxing just off the ship's bow. Source: US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, Photo No.2007.084.001.171. courtesy of Mike Green.
Harder 76k Oil on canvas by the artist Tom Freeman entitled "The Harder (SS-257) Rescues Ensign John Gavlin". Date is 1 April 1944. Courtesy of usni.org
Harder 96k The Akatsuki class destroyer HIJMS Ikazuchi underway in Chinese waters, circa 1938. Ikazuchi was torpedoed on 14 April 1944, by the submarine Harder (SS-257), 200 m SSE of Guam (10 degrees 13' North, 143 degrees 51' East). USNHC photograph # NH 74173 via Robert Hurst.
Harder 85k Pictured on board Harder (SS-257) are 6 members of an Australian commando unit rescued by Harder from the occupied coast of Borneo during her fifth war patrol. The two others in the group were aboard Harder to assist with the rescue.
They were all aboard Harder during the famous sinking of 2 destroyers with one spread of torpedoes and one of Commander Dealey's "Down the Throat" shots. The commando unit had been inserted 9 months earlier by Kingfish (SS-234).
They are identified from top row left to right:
Sgt L L Cottee, australiansatwarfilmarchive, Sgt F Olsen, Sgt S Dodds & Sgt S Neil
Bottom row left to right: Major W Jinkins, W/O A Chew, Major G Chester, Lieut L Woods.
While these men were aboard the Harder when she received her Presidential Unit Citation, they were not included for consideration for inclusion of the above personnel in the PUC awarded to the Harder.
Photo courtesy of John Levin.
Text courtesy of Milton Cottee.
Tinosa
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9.25k Tinosa (SS-283) goes Borneo. 5 photo PDF insertion of Australian coast watchers on 5th patrol.
Toward the end of the patrol reports are the separate filings for special missions, which include a covert operation during patrol 5 where the Tinosa dropped a team of Aussies on the NE coast of Borneo. The FM sonar special mission reports are also there.
Turns out the Aussies were more than coastwatchers; they were troublemakers as well, and the second team (Python 1 preceded them) put in during the early stages of building resistance to the Japs on Borneo.
Those report pages are attached; it revealed the name of the Aussie team: Python Two The same covert operation is described in the book Encounter, with additional information, pages 47-50, also attached. The Python 2 operation was part of an effort by the joint allied Z Special Unit, a covert group mostly Aussies, part of a larger effort summarized here: awm.gov.au
There is a public domain photo featuring several of the team dropped by Tinosa, probably taken on the Harder after they were evacuated in June 1944; also attached (I added their names).
Bill Jinkins and Gort Chester are both mentioned by name in the report and/or in Encounter.
The official full caption for their photo is:
Informal group portrait of Operation Python survivors aboard Harder. Identified, left to right, back row: Lindsay Cottee; Frederick Gordon (Fred) Olson; Stan Dodds; Stan Neil. Front row: Bill Jinkins; Alexander (Alec) Chew; Lieutenant Colonel Francis George Leach 'Gort' Chester DSO, OBE; Lloyd Woods. Operation Python was carried out by members of the Special Operations Executive the Allied commando unit Z Special Unit, during World War II. The objective of the mission was to set up a wireless station near Labuan Point, North Borneo, and undertake covert operations reporting on the sea lane of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Sibutu Passage and the Balabac Strait of the Sulu Sea. The operation was split into Python I and Python II. Operation Python I was led by Major F Gort L Chester, the Z Special Unit operatives landed along Labuan Point in early October 1943. They also supported and provided equipment and stores for Filipino guerrillas under the command of an American officer, Captain J A Hamner. In January 1944, Bill Jinkins led Z Special Unit operatives on Operation Python II, with the objective of organising the local population for guerrilla warfare.
It is from this web page: awm.gov.au
Chester is written up here: awm.gov.au
And here’s a link to a really great and detailed interview with Leonard Cottee, a team member and also in the picture, describing their activities in detail, including the drop of the Python 2 team and the bad outcomes to follow:
australiansatwarfilmarchive, Unfortunately, 2 of the 6 men dropped by Tinosa were captured and executed by the Japs.
Photo & text courtesy of the family of Charles H Wagner Jr., TM2c (SS) USNR. Service from 1942-1946, aged 18-22, aboard S-37 (SS-142) & Tinosa (patrols 3-12).
Harder 127k Harder (SS-257) downs the destroyers! She is shown surfacing after sinking two Jap DD's with one torpedo spread. This action in Sibutu Passage (night of 9 June 1944) caused Admiral Toyoda to move the Japanese fleet precipitately from Tawi Tawi. Harder's skipper was "the submariner's submariner." Drawing by Lt. Cmdr. Fred Freemen, courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Coastal Defense Vessel No. 8 161k Coastal Defenses Vessel No. 2, (indicative of the class of Coastal Defenses Vessel) No. 22, which may have sunk the Harder (SS-257), according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org.
Harder 327k Google Earth satellite photo of the general area in which site and surrounding area of Dasol Bay (Davol Bay, west coast of Luzon Island), Harder's (SS-257) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Harder and her crew.View courtesy of Google Earth.
Harder 66k View of Dasol Bay (Davol Bay, west coast of Luzon Island) at sunset, where the Harder (SS-257) was lost. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org.
Harder 77k Commander Samuel D. Dealey, USN, who was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" while in command of Harder (SS-257) during her Fifth War Patrol, June 1944, when she sank three enemy destroyers and was credited with heavily damaged or sinking two others. For her performance during six successful war patrols, Harder was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and earned the nickname "Hit 'Em Again, Harder."
On 24 August 1944, during their Sixth War Patrol, Harder, with Dealey and his entire crew, was lost to enemy action in Dasol Bay, Philippines.
Photo # NH 50510 courtesy of USNHC via Bill Gonyo.
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NR SUBMARINE: By Comdr. Edward L. Beach, USN
Skipper of Harder (SS-257) Won Congressional Medal, Then Sacrificed His Ship to Save Another.

FIGHTING SUBMARINE—The Harder, a fighter among fighters whose exploits became legendary in the Navy. On her fifth war patrol, the Harder sank five Japanese destroyers in four days.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo & text by Evening Star.[volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, 19 November 1952, Image 4, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
Harder 137k Harder (SS-257) Hymn, 10 page PDF. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Harder 44k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Harder (SS-257)Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Fremantle 365k This plaque was unveiled 20 March 1995 by His Excellency Major General P.M. Jeffery OA MC, Governor of Western Australia to commemorate the sacrifices made by Allied submarines that operated out of Fremantle, Western Australia during WW II. Photo courtesy of Ron Reeves (of blessed memory).
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, 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.
Harder 173k Harder (SS-257) at Woleai. She is closing the beach to pick up Ensign John Gavlin in one of the war's more daring rescues. On lifeguard duty, U.S. submarines saved 504 aviators from capture by the enemy or death in the open sea.

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 Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.

View the Harder (SS-257)
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

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