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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch on left submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia SS 245. Patch on right contributed by Mike Smolinski

Puffer (SS-268)

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Charlie - Delta

Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 16 February 1942, at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, Manitowoc, WI.; Launched, 22 November 1942; Commissioned USS Puffer (SS-268), 27 April 1943; Decommissioned, 28 June 1946, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Mare Island Group; Placed in service as a Naval Reserve Training Vessel at the end of 1946, and assigned to the 13th Naval District; Placed out of service, 10 June 1960; Struck from the Naval Register, 1 July 1960; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping for $47,819.00 4 November 1960, to Zidell Corp., Portland, OR. Removed 3 December 1960. Puffer received 9 battle stars for World War II service.
Partial data submitted by Ron Reeves, HTC, USNR (ret.) & Yves Hubert.

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, 5,400HP, Fuel Capacity, 116,000 gal., four General Electric main motors, 2,740HP, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin propellers.
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Puffer & Pompon82k Puffer (SS-268), & Pompon (SS-267) bulkheads 47, 58 & 99. Material hull of the Puffer & stern assembly of the Pompon (SS-267), 6 January 1942.
Editors Note: There are over 200 images submitted on these pages covering the following submarines that were constructed at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, Manitowoc, WI,: SS-265 through SS-274, and SS-361 through SS-380.
None of them would have seen the light of day if it were not for the efforts of former Curator, Asst. Director, Bill Thiesen of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Larry Bohn, Caitlin Clyne, Rolf Johnson & Susan Menk who sent them to NavSource for publication.
A special debt of gratitude is owed to them and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245) for allowing these photographs to be seen by the lovers of naval history worldwide.
Puffer100k The first two sections of the Puffer (SS-268), are being joined together, 8 March, 1942. Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245).
Puffer & Pompon95k Hull sections for the Puffer (SS-268), and bow and conning tower of the Pompon (SS-267), 8 March, 1942. Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245).
Puffer112k Forward end of the Puffer (SS-268), 26 July 1942. There was not room for a building berth between the gantry cranes and the river on this side of the peninsula so the Puffer was built inboard of the gantry's tracks. When completed to the launching point, it had to be laboriously jacked sideways to the river's edge before the launching ways could be constructed. Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245).
Puffer 45kPossibly the Puffer (SS-268) due to its state of construction if the date cited is correct.
"August 1942: On the shores of America's inland waterways, many underwater crafts are being constructed. This submarine is undergoing finishing touches in a small bay at Manitowoc, Wisconsin."
Photo # 8b04306r by Ann Rosener, & text courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
Puffer 25kPossibly the Puffer (SS-268) due to its state of construction if the date cited is correct.
"August 1942: Installation of an engine part in a submarine under construction at Manitowoc, Wisconsin."
Photo # 8b07453r, LC-USE6-D-006235 by Ann Rosener, & text courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
Puffer 31kPossibly the Puffer (SS-268) due to its state of construction if the date cited is correct.
"August 1942: Mounting submarines on scaffolding facilitates assembly. Here a worker rivets parts of the hull together."
Photo # 8b09757r, LC-USE6-D-006237 by Ann Rosener, & text courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
Puffer 31kPossibly the Puffer (SS-268) due to its state of construction if the date cited is correct.
"August 1942: Construction of the hull section of a submarine at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. These sections will be assembled in a small bay, and when completely installed will be sent through the Saint Lawrence Canal to the sea."
Photo # 8b07456r, LC-USE6-D-006241 by Ann Rosener, & text courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
Puffer 43kPossibly the Puffer (SS-268) due to its state of construction if the date cited is correct.
"August 1942: Installation of an engine part in a submarine under construction at Manitowoc, Wisconsin."
Photo # 8b04307r, LC-USE6-D-006234 by Ann Rosener, & text courtesy of memory.loc.gov.
Sponsor249k Submarine Puffer (SS-268), hull #316. Christening day. Sponsor Mrs. Ruth Lyons is swinging the champagne bottle on 22 November 1942. Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Susan Menk, Archives Assistant, Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
This photo, # 2001-1-412, can be ordered (without the watermark) from the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.
Puffer518kPuffer (SS-268), splashes down into the Manitowoc River at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, Manitowoc, WI., during her launching, 22 November 1942.
Puffer illustrates the typical combination of hull and superstructure. The streamlined double hull (with single hull ends) is surmounted by a free-flooding superstructure. The limber holes along its side forward of the bridge allow air inside to escape quickly as the submarine dives. The holes further forward are to flood the bow buoyancy space (vents on top trap air in it). Earlier double-hull submarines had no separate superstructure, only a ship-shaped outer hull.
Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
US Navy photo # NH 68892 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Manitowoc55k Watercolor print by the artist Tom Denton of the side launching of a Manitowoc built boat. Courtesy of Submarine Art
Puffer119kPuffer (SS-268), being hauled in after her launching into the Manitowoc River at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, Manitowoc, WI., 22 November 1942.Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245).
Puffer81kCrew of the Puffer (SS-268),line up at attention immediate after her lauching into the Manitowoc River at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, Manitowoc, WI., 22 November 1942.Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245).
Puffer31kPuffer (SS-268), underway in Lake Michigan during sea trials, 22 November 1942. Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245).
Puffer80kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of the Puffer's (SS-268) launching, 22 November 1942. Photo courtesy of Paul Petosky.
Harry Berns485kPhoto of Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
The photo of the Golet (SS-361) encased in snow appears on the wall above him on the upper right.
His obituary appears here.
Photo courtesy of Susan Menk, Archives Assistant, Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Dee Anna Grimsrud,Reference Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society, Steve Khail, CBC, Director of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, The Manitowoc Company, Inc. & William Young.
Puffer103kPuffer (SS-268), underway in Lake Michigan during sea trials, 22 November 1942.USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Puffer43kPuffer (SS-268), emblem detailing the ship's building and launching history, April 17, 1943.Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245).
Puffer15k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Puffer's (SS-268) commissioning, 27 April 1943.Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Bernard 405k Lawrence George Bernard graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1937. During his Navy career he commanded the R-2 (SS-79) from May 1944 to March 1945. His next command was the Stickleback (SS-415) from 29 March 1945 until 26 June 1946. When the Stickleback was re-commissioned he once again commanded her from 6 September 1951 to 14 November 1952. His last command was the Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16) from 1 August 1957 to 18 July 1958. While executive officer of the S-39 (SS-144) in action against the enemy during three War Patrols he was awarded the Silver Star. As Diving Officer on board the Puffer (SS-268), during the FIRST War Patrol of that Submarine in enemy-controlled waters from 7 September to 17 October 1943 he was awarded the Bronze Star. When his ship was endangered by temporary loss of depth control caused by damage from enemy anti-submarine measures, Lieutenant Commander Bernard skillfully effected restoration of control and maintained it for a period of thirty-one hours until the vessel was brought to the surface and into port. His outstanding efficiency and unwavering devotion to duty throughout the operations on both submarines were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Photo & text courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Photo added 04/25/14.
Puffer191k"Will the next one strike?" Men in Puffer (SS-268), listen to thunder of depth charges as a persistent enemy tags their submarine. Heat, fouling air and prolonged suspense could try the nerve of all hands in a submerged sub under fire. Puffer's ordeal lasted 31 hours. Other subs survived worse ordeals.Drawing by Lt. Cmdr. Fred Freemen, courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Puffer246kPuffer (SS-268) crew from around November 1944. My dad is the second from the right of those men standing (just to the left of the man squatting on the gang plank). Photo courtesy of Craig McDonald via usspuffer.org.
Puffer13kPuffer (SS-268), stern view underway off Mare Island, California, on 10 November 1944.US Navy photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Puffer11kPuffer (SS-268), bow view underway off Mare Island, California, on 10 November 1944.US Navy photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Puffer143k Broadside view of Puffer (SS-268), completing a turn to port, off Mare Island, California, on 10 November 1944.
US Navy photo # 6805-44, courtesy of John Hummel.
Puffer198kBroadside view of Puffer (SS-268) off Mare Island on 10 November 1944. She was in overhaul at the yard from 6 Sep until 21 Noc 1944.US Navy photo # 6806-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Puffer215kPlan view amidships looking forward of Puffer (SS-268) at Mare Island on 20 November 1944. The ship ahead of the Puffer is at a supply pier and not under repair. My best guess is a YO.US Navy photo # 7061-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Puffer253kPlan view amidships looking aft of Puffer (SS-268) at Mare Island on 20 November 1944. US Navy photo # 7062-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Puffer106kPainting by Robert F. Kennedy (not the one you think of)! on the bow of the Puffer (SS-268), taken while berthed in Hawaii around 15 September 1945. The stern was painted like a bee stinger…possibly in gold and yellow. Photo courtesy of Craig McDonald via wikipedia.org. Text courtesy of Craig McDonald.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet137kReserve fleet at Mare Island, circa January 1946. There are 52 submarines and 4 Sub Tenders in this photo. This photo is a Berthing list identifying the ships in the picture. Photo commemorating 50 years, U. S. Submarine Veterans of WW II 1996 calendar, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet453kPhoto of the Reserve fleet at Mare Island, circa January 1946. There are 52 submarines and 4 Sub Tenders in this photo. Whether coincidental or on purpose, the number of boats in the photo is the same as that which were lost in WW II.
From back to front and left to right, first group of 12 boats:
Sandlance (SS-381)
Tunny (SS-282)
Aspro (SS-309)
Lionfish (SS-298)
Guvania (SS-362)
Sunfish (SS-281)
Macabi (SS-375)
Gurnard (SS-254)
Pampanito (SS-383)
Mingo (SS-261)
Guitarro (SS-363)
Bashaw (SS-241)
From back to front and left to right, second group of 12 boats:
Sealion (SS-315)
Hammerhead (SS-364)
Bream (SS-243)
Seahorse (SS-304)
Tinosa (SS-283)
Pintado (SS-387)
Mapiro (SS-376)
Pipefish (SS-388)
Moray (SS-300)
Batfish (SS-310)
Hackleback (SS-295)
Bluegill (SS-242)
From back to front and left to right, third group of 12 boats:
Hawkbill (SS-366)
Menhaden (SS-377)
Perch (SS-313)
Loggerhead (SS-374)
Barbero (SS-317)
Baya (SS-318)
Hardhead (SS-365)
Spadefish (SS-411)
Springer (SS-414)
Devilfish (SS-292)
Kraken (SS-370)
Dragonet (SS-293)
From back to front and left to right, fourth group of 12 boats:
Lamprey (SS-372)
Piranha (SS-389)
Manta (SS-299)
Pargo (SS-264)
Rancador (SS-301)
Archerfish (SS-311)
Mero (SS-378)
Sawfish (SS-276)
Spot (SS-413)
Lizardfish (SS-373)
Jallao (SS-368)
Icefish (SS-367)
From back to front and left to right, last group of 4 boats:
Steelhead (SS-280)
Puffer (SS-268)
Stickleback (SS-415)
Trepang (SS-412)
From back to front, Submarine Tenders group of 4 ships:
Pelias (AS-14)
Aegir (AS-23)
Euryale (AS-22)
Griffin (AS-13)
Photo commemorating 50 years, U. S. Submarine Veterans of WW II 1996 calendar, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Puffer441k Article about the Puffer's (SS-268) inactivation at Mare Island in the shipyard newspaper "The Grapevine", of 12 July 1946. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Puffer120kThe Puffer (SS-268) is decommissioned at Mare Island, 12 July 1946 in a ceremony marking the Navy's first unit to complete it's inactivization program. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Puffer263kPuffer (SS-268), arriving at Seattle for placement in the reserves, 1947. US Navy photo courtesy of usspuffer.org.
Mare Island dry dock #2325kPargo (SS-264), Sawfish (SS-276), Puffer (SS-268), and Steelhead (SS-280) entering Mare Island's dry dock #2 on 31 January 1947.U.S. Navy photo MINSY #368-47, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Mare Island dry dock #1325k Four submarines in Mare Island's dry dock #1 on 14 February 1947. Front row: Sawfish (SS-276) and Pargo (SS-264); back row Puffer (SS-268) and Steelhead (SS-280). U.S. Navy photo # 374-47, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Puffer85k Puffer (SS-268) still has her war record painted on her conning tower in this 1951 photo. While a number of her sisiters were "Guppyized" or converted to Fleet Snorkel boats in the years after the war, she still has her 1945 configuration, a deck armament of single 20mm, single 40mm, and a 5in/25cal gun. USN Archives photo and text courtesy of The Floating Drydock, Fleet Subs of WW II" by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
Puffer90k Text reads: "The Naval Reserve training submarine Puffer (SS-268), is nudged under the Fremont Bridge by the tugs Trojan & Neptune on her final trip. The Puffer was enroute to a shipbreaking yard in Portland where she will be turned into scrap." US Navy photo courtesy of usspuffer.org.

View the Puffer (SS-268)
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
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
Manitowoc Built Submarines

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