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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


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Seahorse (SS-304) (AGSS-304)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Hotel - Delta

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 1 July 1942, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Launched, 9 January 1943; Commissioned USS Seahorse (SS-304), 31 March 1943; Decommissioned 2 March 1946, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet; Re-designated Auxiliary Research Submarine (AGSS-304), 6 November 1962;
The ship lost her name on 4 August 1966 (Bauer) in favor of SSN-669 Seahorse ordered on 9 March 1965. Struck from the Naval Register, 1 March 1967; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 14 December 1968, to Zidell Explorations Inc., Portland, OR. for $ 57.461.00. Seahorse earned nine battle starts 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' 10"; Beam 27' 4"; Draft 15' 2"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth Limit, 400 ft; Complement 6 Officers 60 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 5"/25 deck gun, one 40mm gun, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks-Morse main generator diesel engines, 5,400hp, Fuel Capacity 94,000 gal., four Elliot Motor Co., main motors with 2,740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Seahorse 134k Mrs. Chester C. Smith sponsor of the Seahorse (SS-304), christens the submarine at Mare Island on 9 January 1943. RADM W. L. Friedell, Shipyard Commandant, is to her right. U.S. Navy photo # 27-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 387k Members of the lunching party for the Seahorse (SS-304) following her launching at Mare Island on 9 January 1943. Left to right: CDR Donald McGregor (Commanding Officer of Seahorse), Mrs. Chester C. Smith (Sponsor), and LT Slade Cutter (Executive Officer of Seahorse). U.S. Navy photo # 277-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 231k News clipping from the 12 January 1943 edition of the Vallejo-Times Herald showing the launching of the Seahorse (SS-304) at Mare Island on 9 January 1943. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tullibee 183k View of the commissioning ceremonies aboard the Tullibee (SS-284) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 15 February 1943. The submarines aft of Tullibee on the right are; Seahorse (SS-304) and on the left, Spearfish (SS-190). U.S. Navy photo # 1170-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. Photo I.D. courtesy of David Johnston, USNR.
Skate 132k The National Ensign is raised aboard the Skate (SS-305) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 15 April 1943. The Seahorse (SS-304) is the submarine to the left and Sargo (SS-188) is the submarine between the barges forward of Skate. U.S. Navy photo # 2651-4-43,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 77k Bow shot of Seahorse (SS-304) on sea trials off Mare Island Navy Yard on 16 June 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 4451-43,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 102k Stern of the Seahorse (SS-304) off Mare Island on 16 June 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 4452-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 361k Portside view of the Seahorse (SS-304) on sea trials off Mare Island Navy Yard on 16 June 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 4450-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 67k Stern view of Seahorse (SS-304) on 12 January 1945 after her overhaul at Mare Island. U.S. Navy photo # 357-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 85k View of Seahorse (SS-304) on 12 January 1945 after her overhaul at Mare Island. U.S. Navy photo # 356-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 168k Bow on view of Seahorse (SS-304) off Mare Island on 12 January 1945. U.S. Navy photo # 352-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 184k Broadside view of Seahorse (SS-304) off Mare Island on 12 January 1945. She was in overhaul at the yard from 11 November 1944 until 17 January 1945.
U.S. Navy photo # 354-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 80k Seahorse (SS-304), underway, starboard view, post 1945 in the Pacific. US Navy photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Seahorse 98k Captain Slade D. Cutter graduated from the Naval Academy 1935, he had been an all American Football star, and was on the boxing team. Served in the battleship Idaho (BB-42), and was a wartime crew member of the submarine Pompano (SS-181). He took command of the submarine Seahorse (SS-304), making three patrols in her. The first two out of his base at Pearl Harbor, the third ex Brisbane Australia.
Patrol 1. January 1944 for 41 days to the Palau area. Results, 5 ships sunk. Patrol 2. March 1944 for 56 days towards the Brisbane area. Results, 5 ships sunk. Patrol 3. June 1944 for 47 days towards the Pearl Harbor area. Results, 4 ships sunk. Slade was credited with sinking 21 ships to total 142,300 tons. Janac results: Cutter's credited wartime results were scaled down to 19 ships to total 72,000 tons. For his achievements, Slade Cutter was awarded the Navy Cross four times, two Silver Stars, and a Bronze Star.
USN photo # 80-G-K-13287 courtesy of Bill Gonyo via USNHC.
Seahorse 114k News clipping from the 7 March 1946 edition of the Vallejo Times Herald covering the decommissioning of the Seahorse (SS-304). The ship's commanding officer LT Paul R. Hodgson, USN is seen presenting her battle flag to LT J. J. Love, USN at Mare Island. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Seahorse 62k WW II Battle-flag of the Seahorse (SS-304). U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org
Unknown Photos 1.18k The table below lists the location of submarines at Mare Island on 20 September 1945. This information was pulled from microfiche copies of the hand written shipyard journals. Iím surprised that both the clipping and my table show 21 subs at the yard on the date in question. The photo is looking north and berth 3 is at the top of the photo and then the berths run down or south.
Berth 3 - Springer (SS-414) & Spadefish (SS-411)
Berth 4 - Guavina (SS-362) & Barbero (SS-317)
Berth 5 - Hammerhead (SS-364), Tinosa (SS-283), Mapiro (SS-376) & Moray (SS-300)
Berth 6 - Bream (SS-243), Seahorse (SS-304), Batfish (SS-310) & Aspro (SS-309)
Berth 7 - Pomfret (SS-391), Parche (SS-384) & Sunfish (SS-281)
Berth 8 - Queenfish (SS-393)
Berth 9 - Lionfish (SS-298) & Plaice (SS-390)
Dry Dock 1 - Bashaw (SS-241) & Mingo (SS-261)
Berth 12 - Guitarro (SS-363).
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo added 05/18/14.
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.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet 900k Inactivated submarines at Mare Island on 3 January 1946.
Front row left to right: Sand Lance (SS-381), next two could be Sealion (SS-315) and Seahorse (SS-304), Searaven (SS-196), Pampanito (SS-383), Gurnard (SS-254), Mingo (SS-261), Guitarro (SS-363), Bashaw (SS-241).
Back row left to right: Unknown, Tunny (SS-282), next three could be Sargo (SS-188), Spearfish (SS-190), and Saury (SS-189), Macabi (SS-375), Sunfish (SS-281), Guavina (SS-362), Lionfish (SS-298),Piranha (SS-389).
The Scabbardfish (SS-397) is docked in ARD-11 on the other side of the causeway.

The mixture of boats from the Salmon/Sargo, Gato, and Balao classes illustrate the clear differences in the conning tower fairwaters and the periscope shears that can be used to identify boats. The high bridges with the uncovered support frames (the "covered wagon" look) of the Gato's and Salmon/Sargo's contrast with the low and sleek look of the Balao's. The fatter, more robust periscope shears of the Balao's are markedly different from the thinner shears with more supporting structure of the Gato's and Salmon/Sargo's.
The differences in the pattern of the superstructure limber holes can also be used for identification purposes. The single row of large semi-circular holes indentify Electric Boat or Manitowoc boats. A dual row of smaller rectangular holes mark the government built boats. Also note that the EB/Manitowoc boats have the deck mounted, T-shaped JP sonar head on the starboard side of the forward deck, while the government boats have it on the port side.
EB/Manitowoc boats had the anchor on the starboard side, the government boats on the port side. A close look will show that some of the boats have had the anchor removed and the hawsepipe plated over as part of the mothball process.
Most of the boats have the late war radar outfit of the SJ surface search (small dish) and SV air search (large dish). The Balao's and some of the Gato's have the SS dish mounted on a separate large mast aft of the periscopes. The older Salmon/Sargo's and Gato's have a much smaller mast. Searaven appears to have had her radars already removed.
Searaven is actually sporting a late war SJ surface search antennae mounted to starboard of the periscopes. This is a rare installation. Most often it was mounted forward (early war) or aft (late war) of the 'scopes shears. Her air search set is a late war SD antennae mounted on a stub mast directly aft of the 'scopes. Searaven never received the much more capable SV air search set. Having been assigned to training duties after November, 1944 it was probably felt that the SV set was not necessary.
One strange thing: almost all of the boats appear to have the outer doors of the forward torpedo tubes open. Even though the boats have an interlock system that prevents the breech and outer doors from being opened at the same time, this is an unusual thing to do and a potential source of catastrophic flooding.
U.S. Navy photo # 17-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Text courtesy of David Johnston, USNR.
Who Am I?289kInactivated submarines at Mare Island in early 1946.
Front row left to right: Sand Lance (SS-381), next two could be Sealion (SS-315) and Seahorse (SS-304), Searaven (SS-196), Pampanito (SS-383), Gurnard (SS-254), Mingo (SS-261), Guitarro (SS-363), Bashaw (SS-241).
Back row left to right: Unknown, Tunny (SS-282), next three could be Sargo (SS-188), Spearfish (SS-190), and Saury (SS-189), Macabi (SS-375), Sunfish (SS-281), Guavina (SS-362), Lionfish (SS-298),Piranha (SS-389).
The Scabbardfish (SS-397) is docked in ARD-11 on the other side of the causeway.
Tiru (SS-416) is on the ways in upper left hand side of photo. Two ferry boats (to the right of Tiru's ways) are YHB-2 / [ex-Post of Stockton] and YHB-21 / [ex-Tamalpais].
Photo i.d. courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet 173k Submarines aft of unidentified submarine in foreground at Mare Island Reserve Fleet on 28 September 1950 are:
Left to right: Dragonet (SS-293), Menhaden (SS-377), Mapiro (SS-376), Seahorse (SS-304), Sand Lance (SS-381), Batfish (SS-310), Capitaine (SS-336), Pipefish (SS-388) and Manta (SS-299).
U.S. Navy photo # 6988-9-50, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

View the Seahorse (SS-304)
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 Seahorse SS-304 SSN-669
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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