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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch contributed by Mike Smolinski

Skate (SS-305)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - India - Whiskey

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 1 August 1942, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Launched, 4 March 1943; Commissioned USS Skate (SS-305), 15 April 1943; Decommissioned 11 December 1946, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Struck from the Naval Register, 21 October 1948; Final Disposition, sunk as a target, 5 October 1948, off San Clemente Island, CA. Skate earned eight battle starts for World War II service.

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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Skate 637k Progress photo, Skate (SS-305), stern view, at Mare Island on 8 January 1943. Seahorse (SS-304) is being built alongside.
These subs are being constructed on ways 2. Seahorse is located on ways 2 north and Skateon ways 2 south. To the far right is ways 1 were the tender Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16) is under construction.
Text courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
USN photo # BS 49900 via NARA College Park, courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Photo added 04/26/17.
Skate 111k Mrs. George P. Shamer, sponsor of the Skate (SS-305), is seen prior to the submarine's launching at Mare Island on 4 March 1943. USN photo #1567-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 91k The official christening party of the Skate (SS-305). RADM Friedell presents Mrs. Shamer the case containing the christening gage. Left to right: Mr. Chester F. Gannon (State Assembly Member from Sacramento) RADM W. L. Friedell (Shipyard Commandant), Mrs. T. B. Oakley (Matron of Honor), Mrs. George P. Shamer (Ships Sponsor), Mrs. Warren C. Hall, Jr. (Matron of Honor), and CAPT George P. Shamer (Shipyard Supply Officer. USN photo #1568-3-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 70k Mrs. George P. Shamer (Ships Sponsor) christens the Skate (SS-305) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 3 March 1943. Others in the party are from left to right: Matrons of Honor Mrs. Warren C. Hall, Jr. and Mrs. T. B. Oakley, RADM W. L. Friedell (Shipyard Commandant), Mrs. Shamer and CAPT George P. Shamer (Shipyard Supply Officer). USN photo #1558-3-43,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 2.00k The SS-305 Skate's down the launching ways at Mare Island on 4 March 1943. USN photo # 1550-3-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 87k The Skate (SS-305) is seen at the end of the building ways during her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 4 March 1943. USN photo #1548-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 147k The Skate (SS-305) is being assisted to her outfitting berth after her launching at Mare Island on 4 March 1943. USN photo #1549-43,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 268k Broadside view of the Skate (SS-305) shortly after her launching at Mare Island Navy Yard on 4 March 1943. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 55k The officers of the newly commissioned Skate (SS-305) pictured on the submarine's forward deck on 15 April 1943. Left to right: ENS Willis E. Maxson III, LT Quentin R. Thomson, LT Marion F.Ramirez de Arellano (Executive Officer), LCDR Eugene D. McKinney (Commanding Officer), LT William A. Overton, and ENS Frank Kay. Officers were identified by LCDR William P. Gruner, USN who was skipper of Skate on her 3rd, 4th and 5th war patrols. USN photo #2655-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
188, 304 & 305 132k The National Ensign 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. USN photo 2651-4-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 257k Skate (SS-305) commision cachet. Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Skate 271k Progress photo, Skate (SS-305), stern view, at Mare Island on 6 July 1943. The YF-200 is alongside. USN photo # BS 49901 via NARA College Park, courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Photo added 04/26/17.
Skate 69k Bow view of the Skate (SS-305) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 28 July 1943. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Skate 96k Stern view of the Skate (SS-305) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 28 July 1943. USN photo MI-5477-43 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Skate 424k Skate (SS-305) off Mare Island of 28 July 1943. USN photo # 5478-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 1.80k Skate (SS-305) off Mare Island on 28 July 1943. USN photo # 5490-7-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 356k Port side view of the Skate (SS-305) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 29 July 1943. USN photo MI-5476-43 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Skate 149k Broadside view of the Skate (SS-305) at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 28 July 1943. USN photo MI-5479-43 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Skate 97k Looking at the starboard side of the Skate (SS-305) during completion at Mare Island in July 1943. Her bow planes are rigged in the down position and the Flooding / drain holes and ladder cutouts are seen in the superstructure. This is hidden when the planes are in the up position. Mare Island, being a government shipyard used the Portsmouth plan for building. Note the arrangement of the holes and the anchor is on the port side. Mare Island photo # 4930-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Text courtesy of The Floating Drydock, "Fleet Subs of WW II" by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
Skate 180k The Skate (SS-305) during building at Mare Island in July 1943. During in-port periods, the boats were equipped with propeller guards. But, these were removable and were taken off before going on war patrol. The small holes in the after portion of the superstructure and stern are air vents. Mare Island photo # 4929-43 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Text courtesy of The Floating Drydock,"Fleet Subs of WW II" by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
Agano 95k 160 miles N of Truk at 1644 on 16 February 1944...Skate (SS-305) commanded by LtCdr William P. Gruner, on his first war patrol as skipper, fires four Mark-14 torpedoes at the Japanese light cruiser Agano. Two hit her starboard side and set her afire & in a shroud of smoke as the submarine submerged to evade heavy depth charging from the enemy escorts. She later returned to the scene of the attack, but before another torpedo could be launched, the cruiser rolled to port and sank. Photo by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships" courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
Partial text courtesy of DANFS & combinedfleet.com.
PDF history of Skate's WWII patrols written by CDR William P. Gruner. He was Commanding Officer on her 3rd, 4th and 5th war patrols. Mare Island received the paper in February 1991.
Skate 403k On 5 July 1944, after departing Otaru, Hokkaido with another convoy for Uruppu, Usugumo was torpedoed by Skate (SS-305) in the Sea of Okhotsk, 330 nautical miles (610 km) west-southwest of Paramushiro at position. Two torpedoes broke her back; she sank in six minutes, leaving no survivors.
Picture of Usugumo in August 1928.
Photo & text courtesy of wikipedia via Tommy Trampp.
Skate 342k Bottom portion of the Skate's (SS-305) main armament with it's operator at Guam. Photo courtesy of Jim Savo, Skate Plankowner, who also served on the Flying Fish (SS-229) during WW II, submitted by Greg Krenzelok.
Skate 329k Skate (SS-305) fully dressed for the Pacific war, 1944. Photo courtesy of Jim Savo, Skate Plankowner, who also served on the Flying Fish (SS-229) during WW II, submitted by Greg Krenzelok.
Skate 217k Battleflag of the Skate (SS-305) at Guam. Photo courtesy of Jim Savo, Skate Plankowner, who also served on the Flying Fish (SS-229) during WW II, submitted by Greg Krenzelok.
Spadefish 390k Hellcats get together one by one:
From inboard to outboard: Flying Fish (SS-229) & Spadefish (SS-411), July 1945.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 269k Hellcats get together two plus one:
From inboard to outboard: Flying Fish (SS-229), Spadefish (SS-411) & with Bowfin (SS-287) approaching, July 1945.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 298k Hellcats get together three plus one:
From inboard to outboard: Flying Fish (SS-229), Spadefish (SS-411), Bowfin (SS-287) with Tinosa (SS-283) approaching, July 1945.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 241k Hellcats get together with one to go:
From inboard to outboard: Flying Fish (SS-229), Spadefish (SS-411), Bowfin (SS-287), Tinosa (SS-283) & Skate (SS-305) approaching, July 1945.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 192k All together now:
From inboard to outboard: Flying Fish (SS-229), Spadefish (SS-411), Bowfin (SS-287), Tinosa (SS-283) & Skate (SS-305) July 1945.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Flying Fish 58k Flying Fish (SS-229), Spadefish (SS-411), Tinosa (SS-283), Bowfin (SS-287), and Skate (SS-305) as they appeared from a photo taken at the top of training tower at Sail 9 in 1945. USN photo courtesy of Grant Riddle / submarinebaseph.com from centerfold of Bowfin (SS-287) museum brochure.
Skate 59k The battle-flag of the World War II submarine Skate (SS-305). USN photo 2651-4-43,courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Crews 269k Crew get together;
From inboard to outboard: Flying Fish (SS-229), Spadefish (SS-411), Tinosa (SS-283) and Skate (SS-305), July 1945.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Skate 70k Skate (SS-305) 11 March 1946 at Pearl Harbor. On 21 May, she departed for Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, to be used as a target ship in Operation "Crossroads," the atomic bomb tests. USN photo courtesy of USNI.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
Skate 1.85k Skate (SS-305) with Widgeon (ASR-1) in the background, 2 July 1946 after Bikini Island Test Able.
This picture is all over the web but none identify the salvage vessel. I searched the web for information on the Bikini Island test and found a report titled Report on Atomic Bomb Tests Able and Baker (Operations Crossroads) Volume D by the Commander, Joint Task Force One, this is a 25+MB file.
The report states Widgeon was alongside of Skate on 2 July 1946 after Able test at 0903 and at 0905 reported Skate was unsafe (in danger of sinking). Widgeon beached Skate on the island of Enyu at 1649 the same day.
Widgeon stern is toward the Skate and you can see a McCann rescue chamber on Widgeon's stern. The only other ASR in the salvage fleet was Coucal (ASR-8) and may have carried a McCann rescue chamber. The salvage vessel in the photo has a single kingpost aft similar to Widgeon's configuration while Coucal had a tripod aft mast.
Text courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 86k A 1946 Watercolor by the artist Arthur Beaumont, entitled "Skate, July 5, 1946, Enyu Atoll."
"Submarine Skate (SS-305) looked bad after test Able , with her masts and antennas hopelessly bent and her superstructure buckled and torn. Despite appearances, however, her pressure hull was intact and the boat able to maneuver under her own power. Heavily contaminated by both bombs, she was brought back to California for study and then scuttled in 1948."
Arthur Beaumont #6 Watercolor,88-169-F1946.
Gift of the artist via USNHC.
Skate 219k What the air-burst Bikini bomb didi to the surfaced Skate (SS-305). USN photo courtesy of EMC(SW) Brian Kroenung.
Skate 114k Operation "Crossroads," target ship Skate (SS-305) gets underway on 3 July 1946, two days after the "Able Day" aerial bomb test. LCU-1078 and LCU-1461 are in the distance. Source: United States National Archives, Photo No. 80-G-627489 via Mike Green.
Skate 1.45k Skate (SS-305) about to enter Mare Island on 23 October 1946. Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Skate & Skipjack 59k The Skipjack (SS-184) (inboard) and Skate (SS-305) are seen at the Pacific Reserve Fleet Mare Island in October 1947. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 1.26k Conning tower, periscope shears and other parts of the bow section of the Skate (SS-305) after she appeared at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, to be used as a target ship in Operation "Crossroads," the atomic bomb tests. Although considerably damaged by the first of the tests, the submarine survived and was towed back to Pearl Harbor, where she was moored in an isolated berth. Note the "Keep Clear Danger Very Radioactive" sign posted on the dock. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
Skate 192k A photographer snaps a shot of a part of the bow section of the Skate (SS-305) that better resembles a junk heap than a submarine after she appeared at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands,to be used as a target ship in Operation "Crossroads," the atomic bomb tests. Although considerably damaged by the first of the tests, the submarine survived and was towed back to Pearl Harbor, where she was moored in an isolated berth. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
Skate 893k Skate (SS-305) lies on her starboard side after Operation "Crossroads," the atomic bomb tests. On 11 October, salvage vessel Clamp (ARS-33) took Skate in tow and headed for San Francisco, and then to Mare Island Naval Shipyard where the submarine was inspected and then decommissioned on 11 December. The submarine was destroyed on 5 October 1948, off the California coast, and struck from the Navy list on 21 October 1948. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
Skate 109k The Operation "Crossroads," target ship Skate (SS-305) is seen in dry dock 1 at Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 28 September 1948 under going hull structural tests. She was in dock from 29 July until 1 October 1948. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Skate 931k Skate (SS-305) sinking during the first phase of "Demon II" maneuvers, off the coast of California, 5 October 1948. She had previously been damaged in the Bikini Atomic Bomb tests in July 1946. Source: United States National Archives, Photo No. 80-G-396967 via Mike Green.

View the Skate (SS-305)
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

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