Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster.
Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.


NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch on right courtesy of Chris Cunha EMCM(SS) / CWO-3, USN Ret
Other patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

Sealion (SS-315) (SSP-315) (ASSP-315) (APSS-315) (LPSS-315)

Radio Call Sign: November - Zulu - India - Mike

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons


Presidential Unit Citation

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 25 February 1943, at Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT.; Launched, 31 October 1943; Commissioned USS Sealion (SS-315), 8 March 1944; Decommissioned, 2 February 1946, San Francisco, CA.; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet; Converted to a Submarine Transport, at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, CA.; Recommissioned USS Sealion (SSP-315), 2 November 1948; Re-designated Transport Submarine (ASSP-315), 31 January 1950; Re-designated Submarine Transport (APSS-315), 24 October 1956; Decommissioned, 30 June 1960, at Portsmouth, NH; Recommissioned, 20 October 1961, at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA.; Reclassified Amphibious Transport Submarine, (LPSS-315) in January 1969; Decommissioned 20 February 1970, at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA.; Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet; Struck from the Naval Register, 15 March 1977; Final Disposition, sunk as a target off Newport, R.I., 8 July 1978. Sealion earned the Presidential Unit Citation and received five battle stars for her World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,242 t.; Length 311' 9"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 15' 3"; 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, 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, one 20mm gun, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four main generator engines, General Motors diesel engines, HP 5400, Fuel Capacity 118,000, four General Electric motors, HP 2,740, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
Click On Image
For Full Size Image
SizeImage DescriptionSource
Sealion731kLaunching of the Sealion (SS-315), at Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT., 31 October 1943. Courtesy of usssubvetsofwwii.org
Sealion16kCommemorative postal cover on the occasion of the commissioning of the Sealion (SS-315), 8 March 1944. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Sealion664k Saved! British and Australian survivors of Japanese prison ship Rakuyo Maru, torpedoed by Sealion (SS-315). Rescue was by Sealion, Growler (SS-215), Queenfish (SS-393), & Barb (SS-220).Text courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Photo from NARA FILE #: 080-G-281718, Photo # HD-SN-99-02609, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil, Defense Visual Information Center.
PDF courtesy of Steve Burton.
Sealion27k British survivor of Japanese prison ship Rakuyo Maru, torpedoed by Sealion (SS-315), is landed by submariners at Saipan. Brutalized P.O.W.'s cheered sinking.Photo courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Sealion39k Survivors of Japanese prison ship Rakuyo Maru, torpedoed by Sealion (SS-315), are treated for shock and exhaustion aboard one of the subs. Men were emaciated from overwork and starvation diet while in captivity. Four subs picked up 159-seven died en route home.Courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Sealion119kIJN battleship Kongo sunk by Sea Lion (SS-315) on 21 November 1944 trying to return to Japan after the battle of Philippine Sea. Hit by two torpedoes; of over 1200 crew only a little over 200 survived.Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Sealion 180k An undated photo of the supply ship HIJMS Mamiya at anchor. Mamiya was torpedoed and sunk on 20 December 1944 250 nm E of Hainan (17 degrees 48' N, 114 degrees 09' E) by Sealion (SS-315). Photo courtesy of Japanese Naval Vessels of World War Two as seen by U.S. Naval Intelligence". Text taken from two sources: "Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945" by Jentschura, Jung and Mickel, translated by Antony Preston and J.D. Brown, and "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" by Roger W. Jordan, courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Sealion85kBy the end of WW II, conning towers were badly crowded. This drawing shows that of the Sealion (SS-315) in 1945. The two large open circles on the right are the hatches, up from the pressure hull (above) and up to the open bridge (below). Wartime additions included the third mast (for SD) passing through the conning tower to the left, and the radar scopes to the right of the torpedo data computer. The shaded circles indicate the location of the crew in the conning tower.Drawing & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Sealion50kSealion (SS-315), starboard view underway, circa 1944-45. Courtesy of usssubvetsofwwii.org
Sealion154kProbable late war photo of the Sealion (SS-315) with Japanese ship kill flags flying from her mast. Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
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 Gatos 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 Gatos 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 identify 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 Gatos have the SS dish mounted on a separate large mast aft of the periscopes. The older Salmon/Sargo's and Gatos 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.
Sealion80kNews clipping of Sealion's (SS-315) decommissioning at Mare Island in 1946.Photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Sealion1.00kTwo views of Sealion (ASSP-315), pictured above in broadside and starboard quarter view here 28 April 1953, somewhere off of Norfolk, VA.Photo # USN 483556 scanned by Ryan Crierie, via flickr, courtesy of Stephen Gower. Insert view courtesy of John Hummel.
Sealion121k Sealion (SS-315) shipboard life in 1953.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Sirago 837k Marines on Sealion (APSS-315) - 16 June 1955. Photo # 80-G-442238 scanned by Ryan Crierie, via flickr, courtesy of Stephen Gower.
Sealion1.40k Sealion (SS-315) starts to submerge to offload 3 rubber boat loads of marines for a recon mission.
Photo # 80-G-669974 scanned by Ryan Crierie, via flickr, courtesy of Stephen Gower.
Sealion36k Submerged Sealion (SS-315) leaves combat equipped marines floating in rubber boats on surface. USN photo courtesy of Stan Svec via April 1956 edition of All Hands Magazine
Sealion103k Submerged Sealion (SS-315) during exercises with Marine scouts of the 2nd Marine Division circa May 1956. Note the HRS/H-19 helicopter resting on the after deck; 5-inch/25 and 40mm guns are still carried. Shortly after this photo was taken the boat was reclassified APSS-315. USN photo and text from The American Submarine by Norman Polmar, courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Sealion77kSealion (APSS-315) off Little Creek, VA on 4 May 1956, with an H-19 helicopter on deck.US Navy photo courtesy of Haze Gray and Underway.
Sirago 515k Loading equipment in forward hatch of the Sealion (APSS-315) during the Fall, 1956. The Sirago (SS-485) is inboard. Photo courtesy of Roxanne M. Merritt, Director, JFK Special Warfare Museum.
Photo added 08/31/13.
Sealion68kSealion (APSS-315), underway, starboard side view, circa mid-late 50's.
Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Cutlass 254k British subs visits Norfolk circa middle 1950's plus. Submarines lined up on the pier from outboard to inboard are: Cutlass (SS-478) and Sea Leopard (SS-483) with step sails. Followed by the Sealion (SS-315) & several SSR's which might be the Tigrone (SSR-419) and Burrfish (SSR-312). Both boats are in the Migraine I SSR version. If the last SSR is indeed the Burrfish, then this picture would have been taken sometime in the late spring of 1956.
The USN sailors are in dress whites (indicating the springtime changeover to whites), and the Burrfish departed Norfolk for the last time on 5 June 56, headed for New London and decommissioning. The tender is Sierra (AD-18), which was always located at the next pier down from the sub pier.
Photo courtesy of John Hummel. Photo i.d. & text courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
Sealion115k Broadside & quarter view of the Sealion (APSS-315) bow & stern in 1/192 scale, solid cast resin, (circa 1960-1965).Model & photo courtesy of Mel Douyette & coldwarsubmarines.com
Sealion95kBow view of the Sealion (SS-315) at New London Ct. sometime before 1964.Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Sealion197kOn 3 December 1962 Sealion (APSS-315) returned to Norfolk and from then into 1967 she maintained her schedule of exercises with Marine Reconnaissance, UDT, and SEAL personnel. She is pictured here in October 1964. USN photo # NPC 1106522 courtesy of usssubvetsofwwii.org.
Sirago 128k Sirago (SS-485), Sealion (APSS-315) and Orion (AS-18) in rear at D&S piers Norfolk 1964-66. Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Redfin & Sealion393kRedfin (SS-272) & Sealion (APSS-315) in Saint Thomas, V.I. in 1966.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Photo added 08/31/13.
Sealion437kSealion (SS-315) coming into San Juan harbor during operation Springboard 66.Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Sealion54k Bow view of the Sealion (APSS-315), taken in floating drydock at sub base New London CT. in July 1978 before she was to be sunk as a target.
Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Sealion48k Stern view of the Sealion (APSS-315), taken in floating drydock at sub base New London CT. in July 1978 before she was to be sunk as a target.
Photo courtesy of John Hummel.

View the Sealion (SS/SSP/ASSP/APSS/LPSS-315)
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 Sealion SS/SSP/ASSP/APSS/LPSS-315
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

Back To The Main Photo IndexBack To the Submarine Index
Problems and site related matters, E-mail Webmaster
This page is created by Gary Priolo, and maintained by Michael Mohl
1996 - 2014, NavSource History All rights reserved.