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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Patch on left contributed by Mike Smolinski, on right by Ray Young.

Lagarto (SS-371)
Launching - Sinking

Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Juliet - Quebec

To Additional Pages

Discovery - 2005
Verification - 2006
Crew Members
Dive Photos by Dr. Mike Gadd

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 12 January 1944, at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.; Launched, 28 May 1944; Commissioned USS Lagarto (SS-371), 14 October 1944; Sunk on 2nd patrol by Japanese netlayer Hatsutaka on 3 May 1945, in the Gulf of Siam, all hands lost. Struck from the Naval Register, 1 September 1945. Lagarto received one battle star 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; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth, 400 ft; Complement 6 Officers 54 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 5"/25 deck gun, one 40mm, one 20mm, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four General Motors main generator diesel engines, 5,400 hp, Fuel Capacity, 116,000 gals., four General Electric main motors with 2,740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.

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SizeImage DescriptionSource
Lagarto281kInsignia of the Lagarto (SS-371) designed for the submarine by Ray Young, circa 1944.
Photo by Ray Young, courtesy of his son, William Young.
Lagarto68kLagarto's (SS-371) conning tower shadow in the background casts onto the crowd at commissioning day at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI. 14 October 1944.
Note the sub parts in the far background. They are being scrapped out. The building program had been terminated and many parts had already been fabricated for subs that had been canceled.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
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 Curator, Asst. Director, Bill Thiesen of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and Larry Bohn, who sent them to NavSource for publication.
A special debt of gratitude is owed to these two men 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.
Lagarto171kLagarto (SS-371) slides down the ways at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI. 28 May 1944.Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Courtesy of
Lagarto66kFreed from her launching timbers, the Lagarto (SS-371) slides down the ways at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI. 28 May 1944.

"The boat had been built on the building ways, consisting of a set of wooden blocks in a horizontal line and parallel to the face of the sea wall. After the sections were placed on these blocks a cribbing, or supporting structure, was erected to support the sections in place and to prevent movement.

As the date for the launch approached the workers constructed a second set of ways. These launchings ways were at right angels to the sea wall and extended inboard under the boat. They were massive fur timbers, 16" x 24", placed about 14" apart and supported by cribbing of a size and strength to support the weight of the boat during the launch.

The launching was sloped down toward the seawall at an angle of 1 and 19/32" per horizontal foot. For the launch of a submarine, a total of 21 lauching ways were used. All except the forward and after three extended 12' past the sea wall, and were capable of tilting when the submarine went over the sea wall. This was to eliminate the possibility of damage to the vessel's structure and to the launchways at the moment when the boat pivoted at the dock's edge.

The forward and after three ways were known as the fixed ways and extended only to the sea wall and did not tilt. They were firmly fixed in place to take the full horizontal thrust of the vessel just prior to launch. The trigger was held in place by means of a trigger line, an 8" manila line was set up with a block and tackle to a fixed point, a deadman or other fitting, inboard of the vessel.

Sliding ways were placed on the launching ways and on these were built the lauching cradles. The cradles were built to confirm to the shape of the hull and were constructed so as to be as snug as possible to the hull. Between individual pieces of the cradles were inserted oak wedges, so positioned as to be readily accessible for driving by hand.

The trigger lines were cut at the moment of launch by means of pneumatic rope cutters or guillotines containing a piston attached to a cutting knife and actuated by compressed air from a central master valve. They were so calibrated that air reached each cutter at precisley the same instant."
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Photo courtesy of
Text from "Fresh Water Submarines, The Manitowoc Story, pg 43-44, by Rear Admiral William T. Nelson, U.S.N. (Ret.)"
Manitowoc55k Watercolor print by the artist Tom Denton of the side launching of a Manitowoc built boat. Courtesy of Submarine Art
Lagarto41kPlank owners pose for this commissioning photo on the stern of the Lagarto (SS-371) in Manitowoc on 14 October 1944. Courtesy of Karen Duvalle Wisconsin Maritime Museum &
Lagarto25k Commissioning photo of Lt. Joslin (XO) and Cdr. Latta (CO) on board the Lagarto (SS-371) in Manitowoc on 14 October 1944. Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Courtesy of Karen Duvalle Wisconsin Maritime Museum &
Lagarto300kCdr. Latta (CO). Courtesy of & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Lagarto36k Commissioning ceremony aboard the Lagarto (SS-371), in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on 14 October 1944. Cdr. Latta is third from the right. Charles West, the owner of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, is first on the right, wearing civilian clothes. Courtesy of Karen Duvalle Wisconsin Maritime Museum &
Lagarto443kPlank owners of the Lagarto (SS-371) pose for this commissioning party photo, probably 14 October 1944.

Row 1
J.E. Davis, A. Brock, H.E. Ortega, C.W. Breithuapt, W.F. Moss, J.M. Marriot, J.L. Williams, W.H. Jordan, C.H. Bjornson, R.C. Perry, W.C. Shackelford, D.J. Taylor, R.F. Peterson, C.R. Byrer

Row 2
R.B. Spalding, P. Cole, J.U. Marsh, L.G. Irving, W.R. Shaw, J.L. Cloman, H.G. Joslin, F.D. Latta, W.H. Mendenhall, H.A. Todd, A.G. Brewington, D.L. Skelly, C. Anker, F.D. Turner, H.D. Andrews

Row 3
G.E. Halstead, C.W. McConnell, T.A. Fitzgerald, J.M. McGee, G.E. Clouse, P.A. O'Brien, R.L. Fisher, M.M. Wicklander, J.H. Root, A.J. Korogi, G.W. Keesee, C.D. Hart, D.J. Gray, A.M. Wade, O.R. Frasch, T.T. Finch, W. Graves

Row 4
J.P. Gregory, R.F. Grace, F. Tait, J.C. Harrison, W.F. Honaker, J.H. Tapp, J.J. Franze, L.J. Lynch, U.M. St. John, J.B. Harris, L.F. Cathey, S.D. Remington

Row 5
D.M. Paper, W.L. Moore, W.E. Hinken, A.H. Enns, J.W. Peterson, H.R. Plushnik, R.E. Simmerman, W.L. Britain, T. J. Harrington, F.A. Price, L.M. Doud, N.B. Lee, J.H. Thompson, W.N. Reno, I.L. Archibald.

*Italic denote not on second patrol.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Photo submitted by Charles R. Hinman, Director of Education & Outreach,
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, &
On Eternal Patrol
Partial text and i.d. courtesy of Nancy Kenney.
Photo i.d. supplied by Karen Duvalle, Education Assistant/Special Events Coordinator, Wisconsin Maritime Museum.
Lagarto46kLagarto (SS-371) emblem and crew signatures, 14 October 1944.Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum home of the Cobia (SS-245)
Lagarto269kWith her crew lining her deck and lookouts in the periscope shears, the Lagarto (SS-371) passes between the two sections of an open draw bridge as the crowd from a Sears Roebuck and Co. building in Manitowoc watch the boat head off to the war, circa October - December 1944.
The Lagarto is traveling up the Manitowoc river passing through the 8th St. bridge after some sort of trial run. I don't see a broom flying above the conning tower so it either wasn't entirely successful or wasn't the final trial before comissioning. By the way, the present day museum is in the exact location of the building just above the stern. That was the former Goodrich transport company's Manitowoc terminal and main Corporate office.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Photo submitted by Charles R. Hinman, Director of Education & Outreach,
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, &
On Eternal Patrol.
Photo i.d. and partial text courtesy of Larry Bohn.
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.
Lagarto42kPictured here is the Japanese netlayer Hatsutaka which sank the Lagarto (SS-371). She is seen here leaving Aioi, 31 October 1939.
Photo from "Japanese Warships of World War II", Japanese Warships of World War II" by A. J. Watts, courtesy of Aryeh Wetherhorn (USNR).
Lagarto12k Drawing of the Japanese netlayer Hatsutaka which sank the Lagarto (SS-371).
Photo from "Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945" by Hansgeorg Jentschura, courtesy of Aryeh Wetherhorn (USNR).
Lagarto5kMap of the area where the the Lagarto (SS-371) sank the Japanese merchant cargo ship Tatsumomo Maru (880 BRT) off the the Bungo Suido, Kyushu, Japan in position 32.40N, 132.33E. Photo & text courtesy of Great Circle Mapper - Karl L Swartz /
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, 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.
U.S. Navy photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of

View the Lagarto (SS-371)
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
ComSubPac Report on the loss of LAGARTO (SS 371) May 3, 1945 - 86 Men Lost
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
Lagarto Model
Youtube video from Wisconsin Maritime Museum
USN Video from Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2006 Exercise on the Discovery of the Lagarto.
Manitowoc Built Submarines

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