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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski. Patch on right by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

Parche (SS-384) (AGSS-384)

Radio Call Sign: November - Juliet - Victor - Whiskey

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 9 April 1943, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H.; Launched, 24 July 1943; Commissioned USS Parche (SS-384), 20 November 1943; "Bikini target July 1946; Decontaminated; returned to Pearl Harbor 7 September 1946; Decommissioned 11 December 1946; Assigned to duty as a Naval Reserve Training ship at Alameda, CA., 10 February 1948; Reclassified as an Auxiliary Research Submarine (AGSS-384), 1 December 1962; Relieved of duty as a Naval Reserve Training ship, circa late 1969.
Struck from the Naval Register, 8 November 1969. Final Disposition, sold for scrapping 18 June 1970 to Zidell Portland, OR for $ 74.580.00. Parche received five 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: 2,391 t.; Length 311' 8"; 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., Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines, HP 5400, Fuel Capacity 116,000, four Elliot Motor Co. electric motors, HP 2,740, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Parche9.60k29 page PDF showing General Plans for the Parche (SS-384). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Parche178kMiss Nancy Green, maid of honor, Rear Admiral T. Withers, U.S.N., Miss Betty Russell, sponsor, at launching of Parche (SS-384) launched at Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H. 24 July 1943.National Archives Identifier: 12562989
Photo courtesy of catalog.archives.gov
Photo added 05/26/17.
Parche118kLaunching of Parche (SS-384), at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H. 24 July 1943. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Parche103kThe national ensign blows in the breeze as the Parche (SS-384) is launched at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H. 24 July 1943.USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Flasher 1.10k This photo and the inset were originally thought to be Flasher (SS-249) underway off the Atlantic coast following her commissioning on 25 September 1943.
It is a Government design 2/1/1 configured Balao class boat. If we assume the date on the photo is correct, we can use this to narrow down the list of boats. I think the date is consistent with the features in the photo, i.e. the crew topside are wearing heavy coats, which corresponds to a late fall New England location.
So, using these parameters I can narrow the list down to Archerfish (SS-311), Burrfish (SS-312), Sand Lance (SS-381), Picuda (SS-382), Pampanito (SS-383), and Parche (SS-384). There isn't much more to go on in the photos. I think what happened is that Flasher was also running trials on this date and the photographer got his boats mixed up. Electric Boat was still building Gatos when Portsmouth was already pushing out Balaos. EB had a much larger contract for a greater number of Gatos than did Portsmouth and therefore took longer to complete her production run. For a period of time it would have been common to see brand new Gatos and brand new Balaos sitting next to each other at the piers in New London.
US National Archives photo # 80-G-450241 & 80-G-450235, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
Parche50kCommemorative launching tag of the Parche (SS-384), Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H. 24 July 1943. Photo courtesy of Ron Toth, Jr. via Tom Kermen.
Parche322kComdr. L. P. Ramage reads Parche's (SS-384) commissioning orders on 20 November 1943 at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Parche162k"Come and get it! "Red" Ramage, the first C.O. of the Parche (SS-384) serving it up hot to the Japanese. In this night surface attack on a heavily guarded convoy off Formosa, the lone sub played havoc with the enemy. "Commanding Officer courageously remained at his station on the bridge to maneuver his ship more effectively."Drawing by Lt. Cmdr. Fred Freemen, Courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Parche64kOil on canvas by the artist John Meeks entitled "I got Mad..!"
Parche (SS-384) achieved fame on 31 July 1944. Her skipper, Lawson P. ("Red") Ramage, had worked his way into the middle of a Japanese convoy in the pre-dawn hours of that morning, and soon had his hands full with a very busy day.
Firing two torpedoes at one of the ships, Ramage realized that its evasive maneuvering had given him a chance at shots at two tankers and a Japanese Naval escort. Firing no less than eight torpedoes in quick succession, from both stern and bow tubes, he took care of both tankers. Mayhem ensued !
The convoy started to break up, escorts dashed in all directions, and firing at the rogue sub. came from every-which-where ! For a full forty-five minutes, on the surface, with only himself and his executive officer on the conning tower, Ramage used the big fleet submarine like a PT boat. One can only imagine what it was like to be working in the engine room or the torpedo rooms of Parche during the action! At one point, she narrowly avoided being rammed, and passed a Japanese vessel going in the opposite direction a mere fifty feet away ! So close that Ramage and his exec. exchanged enraged insults and gestures with the equally enraged Japanese crew !
Eventually the unharmed submarine was able to disengage and slip away into the early morning darkness. Behind him, "Red" Ramage left two confirmed sinking totaling 15000 tons, several more thousand tons of damaged merchant and naval shipping, a broken convoy that was in total disarray and still firing at itself and, in conjunction with Steelhead (SS-280) - which was also in the vicinity - assisted in the sinking of three more ships ! A remarkable performance - and a thundering good yarn !
Later, when interviewed about the exploit, Commander Ramage expressed his motivation at the time .... "...I got mad ... !" he said.
For getting mad, Ramage was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and Parche received a Presidential Citation.
Photo & text courtesy of subart.net.
Parche82kCommander Lawson Paterson "Red" Ramage's Medal of Honor exploit occurred during Parche's (SS-384) second war patrol, when she joined Steelhead (SS-280) and Hammerhead (SS-364) for another wolf pack patrol in the Luzon Strait during June and July 1944. For six weeks after leaving Midway on 17 June, the group had little success in locating the enemy, and their only kill was a small patrol craft sunk by Ramage with his deck gun. On 30 July, however, Hammerhead encountered a large convoy and moved in to attack after attempting to send its position to the other two boats. Hammerhead failed to score any kills, and even more unfortunately, her sighting report was so confused and misleading that Parche and Steelhead spent a full day searching for the convoy while being harassed by enemy aircraft. Finally, early on the morning of 31 July, Parche and Steelhead found their quarry on radar, and Steelhead - under CDR David Whelchel - attacked first, scored several hits, and withdrew to reload torpedo tubes.
Seeing his own chance, Ramage took Parche into the middle of the convoy on the surface and precipitated a 46-minute melee in which he single-handedly took on both enemy escorts and merchantmen, firing 19 torpedoes in the process. Clearing the bridge of everyone but himself, Ramage threaded his way through two escorts and attacked first a freighter and then two tankers, scoring hits on all three. By now thoroughly alerted, the Japanese formation dissolved into a confused welter of wheeling ships and escorts, with Parche maneuvering violently in their midst, both to get off shots of opportunity and to avoid a storm of enemy deck-gun fire of every caliber. At one point, while Parche was engaged with two anti-submarine escorts, a small freighter loomed out of the night attempting to ram her. Ramage slammed the rudder hard over, and the two vessels passed port to starboard at a distance of only 50 feet. This maneuver put Parche directly in the path of an oncoming passenger-cargo ship, the Manko Maru, and with little other choice, Ramage loosed three bow shots "down the throat" of the oncoming threat.
Two torpedoes hit, slowing the victim down, but it took a quick turn to bring the stern tubes to bear for the coup de grace that sent Manko Maru to the bottom. At this point, as the remaining Japanese vessels fired fruitlessly into the night in all directions, and with no valuable targets nearby, Ramage pulled Parche out of the fight totally unscathed. Meanwhile, Whelchel, in Steelhead returned to the fray on the other side of the convoy and sank at least one more ship before being forced under by hostile aircraft at first light. While several other ships were damaged in this relentless attack, postwar reconstruction credited Parche and Steelhead with sinking two merchantmen each and collaborating on a fifth for a total of 39,000 tons of enemy shipping. And for his utter fearlessness, daring, and extraordinary tactical skill in successfully challenging an entire Japanese convoy to a night surface action, "Red" Ramage was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by a grateful nation.
USN photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Parche119kCitation of valor for Lawson Paterson Ramage, the first C.O. of the Parche (SS-384).USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Parche467kChief Torpedo-man Don E. Walters is seen being congratulated upon his presentation of the Bronze Star.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Parche1.0mParche (SS-384) with YF-312 and S-30 (SS-135) outboard at Mare Island between 19 and 23 October 1945. The submarine to the left of Parche's sail is either Plaice (SS-390), Tinosa (SS-283) or Queenfish (SS-393). The Nereus (AS-17) is just visible left of the Parche's periscope shears.USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Parche54k WW II battleflag of the Parche (SS-384). USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Chivo 98k Chivo (SS-341) moored in Pearl Harbor with her decks awash. Skipjack (SS-184) & Parche (SS-384) moored off to the side, 1945. USN photo courtesy of Medzius & usschivo.org via Bill Gonyo.
Parche3.72kForty two page PDF of Parche's (SS-384) WWII diary.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Parche802kEight page PDF of Parche's (SS-384) history.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Parche7.60kSixty nine page PDF of Parche's (SS-384) WW II patrols.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
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.
Parche174k Parche (SS-384) coming into a busy port before her test at Bikini.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Parche415k Parche (SS-384) coming into a busy port before her test at Bikini in 1946.USN photo # 19-N-114075 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Parche189k Starboard view of the Parche (SS-384) possibly after she survived both the air burst and the underwater burst of Operation Crossroads at Bikini lagoon 1 June 1946, coming through relatively undamaged. After decontamination, she proceeded to Mare Island. It is very likely that this photo is from that period and place. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Parche2.38kParche (SS-384) entering Mare Island on 17 October 1946 after the Bikini Island tests. USN photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Parche197kParche (SS-384) at Mare Island in the Pacific Reserve Fleet after her role in Operation Crossroads on 17 October 1946. USN photo # 3614-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Pacific Reserve Fleet 278k Three veterans of Operation Crossroads are shown at Mare Island on 17 October 1946 in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Left to right: Dentuda (SS-335), Searaven (SS-196) and Tuna (SS-203); Parche (SS-384) is aft of these three. Bluegill (SS-242) and Hackleback (SS-295) are to the left. USN photo # 3618-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Parche367kCrane lifting the conning tower of the Parche (SS-384) from the Chara (AE-31) after being transported to Pearl Harbor. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Parche641k The conning tower of the Parche (SS-384) being moved off the Chara (AE-31). USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Parche335kThe conning tower of the Parche (SS-384) being moved off the Chara (AE-31). USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Parche1.10kParche (SS-384) without her sail in the reserve fleet at Mare Island in December 1969; not only have the fairwater and shears been removed, but the whole conning tower! They planked over the space left by its removal, but you can still see the main air induction valve that is normally aft of the conning tower, and the gun access trunk that is normally forward of the conning tower.
The boat in the center is the Spinax (SSR-489). She has a unique sail configuration. The boat on the left could be the Bashaw (SS-241), but this is a guess. The decommissioned destroyer escort Jobb (DE-707) appears on her right.
USN photo # 95811-12-69, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. Photo i.d. courtesy of Fred Willshaw & David Jonston (USNR).
Text courtesy of David Jonston (USNR).
Parche2.72kParche (SS-384) as a reserve training submarine at Alameda, California in May 1957. Note the Park Street bridge in the background.Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Parche46kPhoto of Lawson Paterson Ramage, the first C.O. of the Parche (SS-384) with the new Parche (SSN-683) conning tower, to his left, circa mid 1970's.USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org. & Herbert P. Harden RMC(SS) USN ret.
Parche148kForward view of the Parche (SS-384) superstructure at Pearl Harbor, April 1977.Courtesy of David Buell.
Parche604kCommemorative stamp honoring Vietnam Veterans Memorial & signed by Vice Admiral Ramage, November 1984.USN photo # 19-N-114075 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Parche125kConning tower of the Parche (SS-384) memorial at Pearl Harbor, April 2003.Courtesy of SK1(SW) Joseph A. Gless.
Parche102k5"/25 deck gun Parche (SS-384) memorial at Pearl Harbor, April 2003.Courtesy of SK1(SW) Joseph A. Gless.

View the Parche (SS/AGSS-384)
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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