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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

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Atule (SS-403) (AGSS-403)

Radio Call Sign: November - Juliet - Yankee - Alpha

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 25 November 1943, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME.; Launched, 6 March 1944; Commissioned USS Atule (SS-403), 21 June 1944; Decommissioned, 8 September 1947; Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, New London Group; Converted to a Guppy 1-A type submarine at US Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH in 1950; Recommissioned, 8 March 1951; Reclassified Auxiliary Submarine (AGSS-403), 1 October 1969; Decommissioned, 6 April 1970, at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA.; Struck from the Naval Register, 15 August 1973; Final Disposition, sold to Peru under terms of the Security Assistance Program in July 1974, renamed Pacocha (S-48). She sank shortly after sunset on 26 August 1988, about three miles from the port of Callao, eight miles northwest of Lima after a 412-ton Japanese fishing boat struck her by accident.
Atule earned four battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced 1,526 t., Submerged 2,391 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 10 kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2 kts; 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 single 40mm gun mount, one single 20mm gun mount, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear, Fairbanks Morse diesel engines, 5,400 HP, Fuel Capacity, 116,000 gal., four Elliot Motor Co. electric main motors with 2,740 shp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Atule14kCommemorative launch day badge from Atule's (SS-403) launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., 6 March 1944.Courtesy of James A Munroe in remembrance of his father Raymond L Munroe Sr. who worked at the yard during WW II and the Korean wars as a chauffeur.
Atule87kCold weather and water await the Atule (SS-403) at her launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., 6 March 1944.Photo courtesy of John R. Baker.
Atule1.84kAerial photo of the Atule (SS-403) on 15 August 1944.USN photo # 80-G-313787 from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Atule63kAtule (SS-403), circa 1944-45.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Atule44kAtule (SS-403) sometime between commissioning March 1944 and decommissioning, September 1947.Photo courtesy of USNI.
Atule144kAsama Maru was completed as a passenger-cargo ship for the Nippon Yusen Kaisha NYK(Japan Mail Steam Ship Co. Ltd) Line in 1929. She saw extensive service in the 1930's on NYK's Far East-California route. Requisitioned by the IJN in 1941, she was converted to a troop ship. In 1942, she served as a diplomatic exchange and repatriation vessel. Later, she was used to transport Allied prisoners of war.
Shortly after midnight on 1 November, Atule (SS-403) established surface radar contact on a fast-moving escorted transport and moved in for the kill. Despite rain squalls and heavy seas, Atule was able to close the transport and fire six torpedoes. The first hit caused a terrific explosion which threw flaming material high in the air. When one of the transport's escorts began to close the submarine, she began a crash dive but still managed to hear a second explosion as she submerged. Nine depth charges exploded in the vicinity, but none was close enough to damage Atule. The crew in the submarine heard loud breaking up noises and upon surfacing, found a large oil slick and much debris. Atule was later credited with sinking Asama Maru, a 16,975-ton Japanese transport.
Text courtesy of & DANFS. Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
Atule35kOn 4 July 1946, Atule (SS-403) headed for the frozen north as a member of Operation "Nanook." The purpose of this mission was to assist in the establishment of advanced weather stations in the Arctic regions and to aid in the planning and execution of more extensive naval operations in polar and sub-polar regions. In company with Norton Sound (AV-11), Whitewood (AN-63), Alcona (AK-157), Beltrami (AK-162), and USCG Northwind (WAG-282), Atule was to transport supplies and passengers, conduct reconnaissance of proposed weather station sites, train personnel, and collect data on Arctic conditions. USN photo courtesy of Arctic Submarine Laboratory.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
Atule276k"A standard steam-type torpedo fired by the modern U.S. Navy Submarine Atule (SS-403) strikes the captured German Submarine U-977… Cape Cod, 13 November 1946……It was sunk under a Tri-Party agreement between the U.S., Britain and Russia".Photo & text courtesy of, inspired by Jim Corcoran.
Atule157k U-977 bites the dust from the Atule (SS-403), a short distance away.USN Photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Atule151kCrew of the Atule (SS-403), circa 1956-7 at Groton CT. Will Emerich, Chief of the Boat, is in the front row at the far right hand side. Photo i.d. and partial text courtesy of Capt. Eric Emerich, USMC. Photo courtesy of Thomas and Josephine McLoughlin.
Atule62kCrew family members of the Atule (SS-403), circa 1956-7 at Groton CT. Courtesy of Thomas and Josephine McLoughlin,
Atule103kAtule (SS-403), underway in Havana, Cuba, 1958.Courtesy of Robert Marthaler, RM3 SS (1955-1958).
Atule140kAtule (SS-403) in color coming into Key West, Fla, 1958.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Chopper 249k Change of command at Subron 12 Key West Fla. in the 1960's aboard the Bushnell (AS-15). Barracuda (SST-3) upper right. Other boats there are Sea Cat (SS-399), Picuda (SS-382), Atule (SS-403), Sea Fox (SS-402), Threadfin (SS-410) & Chopper (SS-342). Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Atule168kSail away: As many different types of sails as there are boats in this photo of Squadron 12, Key West Fla, in Mid 60's: Atule (SS-403), Balao (SS-285), Grenadier (SS-525) & Bluegill (SS-242).Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Atule103kAtule (SS-403) inboard of Darter (SS-576) at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, 1966. Darter (SS-576) is finishing a comprehensive overhaul which saw the addition of a 16 1/2 foot section added between the after battery and the engine room, referred by her crew as the "Plug". She also received a complete Subsafe safety package, which included an emergency ballast tank blow system, which is being tested in this photo.Photo & text i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston.
USN photo from the collection of Mr. Palmer Olliff, courtesy of Bob Hall & submitted by Fabio Pena.
Atule74kAtule (SS-403), rafting up to Thornback (SS-418), Guantanemo Bay, Cuba, 1966.Courtesy of Lohman, submitted by George M. Arnold.
Thornback204k Thornback (SS-418) left, Atule (SS-403) right, circa 1967. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Thornback325k Thornback (SS-418) right, Atule (SS-403) left, circa 1967. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Atule911kCirca 1968 Welcome Aboard the Atule (SS-403) pamphlet. PDF courtesy of Scott Koen &
SS 4031.00k In February 1968, Atule (SS-403) headed for the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans to train naval reservists and to celebrate Mardi Gras. The submarine returned via St. Petersburg, Fla. to her home port, where she continued general operations until 1 October when she got underway for her last Mediterranean deployment.
She is seen here on 5 March 1968.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Albacore 333k Albacore (AGSS-569) orange with envy alongside Atule (SS-403). USN photo courtesy of
Photo added 02/27/16.
Pacocha (S-48)
Atule367kReport on the loss of the Atule (SS-403). Chicago Tribune article courtesy of David Carre, CAPT, USN (RET)(former crew member).

View the Atule (SS-403)
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 Atule (SS-403)
Guppy Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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