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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


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Spadefish (SS-411) (AGSS-411)

Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Papa - Zulu

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 27 May 1943, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA..; Launched, 8 January 1944; Commissioned USS Spadefish (SS-411), 9 March 1944; Decommissioned, 3 May 1946, at Mare Island Navy Yard; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Mare Island Group; Reclassified Auxiliary Research Submarine (AGSS-411), 6 November 1962;
The ship lost her name on 4 August 1966 (Bauer) in favor of SSN-668 Spadefish ordered on 9 March 1965.Struck from the Naval Register, 1 April 1967; Final Disposition, Sold 10-17-69 to Union Minerals & Iron Corp., NYC for $ 50,180.00 scrapped in Kearny, NJ. Spadefish earned four battle stars during WWII.
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 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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Spadefish 313k The Cassin (DD-372) is half way down the building ways at Mare Island Navy Yard on 16 June 1943. She had been rebuilt there following her battle damage by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The partially completed hull of the Spadefish (SS-411) is to the left behind the staging. USN photo # 4516-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 250k Spadefish (SS-411) under construction, 6 July 1943. USN photo # 4931-43 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish & Trepang 229k Middle top right of the photo shows the Spadefish (SS-411) & Trepang (SS-412) under construction at Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 July 1943. The carrier under construction is the Independence (CV-22). USN photo # 5083-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 407k Governor Earl Warren arrives for the launching of the Spadefish (SS-411) at Mare Island on 8 January 1944. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 75k RADM W. L. Friedell, Mare Island Commandant, introduces California Governor Earl Warren as speaker at the launching of the Spadefish (SS-411) at Mare Island on 8 January 1944. USN / Mare Island photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 90k Mrs. Francis W. Scanland, Sponsor holds the christening bottle forward of the Spadefish (SS-411) prior to her launching at Mare Island on 8 January 1944. Mrs. Clinton P. Kendall (left) and Mrs. Willard A. Saunders (right) served as matrons of honor. USN / Mare Island photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 215k The launching of the Spadefish (SS-411) at Mare Island on 8 January 1944. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 27k Spadefish (SS-411) commissioning cachet, 9 March 1944. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 163k Spadefish (SS-411), stern view, off Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 May 1944. US Navy Bureau of Ships photo # 2833-44 courtesy of the US Naval Historical Center, submitted by Mike Green.
Spadefish 189k Bow on view of Spadefish (SS-411) with lookouts in the periscope shears, returning to Mare Island on 11 May 1944. USN / Mare Island photo # 2837-44 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 176k Broadside view of Spadefish (SS-411), off Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 May 1944. She sports a newly added 5"/25 deck gun on the after deck. This boat was the first to get the new submarine designed gun. USN / Mare Island photo # 2835-44 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. Text courtesy of The Floating Drydock, Fleet Subs of WW II by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
Spadefish 359k Spadefish (SS-411) 135 degrees off center line, 11 May 1944. USN / Mare Island photo # 2834-5-44 courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 175k Spadefish (SS-411), port side view, off Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 May 1944. USN photo # 2836-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 154k Control panel onboard Spadefish (SS-411). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 99k Chart table onboard Spadefish (SS-411). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 198k Undated pre-war image of the NordDeutscher LLoyd-owned passenger liner SS Scharnhorst underway. Scharnhorst was moored off Kobe harbour, Japan when World War 11 started in September 1939. Purchased from Germany by the IJN on 7 February 1942 for possible conversion to a troop transport. Conversion to an escort carrier commenced September 1942 and lasted until late 1943. Renamed Shinyo (Divine Hawk), she was commissioned on 15 December 1943.
She appears here underway during official sea trials in the Inland Sea, on 1 November 1943. Shinyo was torpedoed and sunk on 17 November 1944 140 nm NE of Shanghai at position (33 degrees 02' N, 123 degrees 33' E) by the submarine Spadefish (SS-411).
Photo courtesy of Roger W. Jordan. Photo taken from "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" by Roger W. Jordan via Robert Hurst.
Inset photo courtesy Shizuo Fukui. Taken from Japanese Aircraft Carriers and Destroyers" Macdonald: London.
Spadefish 99k 3,760 GRT cargo steamship Gracchus in port, location unknown. Built by Palmer's of Jarrow, England in 1902 for Currie Line. British India SN Co took over Currie Line in 1913 and sold the ship to Hashiya Kisen of Japan in 1923. Gracchus was renamed Daiboshi Maru No 6 in 1923 and Daiboshi Maru No 6 in 1938. The US Navy submarine Spadefish (SS-411) sank her by torpedo in the Yellow Sea in 1944. USN photo courtesy John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland via Robert Hurst.
Spadefish 267k After spending the holidays at Majuro, Spadefish (SS-411) departed on 6 January 1945 for her third war patrol, conducted with Pompon (SS-267), Atule (SS-403), and Jallao (SS-368) in the Yellow Sea. On 28 January, she intercepted an enemy convoy and let go with two spreads of torpedoes. The 7,158-ton converted seaplane tender Sanuki Maru exploded and quickly sank, and the frigate Kume spouted flames and began slowly to sink. Three enemy escorts pounced on Spadefish, but the submarine made her escape and continued her patrol. Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Trammp.
Spadefish 63k "Jap prisoners! taken ashore at Pearl Harbor, sad captives are seen coming across deck of Spadefish (SS-411). Note sinkings marked on Spadefish flag: 4 Jap naval vessels and 17 marus!" USN photo & text courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Tinosa 57k Photo taken from the pier above the Spadefish (SS-411) as the Tinosa (SS-283), all decked out with flags flying from her mast, returns after her 11th patrol, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 4 July 1945. Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo courtesy of subvetsofwwii.org. & David Johnston (USNR).
Tinosa 290k Photo taken from the pier above the Spadefish (SS-411) as the Tinosa (SS-283), all decked out with flags flying from her mast, returns after her 11th patrol, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 4 July 1945. This shot appears to have been taken moments after the first.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo courtesy of Robert Hurst.
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 museum brochure.
Spadefish 569k Crew of the Spadefish (SS-411) pose, circa July 1945. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Spadefish 414k More of the same minus the above: Crew of the Spadefish (SS-411) pose, circa July 1945. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
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.
Spadefish 94k The battle flag of the Spadefish (SS-411). USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Spadefish 468k Photo of the manufacturing process of Spadefish (SS-411) flag at the Mare Island Sail Loft. Photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo added 09/24/17.
Besugo535k Forward plan view of Besugo (SS-321) at Mare Island on 29 January 1946. The Spadefish (SS-411) and Barbero (SS-317) are aft of Besugo. USN photo # 325-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
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. I'm 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.
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 Island52kBarbero (SS-317) and Hardhead (SS-365) and nestled between them, (deduced from the larger photo), is Spadefish (SS-411). The other boats are unknown at this time. Date on photo is 3 May, 1946 at Mare Island Shipyard, Ca.Photo courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Spadefish 196k Newspaper clipping from the 17 May 46 edition of the Vallejo Times-Herald marks the decommissioning of the Spadefish (SS-411) at Mare Island on 3 May 1946. Caption of the photo reads: LUAU, Mascot of the Mare Island submarine Spadefish, look on as the submarine is decommissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Luau is a real "plank owner", since she made all five war patrols with the sub, and had two litters of true "submarine" pups at sea. She is held by R. H. Moody, Chief Electrician's Mate, USN, Tuckerman, Ark., as the ship's battle colors are presented by the commanding officer, LCDR R. M. Wright, USN, Sonoma, Calif., to L. E. Dependahl, Electrician's Mate First Class, St. Louis, Mo. Other "plank owners" look on. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet 248k Dragonet (SS-293) in the Mare Island Group Reserve Fleet on 13 October 1948. Spadefish (SS-411) is the third submarine outboard of Dragonet. USN photo # 1913-10-48, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

View the Spadefish (SS-411)
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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