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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Ulua (SS-428)

Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Tango - Romeo

Ulua (SS-428) a Balao class submarine was laid down on 13 November 1943 at Philadelphia, Pa., by the Cramp Shipbuilding Co., but the curtailment of naval construction programs, in the closing days of the war against Japan, resulted in the suspension of further construction on 12 August 1945. The partly completed submarine was launched 23 April 1946 and towed to the Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Shipyard for maintenance, prior to beginning her career as a test hull. Towed to Norfolk, Va., in 1951, she participated in tests to gather research data on new weapon and submarine design. Ulua's usefulness to the Navy ended, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 12 June 1958. Her hulk was sold for scrap on 30 September 1958 to the Portsmouth Salvage Co., Inc.
While doing research for my Balao / Tench class project, I discovered that the Turbot (SS-427) and Ulua (SS-428) both built by Cramp and delivered to the Navy incomplete, were actually Balao class boats, not Tenches. These boats were at the tail end of the boats contracted to Cramp, which built its submarines using plans supplied by Portsmouth. Even though Portsmouth had already begun building subs to the Tenches plans, it was decided that all of Cramp's boats would be Balaos. Cramp had experienced considerable difficulties in building its' assigned boats, mostly due to problems in hiring experienced workers and difficulties in getting all the necessary parts from subcontractors. It was felt that having Cramp shift over to the Tenches plans would only exacerbate the problems. Thus hulls 425-428, even though the numbers fell out of sequence, were built to Balao plans.
Ulua was sold 10/15/58 to Portsmouth Salvage Co, Portsmouth, Va for $45,690 after serving as a underwater explosive test hulk at Norfolk, Va from 1951-1958, she was stricken 6/12/58 still having never been completed.
Partial data submitted by Dave Johnston (USNR) & Yves Hubert.


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Ulua28kThe Ulua, Caranx ignobilis. Photo courtesy of uoregon.edu.
Ulua & Tusk138k Ulua (SS-428) & Tusk (SS-426) being built at the Cramp Shipbuilding Co. in Philadelphia on 7/2/45. The Ulua has not received her superstructure main deck or bridge. The Tusk is just about complete.
Diesel intakes (induction) are visible on board the Ulua. They trunk up into the main induction just abaft the conning tower pressure vessel. The starboard branch feeds the forward engines, the port branch, whose 22-in pipe is visible under the flat boards, feeds the after engines. When snorkels were installed postwar, their intakes connected to the main induction visible here. Exhaust piping is also visible.
The bow of the Turbot (SS-427) is just visible behind the stern of the Ulua.
Photo and partial text courtesy of The Floating Drydock, "Fleet Subs of WW II", by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
Partial text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press, & The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy: A Design and Construction History, by John D. Alden, Commander USN (Retired).
Ulua299k Ulua (SS-428) construction cancelled. Photo courtesy of realwarphotosgalleries.com.

Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Not applicable to this ship.

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Guppy Submarines
Tench Class Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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