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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Pompano (SS-491)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Echo - Whiskey

Tench Class Submarine: Construction by Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME. was authorized on 29 August 1944. Laid down, 16 July 1945, but the contract for her construction was canceled 12 August 1945 & scrapped on slip.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,570 t., Submerged: 2,414 t.; Length 311' 8"; Beam 27' 4"; 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 7 Officers 69 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 5"/25 deck gun, two 20mm guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks Morse main generator engines, 5,400HP, Fuel Capacity, 113,510 gal., two Elliot Motor Co. main motors with 2.740HP, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Pompano 92k Trachinotus carolinus, the Common Pompano which spawned the Pompano (SS-181) & Pompano (SS-491). Photo courtesy of via
Pompano 401k This air view of Portsmouth Navy Yard taken just after the end of WW II shows the main shipbuilding shed which enabled construction to continue unimpeded by the Maine winters. The shed was widened to add two ways in 1941, and a fifth was squeezed in a year later. Drydocks No. 1 (left) & 2 (far right) contain six fleet submarines, while three R-boats are moored in the foreground.
The Pompano (SS-491) would have been under construction in the first ways on the left hand corner of the main shipbuilding shed.
Photo and partial text from The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy: A Design and Construction History, by John D. Alden.
Pompano 531k Unfinished hulls and veteran fleet boats returned from the war share berthing space next to the emergency shipping basin (since rebuilt as Drydock No.3) in the back channel at Portsmouth. The ways of the former Franklin Shiphouse, where many early submarines were launched before the wooden structure burned in 1936, can still be seen in the upper left. Photo and text from The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy: A Design and Construction History, by John D. Alden.
Pompano1.21kPhotos are labeled Pompano (SS-491) coming into harbor at probably Pearl Harbor to leave a Jap prisoner.
These photos can not possibly be of Pompano (SS-491), as that boat didn't even exist! Construction of that boat started on 16 July 1945 at Portsmouth, but was canceled and broken up on the ways on 12 August 1945, with not much more than the keel laid down. However, this boat is the Pompano, but actually the Pompano (SS-181)! All of the details of the boat match that of the first Pompano and these pictures were taken in Pearl Harbor on 18 June 1942 at the close of her 2nd war patrol. The prisoner was rescued from a small inter-island steamer that she had sank with gunfire.
The fact that the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics screwed up the ID of this picture so badly is an abject lesson of never trusting captions, even ones from trusted sources. If something doesn't look right, question it and do the research to get the truth.
The really interesting part of this is that the pictures were received at the Bureau in October 1945, over two years after the boat was lost. Where were these pictures in the interim?
Photo & text i.d. courtesy of David Johnston
Photos # 80-G-345610 / 345615 & / 80-G-345611 & 345616, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Volador 64k Volador (SS-490) under construction at Portsmouth, 31 January 1946.
I believe the Pompano (SS-491) would have been built on the adjacent way to her left.
Courtesy of Leeward Publications Ships Data #4, USS Bowfin, submitted by Aryeh (Lee) Wetherhorn.
Halibut 145kHer crew lining the deck, the Halibut (SS-232), slides down the launching ways at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME, 11:10 AM on 3 December 1941.
The Pompano (SS-491) was started on the same way as the Halibut.
USN photo courtesy of
517 227k Stern view of the keel of (SS-517), at Mare Island on 6 July 1944.
The Pompano's (SS-491) keel had been laid when construction was halted.
USN photo # 4318-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
517 274k Bow view of the keel of (SS-517), at Mare Island on 6 July 1944. USN photo # 4319-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

There is no DANFS History currently available for Pompano(SS-491) at the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site, the main archive for the DANFS Online Project.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Not Applicable To This Ship
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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