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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

V-8 (SC-4)
Cachalot (SS-170)

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Delta - Delta

Cachalot Class Submarine: Authorized as V-8 (SC-4); Laid down, 21 October 1931, as Cachalot (SS-170) at Portsmouth Navy Yard, on Seavey Island in Kittery, Maine. Launched, 19 October 1933; Commissioned USS Cachalot (SS-170), 1 December 1933; Decommissioned, 17 October 1945, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.; Struck from the Naval Register, 1 November 1945; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 26 January 1947. Cachalot received three battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,110 t., Submerged: 1,650 t.; Length 271' 10" ; Beam 24' 0"; Draft 12' 10"; Speed, surfaced 17 kts, submerged 8 kts; Depth Limit 250'; Complement 4 officers 39 enlisted; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes forward, two 21" torpedo tubes aft, 18 torpedoes; one 3"/50 deck gun, two 30 cal. mgs.; Propulsion, diesel electric, Maschinfabrik - Augusburg- Nurnburg, New York Navy Yard diesel engines, hp 3100, Fuel Capacity, 83,290 gal., Electro Dynamic Electric Co., electric motors, hp 1600, Battery Cells 240, twin propellers.
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SS 40
Miss Katherine Duer Kempff to Help Launch New Submarine.
Katharine Duer Kempff. who resided in Washington when her father, Rear Admiral C. S. Kempff U. S. N, was on duty in the hydrographic office here, will be sponsor for the newly constructed submarine Cachalot (SS-170), to be launched next month at the Portsmouth, N. H navy yard. Admiral Kempff is now commandant at Portsmouth. The Navy Department said the exact date of the launching of the Cachalot has not yet been set. The submarine was authorized by Congress in 1916, but funds for her construction were not made available until recently.
Link courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from Evening Star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, 21 September 1933, Image 21, via
SS 170
NR Real Wine Christens New Sub
For the first time since the country went dry, a bottle of real champagne is used to christen a United States ship. The pretty wielder of the bottle is Miss Catherine Duer Kempff, daughter of Rear Admiral Kempff, and the new ship is the U. S. submarine Cachalot (SS-170), shown as it entered the water at Portsmouth, N. H.
Image and text provided by University of North Texas; Denton, TX.
Photo from Brownsville Herald. [volume] (Brownsville, Tex.) 1910-current, 26 October 1933, Image 6, via
Cachalot 461k The Cachalot (SS-170) is launched at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., on 19 October 1933. Photo courtesy of David Wright.
Cachalot 253k The Cachalot (SS-170) makes her way past the dock following her launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., on 19 October 1933.
Note: There is a split in the side of the superstructure on Cachalot. The outer cover panel for the folding accomodation ladder is missing. These superstructure mounted ladders were a common feature on the V-boats.Cachalot (SS-170) following her launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., on 19 October 1933.
Text i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman & David Johnston (USN, retired)
Insert photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of David Wright.
Cachalot 155k Commemorative postal cover marking Cachalot's (SS-170) launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., 19 October 1933. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Cachalot 16k Commemorative postal cover marking Cachalot's (SS-170) commissioning at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., 1 December 1933. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Cachalot 459k Stern view of the Cachalot (SS-170), seen here on seatrials off the Isle Of Shoals, New Hampshire, circa 1933/34. A breaking wave is just about covering her name. The break in the deck superstructure is where the fold down boarding ladder is to be placed.
In the background, to the left of the conning tower, Star Island can be seen with the Oceanic Hotel. At the far left at the top edge of the photo Lunging Island can just be made out. This places the Cachalot on an Easterly heading just off the north shore of White Island to the south and out of the photo to get this perspective. To the right the horizon has been painted out by the newspaper artists. There a number of small "tweaks" made by the newspaper artists to enable the photo to print with better definition.
Text courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Photo courtesy of Erminio Bagnasco book, "Submarines of WW II", submitted by Aryeh Wetherhorn.
Cachalot 1.14k Cachalot (SS-170), leaving the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, for a 5000-mile endurance test, 7 March 1934. Photograph # 19-N-14689, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Cachalot 353k Cachalot (SS-170) with the tug Pennacook about to enter the drydock at Portsmouth N.H. Navy Yard, 9 July 1934.
Note the loop antenna (a pair of insulated lines) extending from the frame forward to stubs atop the bridge, as well as the flat top lines extending up to the telescoping mast. Part of the after loop is also visible. These radio antennas severely limited machine gun arcs of fire for submarine air defense.
Partial text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
USN photo courtesy of
Cachalot 117k Cachalot (SS-170), circa mid 1930's. Photo and text from The World Encyclopedia of Submarines by John Parker courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Cachalot 258k She looks to be moored someplace in the Caribbean or Panama, most likely mid 1930's. Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman.
Cachalot 37k Commemorative postal cover marking Independence Day aboard the Cachalot (SS-170), 4 July 1936. Courtesy of
Cachalot 77k Photo by W.O. Waterman of the Cachalot (SS-170) at the U.S. Naval Training Station at San Diego, CA., sometime after 17 October 1934 & between 16 June 1937, when she joined the Submarine Force, U.S. Fleet. USN photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandfather, Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. served aboard the Cachalot at New London Naval Yard in the mid 1930's and was lost at sea while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Argonaut417k Holland (AS-3) with seven submarines alongside, in San Diego harbor, California, possibly around 24 December 1934. The submarines are (from left to right):
Cachalot (SS-170);
Dolphin (SS-169);
Bass (SS-164);
Bonita (SS-165);
Nautilus (SS-168); and
Narwhal (SS-167)
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
SS-170,163,164,165,168 & 167 94k Holland (AS-3) in San Diego harbor, California, circa 1935. Submarines alongside are (from outboard to inboard):
Cachalot (SS-170);
Bass (SS-164);
Bonita (SS-165);
Nautilus (SS-168); and
Narwhal (SS-167).
Closest ship in the nest of destroyers at far right is Yarnall (DD-143).
Photograph NH # 82789, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Navy Day 78k Commemorative postal cover marking:
Bass (SS-164);
Dolphin (SS-169);
Porpoise (SS-172);
Argonaut (SS-169);
Nautilus (SS-168);
Cuttlefish (SS-171)
Barracuda (SS-163);
Narwhal (SS-167)
Bonita (SS-165); &
Cachalot (SS-170)
on Navy Day, 27 October 1935.
Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Cachalot 614k Port side view of the Cachalot (SS-170).
She is missing her deck gun, which should have been on the aft deck. The numerals used to paint her hull number are in a non standard font. The whole aft end of the boat seems photographically distorted. The tip of the stern is actually turned in the wrong direction and appears to be upside down! There seems to be a crease in the photo on the far right and this may be affecting the shape of the stern. But it almost looks as if the photo has been deliberately altered or censored.
This is a pre-war photo as she has received none of the wartime alterations. It was definitely taken after 1935 because the boat is painted black. I would have said that it was taken 1938-41 because she is carrying her hull number, but since it looks altered we may have to 2nd guess that.
Text i.d. courtesy of David Johnston (USN, retired)
USN photo thanks to Jim Kurrasch @ Battleship Iowa, Pacific Battleship Center.
Cachalot 27k Operating until 1937 principally on the west coast, Cachalot (SS-170) engaged in fleet problems, torpedo practice, antisubmarine, tactical, and sound training exercises. She cruised twice to Hawaiian waters and once to the Canal Zone to participate in largescale fleet exercises. This commemorative postal cover marks the occasion of the Cachalot's first visit to Hawaii, 30 November 1936. Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Argonaut233kCachalot (SS-170) circa 1930's.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
SS-17127kCommemorative postal cover marking the Cachalot (SS-170) & Cuttlefish (SS-171) celebration of Xmas & New Years, 1938. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Cachalot 27k Commemorative postal cover marking Xmas & New Year 1938-9 aboard the Cachalot (SS-170). Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Fleet Problem XX 43k Commemorative postal cover marking Snapper (SS-185), Stingray (SS-186), Skipjack (SS-184), Plunger (SS-179), Cachalot (SS-170), Salmon (SS-182), Perch (SS-176) & Pollack (SS-180) participating in Fleet Problem XX, 28 January 1939. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
AS 3 59k Panoramic photograph of Holland (AS-3) moored at Buoy 19, San Diego, CA, 1940, with eleven submarines alongside. Submarines are (from left to right):
Salmon (SS-182);
Seal (SS-183);
Stingray (SS-186);
Perch (SS-176);
Pollack (SS-180);
Cachalot (SS-170);
Cuttlefish (SS-171);
Skipjack (SS-184);
Sturgeon (SS-187);
Snapper (SS-185)

and Sargo (SS-188).
SS-182 through SS-187 were members of Submarine Division 15, commanded by R.W. Christie. Richmond (CL-9), flagship of the Commander Submarine Force, Pacific, is in the right distance.
USN photo # NH 68481, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of US Naval Institute, James C Fahey Collection.
Pearl Harbor106Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii view looking northward, with the Navy Yard industrial area in the foreground and the Marine Barracks in the lower right, 28 July 1942. Ford Island is at left, with Oklahoma (BB-37) and Arizona (BB-39) under salvage nearby. San Diego (CL-53) is in the upper center.
West Virginia (BB-48) is in Drydock Number One, in the lower left, and California (BB-44) is alongside the wharf at the extreme right. Cruisers alongside the pier in right center are Northampton (CA-26) (left) and Pensacola (CA-24). Submarines alongside 1010 Dock, just beyond Drydock # 1, are Trout (SS-202), Pollack (SS-180), Dolphin (SS-169) and Cachalot (SS-170). Note camouflage on many of the Navy Yard's buildings.
Official USN photo # NH 84002, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of The Honorable James V. Forrestal.
Cachalot 33k Image of the Cachalot (SS-170) from a 8mm home movie on Kodachrome color, circa prewar. Photo courtesy of
Cachalot 559k Cachalot (SS-170), underway off the New England coast where she served as a training ship for the Submarine School at New London, 1943. Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo # 80G-419700, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Cachalot 760k Cachalot (SS-170) served as training ship for the Submarine School at New London after 1943. She appears here in May 1944. Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo courtesy of Hyperwar US Navy in WWII.
170- 204446kMackerel (SS-204) & Cachalot (SS-170) lie in wait before their final tow for scrapping on 24 April 1947, to North American Smelting Co., Philadelphia, PA. They are somewhere on the Delaware River on the New Jersey side. Note the raised drawbridge in the background (just to the left of Mackerel's conning tower), most likely a railroad bridge.
The Cachalot is inboard, probably resting on a bank of one of the many creeks. Partially stripped. Her name in raised letters can clearly be seen.
Mackerel looks rigged for a tow.
The black hull yacht like vessel outboard of Mackerel is a mystery. There is some fancy scroll work on her port quarter.
Photo & partial text courtesy of Jim Swank.
Cachalot 44k Cryptologic Technician Operator 3rd Class Evan Allen, assigned to the amphibious assault ship Peleliu (LHA 5) pours the cremated remains of his grandfather Darrell Allen, a Pearl Harbor survivor, over the side of the Utah Memorial during Peleliu's brief port visit to Pearl Harbor on 30 August 2003. Darrell Allen was a Machinist Mate on the submarine Cachalot (SS-170), which was anchored at Berth 1, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on 7 December 1941. The Cachalot was one of four U.S. subs in Pearl Harbor that day. USN photo # N-3228G-005, by Photographer's Mate 1st Class William R. Goodwin. Photo courtesy of

View the Cachalot (SS-170)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway
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
PigBoats.COM TM, A Historic Look at Submarines.

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