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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

Cutlass (SS-478)

Cutlass served both the US Navy and Taiwanese Navy

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Delta - Tango

Tench Class Submarine: Laid down, 10 July 1944, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, on Seavey Island in Kittery, Maine. Launched, 5 November 1944; Commissioned USS Cutlass (SS-478), 17 March 1945; Converted to a Guppy type submarine in 1948; Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, 12 April 1973; Transferred (sold) to Taiwan under terms of the Security Assistance Program, 12 April 1973, renamed Hai Shih (791); Final Disposition; As of October 2013 still in service.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

As built to the 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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Cutlass578kThe Cutlass (SS-478) is drawn to the waters at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., 5 November 1944.USN photo # 80-G-448559 from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
605k Crew of Cutlass (SS-478) on conning tower in her original configuration. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Cutlass 63k A clean run boat; crew of the Cutlass (SS-478) stand for inspection at Balboa, Panama, submarine base, April 1946. Photo courtesy of R. Storm Cilley.
Cristobal, C.Z. 125k Several boats at berth at Cristobal, C.Z. Among the boats known to be based there in 1946-47, and what looks to be from left to right are the Conger (SS-477), Cutlass (SS-478), Runner (SS-476) & Amberjack (SS-522). Photo courtesy of Jim Carroll and submitted by Mike Keating.
Cutlass 92k Cutlass (SS-478) surface bow view at the Phila. Navy Yard, 26 March 1948. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Sennet 96k Several boats docked pierside in 1948. From inboard to outboard:
Sennet (SS-408), Runner (SS-476), possibly the Cutlass (SS-478) inboard from the Sea Cat (SS-399).
Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Cutlass 373k Broadside of the Cutlass (SS-478) circa 1948.
USN photo thanks to Jim Kurrasch @ Battleship Iowa, Pacific Battleship Center.
Cutlass592kFrom what can be seen and speculated from the i.d. - 1 July 1948: Cutlass (SS-478) as seen from the deck of the Catoctin (AGC-5) enroute to Pearl Harbor, territory of Hawaii.
According to the limited DANFS info, Cutlass left the Canal Zone 6 January 1948 for local operations at Key West, then entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in March for overhaul and modernization. Arriving at Key West 7 February 1949 she served as test submarine for Operation "Rainbow" evaluating color schemes to enhance livability, a serious problem in new submarines with long submergence capability.
Catoctin stood out of Shanghai, China, 25 November 1945 for Norfolk, where she arrived 28 December. She served from this port as flagship for Commander Amphibious Force, Atlantic, until 18 September 1946, then underwent inactivation. On 26 February 1947, she was decommissioned at Philadelphia, and placed in service in reserve. On 30 December 1959, Catoctin was transferred to the Maritime Administration.
USN photo # 80-G-394300 by Cdr. Edward J. Steichen, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Cutlass1.70kCutlass (SS-478) and friend, circa 1948.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Cutlass111kA fireman aboard the Cutlass (SS-478) demonstrates a reading light, 29 January 1949.
"A bed light for every bunk is the latest thing in sub decoration. Fireman Zane Tippens, aboard the Cutlass, demonstrates how small light (in upper right corner) may be trained directly on book so one man may read while the others sleep.
Photo courtesy of the George D. McDowell Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photographs @
Cutlass874kMembers of Sec. Defense Joint Civilian Orentation Board & members of National War College field trip on board Cutlass (SS-478) latest type GUPPY submarine at NAS Pensacola, Florida, 26 June 1951.Photo # 80-G-428880 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
312k Torpedoman’s Mate Second Class William Meisel prepares to load a torpedo in one of the submarine’s torpedo tubes, circa 1953. Photographed from inside the tube. USN photo # 80-G-688314 courtesy of via Tommy Trampp.
451k Three sailors, including TM2 Ronald St.Martin (on phone), aboard the Cutlass (SS-478), in 1953. Photo courtesy of via Robert Hurst.
425k Quartermaster Seaman Ronald Petroni and Henry Seibert at the submarine’s diving plane control, circa 1953. USN photo # 80-G-688318 courtesy of via Tommy Trampp.
Cutlass 364k Cutlass (SS-478) port side view, circa 50's with step sail as a Guppy type. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Cutlass1.50kMeet the new 1954 Cutlass (SS-478).USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Cutlass 254k British subs visits Norfolk circa middle 1950's plus. Submarines lined up on the pier from outboard to inboard are: Cutlass (SS-478) and Sea Leopard (SS-483) with step sails. Followed by the Sealion (SS-315) & several SSR's which might be the Tigrone (SSR-419) and Burrfish (SSR-312). Both boats are in the Migraine I SSR version. If the last SSR is indeed the Burrfish, then this picture would have been taken sometime in the late spring of 1956.
The USN sailors are in dress whites (indicating the springtime changeover to whites), and the Burrfish departed Norfolk for the last time on 5 June 1956, headed for New London and decommissioning. The tender is Sierra (AD-18), which was always located at the next pier down from the sub pier.
Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of David Johnston (USN, retired)
Hardhead385kStern view: Outboard Hardhead (SS-365) & inboard Cutlass (SS-478) dockside in Genoa, Italy, 1 October 1956. Courtesy of Carlo Martinelli.
802k Oil Painting by artist A.L. Street of Kittiwake (ASR-13) & Cutlass (SS-478) conducting a submarine rescue exercise, circa 1950s-1960s. Text i.d. via David Johnston & John Hummel.
Photo courtesy of Terry Gillispie via Gary Priolo.
Hardhead518kInboard Cutlass (SS-478) & Hardhead (SS-365) outboard, dockside in Genoa, Italy, 1 October 1956. Both boats sailed for the Mediterranean 7 September 1956 to strengthen the 6th Fleet during the Suez crisis. Courtesy of Carlo Martinelli.
Partial text courtesy of DANFS.
Cutlass396kThe Cutlass (SS-478) underway on 9 May 1962, while operating with the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain (CVS-39). Official USN photo # USN 1107442 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command via Robert Hurst.
1.68k Some foursome in Barcelona: From inboard to outboard, front to back: Corporal (SS-346) & Trout (SS-566). Grampus (SS-523) & Cutlass (SS-478). Hissem (DE-400) rises above the Cutlass, early May 1964. Photo by Manuel Galilea. Courtesy of Museu Marítim de Barcelona via Fabio Pena.
Dogfish 580k Submarines at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, P.R., circa 1965. From the bottom: Trigger (SS-564), Requin (SS-481), Cutlass (SS-478); Other side of pier Tench (SS-417) and Dogfish (SS-350). Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Sailfish 886k Orion (AS-18) at Naval Station Norfolk, VA. during a change of command ceremony with the following submarines alongside.
Inboard to outboard:
Sailfish (SSR-572),
probably Cutlass (SS-478),
Runner (SS-476),
Cobbler (SS-344),
Argonaut (SS-475),
Requin (SS-481) & Barbero (SSG-317).
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 92321 courtesy of Robert Hurst via Gary Priolo.
Marlin349kCutlass (SS-478), Trutta (SS-421), Odax (SS-484),Tirante (SS-420), Marlin (SST-2) & Mackerel (SST-1), alongside for inspection. Wright Langley Collection. Florida Keys Public Libraries. Photo # MM00046694x via Robert Hurst.
Cutlass 603k The destroyer Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) (pierside) & the Cutlass (SS-478) at Monte Carlo meet, circa 1969. Photo courtesy of Steve Durfee via Steve Carlson.
Cutlass978kCutlass (SS-478) on 6 June 1972.USN photo # NPC K-94597 courtesy of Scott Koen &
Hai Shih (SS-791)
Cutlass 70k The Republic of China Navy (Taiwan) invited the press to see the 60-year-old submarine Hai Shih (791) on 7 November 2005. Photo courtesy of Yu-Lun Miao, staff reporter for the Brocasting Cooperation of China (BCC).
Cutlass 692k Broadside view of the Hai Shih (791) on September 2019. Photo courtesy of Taiwan Keelung via Gary Priolo.

View the Cutlass (SS-478)
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
San Francisco Maritime National Park Association
Tench Class Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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