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NavSource Online:
Submarine Chaser Photo Archive


Call sign:
Nan - Xray - King - Queen


SC-738 served the Navies of the United States and the Philippines

SC-497 Class Submarine Chaser:

  • Laid down 7 March 1942 by Julius Petersen, Nyack, NY
  • Launched 27 June 1942
  • Commissioned USS PC-738, 21 October 1942
  • Reclassified SC-738 in April 1943
  • Struck from the Naval Register 26 February 1946
  • Transferred to the State Department, Foreign Liquidation Commission in May 1948 and transferred to the Philippines
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 148 t.
  • Length 110' 10"
  • Beam 17'
  • Draft 6' 6"
  • Speed 15.6 kts.
  • Complement 28
  • Armament: One 40mm mount, two .50 cal. machine guns, two depth charge projector "Y Guns," and two depth charge tracks
  • Propulsion: Two 880bhp General Motors 8-268A diesel engines, Snow and Knobstedt single reduction gear, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SC-497 161k Exploded view of SC-497 class Subchaser © 1997 Theodore R. Treadwell
    SC-738 47k 11 November 1942 Robert Hurst
    SC-738 175k Off Buna, New Guinea on June 15, 1943
    Photo by ENS Robert B. Woodcock, Executive Officer
    Courtesy of R. B Woodcock
    Naval History and Heritage Commandphoto NH 108699
    Mike Green
    SC-738 204k c. 1943
    Milne Bay, New Guinea
    Photo by ENS Robert B. Woodcock, Executive Officer
    Courtesy of R. B Woodcock
    Naval History and Heritage Command photos NH 108700 and NH 108701
    SC-738 179k
    SC-738 204k c. 1943
    Milne Bay, New Guinea
    Moored portside to an unidentified SC
    Photo by ENS Robert B. Woodcock, Executive Officer
    Courtesy of R. B Woodcock
    Naval History and Heritage Commandphoto NH 108702
    SC-738 104k c. 1946
    Subic Bay, Philippines
    SC-742, SC-743, SC-738 and SC-745 nested at Subic Bay
    Joe Radigan

    There is no DANFS history available for SC-738
    SC-738 in Australian Waters

    Subchaser SC-738 was attached to the 7th Fleet, U.S. Navy and operated in Australian waters performing mostly escort and patrol work up and down the east coast of Queensland. SC-738 operated out of Brisbane for some time during WW II. Lt. Carroll F. Sweet, USN was the Commanding Officer of SC-738.

    On 25 April 1943, SC-738 and another subchaser were escorting a convoy north east from Moreton Bay, near Brisbane. They were running up the coast inside the Great Barrier Reef. Their destination was Townsville in north Queensland.

    The convoy comprised: The Australian Fleet Tanker HMAS Kurumba was the lead ship in the convoy Subchaser SC-738, which was screen commander for the convoy another Subchaser two smaller cargos ships loaded with ammunition "Van Vlissenberg", a coal burning inter-island transport ship from the Netherlands loaded with Australian troops and "Nord", a Norwegian tanker. The Nord was to leave the convoy and berth in Rockhampton. When dawn broke on 25 April 1943, Van Vlissenberg was lagging behind the convoy by about a mile. As they were near Rockhampton, Nord headed west for it destination port. Around this time, Lt. Sweet on SC-738 signalled the other Subchaser and ordered it to "Round up straggler and return". The Subchasers inexperienced newly appointed Commanding Officer, headed west after the Nord rather than heading back to the Van Vlissenberg.

    Lt. Sweet tried to signal the other Subchaser with a signal lamp, but the other SC did not respond. Then the bulb in the signal lamp failed. When they eventually found a replacement bulb they signalled the other Subchaser to "Come back". They saw the signal and turned around, Sweet then ordered them to proceed to the Van Vlissenberg.

    Lt. Sweet then noticed that the other SC had stopped and come about. The SC then signalled "Am picking up survivors. Request permission to search for more."

    Lt. Sweet on SC-738 suddenly realised that the other SC must have been picking up survivors from a ship that had been sunk by a Japanese submarine. Sweet was concerned that the Japanese submarine may have still been in the area. He signalled back "How long". The reply came back "Thirty Minutes" and he responded "Permission granted". While the other SC picked up survivors, SC-738 escorted the rest of the convoy. Sweet ordered the ship to General Quarters and increased speed to increase its patrol area. They closely monitored their sound gear and were on the lookout for any periscopes.

    The other SC picked up the 11 survivors and headed for the Van Vlissenberg. She then returned to her normal position on the port bow of the convoy. The vessel that had been torpedoed was the Australasian Steam Navigation Company vessel, "Kowarra", of 2125 tons. She had been built in Sunderland, United Kingdom in 1916. The unescorted ship had been torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-26 on 24 April 1943 off Fraser Island, with the loss of 21 lives, including the master of the vessel, Captain D. McPherson. It had left Bowen headed for Brisbane. The 11 survivors were picked up by the other subchaser.

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Patrol Craft Sailors Association
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back to the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Ship Index Back to the 110' Submarine Chaser (SC) Photo Index

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    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by Tom Bateman
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