- USS Whale (SS-239)
USS "Whale" (SS-239), a "Gato"-class
submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navyto be named for the whale, an extremely large, aquatic mammalthat is fishlike in form. Her keel was laid down on 28 June 1941by the Mare Island Naval Shipyardof Vallejo, California. She was launched on 14 March 1942sponsored by Mrs. A.D. Denny, wife of Captain A.D. Denny, the commanding officer of the shipyard, and commissioned on 1 June 1942with Lieutenant Commander John B. Azer(Class of 1930) in command.
Dock trials and initial shakedown training commenced on
30 July. The submarine—escorted by destroyer USS|Kilty|DD-137|3—departed San Francisco, California, on 4 Augustand arrived at San Diego, California, two days later. Between 30 Julyand 9 September, she conducted type training in the San Diego and San Francisco areas.
First war patrol, October – November 1942
"Whale" got underway from San Francisco on
23 Septemberand arrived at Pearl Harborfour days later. The submarine departed Hawaiion 9 October 1942, headed via Midway Islandfor Japanese home waters, and conducted training dives and battle surface drills en route. She arrived at her assigned patrol area off Kii Suidoon 25 Octoberand began to reconnoiter the vicinity which had been designated for a naval minefield. Her original plans had called for the submarine to lay mines 20 miles offshore. However, after sighting several outbound freighters about one mile from the coast, executive officer Frederick "Fritz" Harlfinger II(who later commanded Trigger convinced Azer that the mines be planted as close in as possible. Hence Whale's first war patrol was conducted "within spitting distance" of the Japanese beach. "Whale" was the first American submarine to plant mines in Japan's home waters. During the war, no one on the American side knew how effective these mines proved to be, but a postwar analysis of Japanese shipping records credited "Whale"'s minefield with sinking five enemy ships.
The following day, "Whale" arrived at
Seto Sakihoping to intercept some inbound freighter traffic. By the light of a full moon, she sighted a large freighter directly ahead and fired a three-torpedo spread at the target. Two torpedoes hit the cargo ship, and she went down by the bow with her screws emerging. "Whale" sighted a second target astern of the freighter, fired three torpedoes, and observed the target listing slightly to port and heading for the beach. "Whale" fired a stern shot at a third freighter and heard a heavy torpedo explosion after 43 seconds.
27 Octoberto 29 October, "Whale" patrolled the entrance to Bungo Suido. On 30 October, ten miles off Ichie Saki, "Whale" spotted two freighters and a torpedo boat escort; she fired two torpedoes at each of the ships, scoring only one hit. The torpedoes alerted the escort which bore down on the submarine and attacked her with depth charges. A 17-hour chase ensued in which "Whale", although badly damaged, managed to shake the torpedo boat three times.
After an unsuccessful search for a disabled
sampan, "Whale" made rendezvous with an escort and proceeded to Pearl Harborwhere she underwent repairs from 10 November 1942through 2 January 1943. The next day, "Whale" got underway from the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, bound for the Marshall Islands. After conducting training dives and drills en route, she arrived in the Wotjeand Kwajaleinarea on 10 Januaryfor two days' patrol off those atolls.
econd war patrol, January – February 1943
13 January 1943, "Whale" began cruising the shipping lane from Kwajaleinto Truk. She sighted a freighter and pursued her quarry for 117 miles before finally managing to work into position dead ahead of the target. She then fired four torpedoes. The first hit struck the freighter aft and broke off about 100 feet of the stern; the second struck just forward of the bridge; and the fourth also exploded on target. Within six minutes, 3550-ton "Iwashiro Maru" sank, and "Whale" resumed her voyage toward Truk, running submerged.
"Whale" conducted surface patrols on the Truk-Empire shipping lanes until
17 Januarywhen she sighted a passenger-freighter bringing in troop reinforcements. Through the periscope, "Whale" observed hundreds of uniformed soldiers crowding the decks. She fired nine torpedoes and scored eight direct hits which were necessary to sink the 9815-ton "Heiyo Maru". The cargo must have been of such a nature as to prevent her from sinking more rapidly.
The next seven days were spent patrolling the
Caroline Islands. On 25 Januarywhile on a surface patrol along the Truk–Empire line, "Whale" sighted smoke in the bright moonlight and fired a three-torpedo spread from the stern tubes at the target. Only one torpedo scored a hit. The tanker, "Syoyo Maru", sent up a flare which summoned an escort to her rescue. "Whale" went deep and sustained light damage from several depth charges.
The following evening, "Whale" sighted the smoke of a steamer about 16 miles on her starboard bow. She closed and fired one torpedo. A dull thud was heard throughout the boat, and no explosion occurred. On the morning of
27 January, the submarine fired a three torpedo spread but heard no explosions. A fourth torpedo failed to explode, and the target, "Shoan Maru" turned away and presented a 180-degree angle. "Whale" fired a fifth and sixth torpedo and the latter passed directly below the target's stern and must have run under its full length without detonating. The Japanese ship then began dropping depth charges as she drew away. "Whale" fired the last remaining torpedo which hit the target just abaft her stack, causing her to lose power. Apparently, "Shoan Maru" sank as a result of this attack, for "Whale" was credited with the kill. After this action, "Whale" set her course for Midway Islandwhere she arrived on 2 February 1943and commenced preparations for her next patrol.
Third war patrol, February – April 1943
Refitting was completed on
16 February. Four days later, Lt. Cmdr. John B. Azer was relieved of command by Lt. Cmdr. Albert C. Burrows. On the last day of the month, after various test dives and underway tests, "Whale" got underway for the Mariana Islandson her third war patrol. She arrived off Tanapag Harbor, Saipan Island, on 10 Marchand began patrolling the shipping lanes between the Mariana Islandsand Japan.
On the evening of
19 March, "Whale" sighted two large freighters and one torpedo boat or destroyer escort. Just after daylight the next morning, the submarine finally worked into a favorable attack position, fired spreads of three torpedoes at each freighter, and hit both. The first target, tentatively identified as "Mogamigawa Maru", sank rapidly by the stern. The second, a cargo ship resembling "Arizona Maru", was plagued by several heavy internal explosions following a second torpedo hit. "Whale", mistaking these secondary explosions for bombs, went deep. Upon discovering the mistake, she started to surface but was greeted by a barrage of depth charges from the escort. She dove again but again came under attack—this time from the air—when she attempted to return to examine the wreckage. The submarine suffered extensive damage during this attack—which prevented her learning the fate of her targets—her closest escape, by far.
Nevertheless, "Whale" continued to patrol shipping lanes to Kobe and
Tokyoand, while off Tanapag Harboron the evening of 22 March, she sighted the masts of two ships and the smoke of a third, all leaving the harbor. "Whale" tried to close but lost contact. The next morning, "Whale" gained a position ahead of two freighters and fired two spreads of three torpedoes each. Two hits were observed on each target, one under each stack and a second under each stern. The closer freighter, "Kenyo Maru", blew up with a tremendous explosion and sank in four minutes leaving no survivors. Part of the stern of the farther ship blew convert|60|ft|m|0 into the air, and she appeared to be sinking slowly by the stern as she signaled rapidly with a blinker light.
Fearing the approach of an escort, "Whale" fired a fourth torpedo which ran "hot, straight and normal"—for one minute, then circled, heading back in the direction of "Whale". "We went to 120 feet and prayed", the commanding officer later reported. The erratic torpedo changed its mind after reaching "Whale"'s beam and headed back for the freighter, finally exploding. The target was awash from stern to stack and on fire forward. At morning twilight, the ship was still burning with her bow up and her stern under.
The submarine spent the next two days patrolling Kobe-Saipan, Empire-Truk shipping routes. On the morning of
25 March, she sighted the smoke of a small freighter and pursued it throughout that entire day and the next, firing seven torpedoes at the target, all misses. Either the target's draft had been overestimated or the torpedoes ran too deep, or both. This poor torpedo performance was bitterly disappointing to the submarine's crew. "The thought of the fuel expended," her commanding officer lamented, "on the long, endaround runs, coupled with the loss of the torpedoes themselves, made 'heartbreaking' but an inadequate euphemism."
28 March, "Whale" was on the surface, intending to cross the Saipan-Truk route, when she spotted the smoke of a small freighter headed for Truk. She fired a three torpedo spread; the target made an unanticipated zig, and all three torpedoes missed. A lack of fuel forced "Whale" to abandon her quarry, and she headed north along the Empire–Truk route.
"Whale" headed homeward on
31 March, and she arrived at Midway Islandon 6 April. She refueled there, had her last torpedo removed, and sailed for Hawaiithe following day conducting daily training of gun crews and test dives for radio reception en route. She arrived at Pearl Harboron 11 Apriland underwent refitting, subsequent tests, and then training. "Whale" got underway westward again on 5 Mayand arrived at Midway Islandfour days later to undergo repairs to her hydraulic system and her air search radar. "Whale" departed Midway Islandto begin her fourth war patrol on 10 May.
Fourth war patrol, May – June 1943
"Whale" was ordered to take station 30 miles east of
Wake Islandat 05:00, on 16 May, to assist in guiding in the Army Air Corps B-24 Liberatorbombers to that island for a bombing attack and to pick up the crews from any shot-down or seriously damaged planes. She arrived on 15 Mayand was ordered to remain on the surface until released by the Bombardment Group Commander or attacked by the enemy. "Whale" sat surfaced in broad daylight until 09:45 waiting for the bombing to commence. At that time, observers on the submarine saw a flight of seven Liberator bombers heading for Wake, and the attack began. Radar picked up a contact at 11 miles and coming in fast. As "Whale" submerged, a bomb exploded 500 yards astern of the submarine, causing no damage. At 19:22, "Whale" received a message releasing her from duty, and she proceeded to the Saipanarea.
20 Mayto 24 May, "Whale" patrolled the shipping lanes between Japan, Truk, and Saipan. On the latter day, she conducted a search for a submarine basereportedly on Rota; found nothing; then surfaced and headed for Guam.
The following day, "Whale" sighted the masts of three ships in the harbor at
Apra, Guam, anchored in such a way as to be protected by reef islands. A retriever type sampanappeared to be the only antisubmarine measure. Waiting outside the harbor, "Whale" sighted and then tracked the 3580-ton freighter "Shoei Maru". At 00:14 on 26 May, "Whale" fired her first torpedo which hit with a blinding, orange flash midway between the stack and bow of the freighter. The explosion blew the ship's entire bow away, and she sank in four minutes with no survivors.
5 June, "Whale" sighted the masts of a seaplane tender, and she tracked and closed the target. The submarine fired four torpedoes, scoring three hits. The target's screws stopped instantly, and powerful, rumbling explosions came from the target. However, the tender must have managed to limp to port since postwar study of Japanese records did not confirm a kill. An escort was "running wild" toward "Whale", so she went deep and eluded her pursuer.
The submarine spent the next three days patrolling the Saipan area and, on
8 June, set a course for the Empire–Truk route through the Mariana Islands. The next day, she sighted the masts and kingposts of two large freighters about 800 to 1000 yards abeam of each other with an escort ahead of and between them. "Whale" fired three torpedoes at the first freighter, scoring two hits. She then shifted to the second freighter and fired the fourth, fifth, and sixth torpedoes. Tremendous explosions from the first ship were followed by two more explosions. The submarine commander concluded that one or more of the latter spread of torpedoes—aimed at the second freighter—hit the first, already damaged target. "Whale" fired another three-torpedo spread at the second freighter and soon heard two heavy explosions followed by a deep, rumbling detonation with the accompanying water noises which suggested that a ship was breaking up. "Whale" then headed eastward and touched at Midway Islandon 17 June, before continuing on toward Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harboron 21 Juneand commenced refitting.
Fifth war patrol, July – September 1943
After almost a month there, "Whale" returned to
Midway Island, completed her refitting, and sailed for the Tokyo– Trukshipping lanes to begin her fifth war patrol. Stormy weather, heavy seas, and poor visibility persisted from 4 Augustto 6 August. A wave came over and covered the entire bridge structure, and large amounts of water flooded into the conning tower and down to the control room and the pump room. "Whale" headed southwest, to the east of the Bonin Islands. The continual pounding in heavy seas had cracked a number of battery jars, bringing the total of disabled cells to ten forward and 13 aft.
7 August 1943, "Whale" covered the Tokyo-Truk lane east of the Bonins. The following day, "Whale"'s periscope watch sighted a large aircraft ferry and her escort. When everything was set to fire a spread of straight bow shots, the forward gyro regulator failed, and it was necessary to shift to manual operation of the gyro regulator. After one torpedo hit, 7149-ton "Naruto Maru" stopped dead in her tracks, listed to starboard and started going down slowly by the stern. "Whale" fired another torpedo which hit amidships and prodded the ship into sinking faster. The submarine escaped aircraft bombs and set course for the Tokyo-Truk route.
9 Augustthrough 19 August, she patrolled the Tokyo-Truk route, the Bonin area, and the East China Seawhere, on 20 August, she was caught in a typhoon. She weathered the three-day storm with her only severe problem being a low main storage battery. On 24 August, "Whale" positioned herself 20 miles west of Kusakaki Shimaand intercepted an enemy convoy headed for Nagasaki. "Whale" fired a salvo of four torpedoes and, other than hearing four explosions, did not manage to ascertain their effect. The ships were last seen going over the horizon, and pursuit was impractical due to the submarine's proximity to Nagasaki and the condition of her battery.
"Whale" was en route to
Midway Islandwhen she sighted two large cargo ships and a destroyer escort. She fired a salvo of three torpedoes, followed by a fourth stern shot. All four shots missed, and "Whale" continued toward her home port, touching at Midway Islandon 2 Septemberand pushing on toward Hawaiithe following day. "Whale" arrived at Pearl Harboron 7 Septemberand commenced a major overhaul which lasted until 7 December.
ixth war patrol, December 1943 – February 1944
"Whale" arrived at
Midway Islandon 25 December 1943and departed for her sixth war patrol. For two weeks, "Whale" patrolled the Tokyo–Truk shipping lanes, Minami Shima, and the Mariana Islands, Nansei and Bonin Islandsareas. On 14 January 1944, she received a dispatch from submarine USS|Seawolf|SS-197|3 stating that a convoy was headed in Whale's direction. "Seawolf" attacked the convoy the next day and sank a tanker, expending all of her torpedoes. Nevertheless, "Seawolf" continued to trail the convoy; and "Whale" made radar contact on 16 January. "Whale" fired three torpedoes and sank the larger of the freighters, "Denmark Maru". However, she suffered minor damage from an ensuing barrage of depth charges. "Seawolf" verified the sinking and reported that the last freighter headed south alone. Since she lacked torpedoes, "Seawolf" unsuccessfully tried to engage the freighter with gunfire. However, she assisted "Whale" by driving the freighter in "Whale"'s direction and by passing along the target's zig plan and speed. "Whale" fired four straight bow shots with one hit observed between the bow and stack. Four other explosions were heard and assumed to be either internal explosions or the torpedoes. The target seemed undamaged except for a slight trim down by the bow, and it was imperative that the ship be sunk expeditiously in order to avoid further depth charges by the escorts. "Whale" fired another stern shot which hit squarely under the stack, and the target, "Tarushima Maru", started down by the bow while "Whale" filmed her sinking. However, a postwar analysis of Japanese losses does not credit "Whale" with this kill.
"Whale" patrolled the
Mariana Islandsand the Bonin Islandsfrom 18 Januaryto 23 January. On 24 January, she made contact with an enemy submarine and attempted an end-around, but her maneuver was thwarted by a fire in the trim pump which filled the control room with smoke, forcing "Whale" to surface. Two days later "Whale"—low on fuel—headed for Midway Island. She arrived there on 3 Februaryfor refitting. Lt. Cmdr. John B. Grady relieved Commander Albert C. Burrows as commanding officer on 9 February. A casualty to the starboard propeller necessitated a trip to Pearl Harbor, and it was not until 13 Marchthat "Whale" returned to Midway Island, the staging port for her seventh patrol.
eventh war patrol, March – May 1944
The next day, "Whale" got underway for a rendezvous point where she joined submarine USS|Pollack|SS-180|3 on
23 Marchand patrolled along a likely shipping route east of Tori Shima and the Bonin Islands. On 25 March, "Whale" changed course, passed between Tokara Shima, entered the East China Seaon 29 March, and conducted patrols off the western coast of Kyūshū, including Quelpart Islandand Iki Shima. On 8 April, she torpedoed an unescorted freighter, "Honan Maru", which exploded and sank within 15 seconds. Nine days later, "Whale" made contact with two small destroyers or torpedo boats but was unable to close. She headed toward Nagasaki and patrolled uneventfully until 23 Aprilwhen she was detected by a patrol boat 12 miles east of Asuseki Shima. "Whale" "turned tail at high speed and soon lost contact." She proceeded toward the Bonin Islandsand made rendezvous with destroyer escort USS|Fair|DE-35|3 on 2 May. The following day, she entered Majurofor refitting and a three-day training period.
Eighth war patrol, May – July 1944
Ready for sea, "Whale" departed on
28 Mayfor her eighth war patrol with destroyer USS|Cassin|DD-372|3 as escort. She released the destroyer the following day and proceeded to the Japanese home islands. On 7 June, she made contact with a convoy traveling in two parallel columns: four freighters in the starboard column and two in the port. They were screened by three escorts. "Whale" chose the largest ship, a transport of about 10,000 tons, as her first target. She fired a three-torpedo spread, then shifted to a second freighter and fired another three-torpedo spread. A hit under the stack of the first target was followed by two timed hits on the second target. Immediately, depth charges began to drop, "Whale" cleared the area to the southeast and later received a report of a crippled freighter in tow 120 miles north of her.
12 Juneto 4 July 1944, "Whale" patrolled off the southern coasts of Japan. She sighted several Japanese aircraft and a properly lighted hospital ship. On 5 July, "Whale" surfaced and set course for Midway Islandwhere she arrived on 11 July. She pushed on toward Hawaiithe following day and arrived at Pearl Harborafter a four-day passage. An extensive refitting lasted until 12 Augustand was followed by training exercises.
Ninth war patrol, August – October 1944
"Whale" got underway on
24 Augustfor her ninth patrol. Shortly before, Admiral William "Bull" Halsey had requested a sizable force of submarines to form a reconnaissance line between the western Caroline Islandsand the Philippine Islandsto act as offensive scouts during Operation "Stalemate", the invasion of the Palau Islands. This flotilla, nicknamed the "Zoo", consisted of nine submarines organized into three wolf packs under the overall command of Captain Charles W. ("Weary") Wilkins in submarine USS|Seahorse|SS-304|3. "Whale" and USS|Segundo|SS-398|3 joined Wilkins' own pack, which was known as the "Bears."
"Whale" arrived at
Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, on 3 Septemberand the next day got underway in company with the other "Bears" and coastal minesweeper USS|Heed|AMC-100|3 which acted as their escort. She proceeded to a rendezvous with USS|Barbero|SS-317|3 on 8 Septemberabout 45 miles from Samar Island, Philippines. She spent the next eight days making emergency repairs and conducting training dives, patrolling on station, and submerging to avoid detection by unidentified aircraft.
17 September, the position of the "Bear Pit" was changed to the southeast of Formosa; and "Whale" arrived on station on 20 September. Four days later, she received orders to disband and proceed as a coordinated attack group of four submarines called the "Bears" to "Convoy College", the north end of the South China Sea, between Luzon, Formosa, and the Chinese mainland. She entered those strategic waters on 25 Septemberand, the following day, she surfaced in Bashi Channel, 41 miles from Y'Ami Islandof the Batan Islands, and proceeded to her patrol station south of Garan Bi, Formosa. On 27 September, "Whale" evaded a small patrol craft and the next day submerged for a periscope patrol 60 miles south of Formosa. On 29 September, she made rendezvous with "Seahorse", received written instructions for conducting the remainder of the patrol; and set her course for a new station southwest of Formosa. The submarine arrived on station on 3 Octoberand submerged some 60 miles north of Cape Borjeador, Luzon, and patrolled around Calayan and Dalupiriislands in the Babuyangroup.
"Wilkins' Bears" searched the
Luzon Straiton 6 Octoberand found a convoy of at least nine ships. Using a high periscope, "Whale" could see two large tankers, a large tender, and two "Hibiki"-class destroyers patrolling ahead of the tanker. "Whale" fired six bow tube shots at the tanker, then submerged quickly to avoid detection. The escorts dropped 34 depth charges, none of which was uncomfortably close. Meanwhile, "Seahorse" verified the sinking of "Whale"'s target, "Akane Maru", and sank a destroyer herself that was picking up survivors from the tanker.
The next day, "Whale" received a message extending her patrol for seven days and ordering her to rendezvous with submarines USS|Aspro|SS-309|3 and USS|Cabrilla|SS-288|3 in the area northwest of Luzon on
9 Octoberand 10 October, respectively. On 16 October, "Whale" was harassed throughout the day by plane contacts and ordered to take a new station at the southwest end of Nansei Shotoin anticipation of a Japanese fleet sortiewhich never occurred. Three days later, "Whale" was ordered to head for Midway Islandfor refitting, and she arrived there on 29 October.
Tenth war patrol, November 1944 – January 1945
"Whale" got underway on
21 Novemberfor her tenth war patrol. She reached the Ryukyus on 4 Decemberand operated off those islands through the end of the year. On 22 December, she sighted eight twin engine planes and three trawlers. She fired four torpedoes without scoring a hit and then cleared the area. The following day, while submerged 12 miles southeast of Nakano Jima, "Whale" sighted four trawlers. She went to gun-action stations and fired at the ships using four-inch and .50-caliber guns. None of the fishing vessels fought back, and all were sunk within 80 minutes.
4 Januaryand 5 January 1945, "Whale" and sister ship USS|Kingfish|SS-234|3 searched unsuccessfully in the waters near Sufu Ganfor a life raft containing 11 survivors of a downed B-29 Superfortress. There were heavy seas and visibility was only 500 yards, and the B-29 did not answer calls on the lifeguard frequency. Its failure greatly hampered the rescue operation. On 6 January, "Whale" received orders to proceed via Midway Islandto Hawaii, arriving at Pearl Harboron 15 January. She soon pushed on to the west coast and entered the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, on 26 January 1945for an overhaul.
Eleventh war patrol, June – August 1945
Pearl Harborvia San Francisco, California, the submarine's hydraulic plant required an overhaul and delayed departure on patrol for one month. Meanwhile, Lt. Cmdr. Freeland H. Carde, Jr., relieved Cmdr. James B. Grady. On 15 June, fully loaded with provisions and torpedoes, "Whale" commenced her 11th war patrol. En route to the Mariana Islands, "Whale" conducted training drills—emphasizing evasive dives from aircraft—and battle surface drills. She arrived at Saipanon 21 Juneand, the next day, commenced patrolling across the Japan– Wake Islandsupply lines until 30 Junewhen she headed for Guam. She arrived at Guamon 6 Julyand got underway the following day for lifeguard duty. From 8 Julyto 23 July, "Whale" conducted lifeguard patrols in the areas of Nanpō Islands, Mariana Islands, and Bungo Suido. "Whale" sighted several American B-29 Superfortressand B-24 Liberatorbombers overhead. She also encountered a few freighters afloat but could not get in position to attack. On occasion at night, she spotted Japanese planes that were searching the water for lights. Fortunately throughout this period, "Whale" rescued 15 downed aviators, saving several under adverse conditions. For example, on 26 July, while going in close for a rescue, "Whale" sighted 43 floating naval mines in 20 minutes, many close aboard. As a result of this lifeguard duty, "Whale" discovered many flaws in the air-sea rescue doctrine and made several noteworthy recommendations to improve future operations.
"Whale" commenced patrol east of
Okino Shimaon 30 Julyand ran into heavy seas: "Couldn't hold our own with this current, so took soundings each half hour." On 4 August, she submerged for patrol off Bungo Suidoand, four days later, made rendezvous with submarine USS|Dragonet|SS-293|3 to take on board a rescued pilot. On 9 August, "Whale" received 16 aviators and one patient who were transferred from submarine USS|Blackfish|SS-221|3, using a rubber boat with lines on bow and stern for propulsion. On 11 August, "Whale" received orders to proceed to Saipanfor fuel and to Midway Islandfor refitting. She arrived at Saipanon 14 August. The next day, President of the United States Harry S. Trumanannounced the final Japanese capitulation. "Whale" sailed in company with submarine USS|Scabbardfish|SS-397|3 for Hawaiiand arrived at Pearl Harboron 25 August 1945.
Post-war operations, August 1945 – 1960
Pearl Harboron 30 August, bound for the Panama Canal, and arrived there on 14 September. After a three-day stay, "Whale" sailed for New York Cityand arrived at Tompkinsville, Staten Island, on 23 September. In October, she moved north via Newport, Rhode Island, and entered Boston, Massachusetts, harbor on 23 Septemberfor the Navy Day celebration. She arrived at New London, Conn., on 30 October 1945to prepare for inactivation.
"Whale" was decommissioned in January 1947, berthed in
New London, Connecticut, and placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was towed to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she arrived on 8 April 1948. "Whale" made several visits to Portsmouth and New London during the summer, and she finally came to rest at New London on 11 September 1948. The submarine was partially activated from 14 Novemberto 14 December 1956in order to replace submarine USS|Tarpon|SS-175|3. "Whale" departed New London on 12 January 1957and, on 22 January, arrived at New Orleans, Louisiana, where she was recommissioned upon arrival.
"Whale" was decommissioned for the last time in September 1957 and was struck from the
Naval Vessel Registeron 1 March 1960. While at New Orleans, she was sold for scrap on 29 September 1960.
"Whale" earned 11
battle stars during World War II, sinking 57,716 tons of Japanese shipping.
See USS|Whale|SSN-638 for the other ship of the same name.
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/w7/whale-i.htm history.navy.mil: USS "Whale"]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08239.htm navsource.org: USS "Whale"]
* [http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/submar/ss239.txt hazegray.org: USS "Whale"]
* [http://www.rddesigns.com/ww2/whale.html Sinkings by boat: USS "Whale"]
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