USS Barb (SS-220)

USS Barb (SS-220)

USS|Barb|SS-220, a "Gato"-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the barbus.

Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 2 April 1942 (sponsored by Mrs. Charles A. Dunn, wife of Rear Admiral Dunn), and commissioned on 8 July 1942, with Lieutenant Commander John R. Waterman (Class of 1927) in command.

Five Atlantic patrols, October 1942–July 1943

"Barb"’s war operations spanned the period from 20 October 1942 until 2 August 1945, during which time she completed 12 war patrols. During her first patrol she carried out reconnaissance duties prior to, and during, the invasion of North Africa. Operating out of Roseneath, Scotland, until July 1943, she conducted her next four patrols against the Axis blockade runners in European waters. "Barb"’s fifth patrol terminated 1 July 1943 and she proceeded to the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, arriving 24 July.

Five Pacific patrols, September 1943–November 1944

Following a brief overhaul period at New London, "Barb" departed for Pearl Harbor where she arrived in September 1943. It was in the Pacific waters that "Barb" found lucrative hunting and went on to compile one of the outstanding submarine records of World War II. During the seven war patrols she conducted in the Pacific between March 1944 and August 1945, "Barb" is officially credited with sinking 17 enemy vessels totaling 96,628 tons. Included were the escort carrier "Unyo" (sunk 16 September 1944) and a frigate.

Eleventh patrol, December 1944–February 1945

The last two war patrols conducted by "Barb" deserve mention. Under Commander Eugene B. Fluckey, her 11th patrol lasted from 19 December 1944 until 15 February 1945, in the Formosa Straits and East China Sea off the east coast of China, from Shanghai to Kam Kit. During this patrol, "Barb" sank four Japanese merchant ships and numerous enemy small craft. On 22 – 23 January "Barb" penetrated Namkwan Harbor on the China coast and wrought havoc upon a convoy of some 30 enemy ships at anchor. Riding dangerously in shallow waters, "Barb" launched her torpedoes into the enemy group and then retired at high speed on the surface in a full hour’s run through uncharted, heavily mined, and rock-obstructed waters. In recognition of this outstanding patrol, Commander Fluckey was awarded the Medal of Honor and "Barb" received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Twelfth patrol, June–August 1945

Upon completion of her 11th patrol "Barb" was sent to the U.S. for a yard overhaul and alterations, which included the installation of convert|5|in|mm|abbr=on|sing=on rocket launchers. Returning to the Pacific, she commenced her 12th and final patrol on 8 June. This patrol was conducted along the coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk. For the first time in submarine warfare, "Barb" successfully employed rockets, against the towns of Shari on Hokkaidō, and Shikuka, Kashiho, and Shiritoru on Karafuto. She also bombarded the town of Kaihyo To with her regular armament, destroying 60 percent of the town. She next landed a party of volunteers who blew up a railroad train; this is notable as the only ground combat operation that took place on the Japanese home islands. For her outstanding feats during this patrol "Barb" was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

Returning to the United States after the cessation of hostilities, "Barb" was placed in commission in reserve 9 March 1946 and out of commission in reserve 12 February 1947 at New London, Connecticut. On 3 December 1951 she was recommissioned and assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, operating out of Key West, Florida. She was placed out of commission 5 February 1954 and underwent the Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program (GUPPY) conversion. Recommissioned 3 August 1954, she served with the Atlantic Fleet until 13 December 1954 when she was decommissioned and loaned to Italy under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program.

"Enrico Tazzoli" (S-511)

The submarine was renamed "Enrico Tazzoli" (S-511) by the Italian Navy, after Enrico Tazzoli.

The submarine was eventually sold for scrap in 1972 for approximately $100,000 (currently $formatnum:Inflation|US|100000|1972|r=-3). Admiral Fluckey noted that had the crew known of this, they would have bought the sub and brought her back to the United States to serve as a museum ship.


"Barb" received the Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, and eight battle stars for her World War II service.


Further reading

"Thunder Below!" by Rear Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey USN

External links

* [ USS "Barb"]
* [ USS "Barb"]
* [ Sinkings by boat: USS "Barb"]
* [ "The Sub That Sank a Train"]
* [ "New York Times" obituary of R.Adm. Fluckey]

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