Section I

1-1. This report is one of a series of sixty-two war damage reports prepared by the Bureau covering damage received in action by vessels of the U.S. Navy during World War II. It is the only report of the entire series which deals with war damage sustained by submarines. The remaining sixty-one reports cover cases of significant damage incurred by surface vessels, and include many instances of torpedo damage which may be of interest to submarine personnel who desire information on the destructive effect of their principal World War II weapon, the torpedo.

1-2. As a group, U.S. submarines have established an enviable record in combat, not only in destruction inflicted upon the enemy, but also in their ability to sustain severe attacks without themselves receiving serious damage. Although the basic operational characteristics of our submarines remained substantially unchanged throughout the war years, with the notable exception of considerably increased maximum allowable submergence depth for the SS-285 and subsequent classes, marked advances were achieved in practically every other aspect of submarine and submarine equipment design. Improvements in shock protection have resulted in submarines which are highly resistant to damage short of actual destruction of their pressure hulls.

1-3. It is the purpose of this report, by presenting case histories selected from the great volume of war experience, to illustrate the behavior of U.S. fleet-type submarines in service during World War II when subjected to enemy attack, and in particular, to attack by non-contact underwater explosive charges, since the Japanese anti-submarine forces employed the depth charge and bomb as their principal weapons. Cases of damage by mine, torpedo, gunfire and collision are also included. An effort has been made to present a comprehensive summation of the effectiveness with which our submarines withstood attack, the matériel and design weaknesses revealed by war damage, the damage control problems attendant upon flooding of intact spaces or derangement of vital systems and equipment, and the corrective measures taken to reduce the vulnerability of our submarines to damage. It is hoped that the information presented here will be of value to submarine operating personnel and submarine design, repair and outfitting activities.

1-4. No attempt has been made in this report to evaluate the operational and military characteristics of our submarines in the light of war experience other than by statements of fact when such characteristics were impaired through war damage, nor have casualties incident to normal service operations been discussed. Lessons learned through the recent CROSSROADS Operation, and their possible effect on submarine design, have not been included.


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