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USS Bluefish (SS-222)

Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine

United States | 1943

"USS Bluefish survived the latter-half of World War 2 to be recommissioned again in 1952 and ultimately scrapped in 1960."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/13/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Gato-class submarines of the United States Navy (USN) proved ultra-critical to Allied victory in the Pacific against the mighty Empire of Japan. Seventy-seven boats were completed to the Gato standard and these were built from 1940 until 1944, in commission from 1943 to 1969. Some twenty were lost during service with fifty-seven ultimately seeing retirement. Six of the group went on to be preserved as floating museums or otherwise. Some of the group saw service in foreign hands including the navies of wartime enemies Italy and Japan as well as friendlies in Greece and Brazil.

USS Bluefish was one of the many boats in the class constructed for service in World War 2 (1939-1945). She was a diesel-electric attack submarine by design, relying on diesels for surface travel and electric motors/batteries for undersea work. The batteries required the vessel to surface for recharging - a common limitation of attack submarines of the day as the action presented a most vulnerable target to enemy warplanes and destroyers/sub-hunters.

USS Bluefish displaced 1,525 tons (long) when surfaced and 2,425 tons when submerged. Her length was 311.8 feet with a beam of 27.2 feet and a draught of 17 feet. Power was from 4 x General Motors model 16-248 series V16 diesel engines and 4 x General Electric motors (with reduction gears) and 2 x 126-cell Sargo batteries. This allowed for surfaced speeds up to 21 knots and submerged speeds of 9 knots. Range was out to 11,000 nautical miles, giving the boat a good reach in the vast Pacific. It could go a full two days submerged and out of sight of the enemy which maintain a complete 75-day patrol schedule overall. The hull was tested to depths of 300 feet.

USS Bluefish was laid down on June 5th, 1942 by Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut and launched on February 21st, 1943. She was commissioned on May 24th, 1943 and serve through the end of the war in August of 1945.

Internally she carried a crew of sixty with six officers and 54 enlisted personnel. Armament centered on 10 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes with six launchers facing the bow and four facing the stern. This allowed the boat to engage targets both in front and behind her without having the boat turn completely around to face them. For surfaced, close-in work, a 3" (76mm) /50 caliber gun was installed on her deck. For Anti-Aircraft (AA) protection, she carried 1 x 40mm Bofors autocannon and 1 x 20mm Oerlikon autocannon.

Well-armed, fast and designed for long endurance in deep water, Bluefish represented a formidable foe. She was ever-present in the Pacific Theater of War and participated in a total of nine war patrols with over 50,000 tons of enemy goods claimed to her name. Some of her victims included the torpedo boat IJN Kasasagi, the destroyer IJN Sanae and the seaplance carrier IJN Hayasui. In her last wartime action, she successfully engaged a Japanese submarine chaser near Sumatra. For her service in the Grand War, USS Bluefish and her crews were awarded ten Battle Stars.

After the war she was made part of the 16th Fleet and underwent repairs at Groton. She returned to operational service in 1946 but was set in reserve status during early 1947 until recommissioned in January of 1952 and added to the numbers of Submarine Division 82 as part of the Atlantic Fleet. From there she joined Submarine Division 41 in the Caribbean. The boat finally went out of commission in late 1953, was struck from the Naval Register in 1958 and sold for scrap in 1960.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for USS Bluefish (SS-222).
4 x General Motors Model 16-248 V16 diesel engines; electrical generators; 2 x 126-cell Sargo batteries; 4 x General Electric electric motors; 2 x shafts.
21.0 kts
24.2 mph
Surface Speed
9.0 kts
10.4 mph
Submerged Speed
11,297 nm
13,000 miles | 20,921 km
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of USS Bluefish (SS-222).
311.8 ft
95.04 meters
O/A Length
27.2 ft
8.29 meters
17.0 ft
5.18 meters
Displacement (Submerged)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of USS Bluefish (SS-222).
10 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes (six bow-mounted, four stern-mounted) (24 x torpedo reloads).
1 x 76mm /50 caiber (3") deck gun
1 x 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft (AA) gun
1 x 20mm Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft (AA) gun
Ships-in-Class (77)
Notable series variants as part of the USS Bluefish (SS-222) family line as relating to the Gato-class group.
USS Gato (SS-212); USS Greenling (SS-213); USS Grouper (SS-214); USS Growler (SS-215); USS Grunion (SS-216); USS Guardfish (SS-217); USS Albacore (SS-218); USS Amberjack (SS-219); USS Barb (SS-220); USS Blackfish (SS-221); USS Bluefish (SS-222); USS Bonefish (SS-223); USS Cod (SS-224); USS Cero (SS-225); USS Corvina (SS-226); USS Darter (SS-227); USS Drum (SS-228); USS Flying Fish (SS-229); USS Finback (SS-230); USS Haddock (SS-231); USS Halibut (SS-232); USS Herring (SS-233); USS Kingfish (SS-234); USS Shad (SS-235); USS Silversides (SS-236); USS Trigger (SS-237); USS Wahoo (SS-238); USS Whale (SS-239); USS Angler (SS-240); USS Bashaw (SS-241); USS Bluegill (SS-242); USS Bream (SS-243); USS Cavalia (SS-244); USS Cobia (SS-245); USS Croaker (SS-246); USS Dace (SS-247); USS Dorado (SS-248); USS Flasher (SS-249); USS Flier (SS-250); USS Flounder (SS-251); USS Gabilan (SS-252); USS Gunnel (SS-253); USS Gurnard (SS-254); USS Haddo (SS-255); USS Hake (SS-256); USS Harder (SS-257); USS Hoe (SS-258); USS Jack (SS-259); USS Lapon (SS-260); Mingo (SS-261); USS Muskallunge (SS-262); USS Paddle (SS-263); USS Pargo (SS-264); USS Peto (SS-265); USS Pogy (SS-266); USS Pompon (SS-267); USS Puffer (SS-268); USS Rasher (SS-269); USS Raton (SS-270); USS Ray (SS-271); USS Redfin (SS-272); USS Robalo (SS-273); USS Rock (SS-274); USS Runner (SS-275); USS Sawfish (SS-276); USS Scamp (SS-277); USS Scorpion (SS-278); USS Snook (SS-279); USS Steelhead (SS-280); USS Sunfish (SS-281); USS Tunny (SS-282); USS Tinosa (SS-283); USS Tullibee (SS-284); USS Golet (SS-361); USS Guavina (SS-362); USS Guitarro (SS-363); USS Hammerhead (SS-364)
Global operator(s) of the USS Bluefish (SS-222). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.
National flag of the United States

[ United States ]
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Image of the USS Bluefish (SS-222)
Image courtesy of the United States Navy image archives; Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
USS Bluefish (SS-222) Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine appears in the following collections:
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