USS ARCHERFISH (SS-311)
The first Archerfish (SS-311) was laid down on 22 January 1943 by the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard; launched on 28 May 1943; sponsored by Miss Malvina C. Thompson; and commissioned on 4 September 1943
Lt. Comdr. G. W. Kehl in command.
The submarine held shakedown training through the first part of November off the New England coast
and headed via the Panama Canal for Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 29 November 1943
and joined the Pacific Fleet.
After receiving voyage repairs and undergoing training exercises
Archerfish got underway on 23 December for her first war patrol. She
paused at Midway on the 27th to refuel before proceeding on to her patrol area north of Formosa.
During this patrol she attacked three ships
but scored no kills before returning to Midway on 16 February 1944 for repairs and training.
The submarine stood out of Midway on 16 March 1944 on her second war patrol but encountered no Japanese targets during her 42 days at sea
mostly near the Palau Islands. She returned to the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base
via Johnston Island
on 27 April
to commence refitting.
A month and a day later
Archerfish left Pearl Harbor
bound for the Bonin Islands area and her third patrol. Assigned lifeguard duty during the strikes against Iwo Jima on 4 July
she rescued one drowned aviator before returning to Midway on 15
After a refit alongside tender Proteus (AS-19) and training exercises
Archerfish got underway again on 7 August to begin another patrol. After prowling the waters off Honshu for more than a month without bagging any enemy ships-which by
then had become scarce-the submarine returned to Pearl Harbor on 29 September ending 53 days at sea.
Archerfish left Hawaii on 30 October
visited Saipan on 9 November for quick voyage repairs
and departed two days later to carry out her next patrol on which her
primary mission was to provide lifeguard services for the first B-29 strikes against Tokyo. On the 28th
she received word that no air raids would be launched that day. That evening
the submarine sighted a large Japanese
aircraft carrier screened by four escorts leaving Tokyo Bay. After a dogged six and one-half hour surface pursuit of the elusive
she finally obtained a position ahead of her quarry
took careful aim
and unleashed six torpedoes. Moments later
a great glowing ball of fire climbed up the Japanese ship's
side and the Americans soon heard a series of tremendous explosions
while the enemy vessel disintegrated. Not until after the end of the war did the Americans learn that
0Archerfish had sunk the still unfinished Shinano
a 59000-ton Japanese aircraft carrier
probably the largest warship ever sunk. Archerfish received the Presidential
Unit Citation for this action. The patrol ended at Guam on 15 December after 48 days on station.
While her officers and crew spent the holidays at a rest and recreation camp located on Guam
Archerfish underwent refit at the island. On 10 January 1945
the submarine got underway for her sixth patrol. This mission took her to waters in the S
outh China Sea off Hong Kong and the southern tip of Formosa. She damaged one unidentified target during this patrol which she terminated on 3 March
three days earlier than scheduled
due to bow plane problems. Archerfish touched at Saipan and
Pearl Harbor before arriving back in the United States at San Francisco on 13 March. She then proceeded to the Hunters Point Navy Yard for overhaul and drydocking.
Following completion of the yard work
Archerfish sailed on 14 June 1945 for Oahu. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on
22 June and commenced voyage repairs and training exercises. The submarine got underway on
10 July for her seventh and last war patrol
which she conducted in the area off the east coast of Honshu and the south coast of Hokkaido
providing lifeguard services for B-29 bombers striking the Japanese home islands. She was
still off Hokkaido on 15 August when word of the Japanese capitulation arrived. Archerfish was one of 12 submarines that entered Tokyo Bay on 31 August and moored alongside the tender PROTEUS
near the Yokosuka Navy Yard. After the Japanese surrender ceremony on board battleship Missouri (BB-63) on
Archerfish departed Tokyo Bay
bound for Pearl Harbor
and arrived there on the 12th. She was then assigned to Submarine Squadron 1 for duty and training.
The submarine left Pearl Harbor on 2 January 1946
bound for San Francisco. From her arrival on 8 January until 13 March the ship's force was busy carrying out her preinactivation overhaul. On the latter day
she proceeded to the Mare Island Naval Ship
yard where the final stages of inactivation were completed. Archerfish was decommissioned on 12 June 1946 and placed in the Pacific Reserve Group berthed in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
On 7 January 1952
because of the necessity of augmenting the Fleet resulting from the communist invasion of South Korea
the submarine began preparations for reactivation. She was recommissioned on 7 March and reported for duty to the Pacific Fleet on
the 26th. The next day she sailed for three weeks of shakedown training out of San Diego. However
a fire broke out in her maneuvering room on 28 March
and the ship returned to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard under her own power for a restricted avai
lability to have the damage corrected.
The repairs were completed on 27 May 1952
and Archerfish held shakedown off the west coast. She then transited the Panama Canal and joined the Atlantic Fleet on 3 July. Attached to Submarine Squadron 12
she operated out of Key West
ting such places as Santiago and Guantanamo Bay
Haiti; San Juan
Puerto Rico; and Trinidad
British West Indies. The vessel departed Key West on 25 April 1955 and proceeded to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for decommissioning.
After completing her inactivation overhaul
the ship was towed to New London
and was decommissioned on 21 October 1955.
The submarine was reactivated at New London in July 1957
placed back in commission on 1 August
and again joined Submarine Squadron 12 at Key West. On 13 January 1958
she got underway for a cruise under the technical supervision of the Navy Hydrograp
hic Office. On this deployment
she visited Recife
and Trinidad. Upon completion of that mission she provided services for the fleet training commands at Key West and Guantanamo Bay.
In early 1960
Archerfish was chosen to participate in Operation "Sea Scan
" a scientific study of marine weather conditions
and temperature ranges. She entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in January to be s
pecially equipped for this new mission. During this time
the vessel was redesignated an auxiliary submarine
AGSS-311. Embarking a team of civilian scientists
she commenced the first phase of operation "Sea Scan" on 18 May. On the cruise
ine visited Portsmouth
England; Hammerfest and Bergen
Northern Ireland; and Halifax
before mooring at New London on 3 December.
After six weeks of upkeep
Archerfish got underway on 20 January 1961 for the Pacific phase of Operation "Sea Scan
" transited the Panama Canal on 6 February
and proceeded via San Diego to Hawaii. She left Pearl Harbor on 27 March. During her o
perations the submarine visited Yokosuka and Hakodate
Hong Kong; Subic Bay
Ceylon; and Fremantle
and closed out 1961 moored at Yokosuka.
Phase two of Operation "Sea Scan" continued during the early months of 1962 with operations in the western Pacific area and port calls at Sasebo
and Cebu City
Philippines. Early in March
the submarine completed phase two and proceeded via Pago Pago to Pearl Harbor. On 27 April she entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard for overhaul. After completion of overhaul
the submarine moved to San Diego for a two-week upkeep. She then commenced phase three of Operation "Sea Scan" in the eastern Pacific area
with stops in Pearl Harbor and Midway
and returned to San Diego for the Christmas holidays.
Archerfish departed San Diego on 10 January 1963
bound for Yokosuka
where she began a three-week upkeep period. Following two and one-half months of operations she returned to the United States for a brief visit to San Francisco before reenter
ing Pearl Harbor early in May. Late May and most of June were devoted to surveying off the northwest coast of the United States and Canada
with port calls in Portland
Wash.; and Vancouver
B. C. The submarine was back in Yokosuka for
drydocking in July and August before beginning three months of continuous surveying in the mid-Pacific
broken only by brief fueling and upkeep stops at Midway and Pearl Harbor. She departed Yokosuka on 25 November for an extended cruise to the southe
arrived in Australia in mid-December and took a three-week holiday in Newcastle and Sydney. From the latter port
Archerfish traveled to Guam for a two-week upkeep in late January 1964 and finally reached Pearl Harbor on 5 March.
Departing Pearl Harbor on 30 March
the ship continued "Sea Scan" operations in the eastern Pacific. She visited San Francisco in April and Vancouver
in May before returning to Pearl Harbor on 25 May
ending the third phase of Operation "Sea Scan."
Archerfish began an extended fourth and final phase of Operation "Sea Scan" when she left Pearl Harbor on 17 June and headed for the eastern Pacific. She made port calls during July at Seattle and Olympia
and returned to Pearl Harbor on
19 August for a three-week upkeep and drydocking before undertaking a cruise to the South Pacific. The submarine sailed on 9 September for the Fiji Islands. After briefly touching Suva
she headed for Auckland
for an 11-day visit. Her next stop was Wellington
but she left New Zealand on 19 October and arrived in Yokosuka on 6 November. She got underway again on 27 November to continue survey operations in the Caroline Islands area. After spending New Year's Eve in Guam
the ship sailed for Subic Bay
where she closed the year in upkeep.
For the remaining three and one-half years of her Navy career Archerfish continued carrying out various research assignments throughout the eastern Pacific region. In early 1968
Archerfish was declared unfit for further naval service and
was struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1968. She was sunk off San Diego as a torpedo target by Snook (SS-592) on 19 October 1968.
Archerfish received seven battle stars and one Presidential Unit Citation for her World War II service.
[Note: The above USS ARCHERFISH (SS-311) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS ARCHERFISH (SS-311) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]