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Perch file photo [10755]

Perch (Porpoise-class)

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassPorpoise-class Submarine
Hull NumberSS-176
BuilderElectric Boat Company
Laid Down25 Feb 1935
Launched9 May 1936
Commissioned19 Nov 1936
Sunk3 Mar 1942
Displacement1,370 tons standard; 2,029 tons submerged
Length300 feet
Beam26 feet
Draft15 feet
MachineryFour Winton Model 16-201A 16-cylinder two-cycle diesel engines rated at 1,300hp, 120-cell Gould AMTX33HB batteries, eight General Electric motors rated at 538hp each
Bunkerage351,290 liters
Speed19 knots
Range11,000nm at 10 knots on surface, 10 hours at 5 knots submerged, 36 hours at minimum speed submerged
Armament4x533mm forward torpedo tubes, 2x533mm aft torpedo tubes, 16 torpedoes, 1x102mm 50cal deck gun, 2x2x7.62mm 0.3 cal machine guns
Submerged Speed8.75 knots


ww2dbasePerch was launched in 1936, sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Withers, and commissioned into service later that year with Lieutenant Commander George C. Crawford in command. After her shakedown cruise in the North Atlantic, she joined the Submarine Squadron 6 of the Pacific Fleet in Nov 1937. In the spring of 1938, she participated in the annual fleet problem, during which she also surveyed the Aleutian Islands, entering the Bering Sea on 28 Feb. In the spring of 1939, she operated with other ships on a cruise to the east coast of the United States. In Oct 1939, she departed San Diego, California, United States for Manila, Philippine Islands where she would be made a submarine division flagship. In the summer of 1940, she made a cruise to China, making port call at Qingdao and Shanghai.

ww2dbaseIn early Dec 1941, Perch rendezvoused with and then escorted two transports off Shanghai, China, which transported the 4th Marine Regiment to the Philippine Islands. When Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States, Perch was at the Cavite Navy Yard, Luzon, Philippine Islands. On 10 Dec, she departed the yard just in time to avoid destruction by Japanese aircraft; that evening, she patrolled waters between Luzon and Taiwan, but failed to find targets. Off Hong Kong, she detected a Japanese merchant ship during the night of 25 Dec and fired a spread of four torpedoes, but none of them hit. Before the year ended, she fired a torpedo at a merchant ship and scored a hit, but attacks from Japanese escort vessels prevented her from confirming the kill. En route to Darwin, Australia, she attacked several targets, but did not score any kills. Her next patrol took her to Celebes, where she scouted the harbor and made several unsuccessful attempts to get through the narrow entrance into the harbor. During a night attack on a large merchant ship off of the eastern coast of Celebes, she was hit in the superstructure by a high explosive round, blowing away the bridge deck and damaged her radio antenna; she remained on the surface during the night for repairs, and was not found by Japanese ships.

ww2dbaseOn the evening of 1 Mar, Perch surfaced 30 miles northwest of Surabaya, Java and began to move toward a Japanese convoy landing troops on the Java coast. She was detected the Japanese, and two destroyers approached her. As she dove, depth charges were dropped, disabling the starboard motors and causing flooding. She surfaced at 0200 hours on 2 Mar, only to be discovered again and forced to dive; as her lost oil and air reached the surface, the Japanese thought she had already broken apart and moved on. In the early morning of 3 Mar, after emergency repairs, she made a test dive that almost destroyed her; as repairs continued, two Japanese cruisers and three Japanese destroyers found her and began firing. Without the ability to dive, the commanding officer David A. Hurt ordered his crew to abandon the submarine. The entire crew of 59 was captured by the Japanese; only 6 of them survived the prisoner of war camp.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2010

Perch (Porpoise-class) Operational Timeline

19 Nov 1936 Perch (Porpoise-class) was commissioned into service.
28 Feb 1938 USS Perch entered the Bering Sea.
1 Mar 1942 USS Perch was depth charged by two Japanese destroyers 30 miles northwest of Surabaya, Java; her starboard motors were damaged and she took on flood waters.
2 Mar 1942 USS Perch surfaced at 0200 hours, only to be forced to dive by Japanese destroyers. Her leaking oil and air made the Japanese destroyer to believe she had already broken up, and the Japanese destroyers departed the area.
3 Mar 1942 After emergency repairs, USS Perch attempted to make a test dive, but it failed without almost disastrous results. As repairs continued, she was discovered by two Japanese cruisers and three Japanese destroyers. Commanding officer David A. Hurt gave the abandon ship order, sinking the ship and giving up himself and his crew, totaling 59 men, to the Japanese.
24 Jun 1942 USS Perch was struck from the Naval Vessel Register of the US Navy.
23 Nov 2006 The wreck of USS Perch was located by accident by an international team of divers off the coast of Java; they were actually in search of the wreck of HMS Exeter.


USS Perch underway, circa fall of 1936USS Perch off Groton, Connecticut, United States about the time of her completion, circa fall 1936, photo 1 of 2
See all 9 photographs of Submarine Perch (Porpoise-class) (SS-176)

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Sean M. KellyI says:
2 Feb 2011 04:54:09 PM

Served on USS Rock AGSS 274, was on board when USS Rock hit the USS Diodon port side of USS Nereus AS-17, late 60's. Have the orginal plaques from USS Rasher and USS Thresher.

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Submarine Perch (Porpoise-class) (SS-176) Photo Gallery
USS Perch underway, circa fall of 1936USS Perch off Groton, Connecticut, United States about the time of her completion, circa fall 1936, photo 1 of 2
See all 9 photographs of Submarine Perch (Porpoise-class) (SS-176)

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