Allied Warships

Growler (SS-215)

Submarine of the Gato class


USS Growler in May 1943

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassGato 
Pennant215 
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered1 Jul 1940 
Laid down10 Feb 1941 
Launched2 Nov 1941 
Commissioned20 Mar 1942 
Lost8 Nov 1944 
History

On 8 November 1944 a wolfpack, headed by USS Growler (Cdr. Thomas Benjamin Oakley, jr.) closed a Japanese convoy for attack, with Growler on the opposite side of the enemy from USS Hake (SS 256) and USS Hardhead (SS 365). The order to commence attacking was the last communication ever received from Growler. After the attack was underway, Hake and Hardhead what sounded like a torpedo explosion and then a series of depth charges on Growler's side of the convoy, and then nothing. All efforts to contact Growler for the next 3 days proved futile and the gallant submarine, veteran of seven successful war patrols, was listed as lost in action against the enemy, cause unknown.

Growler is possibly sunk by the Japanese destroyer Shigure (offsite link), the Japanese frigate Chiburi (offsite link) and the Japanese corvette Kaibokan No.19 off Mindoro, Philippines.

 

Commands listed for USS Growler (215)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Howard Walter Gilmore, USN20 Mar 19427 Feb 1943 (+)
2T/Lt.Cdr. Arnold Frederick Schade, USN7 Feb 194323 Apr 1944
3Lt.Cdr. Thomas Benjamin Oakley, Jr., USN23 Apr 19448 Nov 1944 (+)

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Notable events involving Growler include:


6 Apr 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore, USN) departed New London, Connecticut and arrived Newport, Rhode Island.

9 Apr 1942
Having completed her torpedo trials, USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore, USN), returned to New London, Connecticut from Newport, Rhode Island.

5 May 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore, USN) departed New London, Connecticut for the Panama Canal Zone.

15 May 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore, USN) transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Balboa.

29 Jun 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. Howard Walter Gilmore) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Alaskan waters.

5 Jul 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Arare (offsite link) and damaged the Japanese destroyers Kasumi (offsite link) and Shiranuhi (offsite link) off Kiska, Aleutians in position 52°00'N, 177°40'E.

17 Jul 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) ended her 1st war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

5 Aug 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Formosa.

25 Aug 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Senyo Maru (2904 GRT) about 20 nautical miles south of Takao, Formosa in position 22°33'N, 120°10'E.

31 Aug 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant Eifuku Maru (5866 GRT) in Formosa Strait in position 25°43'N, 122°38'E.

4 Sep 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) torpedoed and sank the Japanese ammunition ship Kashino (10360 tons) in Formosa Straits about 50 nautical miles north-east of Keelung, Formosa in position 25°43'N, 122°38'E.

7 Sep 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant Taika Maru (2204 GRT) about 25 nautical miles north-west of Keelung, Formosa in position 25°31'N, 121°38'E.

30 Sep 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) ended her 2nd war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

23 Oct 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Solomon Islands area.

10 Dec 1942
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) ended her 3rd war patrol at Brisbane, Australia.

1 Jan 1943
USS Growler (Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) departed from Brisbane for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Truk-Rabaul shipping lanes.

16 Jan 1943
USS Growler (Cdr. H.W. Gilmore) torpedoed and sank the Japanese passenger/cargo ship Chifuku Maru (5857 GRT) about 10 nautical miles north of Waton Island in position 04°00'S, 151°55'E.

7 Feb 1943
USS Growler is damaged by accidental ramming of the Japanese store ship Hayasaki and gunfire from the same vessel about 70 nautical miles northwest of Rabaul in position 03°34'S, 151°09'E. During this action, Growler's commanding officer, Cdr Howard Walter Gilmore, is mortally wounded and 2 others killed and 2 wounded. Rather than further hazard his ship, he orders Growler taken down. For his gallantry, Gilmore is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously.

Citation: For distinguished gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Growler during her Fourth War Patrol in the Southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943. Boldly striking at the enemy in spite of continuous hostile air and antisubmarine patrols, Comdr. Gilmore sank one Japanese freighter and damaged another by torpedo fire, successfully evading severe depth charges following each attack. In the darkness of night on 7 February, an enemy gunboat closed range and prepared to ram the Growler. Comdr. Gilmore daringly maneuvered to avoid the crash and rammed the attacker instead, ripping into her port side at 11 knots and bursting wide her plates. In the terrific fire of the sinking gunboat's heavy machineguns, Comdr. Gilmore calmly gave the order to clear the bridge, and refusing safety for himself, remained on deck while his men preceded him below. Struck down by the fusillade of bullets and having done his utmost against the enemy, in his final living moments, Comdr. Gilmore gave his last order to the officer of the deck, "Take her down." The Growler dived; seriously damaged but under control, she was brought safely to port by her well-trained crew inspired by the courageous fighting spirit of their dead captain.

The XO (Lt.Cdr. Arnold Frederick Schade) takes over command and Growler is forced to terminate her patrol. She entered Brisbane on 17 February for repairs.

19 Jun 1943
While on her 5th war patrol USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Schade) torpedoed and sank the Japanese the transport ship Miyadono Maru (5196 GRT) about 200 nautical miles north-north-west of Mussau Island in position 01°38'N, 148°14'E.

7 Nov 1943
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Schade) ended her 7th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She was sent to the Hunters Point Navy Yard for overhaul.

21 Feb 1944
With her overhaul completed USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Schade) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 8th war patrol.

10 Apr 1944
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Schade) sank a Japanese auxiliary vessel with gunfire in position 24°28'N, 144°42'E.

16 Apr 1944
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Schade) ended her 8th war patrol at Majuro Atoll.

14 May 1944
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. Thomas Benjamin Oakley, Jr.) departed from Majuro for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Philippine Sea.

29 Jun 1944
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. T.B. Oakley, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport Katori Maru (1920 GRT) in Luzon Strait in position 19°00'N, 121°42'E.

16 Jul 1944
USS Growler (Lt.Cdr. T.B. Oakley, Jr.) ended her 9th war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

11 Aug 1944
USS Growler (Cdr. T.B. Oakley, Jr.) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 10th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Formosa.

12 Sep 1944
USS Growler (Cdr. T.B. Oakley, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Shikinami (offsite link) about 240 nautical miles south of Hong Kong in position 18°25'N, 114°30'E and the Japanese frigate Hirado (870 tons, offsite link) about 250 nautical miles east of Hainan Island in position 17°54'N, 114°49'E.

26 Sep 1944
USS Growler (Cdr. T.B. Oakley, Jr.) ended her 10th war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.

20 Oct 1944
USS Growler (Cdr. T.B. Oakley, Jr.) departed Fremantle for her 11th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

Media links


The Last Patrol

Holmes, Harry


U. S. Submarines in World War II

Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


U.S. Submarines Through 1945

Friedman, Norman


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