Allied Warships

Blackfin (SS-322)

Submarine of the Balao class


USS Blackfin as completed

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassBalao 
Pennant322 
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered6 Jun 1942 
Laid down27 May 1943 
Launched12 Mar 1944 
Commissioned4 Jul 1944 
End service15 Sep 1972 
History

Decommissioned 19 November 1948.
Recommissioned, 15 May 1951.
Decommissioned and stricken 15 September 1972.
Sunk as a target.

 

Commands listed for USS Blackfin (322)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1T/Cdr. George Hays Laird, Jr., USN4 Jul 194420 Dec 1944
2T/Lt.Cdr. Conde Leroy Raguet, USN20 Dec 194422 Dec 1944
3T/Lt.Cdr. William Lawrence Kitch, USN22 Dec 194419 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Blackfin include:


The history of USS Blackfin as compiled on this page is extracted from her patrol reports.

This page was last updated in January 2017.

16 Jul 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) shifted from New London, Connecticut for Newport, Rhode Island where she was to cunduct her torpedo firing trials.

19 Jul 1944
Having completed her torpedo firing trials, USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN), returned to New London, Connecticut from Newport, Rhode Island.

24 Jul 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted a deep submergence test in the New London area.

2 Aug 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) is put on the slipway at New London.

3 Aug 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) is put back in the water.

14 Aug 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) departed from New London bound for Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone.

23 Aug 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) arrived at Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone.

26 Aug 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) transits the Panama Canal and then sets course for Pearl Harbour.

11 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) arrived at Pearl Harbor.

16 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Le Hardy (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Holtz, USNR).

17 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Le Hardy (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Holtz, USNR), USS Allen (Lt. J.A. Rowe, USNR) and USS Blackfish (Cdr. R.F. Sellars, USN).

20 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Greiner (Lt.Cdr. L.H. Kiser, USN).

21 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Charles R. Greer (Cdr. A. Jackson, Jr., USNR), USS Tisdale (Lt.Cdr. J.S. Hatfield, USNR).

22 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Charles R. Greer (Cdr. A. Jackson, Jr., USNR), USS Tisdale (Lt.Cdr. J.S. Hatfield, USNR) and USS Besugo (Cdr. T.L. Wogan, USN).

24 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Charles R. Greer (Cdr. A. Jackson, Jr., USNR), USS Hemminger (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Bodler, USNR) and USS Sea Fox (Cdr. R.C. Klinker, USN).

25 Sep 1944
During 25/26 Spetember USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Charles R. Greer (Cdr. A. Jackson, Jr., USNR), USS Hemminger (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Bodler, USNR), USS Connolly (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Collier, USNR), USS Allen (Lt. J.A. Rowe, USNR) and USS Sea Fox (Cdr. R.C. Klinker, USN). These exercises included night exercises.

27 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Charles R. Greer (Cdr. A. Jackson, Jr., USNR), USS Connolly (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Collier, USNR) and USS Sea Fox (Cdr. R.C. Klinker, USN).

30 Sep 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Philippines.

For daily and attack positions (though incomplete) for USS Blackfin during this patrol see the map below.

10 Oct 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) arrived at Saipan.

12 Oct 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) departed Saipan for her patrol area. She was escorted out by USS Roe (Cdr. J.P. Craft, Jr., USN).

1 Nov 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese tanker Unkai Maru No.12 (2745 GRT, built 1943) and the Japanese auxiliary vessel Caroline Maru (320 GRT, built 1936) west off Mindoro in position 12°54'N, 120°10'E.

These ships were part of convoy M-246 (Tarakan - Manila) consisting of, besides themselves, oilers Takasago Maru No.2 (834 GRT, built 1944), Nanshin Maru No.8 (834 GRT, built 1943), Nanko Maru No.1 (834 GRT, built 1944) and Horai Maru No.7 (834 GRT, built 1944). They were escorted by patrol boat PB-2 and submarine chasers CH-5 and CH-31.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0634 hours - In position 12°54'N, 120°10'E sighted smoke on the horizon bearing 168°(T). Closed to investigate. Heard pinging to the southward.

0649 hours - Went to battle stations torpedo.

0708 hours - Sighted a single mast.

0715 hours - Picked up the target by sound. Range was about 18000 yards. Also a second mast was sighted. Continued to close. Soon more masts were sighted.

0801 hours - The target was now seen to be an emeny convoy with three or four ships and two escorts. Later even more ships were sighted.

0821 hours - In position 12°54'N, 120°10'E fired six bow torpedoes. Three torpedoes explosions were heard after correct running intervals. The result could not be observed as depth control was lost.

0824 hours - Heard another torpedo hit, possibly a hit on one of the escorts. Depth charging started shortly afterwards. During the next hour and 32 minutes a total of 45 depth charges were dropped but none were close.

1102 hours - Four more depth charges were dropped.

1142 hours - Started to return to periscope depth.

1205 hours - Two escorts were heard coming closer. Went deep again.

1300 hours - Sound lost contact.

1323 hours - Again started to return to periscope depth.

1340 hours - Periscope depth. Nothing in sight.

7 Nov 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) claimed to have damaged a large tanker in a torpedo attack north-west of Palawan Island.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0906 hours - In position 11°19'N 118°26'E sighted the mast of a ship bearing 216°(T). Range about 20000 yards. Went to battle stations torpedo and changed course to intercept.

0911 hours - Heard echo ranging from two ships.

0914 hours - Sighted escort ahead of the target, probably a destroyer.

0923 hours - Sound picked up screws.

0925 hours - Sighted a second escort on the starboard flank of the target. The target was now seen to be a large and modern tanker.

1002 hours - Rigged for silent running. Sighted a third escort on the port flank.

1013 hours - In position 11°19'N, 118°26'E fired five bow torpedoes (six were intended but the outer door of tube no.4 would not open).

1016 hours - Heard one torpedo explosion at the correct interval. Rigged for depth charging.

1020 hours - Two depth charges exploded but not close. Blackfin was still at periscope depth. The escorts had no idea where she was.

1021 hours - Another depth charge was dropped.

1022 hours - Went deep.

1030 hours - One escort crossed our bow and dropped a string of 9 depth charges fairly close.

1108 hours - Pinging was getting weaker.

1129 hours - At periscope depth. Nothing in sight.

27 Nov 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) arrived at Darwin, Australia.

29 Nov 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) departed Darwin for Fremantle.

4 Dec 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) ended her 1st war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.

20 Dec 1944
USS Blackfin (Cdr. G.H. Laird, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle. Upon returning to harbour the Commanding Officer was placed on the sick list.

21 Dec 1944
During 21/22 December 1944, USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. C.L. Raguet, USN), conducted exercises off Fremantle together with USS Besugo (Cdr. T.L. Wogan, USN) and USS Hardhead (Cdr. F.A. Greenup, USN).

23 Dec 1944
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle.

24 Dec 1944
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle.

25 Dec 1944
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) conducted exercises off Fremantle.

26 Dec 1944
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

For daily and attack positions (though incomplete) for USS Blackfin during this patrol see the map below.

29 Dec 1944
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) arrived at Exmouth Gulf. While getting alongside the oiler she damaged her port propellor. Repairs were not possible at Exmouth Bay and Blackfin had to return to Fremantle to be docked.

1 Jan 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) arrived at Fremantle where she was immediately docked.

2 Jan 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) was undocked and departed Fremantle to resume her 2nd war patrol.

5 Jan 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) topped off with fuel at Exmouth Gulf before she departed for her patrol area later the same day.

8 Jan 1945
In the evening, USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN), made the northbound passage of Lombok Strait on the surface.

24 Jan 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Shigure (offsite link) about 120 miles east of Khota Bharu, Malaya in position 06°00'N, 103°48'E.

Also two hits were claimed on tanker Sarawak Maru (5135 GRT, built 1943) but this appears to be incorrect.

Shigure was part of the escort of Sarawak Maru together with the frigates the frigates Kanju, Miyake and Kaibokan 13.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0502 hours - In position 06°00'N, 103°48'E obtained SJ radar contact bearing 325°(T), range 20000 yards. Commenced tracking. Enemy course 180°(T), speed 14 knots.

0503 hours - Sound picked up pinging from the direction of the target.

0515 hours - Sent out a contact report to USS Besugo and USS Hardhead.

0523 hours - There were now four targets on the radar, one large pip and three smaller ones. Range 17000 yards.

0550 hours - Turned in to attack.

0609 hours - Commenced firing three torpedoes from 1500 yards. The first torpedo hit the intended target.

0610 hours - Sighted an escort dead ahead. Shifted target. Fired two torpedoes at this escort. The first of these two torpedoes hit the intended target which was immediately enveloped in a large cloud of white smoke.

Shortly afterwards heard a second explosion thought to be a hit in the Original target, a large tanker. Blackfin now went ahead full to clear the area.

0612 hours - An enormous cloud of black smoke emerged from the spot where the escort was hit.

0614 hours - Fired three stern torpedoes at the tanker.

0617 hours - Heard and observed one hit in the after part of the tanker. One of the escort now opened fire on Blackfin for the next five minutes.

0711 hours - Submerged.

15 Feb 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Subic Bay, Philippines. She was escorted in by USS Holt (Lt.Cdr. V. Blue, USNR).

2 Mar 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) contucted trials and exercises off Subic Bay.

6 Mar 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed from Subic Bay for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea. She was escorted out by USS Dyson (Cdr. L.E. Ruff, USN).

For daily and attack positions (though incomplete) for USS Blackfin during this patrol see the map below.

28 Mar 1945
While on patrol off the south-east coast of Indo-China and in pursuit of a Japanese convoy, USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN), is damaged by depth charges. As a result of this she is forced to terminate her patrol.

(All times are zone H, -8)
0850 hours - In position 12°37'N, 109°28'E sound picked up pinging bearing approximately 230°(T).

0913 hours - Sighted masts of two escort vessels bearing 220°(T). Range was about 15000 yards.

0919 hours - Went to battle stations.

0959 hours - By now a convoy of two freighters and eight escorts was in sight. The two freighters were well inshore.

1005 hours - Rigged for silent running. Enemy course was 030°(T), speed 8 knots.

1023 hours - One of the escorts was seen to turn towards at a range of 1200 yards. Went deep and rigged for depth charging.

1024 hours - Seven depth charges were dropped, very close and causing serious damage.

1326 hours - Depth charging ceased. A total of 79 were counted.

2037 hours - Surfaced.

4 Apr 1945
In the evening, USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN), made the southbound passage of Lombok Strait on the surface.

9 Apr 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Fremantle.

7 May 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed from Fremantle for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Singapore. She returned later the same day due to defects. After repairs she left Fremantle to resume her 4th war patrol the next day.

No map can be displayed for this patrol, the patrol report holds only a few positions.

12 May 1945
During the night of 12/13 May 1945, USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN), made the northbound transfer of Lombok Strait on the surface.

17 May 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) was ordered to proceed to Subic Bay for repairs to her main engines and motors.

21 May 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) arrived at Subic Bay.

31 May 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) conducted engine trials off Subic Bay. These were unsatisfactory and it was decided to sent Blackfin to the Pearl Harbour Navy Yard for proper repairs.

2 Jun 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed Subic Bay for Pearl Harbour.

20 Jun 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) ended her 4th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. She was escorted in by USS PC-485 (Lt. J.D. Swan, USNR).

17 Jul 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 5th war patrol. She was to patrol in the Yellow Sea.

For daily and attack positions for USS Blackfin during this patrol see the map below.

21 Jul 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) arrived at Midway.

24 Jul 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) conducted exercises off Midway together with USS Loeser (Lt.Cdr. J. Proctor, USNR), USS Sicard (Lt. A.G. Fenley, USNR), USS PC-778 (Lt. F.J. Whittlessey, USNR), USS ATR-26 (Lt. R. MacLetchie, USNR), USS ATR-63 (Lt. R.W. Coffey, USN), USS Muskalunge (Cdr. W.H. Lawrence, USN) and USS Tilefish (Cdr. W.F. Schlech, Jr., USN).

25 Jul 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) conducted exercises off Midway together with USS Loeser (Lt.Cdr. J. Proctor, USNR), USS Sicard (Lt. A.G. Fenley, USNR), USS PC-778 (Lt. F.J. Whittlessey, USNR), USS ATR-26 (Lt. R. MacLetchie, USNR), USS ATR-63 (Lt. R.W. Coffey, USN).

29 Jul 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed from Midway bound for Saipan.

7 Aug 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) arrived at Saipan where she was docked to replace her starboard propellor.

11 Aug 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed Saipan for her patrol area. She was escorted out by USS PC-782 (Lt. J.E. Ferguson, USNR).

5 Sep 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) ended her 5th war patrol at Guam. She was escorted in by USS LCI(L)-603 (Lt.(jg). H.E. McMath, Jr., USNR).

6 Sep 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed Guam for Pearl Harbour.

16 Sep 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) arrived at Pearl Harbour.

18 Sep 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) departed Pearl Harbour for San Diego.

25 Sep 1945
USS Blackfin (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Kitch, USN) arrived at San Diego.

Media links


U. S. Submarines in World War II

Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


U.S. Submarines Through 1945

Friedman, Norman


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