Allied Warships

Gunnel (SS-253)

Submarine of the Gato class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassGato 
Pennant253 
Built byElectric Boat Co. (Groton, Connecticut, U.S.A.) 
Ordered1 Jul 1940 
Laid down21 Jul 1941 
Launched17 May 1942 
Commissioned20 Aug 1942 
End service18 May 1946 
History

Decommissioned 18 May 1946.
Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
Stricken 1 August 1958.
Sold 1 December 1959 to be broken up for scrap.

For more on USS Gunnel see also this website (offsite link).

 

Commands listed for USS Gunnel (253)

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

CommanderFromTo
1T/Lt.Cdr. John Sidney McCain, Jr., USN20 Aug 194214 Jul 1944
2Lt.Cdr. Guy Edward O'Neil, Jr., USN14 Jul 194424 Jul 1945

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Notable events involving Gunnel include:


2 Mar 1942
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) arrived at New London, Connecticut from Rosneath, Scotland.

19 Oct 1942
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) departed from New London for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to participate in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.

7 Dec 1942
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) ended her 1st war patrol at Rosneath, Scotland.

22 Jan 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) departed Rosneath, Scotland for New London, Connecticut. She is to be sent to the Portsmouth Navy yard for an overhaul before she is sent to the Pacific.

2 Feb 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) arrived at New London, Connecticut from Rosneath, Scotland.

8 Feb 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) departed New London, Connecticut for the Portsmouth Navy Yard for engine repairs and refit.

22 Mar 1943
With her engine repairs and refit completed, USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN), departed the Portsmouth Navy Yard for New London, Connecticut.

23 Mar 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) arrived at New London, Connecticut from the Portsmouth Navy Yard.

4 May 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN) transited the Panama Canal.

18 May 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) arrived at Pearl Harbor from New London.

28 May 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the East China Sea.

15 Jun 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant passenger-cargo ship Koyo Maru (6426 GRT) in Tsushima Straits in position 33°55'N, 127°38'E.

19 Jun 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Hong Kong Maru (2797 GRT) and merchant cargo ship Tokiwa Maru (6971 GRT) off Shirase, Japan in position 32°40'N, 126°37'E, and damaged the Japanese coastal minelayer Tsubame (450 tons, offsite link) in position 32°31'N, 126°17'E.

3 Jul 1943
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) ended her 2nd war patrol at Midway. She is sent to the Mare Island Navy Yard for general overhaul and re-engineering, due to continuous problems with her main-engines.

17 Nov 1943
With her overhaul completed USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Honshu in Japanese home waters.

4 Dec 1943
USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese troop transport Hiyoshi Maru (4046 GRT) northeast of Haha Jima in position 29°43'N, 145°54'E.

5 Feb 1944
USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) departed from Midway for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China, Sulu, and Celebes Seas.

6 Apr 1944
USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.

3 May 1944
USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) departed from Fremantle for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China Sea.

6 May 1944

Operation Transom,
Carrier raid against Surabaya by the Eastern Fleet.

On 6 May 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon in two task forces;
Task Force 65, which was made up of the British battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Sommerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), the French battleship Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the British light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN), the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the British destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Penn (Lt. M.J.W. Pawsey, RN), the Australian destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Lt.Cdr. J. Plunkett-Cole, RAN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN).

Task Force 66, which was made up of the British battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet) (went to Task Force 65 the next day), the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN), the US aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (Capt. J.H. Cassady, USN), the British light cruiser HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), the New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quadrant (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Farrington, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and the US destroyers USS Cummings (Cdr. P.D. Williams, USN), USS Dunlap (Cdr. C. Iverson, USN) and USS Fanning (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Bentley, USN).

On 10 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers. During fuelling from HMS Valiant the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen sustained some minor damage (fractured hull plate on her port side) but the crew of the Van Galen was able to effect emergency repairs.

On 15 May 1944, task forces 65 and 66 were fuelled at Exmouth Gulf, Australia by Task Force 67 which was made up of of six Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers; Eaglesdale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941), Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942), Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937), Pearleaf (5911 GRT, built 1917), Appleleaf (5891 GRT, built 1917) and supplyship (used as distilling ship) Bacchus (3154 GRT, built 1936). This force had already left Trincomalee on 30 April and was escorted by the British heavy cruisers HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. A.S. Russell, DSO, RN). They had also been escorted near Ceylon by a local escort for A/S purposes, this local escort had been made up of the British destroyer HMS Rotherham, Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen and the British frigate HMS Findhorn (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Dawson, RD, RNR). The local escort returned to Ceylon on 5 May 1944. The two cruisers mentioned above now joined Task Force 66. Later this day Task Forces 65 and 66 went to sea again for the actual attack on Surabaya. On leaving Exmouth Gulf the fleet was spotted by the merhant vessel Aroona. This ship was now instructed to put into Exmouth Gulf and was held there by HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdale, OBE, RAN) for 24 hours and to impress on the master and crew of this vessel the necessity of not disclosing any information concerning the Fleet on the arrival of their ship at Fremantle (their next port of call).

In the early morning hours of the 17th the carriers launched 45 dive bombers and 40 fighters for an attack on the harbour and oil installations (Wonokromo oil refeniry) of Surabaya, Netherlands East Indies. (USS Saratoga: 12 Avengers (1 had to return with engine trouble shortly after being launched), 18 Dauntless, 24 Hellcats; HMS Illustrious: 18 Avengers (2 of which force landed in the sea shortly after being launched), 16 Corsairs). On the ground they destroyed 12 enemy aircraft (20 were claimed). The damage to the harbour and shipping were over estimated (10 ships were thought to have been hit) as in fact only the small transport ship Shinrei Maru (987 GRT, built 1918) was sunk and patrol vessel P 36, auxiliary submarine chasers CHa-107 and CHa-108, tanker Yosei Maru (2594 GRT, built 1928, former Dutch Josefina) and cargo ships Choka Maru (???? GRT, built ????) and Tencho Maru (2716 GRT, built 1919) were damaged.

On the 18th the US ships were released. The other ships then proceeded to Exmouth Gulf where they arrived to fuel the next day before starting on the return trip to Ceylon less destroyer HMAS Quiberon which was to refit in Australia and was sent to Fremantle.

On 23 May 1944, the Dutch light cruiser Tromp and the destroyers were fuelled at sea by the capital ships and the cruisers.

Task Force 65 and 66 arrived back at Trincomalee on the 27th.

During this operation several US Submarine guarded the passages to the Indian Ocean to spot a possible Japanese counter attack. The submarines deployed for this purpose were the following; In the Sunda Strait from 12 to 23 May 1944; USS Angler (Cdr. R. I. Olsen, USN) and USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr., USN).
South of Lombok Strait from 13 to 20 May 1944; USS Cabrilla (Cdr. W.C. Thompson, Jr., USN) and also the USS Bluefish (Cdr. C.M. Henderson, USN) from 13 May until the night of the 16th.
South of Bali Strait from 17 to 20 May; USS Bluefish.
North of Bali Strait; USS Puffer (Cdr. F.G. Selby, USN) during the night of 16/17 May.

The following US Submarines were deployed in the Surabaya area for air/sea rescue duties; USS Puffer in the Madura Strait about 40 miles to the east of Surabaya.
USS Rasher (Cdr. W.R. Laughton, USN) in the Java Sea about 40 miles to the north of Surabaya. (1)

4 Jul 1944
USS Gunnel (Cdr. J.S. McCain, Jr.) ended her 5th war patrol at Fremantle.

29 Jul 1944
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) departed from Fremantle for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Sibuyan Sea area and off the west coasts of Southern Luzon and Mindoro.

22 Sep 1944
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) ended her 6th war patrol at Fremantle.

21 Oct 1944
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) departed from Fremantle for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China and Sulu Seas.

8 Nov 1944
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese torpedo boat Sagi (offsite link) about 60 nautical miles west of Lingayen Gulf, Philippines in position 16°09'N, 118°56'E.

17 Nov 1944
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) torpedoed and sank the Japanese torpedo boat Hiyodori (offsite link) and the Japanese merchant tanker Shunten Maru (5623 GRT) about 130 nautical miles east of Tourane, French Indochina in position 16°56'N, 110°30'E.

2 Dec 1944
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) lands supplies and evacuates Allied aviators from Palawan, Philippines.

28 Dec 1944
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) ended her 7th war patrol at Pearl Harbor. she is now ordered to the Hunters Point Navy Yard for a major overhaul.

11 May 1945
With her overhaul completed USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) arrived back at Pearl Harbor.

28 May 1945
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) departed from Pearl Harbor for Guam.

9 Jun 1945
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) arrived at Guam.

13 Jun 1945
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) departed from Guam for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Bungo Suido area.

24 Jul 1945
USS Gunnel (Lt.Cdr. G.E. O'Neil, Jr.) ended her 8th war patrol at Guam.

Media links


U. S. Submarines in World War II

Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret


amazon.de
(EUR 40.55)


U.S. Submarines Through 1945

Friedman, Norman


amazon.co.uk
(£ 56.95)

amazon.de
(EUR 58.08)

Sources

  1. Files 2.12.03.6853 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4767 (British National Archives, Kew, London)

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