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  USS Sturgeon SS-187
USN
Salmon-class submarine

1,435 Tons (standard)
2,198 Tons (submerged)
308' x 26' 1 1/4" x 15' 8"
8 x 21" torpedo tubes
with 24 torpedoes
1 x 3" 50 cal deck gun
4 x machine guns

Click For Enlargement
USN May 3, 1943
Ship History
Built by Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Mare Island. Laid down October 27, 1936. Launched March 15, 1938 as USS Sturgeon named for the Sturgeon, sponsored by Mrs. Alice N. Freeman, wife of Charles S. Freeman, Commander, Submarine Force. Commissioned June 25, 1938 in the U.S. Navy (USN) with Lieutenant Commander A. D. Barnes in command.

Afterwards, conducts initial trails in Monterey Bay. On October 15, 1938 began her shakedown cruise to Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica before returning to San Diego on December 12, 1938. Assigned to Submarine Squadron 6 (SubRon 6) then operated off the west coast between California to Washington State. She made two cruises to Hawaii the first July 1, 1939 to August 16, 1939 and the second April 1, 1940 to July 12, 1940. On November 5, 1940 departs San Diego for Pearl Harbor and operates off Hawaii until early November 1941.

On November 10, 1941 departs Pearl Harbor for Manila Bay arriving twelve days later. Attached to SubRon 2, Submarine Division 22 (SubDiv 22). On December 7, 1941 at Mariveles Harbor at the start of the Pacific War.

First War Patrol
On December 8, 1941 in the afternoon got underway from Mariveles Harbor on her first war patrol to an area between the Pescadores Islands and Formosa. On December 9, 1941 spots a tanker but was unable to get within torpedo range. On December 18, 1941 spots five transports escorted by a cruiser and several destroyers but when within range, her periscope was spotted by the escorts and crash dived but was slightly damaged by a depth charged and began silent running to evade further attacks.

Second War Patrol
On December 28, 1941 departs on her second war patrol to the Tarakan area off Borneo.

Third War Patrol
On March 15, 1942 departs her third war patrol to patrol off Makassar.

Fourth War Patrol
On June 5, 1942 at 10:30pm departs Fremantle on her fourth war patrol to patrol northward under the command of Lt. Commander Wright to patrol west of Manila. On June 25, 1942 caught up with a nine ship convoy, fired three torpedoes at the largest ship and heard explosions then dived. Afterwards, survived a depth charge attack by the escorts and escaped with only a few broken gauges aboard.

On June 30, 1942 running on the surface northwest of Cape Bojeador and dives at dawn and surfaces as dusk. At 10:16pm spotted a darkened Montevideo Maru off the west coast of Luzon steaming at 17 knots but is too fast to approach or make an attack and tracks the ship overnight. The ship was not marked to indicate it was transporting Allied prisoners with 1,053 Allied personnel including 845 Australian Prisoners Of War (POW) and 208 civilians were aboard.

On July 1, 1942 around midnight, Montevideo Maru slows to 12 knots in anticipation of meeting a pair of destroyers to escort her. At 3:36am Sturgeon fired a spread of four torpedoes with two hitting in the no. 4 on the starboard side. At 3:37am sink by the stern at roughly Lat 18-35N Long 120-25 roughly 65 miles west of Cape Bojeador on Luzon.

Fifth War Patrol
On September 4, 1942 departs on her fifth war patrol between Mono Island and Shortland Islands.

Sixth War Patrol
On November 30, 1942 departs on her sixth war patrol off Truk. On January 4, 1943 arrives Pearl Harbor ending the patrol.

Seventh War Patrol
On June 12, 1943 departs on her seventh war patrol. On August 2, 1942 arrives Midway ending the patrol.

Eighth War Patrol
On August 29, 1943 departs on her eighth war patrol. On October 23, 1943 returns to Pearl Harbor ending the patrol.

Ninth War Patrol
On December 13, 1943 departs on her ninth war patrol off Japan.

Tenth War Patrol
On April 8, 1944 departs on her tenth war patrol in the Bonin Islands and performs plane guard duty.

Eleventh War Patrol
On June 10, 1944 departs on her eleventh war patrol for Nansei Shoto. On August 5, 1944 returns to Pearl Harbor ending her war patrol.

On August 15, 1944 arrives San Francisco for an overhaul. On December 31, 1944 arrives San Diego then departs via the Panama Canal and arrives at New London on January 26, 1945. Assigned to SubRon 1 and used as a training submarine in Block Island Sound until the end of World War II.

Postwar
On October 30, 1945 enters Boston Navy Yard. On November 15, 1945 decommissioned and on April 30, 1948 struck from the Naval register.

Fate
On June 12 1948 sold to Interstate Metals Corporation, New York, NY and afterwards broken up for scrap metal.

Awards
Sturgeon earned ten battle stars for her World War II service.

References
Naval History and Heritage Command - USS Sturgeon (SS-187)
NavSource - USS Sturgeon (SS-187) (photos)
NARA "U.S.S. Sturgeon War Diary 5 June - 22 July 1942" pages 1-16
(Page 6) "1 July 1942: Proceeding to intercept target [Montevideo Maru] as before. Altered course to gain position ahead of him, and dove at 0146. When he got in periscope range, it could be seen that he was larger than first believed, also that his course was a little to the left of west,..."
(Page 7) "1 July 1942 (Cont). ...leaving us some 5,000 yards off the track. Was able to close some 1,000 yards of this, and then turned to fire stern tubes as:
1. Only 3 tubes available forward, and at this range and with large target 4 fish spread desirable.
2. After tubes had 700# heads, while heads forward were small ones.
At 0225 fired four-torpedo spread, range 4,000 yards, form after tubes. At 0229 heard and observed explosion about 75-100 feet abaft stack. At 0240 observed ship sink stern first. 0250 surfaced, proceeded to eastward, completing battery charge. Ship believed to be Rio de Janeiro Maru [sic Montevideo Maru], or very similar type, although it was a larger ship; he was a big one. A few lights were observed on deck just after the explosion, but there was apparently no power available, and his bow was well up in the air in 6 minutes. Dove at dawn. No further contacts."

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Last Updated
August 1, 2021

 

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