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  USS Grunion SS-216
USN
Gato-class submarine

1,526 Tons (surfaced)
2,424 Tons (submerged)
311' 9" x 27' 3" x 17'
10 × 21" torpedo tubes
(6 forward, 4 aft)
with 24 torpedoes
1 x 3" deck gun
2 × .50cal MG
2 × 30cal MG

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USN December 22, 1941

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USN March 20, 1942

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August 2006
Sub History
Laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. Laid down March 1, 1941 as Gato-class submarine. Launched December 22, 1941 as USS Grunion (SS-216) sponsored by Mrs. Stanford C. Hooper. Commissioned April 11, 1942 in the U.S. Navy (USN) with Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele in command.

After her shakedown, Grunion transited the Caribbean Sea to the Panama Canal. On the way, rescued 16 survivors of USAT Jack torpedoed by a German U-boat. After dropping off the survivors, she arrived Pearl Harbor on June 20, 1942 and underwent ten days of intensive training.

First War Patrol
On June 30, 1942 departs Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol bound for Midway, then northward to the Aleutian Islands. North of Kiska, attacked by a Japanese destroyer and returned fire with inconclusive results. Operated off Kiska during July and sank two enemy patrol boats and damaged a third while in search for enemy shipping.

On July 30, 1942 Grunion reported intensive anti-submarine activity against her and was ordered to Dutch Harbor, despite the fact the submarine still had 10 of her 24 torpedoes aboard. It is unclear if Grunion received the order to return to base or not. The submarine was never seen or heard from again and aerial searches found no trace of her. On October 5, Grunion was reported overdue from patrol and assumed lost with all hands. The Grunion received one battle star for World War II service.

Sinking History
On July 31, 1942 Grunion moved into position for a torpedo attack against Kano Maru roughly ten miles northeast of Kiska. The submarine fired six or seven torpedoes that missed or bounced off the vessel without exploding with only hit that detonated and knocked out the ship's engines and communications. Damaged, Kano Maru returned fire with her 8cm deck gun and is believed to have hit and sunk Grunion. When this submarine failed to return it was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Shipwreck
During August 2006, the Aquila with marine survey firm, Williamson and Associates towed a sonar cable from east to west inside a 240 square mile grid that the survey team had plotted using information from the U.S. Navy archives and the account of an officer aboard the Kano Maru. The crew worked in shifts to keep the search going 24 hours a day. During mid-August, the sonar picked up a 290' object with the sharp angles and jutting shadows of something man-made wedged into a terrace on the steep underwater slope of the volcano.

Reporting their find, the U.S. Navy, citing lack of resources, was not involved in the search. The team contacted Robert Ballard, who declined to participate in a search, but briefed the Abeles on the complications of searching for deep sea wrecks. Geological formations sometimes conceal a vessel; it could be perched precariously on an undersea cliff; the water pressure and landing impact could have broken the Grunion into small pieces, making it harder to find.

References
USSGrunion.com via Wayback Machine November 27, 2012
Associated Press (AP) "Sonar may have found sunken WWII sub Three brothers have searched Aleutian waters for ship their father commanded" October 2, 2006
USSGrunion.com - Search for the USS Grunion Summer 2007 Kiska Alaska

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Last Updated
August 1, 2021

 

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