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  USS Grunion SS-216
Gato Class Submarine

1,526 Tons (surfaced)
2,424 Tons (submerged)
307' x 27.3' x 19.3'
10 × 21" torpedo tubes
(6 fwd, 4 aft)
with 24 torpedoes
1 x 3" deck gun
2 × .50cal MG
2 × 30cal MG

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
USN December 22, 1941

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Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
USN March 1942

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August 2006

Sub History
Laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut and launched on December 22, 1941 and commissioned on April 11, 1942 with Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele in command.

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

First Patrol
Departed Pearl Harbor on June 30 for Midway, then proceeded northward to the Aleutians. Patrolling north of Kiska, the submarine was attacked by a Japanese destroyer and returned fire with inconclusive results. She 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, even though she 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 on July 31, 1942 Grunion attacked Kano Maru roughly 10 miles northeast of Kiska. The sub fired six or seven torpedoes at the ship. All but one bounced off without exploding, or missed. Although the one hit knocked out the ship's engines and communications, it returned fire using the 8cm deck gun and is believed to have hit and sunk Grunion.

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 - Search for the USS Grunion Summer 2007 Kiska Alaska

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020



USS Grunion

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