Searaven file photo [1837]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassSargo-class Submarine
Hull NumberSS-196
Laid Down9 Aug 1938
Launched21 Jun 1939
Commissioned2 Oct 1939
Decommissioned11 Dec 1946
Displacement1,450 tons standard; 2,350 tons submerged
Length310 feet
Beam27 feet
Draft14 feet
MachineryFour Hoover, Owens, Rentschler Co. diesel engines, four General Electric Co. electric motors
Bunkerage90,000 gallons, 252 battery cells
Power Output5,500 shaft horsepower
Speed20 knots
Armament8x21in torpedo tubes, 24 torpedoes, 1x3in deck gun, 2x0.50 cal machine guns, 2x0.30 cal machine guns


ww2dbaseSearaven was located in the Cavite Navy Yard in Manila Bay, Philippines, when the United States entered the war in Dec 1941. Her first missions were supply runs between American bases and the troops trapped on the Bataan Peninsula. Her first kill was scored on 3 Feb 1942 when she torpedoed and sunk a Japanese destroyer in the Molucca Strait. On 18 Apr 1942, she evacuated 32 Royal Australian Air Force personnel from Timor, northwest of Darwin, Australia. On 23 Apr, a fire aboard disabled her and put her out of commission for some time. Her most noted patrol was her fifth that ended on 24 Nov 1942, in which she claimed 23,400 tons of Japanese shipping sunk, though the count had not been confirmed. She embarked on 13 patrols during the course of the war before becoming a training vessel in late 1944. She was used as a target ship during atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946 and was lightly damaged. She was sunk as a target on 11 Sep 1948.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2006

Submarine Searaven (SS-196) Interactive Map


Searaven during trials, off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 1 of 3Searaven during trials, off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 2 of 3Searaven during trials, off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 3 of 3Searaven making full speed while running trials off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 1 of 3
See all 13 photographs of Submarine Searaven (SS-196)

Searaven Operational Timeline

2 Oct 1939 Searaven was commissioned into service.
2 Apr 1942 Submarine USS Searaven departed with ammunition for Corregidor, Philippine Islands, but she would be unable to deliver the cargo before the American garrison surrendered.
11 Dec 1946 Searaven was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
6 Oct 2009 09:57:02 AM

Trying to locate anyone who served on the USS Searaven (SS-196) during World War II.
I have come into possession of a vest from the U.S. Submarine Veterans of Los Angeles that has the name of Ted Cypert. Would like to know who he is and how to get in touch with him or any relatives.

Thank You.

Glenn Johnson
2. Dick Miller says:
19 Mar 2010 07:33:08 PM

I have a book, "A Submariner's Story written by Charles B. Fiedler who was on the Searaven.There is a picture of the crew taken on Midway Island and Cypert is included in the photo. I does not have a name or rate for him. I would start by contacting your local Submarine Veterans of WWII Chapter. I looked in the National Roster of the Submarine Veterans of WWII dated May 2002 and there is no Cypert listed.
Dick Miller
3. Chris says:
27 Aug 2010 04:22:50 PM

My Mom's cousin is Charles Fiedler and wrote that book. Please contact me about it.
4. Anonymous says:
9 Feb 2011 03:59:47 PM

My wife would like some records of her dad who served on subs during WW11. His name was Glen Fetter. How can we find any information?
5. Ron Mashburn says:
10 Feb 2011 09:46:42 AM

We are trying to find any records about Glen Fetter who was in the Navy and we think served on subs during WW11. He married a Lucille Houden and they lived in Portland, Oregon. He was a small man , about five feet tall. He might have died in 1957, not sure.
6. Tom says:
26 Feb 2013 04:09:41 PM

I'm interested in ordering a copy of Charles Fiedler's book "A Submariner's Story", but I'm curious as to whether he makes any mention of an operation to rescue 33 Australian airmen stranded on the island of Timor in April, 1942.
7. Dick Miller says:
27 Mar 2015 07:28:15 PM

The book covers the Timor Operation in pretty good detail. It also covers the fire that left the Searaven without power for 72 hours. There is quite a bit about it on the internet as well as some long out of print books, Torpedoed Away Sir by Maxwell Hawkins devotes an entire chapter to the rescue and fire.
8. david payne says:
22 Apr 2015 03:31:07 PM

The book rescue at 2100 hours, by tom trumble, published 2013. Tells the story of the 33 Australian airmen. And the rescue by searaven.
9. Tom Graves says:
28 Aug 2016 03:17:15 PM

My biological Grandfather, Clarence Mahon (born 1900; I was adopted), was a radioman on Searaven until he reached the age where he had to be transferred to shore duty (I think). I don't know what that age was -- 42? 43?. Anyway, I was wondering if he's mentioned in that book "A Submariner's Story"? A strange coincidence is that one of my adoptive mother's best friends married an officer on Searaven who was Clarence's "boss." His name was Eugene Osuch.
10. Steve Sewald says:
16 Oct 2016 01:40:28 PM

A friend of mine was a radioman on the searaven. He just passed on Sept. 13, 2016. Thomas Wesley Sanders, age 93.
He was very likable, and a very active Amateur Radio Operator. His Call was W6QJI.
11. Sharon Reach says:
22 Jan 2018 01:15:04 PM

My Pop Norman W Reach was the Torpedo man on the Searaven. He has pasted away but I love learning facts about this ship.
12. Terrence O\'Sullivan says:
18 Oct 2018 11:38:39 AM

Recently, I found online a document titled: "Report of Changes"
1. Officer Personnel
Ensign John Joseph O'SULLIVAN VT-5
Enlisted Personnel
BERG, Gene Stanley
LORD, Raymond K.

All Rescued at sea.
Ensign JJ O'Sullivan was my father. He and his crew mates from a TBF Avenger Torpedo Bomber had been shot down during Operation Hailstone, at TRUK Lagoon. The sat in a raft for several hours until the brave crew of the USS Searaven surfaced and took them aboard. I owe my life to the crew of the Searaven. February 1944
13. Renee Wohlwend Davis says:
19 Dec 2018 05:32:01 PM

My dad Harold Wohlwend was on the Searaven but he didn’t talk about it much. If anyone has any info on it please let me know
14. Virginia Whitfield says:
10 Oct 2019 05:45:15 AM

I think my Dad served on the Searaven. My mom told us he was a signalman. His name was McCoy David Whitfield.

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Submarine Searaven (SS-196) Photo Gallery
Searaven during trials, off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States, 13 May 1940, photo 1 of 3
See all 13 photographs of Submarine Searaven (SS-196)

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