Cuttlefish file photo [3862]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassCachalot-class Submarine
Hull NumberSS-171
BuilderElectric Boat Company
Launched21 Nov 1933
Commissioned8 Jun 1934
Decommissioned24 Oct 1945
Displacement1,130 tons standard
Length274 feet
Beam24 feet
Draft12 feet
Speed17 knots
Armament1x3in gun, 6x21in torpedo tubes


ww2dbaseCuttlefish arrived in San Diego, California, United States on 22 Jun 1934 and spent the following months on torpedo practice and fleet tactics. In 1937, she arrived at the Submarine School at New London, Connecticut, United States via the Panama Canal for experimental torpedo training, sound training, and other training exercises. In Mar 1939, she returned to the west coast and operated in the South Pacific and Hawaii until early 1942. When the war began for the United States in Dec 1941, she was at the Mare Island Navy Yard in California, United States, undergoing an overhaul.

ww2dbaseCuttlefish left for her first war patrol on 29 Jan 1942, performing a successful reconnaissance on Marcus Island on 13 Feb and patrolling the Bonin Islands, and ended on 24 Mar at Midway. On 2 May, she departed from Midway on her second war patrol, patrolling the Northern Mariana Islands and was attacked by depth charges from Japanese destroyers on 19 May and 24 May. While still on her second patrol, she was ordered to a location about 700 miles west of Midway in early Jun 1942 to detect Japanese movement during what was to become the Battle of Midway. Her second patrol ended at Pearl Harbor on 15 Jun. On 29 Jul, she departed from Midway on her third war patrol, sailing as far as the Japanese home islands. On 18 Aug, she challenged a destroyer and was attacked by depth charges. On 21 Aug, she damaged a freighter and her escort with torpedoes, but sinkings could not be confirmed. On 5 Sep, she attacked a tanker with torpedoes and possibly sank her. The third war patrol ended on 20 Sep at Pearl Harbor.

ww2dbaseCuttlefish arrived at Submarine School at New London, Connecticut, United States in Dec 1942 and served as a training ship through the end of the war until Oct 1945. During that time, she suffered damage during an accident where she collided with the destroyer escort Bray on 8 Dec 1944. She was decommissioned at the end of the training duty, and was sold for scrap on 12 Feb 1947.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2007


Cuttlefish surfacing, circa 1933-1939Cuttlefish underway, circa 1934Cuttlefish in port, circa mid-1930sOfficers and crew of submarine USS Cuttlefish, date unknown, photo 1 of 2
See all 14 photographs of Submarine Cuttlefish (SS-171)

Cuttlefish Operational Timeline

8 Jun 1934 Cuttlefish was commissioned into service.
24 Oct 1945 Cuttlefish was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Rob Eiden says:
19 Mar 2017 09:23:22 AM

Trying to find as much info as I can on mt Farthers time in the Pacific. His name was William Eiden and I believe he served on the "Cuttlefish" during WW2 as a Machinist Mate. Does anyone know how to determine I'd he was on this sub? His records only show his going to Pearl Harbor -
And returning to the Mainland. Any thing you may know about finding more about this would be of real help. Thanks for your help. This has not been easy.
Rob eiden

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Submarine Cuttlefish (SS-171) Photo Gallery
Cuttlefish surfacing, circa 1933-1939
See all 14 photographs of Submarine Cuttlefish (SS-171)

Famous WW2 Quote
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