Grunion file photo [4740]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassGato-class Submarine
Hull NumberSS-216
BuilderElectric Boat Company
Laid Down1 Mar 1941
Launched22 Dec 1941
Commissioned11 Apr 1942
Sunk31 Jul 1942
Displacement1,525 tons standard; 2,424 tons submerged
Length312 feet
Beam27 feet
Draft17 feet
MachineryFour diesel engines, 5,400hp; four electric motors, 2,740hp; two propellers
Speed21 knots
Range11,000nm at 10 knots
Armament10x21in torpedo tubes, 24 torpedoes, 1x4in deck gun, 4x machine guns
Submerged Speed8.75 knots
Submerged Endurance48 hours at 2 knots
Depth Limit300ft/90m


ww2dbaseGrunion was commissioned in Apr 1942, five months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, with Lieutenant Commander Mannert L. Abele in command. After shakedown off New London, Connecticut, United States, she departed for the Pacific Ocean on 24 May. En route, she rescued 16 survivors of US Army transport Jack, which had been torpedoed by a German submarine. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 20 Jun.

ww2dbaseAfter 10 days of intensive training, Grunion departed on 30 Jun for her first war patrol. She made her first report north of Kiska Island in the Aleutian Islands, stating that she had been attacked by a Japanese destroyer, but suffered no damage. She continued to patrol near Kiska through Jul 1942, sinking two Japanese patrol boats. On 30 Jul, she reported heavy anti-submarine activity by the Japanese, and it was determined that she should make port call at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Alaska, United States. That was the last time Grunion had reported in. Air searches were launched to locate her, but none succeeded in finding her. She was presumed lost on 5 Oct, and was struck from the US Navy register on 2 Nov. After the war, captured Japanese records show no anti-submarine activities in the Kiska area during the time since Grunion had last reported in. It is possible that, on or about 31 Jul, when Grunion attacked the Japanese troop transport Kano Maru while en route to Dutch Harbor, Kano Maru returned fire after Grunion surfaced to finish the job, and succeeded in sinking the American submarine. The cause of sinking still remains a mystery until the date of this writing.

ww2dbaseOn 22 Aug 2007, Grunion's wreck was found in the Bering Sea under 1,000 feet of water by means of a remote-controlled vehicle.

ww2dbaseSources: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2007


Launching of USS Grunion, 22 Dec 1941Stern view of Grunion, Groton, Connecticut, United States, 20 Mar 1942Bow view of US submarine Grunion, mid-1942

Grunion Operational Timeline

11 Apr 1942 Grunion was commissioned into service.
15 Jul 1942 USS Grunion attacked the Japanese anchorage at Kiska, Aleutian Islands, sinking submarine chaser Ch-25 (all 68 aboard were killed), sinking submarine chaser Ch-27 (all 68 aboard were killed), and damaging submarine chaser Ch-26.
31 Jul 1942 USS Grunion damaged Japanese transport Kashima Maru 10 miles north if Kiska, US Territory of Alaska at 0547 hours; Kashima Maru fought back with her 80-millimeter gun, sinking USS Grunion, killing all 70 aboard.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Bruce Abele says:
7 Mar 2015 12:18:13 PM

I am the son of the commander of the Grunion. As I am sure you are aware we found the wreck of the Grunion 3000 feet down north of Kiska in the Aleutians.

The most credible hypothesis at this point is that the loss of the Grunion was due to a complicated combination of bad torpedoes and a jammed dive plane. For more accurate information go to

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