USS Silversides file photo [32861]

Silversides

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassGato-class Submarine
Hull NumberSS-236
BuilderMare Island Navy Yard
Laid Down4 Nov 1940
Launched26 Aug 1941
Commissioned15 Dec 1941
Decommissioned17 Apr 1946
Displacement1,526 tons standard; 2,410 tons submerged
Length312 feet
Beam27 feet
Draft15 feet
MachinerySix Fairbanks Morse main generator diesel engines with six electric motors
Bunkerage94,400 gallons, two 126-cell main storage batteries
Power Output5,400 shaft horsepower
Speed21 knots
Range13,000 miles at 10 knots
Crew60
Armament10x21in torpedo tubes with 24 torpedoes, 1x3in/50 deck gun, 2x.50cal, 2x.30cal
Submerged Speed9 knots
FateMuseum Ship, Muskegon, Michigan, United States

Contributor:

ww2dbaseGato-class submarine Silversides was laid down at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California on 4 Nov 1940 and launched 26 Aug 1941 with Mrs. Elizabeth Hogan as sponsor, wife of prominent Vallejo physician Dr. James Hogan. Eight days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II, USS Silversides was commissioned at Mare Island with Lieutenant Commander Creed C. Burlingame in command. Burlingame was a 1927 Naval Academy graduate and had been in the submarine service since 1930, commanding two other submarines before Silversides.

ww2dbaseAfter fitting out and a shakedown cruise to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Silversides departed on her first war patrol on 30 Apr 1942. While still transiting to her assigned patrol area, Silversides experienced in her first combat when she encountered a Japanese picket boat 600 miles from Japan. Silversides engaged the craft with her 3-inch deck gun as the patrol boat returned fire with machine guns and rifles. The Japanese boat was set afire and withdrew but not before one member of Silversides' gun crew was shot and killed by a machine gun bullet. Torpedomans Mate 3rd-class Mike Harbin was not only Silversides' first fatality of the war during the boat's first combat of the war, he would remain the boat's only fatality of the war.

ww2dbaseSilversides arrived in her patrol area off Japan guarding the approaches to Kobe and Osaka. She sank one merchant vessel and damaged two others before ending her patrol at Pearl Harbor. On 1 Aug 1942 during her second patrol in the same waters, Silversides observed a large passenger liner off Honshu. The ship's silhouette and markings identified her as the non-combatant Tatsuta Maru engaged in repatriating diplomatic personnel to their home countries. Through international agreement, the ship had been granted safe passage and Silversides was content to only shoot pictures.

ww2dbaseTwo weeks later, Silversides torpedoed and damaged a heavily laden tanker but did not observe the final results due to diving deep to evade a depth charge attack that lasted over an hour. She fired torpedoes at other ships too but was plagued by six consecutive torpedoes that failed to explode. Silversides ended her second patrol at Pearl Harbor. Lieutenant Commander Burlingame was awarded the Navy Cross twice, once for each of Silversides' first two patrols and he was promoted to full Commander at the end of the second patrol. Silversides' third patrol began in the shipping lanes near Truk in the Caroline Islands before shifting to New Ireland and the approaches to Rabaul, New Britain. She damaged two ships in the Bismarck Islands before ending her patrol at Brisbane, Australia.

ww2dbaseFive days into her fourth war patrol, a Silversides sailor came down with acute appendicitis. Faced with few options and no surgeon on board, the Pharmacist's Mate performed a successful appendectomy while submerged, one of three such procedures performed abord U.S. submarines in World War II. On 23 Dec 1942 while at periscope depth, a Japanese airplane dropped three closely spaced depth bombs nearly on top of the submarine resulting in moderate damage to Silversides' forward areas. Silversides began an emergency dive only to find the damage caused the diving planes to lock in the full-dive position. The diving officer, Lieutenant Robert Worthington, and the executive officer, Lieutenant Roy Davenport, each worked smartly to regain control just before the submarine reached her crush depth. After another attack where five out of six torpedoes were heard to explode, Silversides discovered the sixth torpedo never fully left its tube but was hanging half way out. In a dangerous maneuver, Silversides backed full while firing that tube again and successfully expelled the stubborn torpedo. This, along with other bad luck aboard, caused Captain Burlingame to end his patrol early and withdraw. On this patrol from Rabaul to Truk, Silversides claimed one ship sunk and three damaged, but later analysis credited her four ships sunk. Once back at Pearl Harbor, Captain Burlingame was awarded a third Navy Cross. On Burlingame's recommendation, executive officer Lieutenant Roy Davenport was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and given command of his own submarine, USS Haddock. Lieutenant Commander Davenport went on to be awarded five Navy Crosses, more than any Naval officer in history before or since. Five Navy Crosses is equaled only by Marine legend Chesty Puller.

ww2dbaseSilversides' fifth war patrol was delayed because of some mechanical issues but on 17 May 1943, she departed Pearl Harbor with a primary mission to mine the approaches to Kavieng, New Ireland in the Bismarck Archipelago. Once completed, Silversides began to prowl the lanes between Rabaul and Truk. On 11 Jun 1943, Silversides torpedoed the 5,000-ton tanker Hide Maru which was loaded with gasoline. The ship exploded with a brilliant flash and then continued to burn for several hours. Silversides ended her patrol in Brisbane once again.

ww2dbaseAt Brisbane, Commander Burlingame was relieved of command in a routine rotation and Lieutenant Commander John S. "Jack" Coye assumed command. Burlingame departed Silversides after five successful patrols that earned him three Navy Crosses and two Silver Stars and earned Silversides a Presidential Unit Citation. Coye was a 1933 graduate of the Naval Academy who had been in the submarine service since 1937.

ww2dbaseSilversides departed Brisbane on 21 Jul 1943 on the boat's sixth war patrol. This time she was the lead boat in a submarine wolfpack along with USS Growler and USS Tuna, a patrol that was plagued with prematurely exploding torpedoes. On 21 Aug 1943, Silversides tracked and photographed the properly marked Japanese hospital ship Buenos Aires Maru bound from Rabaul to Manila. A week later, Silversides missed a medium Japanese transport with six torpedoes. She then withdrew for Brisbane.

ww2dbaseUSS Silversides' seventh patrol was in company with submarines USS Growler and USS Balao. Working together, Silversides and Balao attacked Japanese convoy SO-406 bound from Palau to Rabaul. In this engagement, the convoy's evasive maneuvers to avoid Balao turned them directly toward Silversides and briefly put Silversides in the center of the formation. A spread of torpedoes from Silversides resulted in only two hits against one ship, which sank. Five days later, Silversides and Balao attacked Convoy O-006 on the reverse course. Balao badly damaged three ships while Silversides damaged one and sank two, including another 5,000-ton tanker. Three days later, Silversides caught up with that same convoy and attacked with six torpedoes. Definite hits were heard but the final results were not observed. Silversides ended this patrol at Pearl Harbor.

ww2dbaseOn 3 Dec 1943, Silversides departed Pearl Harbor on her eighth war patrol to the area east of Palau on the routes to Truk. On 29 Dec 1943, Silversides attacked a convoy and sank three ships while damaging a fourth. A week later, Silversides detected two large tankers but with no torpedoes left, she could only track the ships and broadcast position reports to other submarines. Silversides tracked the ships for six days without any other attackers able to intercept and had to break off when the tankers arrived at Truk. Silversides ended her patrol at Pearl Harbor.

ww2dbaseDuring her normal refit period, Silversides' aft torpedo room was modified to accommodate the improved version of the Mark XVIII electric torpedo. These would be the first electric torpedoes carried by Silversides. She departed on her ninth war patrol on 15 Feb 1944 bound for the Palau Islands. After successfully attacking a convoy southeast of Palau, Silversides shifted to northern New Guinea. Guarding the harbor at Manokwari, New Guinea, Silversides sank one Japanese landing ship before ending her patrol at Brisbane.

ww2dbaseFor her tenth war patrol, USS Silversides was assigned the waters around Guam in the Mariana Islands. Within minutes of her arrival, Silversides detected a convoy of six or seven ships leaving Guam's Apra Harbor. She fired her first electric torpedoes of the war and scored one hit, but could not observe the results due to the ensuing depth charge attack. The following day, another convoy was seen departing Apra and Silversides pursued it southward. At dawn the next day, Captain Coye had maneuvered Silversides into a perfect firing position where as many as five ships overlapped one another in his periscope. A spread of six torpedoes were fired (five of them electric) and three ships were sunk. Silversides endured a withering depth charge attack while the rest of the convoy reversed course and returned to Guam. Ten days later, Silversides sank the small coastal freighter Shosei Maru off Apra Harbor. Later, according to Silversides' action report, two transports suffered torpedo hits in a nighttime attack that were "followed by tremendous explosions and flames which lit up the whole scene almost as bright as day." She fired her last four torpedoes at a convoy she had tracked for over 350 miles but all four missed. Silversides ended her tenth patrol at Pearl Harbor.

ww2dbaseUSS Silversides then sailed to Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California for her first major overhaul in three years. Three months later, Silversides was ready for her eleventh war patrol. After shifting from California to Hawaii to Saipan, USS Silversides, USS Trigger, and USS Salmon formed a wolfpack prowling between Taiwan and Kyushu. On 20 Oct 1944, Salmon and Trigger torpedoed a large tanker 170 miles south of Kyushu but the subsequent depth charge attack crippled Salmon so that she could not submerge. As the Japanese escorts closed on Salmon, Silversides surfaced and charged the ships to draw them away. Salmon slipped away while Silversides dived again to spare Salmon another depth charge pounding. When the Japanese escorts departed the area, the three submarines rejoined and, along with submarine USS Sterlet, they escorted the stricken Salmon back to Saipan. Out of necessity, the withdrawal was made on the surface and before acquiring friendly air cover, the group withstood two torpedo attacks from an unseen submarine (no hits) and two attacks from the air. Suffering no additional damage, the four submarines arrived at Saipan on 3 Nov 1944.

ww2dbaseUSS Silversides departed a week later to continue her eleventh patrol. This time she teamed with submarines Trigger, Sterlet, USS Saury, USS Tambor, USS Ronquil in a designated task unit assigned to sweep the area north of the Bonin Islands of all Japanese patrol boats they could find. The unit was commanded by the former USS Guardfish skipper, Commander Thomas "Burt" Klakring aboard Silversides, and thus the pack tasked with sweeping was known as "Burt's Brooms." Beginning on 15 Nov 1944, the task group began a four-day pursuit of several patrol boats that saw two sunk outright, two damaged so badly they took no further part in the war, and two others damaged to somewhat lesser degrees.

ww2dbaseSilversides then withdrew from her patrol area and concluded her patrol at Midway. This had been Lieutenant Commander Coye's sixth war patrol and he was rotated to another assignment; but not before he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his performance during the two-part eleventh patrol. For his command of the wolfpack, Commander Klakring was awarded the Silver Star. Commander John C. Nichols, a 1934 academy graduate, took command of Silversides.

ww2dbaseOn 22 Dec 1944, USS Silversides departed Midway on her twelfth war patrol in company with submarine USS Tautog. Their station was off southern Japan covering the approaches to Sasebo and Nagasaki. On 25 Jan 1945, Silversides made a torpedo attack on Japanese army cargo ship Malay Maru. She fired four torpedoes but only two launched while the other two ran hot in the tubes. The two that launched, hit and sank the Malay Maru and Silversides had to go deep because of a prompt counterattack by the Japanese escorts. One of Silversides' hesitant torpedoes was expelled fairly quickly but the other was hung up for over seven hours, throughout the entire depth charge attack. Once Silversides had evaded the escort ships, she was able to back at high speed and fire the tube again and the torpedo was finally ejected. This was almost two years to the day after Silversides was saved from a similar mishap with a similar maneuver.

ww2dbaseSilversides completed her twelfth patrol at Midway, went through a tender refit, and departed on her thirteenth patrol to Japan's Bungo Channel on 9 Mar 1945. Ten days after arriving on station, submarines Silversides, USS Threadfin, and USS Hackleback were ordered to form a wolfpack. The wolfpack commander was designated as Silversides' commanding officer, Commander Nichols, and so the group took the name "Nicks Nippers." The group was tasked with closely guarding the Bungo Channel in anticipation of a Japanese naval response to the Allies' invasion of Okinawa. A week after being formed, Hackleback and Threadfin detected a Japanese force of large warships making their way down the Bungo Channel from the Inland Sea. It was later learned that this was the battleship Yamato and her cruiser escorts. Just as Hackleback and Threadfin began broadcasting their contact reports, Silversides experienced radio and radar problems. The only reliable radio channel available was broadcasting from Guam relaying third-hand position reports that were between one and four hours old. The result was that while Hackleback and Threadfin were able to successfully track the Yamato force, Silversides was woefully out of position throughout the entire engagement. Some days later, Silversides sank two patrol boats before ending her patrol at Pearl Harbor.

ww2dbaseAfter a month-long refit, USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor. Silversides' fourteenth war patrol was predominantly on lifeguard duty south of Japan supporting the numerous air raids during that period. On 22 Jul 1945, Silversides picked up her first airman when the pilot of a damaged P-51 Mustang on a fighter sweep over Japan bailed out within sight of the submarine. Two days later, Silversides picked up a downed Navy F6F Hellcat pilot flying from USS Independence. On this patrol, Silversides also identified and destroyed thirteen Japanese floating mines.

ww2dbaseUSS Silversides ended her fourteenth war patrol on 30 Jul 1945 at Guam. When her routine refit was nearly complete, the war ended. On 18 Aug 1945, Silversides sailed for Pearl Harbor. After touching Pearl Harbor briefly, Silversides transited the Panama Canal for the only time in her career on 15 Sep 1945. The next week, she arrived at Staten Island, New York where she was a part of the October Navy Day celebration.

ww2dbaseUSS Silversides was decommissioned on 17 Apr 1946 and entered the reserve fleet. As part of her decommissioning overhaul, both of Silversides' brass propellers were removed.

ww2dbaseIn 1947, Silversides was towed up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Chicago, Illinois. On 15 Oct 1947, USS Silversides was recommissioned as a stationary reserve training ship at the Chicago Naval Armory. After fifteen years, Silversides was decommissioned for the last time. Operating as an underfunded museum ship, the submarine remained moored at the Naval Armory for several years before being acquired by the Great Lakes Naval and Memorial Museum in 1979 and moved to the Chicago Navy Pier. On 7 Aug 1987, Silversides was towed across Lake Michigan to Muskegon, Michigan. On 24 May 1993, the USS Silversides Submarine Museum opened to the public at Muskegon where she remains today.

ww2dbaseWartime estimates of ships sunk by submarines were, of necessity, somewhat speculative. In 1947, the Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee (JANAC) published a report summarizing their painstaking comparisons of US wartime reports against Japanese shipping records, making their best attempt to set the record straight as to what ships were sunk and by which boats. Almost all submarine scoreboards were revised downward by JANAC but it was felt the revised numbers were more accurate. By JANAC's figuring, Silversides' 23 Japanese ships sunk made her the third-most successful United States Navy submarine of World War II, behind the USS Tang (33) and USS Tautog (26) [by tonnage sunk, Silversides was fifth]. In 1989, author John Alden asserted that Silversides' true total was 31 Japanese ships sunk. Over the course of Silversides' fourteen war patrols, her commanding officers amassed five Navy Crosses, three Silver Stars, and one Legion of Merit. Silversides was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and earned twelve battle stars in World War II. Presently, Silversides is the most successful United States submarine from World War II still in existence.

ww2dbaseSubmarine USS Silversides War Patrols

No.FromToDaysAreaAttacks on ShippingNotes
130-Apr-194221-Jun-194252Kii Channel1 ship sunk; 1 damaged* First and only fatal casualty of the war
215-Jul-19427-Sep-194254Kii Channel2 Ships sunk; 2 damaged* Saw but did not attack diplomatic ship
32-Oct-194225-Nov-194254Truk/Bismarcks2 ships damaged*
417-Dec-194231-Jan-194345Bismarcks/Truk4 ships sunk; 3 damaged* Undersea Appendectomy; torpedo hang fire
517-May-19431-Jul-194345Bismarcks1 ship sunk* Laid mines
621-Jul-194312-Sep-194353S of Truk  Several premature torpedoes
75-Oct-19438-Nov-194334Bismarcks4 ships sunk*
83-Dec-194322-Jan-194450Palau3 ships sunk; 2 damaged*
915-Feb-19448-Apr-194453Philippine Sea1 ship sunk; 1 damaged* First time with electric torpedoes
1026-Apr-194411-Jun-194446Marianas6 ships sunk; 3 damaged*
11a24-Sep-19443-Nov-194440Sea of Japan1 ship damaged* Wolfpack
11b10-Nov-194423-Nov-194413
1222-Dec-194412-Feb-194552East China Sea1 ship sunk  Torpedo hang fire No. 2
139-Mar-194529-Apr-194551Bungo Channel1 ship sunk* Wolfpack; Yamato sortie
1430-May-194530-Jul-194561Bungo Channel13 mines destroyed* Lifeguard duty; 2 airmen recovered

ww2dbase* Successful Patrol (battle star authorized)

ww2dbaseSources:
United States Navy
U.S. Naval Institute
USS Silversides Submarine Museum
CombinedFleet Japanese Naval History
NavSource Naval History
Military Times – Wall of Valor
The Silent Service; RAdm Thomas M. Dykers (USN Ret.), Producer
UBoat.net
The Reporter (Vallejo, California); 8 Nov 2010
SubmarineSailor.com
Psi-Upsilon, Omega Chapter (University of Illinois)
Military History of the Upper Great Lakes
The Wrecksite Database
John D. Alden; U.S. Submarine Attacks During World War II (USNI Press, 1989)
Industrial History Blog
Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Nov 2023

Submarine Silversides (SS-236) Interactive Map

Photographs

Gato-class submarine Silversides sliding down the ways at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, United States, 26 Aug 1941.The moment of christening for the Gato-class submarine Silversides and moments before her launch at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, United States, 26 Aug 1941.The party of dignitaries gathered Mare Island Naval Shipyard for the christening and launching of Gato-class submarine Silversides, Vallejo, California, United States, 26 Aug 1941.Lieutenant Commander Creed C. Burlingame at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for the commissioning of Gato-class submarine Silversides, Vallejo, California, United States, 15 Dec 1941.
See all 14 photographs of Submarine Silversides (SS-236)

Silversides Operational Timeline

4 Nov 1940 Gato-class submarine Silversides was laid down at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, United States.
26 Aug 1941 Gato-class submarine Silversides was launched at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, United States.
15 Dec 1941 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides was commissioned at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, United States with LtCdr C.C. Burlingame in command.
4 Apr 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
30 Apr 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on her first war patrol.
4 May 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Midway on her way to her patrol area.
10 May 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides engaged in her first combat of the war, making a surface attack on Japanese guardboat No.5 Ebisu Maru 600 miles southeast of Japan. Ebisu Maru returned fire with machine guns and rifles, killing a man on Silversides’ gun crew. Ebisu Maru was set ablaze and left to sink. Torpedomans Mate 3rd-class Mike Harbin was buried at sea later that same day. Ebisu Maru was heavily damaged but was able to return to port.
13 May 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived in her patrol area off southern Japan in the shipping lanes to and from Kobe and Osaka.
17 May 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made a torpedo attack on two Japanese merchant ships off Susami, southern Honshu, Japan, damaging both ships. In making this attack, Silversides' periscope became entangled in Japanese fishing nets and the submarine dragged the nets with her as she made the attack. The nets had been suspended from small fishing buoys that flew small Japanese flags, making the Silversides perhaps the only US warship to make an attack while flying the Japanese flag.
22 May 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made a torpedo attack on the Japanese transport Asahisan Maru off Susami, southern Honshu, Japan. The ship's bow was blown off but was able to beach herself before sinking.
11 Jun 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides left her designated patrol area bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
21 Jun 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Her commanding officer, LtCdr C.C. Burlingame, was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during this patrol.
15 Jul 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on her second war patrol.
19 Jul 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides refueled at Midway before continued on toward her patrol area.
29 Jul 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived in her patrol area off southern Japan in the shipping lanes to and from Kobe and Osaka.
1 Aug 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides sighted a large passenger liner off Honshu Japan. The ship's silhouette and markings identified her as the non-combatant Tatsuta Maru engaged in repatriating diplomatic personnel to their home countries.
8 Aug 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides intercepted a convoy leaving Kobe, Japan. The submarine torpedoed and sank merchant ship Nikkei Maru.
14 Aug 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides attacked a heavily laden tanker of about 7,000 tons off southern Honshu, Japan. The submarine scored one torpedo hit but final results were not observed. Silversides then endured a depth charge attack that lasted for over an hour.
21 Aug 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides fired three torpedoes at a coastal freighter off the southern coast of Shikoku, Japan. None of the torpedoes explode against the freighter or against the shore beyond, making a total of six Silversides torpedoes in a row that failed to explode.
29 Aug 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides left her designated patrol area after 31 days on station bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
7 Sep 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
10 Sep 1942 The commanding officer of USS Silversides, LtCdr C.C. Burlingame, was awarded his second Navy Cross for his actions during the previous patrol and was promoted to full Commander.
2 Oct 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on her third war patrol.
12 Oct 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived in her patrol area off southern Japan in the shipping lanes to and from the Japanese forward base at Truk, Caroline Islands.
20 Oct 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides scored two torpedo hits on a 10,000-ton freighter south of Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands. The ship was seen to be heavily down by the stern before Silversides went deep to avoid a depth charge attack. The final fate of the ship was not observed.
21 Oct 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed her patrol area south of Truk bound for a new patrol area in the Solomon Islands.
24 Oct 1942 While en route to the Solomon Islands, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides received orders to shift her patrol area to the area north of New Ireland Island, Bismarck Archipelago.
9 Nov 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made a torpedo attack on a large patrol vessel west of New Hanover Island, Bismarck Archipelago. The commanding officer of the Silversides believed the ship had been sunk but the submarine was not credited with the sinking due to a lack of confirmation.
13 Nov 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed her patrol area bound for Brisbane, Australia.
25 Nov 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Brisbane, Australia. Her commanding officer, Cdr C.C. Burlingame, was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during this patrol.
17 Dec 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Brisbane, Australia on her fourth war patrol.
22 Dec 1942 Pharmacists Mate 1st-class Thomas Moore aboard Gato-class submarine USS Silversides performed an emergency appendectomy on Fireman 2nd-class George Platter while submerged off Rabaul.
23 Dec 1942 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides came under a depth charge attack off Rabaul causing no damage but then was depth bombed from an airplane that caused moderate damage including locking the diving planes in full-dive position. Silversides' Executive Officer Lt Roy Davenport managed to restore control just before the submarine reached her crush depth.
18 Jan 1943 One hundred miles southeast of Truk Atoll, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides intercepted the 10,000-ton tanker Toei Maru. Silversides scored 3 out of 4 torpedo hits sinking the tanker. Escort ships and aircraft attacked the Silversides with depth charges, causing moderate damage.
20 Jan 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides intercepted a convoy of four troop transports bound from Truk to the Solomon Islands with reinforcements, hitting with five out of six torpedoes. Two of the four ships were sunk (Meiu Maru and Surabaya Maru) and possibly a third (Somedomo Maru).
21 Jan 1943 Crew of Gato-class submarine USS Silversides discovered a torpedo protruding out the front of the No. 6 torpedo tube, explaining why the outer tube door was stuck open and what happened to the sixth torpedo fired the day before. In a dangerous maneuver, Silversides backed full while firing tube 6 again and successfully launched the torpedo. With one torpedo hang-fired, an air leak and another fuel leak they could not control, an explosion in their main generator, and Cream of Wheat breakfast cereal in their main induction gears, Captain Burlingame made the decision to depart his patrol area two days ahead of schedule and withdraw for repairs.
31 Jan 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Her commanding officer, Cdr C.C. Burlingame, was awarded his third Navy Cross for his actions during this patrol.
3 Apr 1943 After repairs and upgrades to her deck armament, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for her patrol area after two previous departures thwarted by mechanical failures.
5 Apr 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides experienced a fire in her maneuvering room and also burned out her starboard motors. Silversides put into Johnson Island.
6 Apr 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Johnson Island bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
9 Apr 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
17 May 1943 With further repairs complete, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on her fifth war patrol.
19 May 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides put into Johnson Island, took aboard 11,000 gallons of fuel oil, and departed again on her way to her patrol area.
25 May 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made reconnaissance observations of Apamama Atoll, Gilbert Islands.
26 May 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides crossed the equator southbound.
27 May 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made reconnaissance observations of Nauru Island.
28 May 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides had the following entry made into her log, "On the 28th a frigate bird made a high level bombing attack, scoring a direct hit on the bare head and beard of the OOD, Lt. Bienia. No indication by radar prior to attack."
31 May 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides sailed through a large debris field in the open ocean, probably from the Japanese seaplane carrier Kamikawa Maru sunk two days earlier by submarine USS Scamp.
3 Jun 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made reconnaissance observations of Tench Island, Bismarck Archipelago.
4 Jun 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides laid 24 mines in the Steffan Strait, between New Hanover and New Ireland, Bismarck Archipelago.
11 Jun 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides attacked a transport heavily laden with gasoline about half way between Rabaul and Truk. The ship was hit with three out of four torpedoes fired from Silversides and exploded into a great ball of fire and then burned for several hours before sinking.
1 Jul 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Brisbane, Australia. Her commanding officer, Cdr C.C. Burlingame, was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during this patrol.
20 Jul 1943 After five patrols, LtCdr C.C. Burlingame was relieved of command of the Gato-class submarine USS Silversides at Brisbane, Australia. LtCdr J.S. Coye assumed command.
21 Jul 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Brisbane, Australia on her sixth war patrol in company with submarines USS Growler and USS Tuna.
2 Aug 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides fired four torpedoes at a Japanese ship southwest of Truk but the first two torpedoes exploded prematurely, allowing the ship to maneuver out of the path of the other two. The ship then disappeared into a rain squall, thwarting the attack.
5 Aug 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides fired four torpedoes at the Japanese mine layer Tsugaru between Rabaul and Truk. One and possibly two of the torpedoes exploded prematurely and Silversides endured a meager depth charge attack.
21 Aug 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides tracked and photographed the properly marked Japanese hospital ship Buenos Aires Maru bound from Rabaul to Manila.
30 Aug 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides fired six torpedoes at a medium sized Japanese transport between Rabaul and Truk. Four torpedo tracks were clearly seen to go under the ship and the other two also missed.
3 Sep 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed her patrol are south of Truk and made for Brisbane, Australia.
12 Sep 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Brisbane, Australia.
5 Oct 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Brisbane, Australia on her seventh war patrol in company with submarines USS Growler and USS Balao.
10 Oct 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made a refueling stop at Tulagi Harbor, Solomon Islands before continuing on toward her patrol area.
18 Oct 1943 Submarines USS Balao and USS Silversides attacked Convoy SO-406 bound from Palau to Rabaul. Balao fired six torpedoes but the convoy zigged just after the torpedoes were fired so they all missed. While the escorts chased Balao, Silversides sailed through the center of the convoy before firing six torpedoes of her own. One torpedo exploded prematurely but two others struck cargo ship Tairin Maru which sank.
23 Oct 1943 Submarines USS Balao and USS Silversides made a torpedo attack on the seven ships of Convoy O-006 bound from Rabaul to Palau. Balao observed three badly damaged ships before having to go deep to avoid a counterattack. Silversides sank fleet oiler Tennan Maru and badly damaged army cargo ships Johore Maru and Kazan Maru which sank the following day.
26 Oct 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides caught up with what was left of Convoy O-006 and attacked with six torpedoes. Definite hits were made but the final results were not observed. Down to one torpedo, Silversides received orders to return to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
8 Nov 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii concluding her seventh war patrol. Her commanding officer, LtCdr J.S. Coye, received the Navy Cross for his actions during this patrol.
3 Dec 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on her eighth war patrol.
8 Dec 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Midway on her way to her patrol area.
9 Dec 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Midway for her assigned patrol area.
14 Dec 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived off Wake Island and made reconnaissance observations.
21 Dec 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides entered her assigned patrol area east of Palau in the lanes to Truk Atoll.
29 Dec 1943 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides detected a convoy of five freighters and one tanker approaching Palau. Silversides attacked and sank transport Tenposan Maru, army cargo ship Shichisei Maru, and merchant cargo ship Ryuto Maru. Army cargo ship Bichu Maru was damaged.
4 Jan 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides detected a convoy of two large tankers but with no torpedoes left, all she could do was track the ships while giving position reports to other submarines.
10 Jan 1944 After tracking two large tankers for six days, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides broke off the convoy as the ships approached Truk. With no torpedoes remaining, Silversides made for Midway to end her patrol.
15 Jan 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Midway, ending her eighth war patrol. Her commanding officer, LtCdr J.S. Coye, received his second Navy Cross for his actions during this patrol.
22 Jan 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and commenced normal two-week refit. During this refit, Silversides’ after torpedo room was modified to accommodate the improved version of the Mark XVIII electric torpedo.
15 Feb 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii bound for Midway and her ninth war patrol.
19 Feb 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Midway.
20 Feb 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Midway for her assigned patrol area.
29 Feb 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived in her initial patrol area west of Saipan, Mariana Islands.
7 Mar 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived in her principal patrol area around the Palau Islands.
16 Mar 1944 250 miles southeast of Palau, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides attacked a convoy of three cargo ships with escorts. Japanese army cargo ship Kōfuku Maru was hit with two torpedoes and sunk.
27 Mar 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides shifted areas to waters off northern New Guinea. Upon crossing the equator, Silversides "Dove to obtain bathythermograph observations and properly indoctrinate 24 polywogs."
28 Mar 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides torpedoed and sank Japanese landing ship Kairyu Maru as it entered Manokwari harbor, New Guinea.
4 Apr 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea for refuel.
5 Apr 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Milne Bay, New Guinea bound for Brisbane, Australia.
8 Apr 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Brisbane, Australia ending her ninth war patrol. Silversides entered a normal two-week refit period where, among other things, a new 40mm gun was installed on the old 3-inch gun foundation.
26 Apr 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Brisbane, Australia bound for Milne Bay, New Guinea.
1 May 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea for refuel.
2 May 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Milne Bay, New Guinea bound for her tenth war patrol.
8 May 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived in her patrol area off Guam, Mariana Islands and almost immediately detected a convoy of six or seven Japanese ships departing Apra Harbor. Silversides fired four Mark XVIII electric torpedoes (her first of the war) and scored one hit, with unobserved results due to depth charging counterattack.
10 May 1944 After observing a Japanese convoy of seven ships departing Apra Harbor, Guam the day before, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides attacked 140 miles southwest of Guam. Auxiliary cable ship Okinawa Maru, gunboat No.2 Choan Maru, and collier No.18 Mikage Maru are sunk. Remainder of convoy reversed course and made for Guam.
20 May 1944 Off Apra Harbor, Guam, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides torpedoed and sank Japanese gunboat Shosei Maru.
29 May 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides torpedoed Japanese transports Hōraisan Maru and Shōken Maru 40 miles west of Anatahan, Mariana Islands. Both ships exploded and burned with tremendously bright flames and lit up the night as if it were day.
1 Jun 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides tracked a convoy of three ships 350 miles northwest of Saipan and gained a favorable firing position. She fired her last four torpedoes but all four missed. Submarine USS Pintado patrolling nearby attacked the same convoy and sank Japanese transport Tōhō Maru and damaged transport Kinshu Maru.
11 Jun 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and concluded her tenth war patrol. Her commanding officer, LtCdr J.S. Coye, was awarded his third Navy Cross for his actions during this patrol.
19 Jun 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California for a thorough overhaul lasting two-and-a-half months.
4 Sep 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
12 Sep 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
24 Sep 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides in company with submarines USS Salmon and USS Trigger departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii bound for Saipan.
3 Oct 1944 Submarines USS Silversides, USS Salmon, and USS Trigger arrived at Saipan, Mariana Islands.
4 Oct 1944 Submarines USS Silversides and USS Salmon departed Saipan bound for their patrol area.
3 Nov 1944 Submarines USS Silversides, USS Salmon, USS Trigger, and USS Sterlet arrived at Saipan.
10 Nov 1944 Submarines USS Silversides, USS Saury, USS Tambor, USS Trigger, USS Sterlet, USS Ronquil, and USS Burrfish departed Saipan as a designated task unit to sweep and destroy Japanese patrol boats between the Bonin Islands and Japan. The unit was commanded by Cdr Thomas "Burt" Klakring aboard Silversides.
15 Nov 1944 While conducting a sweep northward from the Bonin Islands, Wolfpack "Burt's Brooms" made up of submarines USS Silversides, USS Saury, USS Tambor, USS Trigger, USS Sterlet, USS Ronquil, and USS Burrfish open a four-day running gunfight with numerous Japanese patrol boats sinking two and damaging four, including two damaged so badly they see no further service during the war.
23 Nov 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Midway at the conclusion of her eleventh war patrol. Her commanding officer, LtCdr J.S. Coye, was awarded the Legion of Merit for his actions on this patrol.
29 Nov 1944 After six very successful war patrols, LtCdr J.S. Coye was relieved of command of the Gato-class submarine USS Silversides at Midway. Cdr J.C. Nichols assumed command.
22 Dec 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Midway on her twelfth war patrol in company with submarine USS Tautog.
30 Dec 1944 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides and Tambor-class submarine USS Tautog arrived at Saipan, Mariana Islands.
2 Jan 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides and Tambor-class submarine USS Tautog departed Saipan, Mariana Islands bound for their patrol area.
7 Jan 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides and Tambor-class submarine USS Tautog entered their patrol area covering the approaches to Sasebo and Nagasaki, Japan.
25 Jan 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides made a torpedo attack on Japanese army cargo ship Malay Maru off the southern coast of Kyushu, Japan. Silversides fired four torpedoes but only two launched while two ran hot in the tubes. The two that launched, hit and sank the Malay Maru while Silversides had to go deep because of a prompt counterattack by Japanese escorts. One torpedo was ejected fairly quickly but the other was hung up for over seven hours, throughout the entire depth charge attack. It was only after firing the tube while backing at high speed that the torpedo left the tube, almost two years to the day since Silversides was saved by a similar maneuver.
5 Feb 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides left her assigned patrol area bound for Midway.
12 Feb 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Midway at the conclusion of her twelfth war patrol.
9 Mar 1945 After completing a post-patrol refit at Midway, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed on her thirteenth war patrol.
22 Mar 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived on station (one day late due to heavy seas while en route) in the western approaches to the Bungo Channel, Japan.
31 Mar 1945 United States submarines operating off Kyushu received orders to form a wolfpack consisting of USS Silversides, USS Threadfin, and USS Hackleback. Unit commander would be the commanding officer of USS Silversides, Cdr J.C. Nichols, and thus the wolfpack would be known as "Nicks Nippers."
6 Apr 1945 USS Silversides experienced radar and radio problems just as submarines USS Hackleback and USS Threadfin started issuing reports of a Japanese task force making a sortie down the Bungo Channel from the Inland Sea. Receiving updates 1 to 4 hours late resulted in Silversides being drawn well out of position.
12 Apr 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides torpedoed and sank Japanese patrol boat Shiratori Maru in the southwest of the Bungo Channel, Japan.
17 Apr 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides received orders to depart her patrol area and return to Midway.
19 Apr 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides engaged two Japanese picket boats 300 miles southeast of Tokyo, Japan. Despite several mis-fires from her 4-inch gun, guardboat Kairyu Maru was sunk.
24 Apr 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Midway to conclude her thirteenth war patrol.
25 Apr 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Midway bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
29 Apr 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
30 May 1945 Submarines USS Silversides, USS Quillback, and USS Redfin departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii bound for Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
9 Jun 1945 Ten days out of Pearl Harbor bound for Saipan, submarine USS Redfin parted company with USS Silversides and USS Quillback and diverted to Guam. USS Cabrilla joined the group bound for Saipan.
11 Jun 1945 Submarines USS Silversides, USS Quillback, and USS Cabrilla arrived at Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
12 Jun 1945 Submarines USS Silversides, USS Quillback, and USS Cabrilla departed Saipan in the Mariana Islands bound for their patrol area.
16 Jun 1945 Submarines USS Silversides, USS Quillback, and USS Cabrilla arrived in their patrol area roughly midway between Iwo Jima and Tokyo. Their orders emphasized remaining available for lifeguard duty as numerous B-29 bombers flew overhead from the Mariana Islands to Japan and back.
29 Jun 1945 After spending the night on lifeguard station during a 487-bomber B-29 incendiary raid on Japan, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides was directed by aircraft from air-sea-rescue to possible downed airmen in the water. One empty well-weathered one-man life raft was recovered.
22 Jul 1945 P-51 Mustangs flying from Iwo Jima made a fighter sweep of southern Japan. One fighter was badly damaged and the pilot had to bail out 15 miles off the Japanese coast. His parachute was seen from the lifeguard submarine USS Silversides who picked up the pilot, 2Lt James Hinkle, uninjured.
24 Jul 1945 United States Navy carriers launched air strikes against the Kure area of southern Japan. One F6F Hellcat flying from USS Independence was damaged by cruiser fire near Tanabe Bay and was forced to ditch. The pilot, Lt Burdick Burtch, was picked-up safely by rescue submarine USS Silversides.
27 Jul 1945 Pursuant to orders, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed her assigned patrol area after 41 days bound for Guam.
30 Jul 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Apra Harbor, Guam and went alongside tender USS Sperry for a refit.
4 Aug 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides entered a floating drydock in Apra Harbor, Guam.
5 Aug 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides was floated out of drydock at Apra Harbor, Guam and went alongside tender USS Sperry to continue her refit.
18 Aug 1945 With the war over, Gato-class submarine USS Silversides departed Guam following her tender refit bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
15 Sep 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides transited the Panama Canal for the first time.
21 Sep 1945 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides arrived at Staten Island, New York.
17 Apr 1946 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides was decommissioned and placed in the reserve fleet.
15 Oct 1947 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides was recommissioned and designated as a stationary reserve training ship in Chicago, Illinois.
1 Dec 1962 Gato-class submarine USS Silversides was decommissioned for the second time.
30 Jun 1969 Gato-class submarine Silversides was struck from the Navy list.
7 Aug 1987 Gato-class submarine Silversides was towed from its longstanding berth along the Chicago Navy Pier across Lake Michigan to Muskegon, Michigan.
24 May 1993 Gato-class submarine Silversides opened as a museum ship in Muskegon, Michigan, United States.




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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Gary J says:
4 Mar 2021 02:42:43 PM

This submarine was anchored at Chicago's Navy Pier in the late 1950s. My Boy Scout troop 682 was given a tour.
2. Larry J. [SS269/372/486] says:
5 Oct 2023 11:38:36 AM

Visited the boat in September 2024. She is in remarkable 'un-revised' condition. Many of the alterations dictated by BuShips in 1942 had not been completed. Examples: BuShips directive dated 1/1/42 - remove one auxiliary engine; directive dated 7/3/42 - eliminate one of the three aux tanks; directive dated 6/29/42 - eliminate one of the two LP blowers; etc., etc. Although the motorboat was deleted as per the 5/10/42 BuShips directive, the forward deck motorboat access hatches and motorboat cradle are still installed. Also, patches can be seen, welded in place, on the port and starboard sides of the deck just aft of bow buoyancy tank where the 'mine cable cutters' were removed IAW 6/19/42 BuShips directive. Even the ammo chute between the ammo lockers in the Crew's Mess and topside is still installed. I could continue but suffice it to say that it was a great boat to visit - well worth the 'out-of-the-way' drive.
3. Curt says:
24 Nov 2023 06:24:11 AM

Silversides is currently on display in Muskegon, Michigan. A gift from one minority mayor to another minority mayor. People of Chicago had no say in it!

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Submarine Silversides (SS-236) Photo Gallery
Gato-class submarine Silversides sliding down the ways at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, United States, 26 Aug 1941.
See all 14 photographs of Submarine Silversides (SS-236)


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