S-26 file photo [27283]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassS-class Submarine
Hull NumberSS-131
BuilderBethlehem Fore River Shipyard
Displacement868 tons standard; 1,079 tons submerged
Length219 feet
Beam21 feet
Draft16 feet
Machinery2 NELSECO diesel engines (600hp each; 14.5 knots surfaced), Ridgway electric motors (750hp; 11 knots submerged), 120-cell Exide battery, 2 shafts
Bunkerage168t fuel oil
Range5,000mi at 10 knots surfaced
Armament4x533mm bow torpedo tubes, 12 torpedoes, 1x102mm/50 deck gun
Submerged Speed11 knots


ww2dbaseUSS S-26 was a submarine of Group I of the S-class design. She operated out of New London, Connecticut and Mare Island, California in the United States; operated out of the Panama Canal Zone and the Territory of Hawaii; and visited St. Thomas and Trinidad in the 1920s and the 1930s. After the United States entered WW2 in Dec 1941, she departed New London for the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal. After nightfall on 24 Jan 1942, she was involved in a fatal accident. She set sail alongside of USS S-21, USS S-29, and USS S-44 on a war patrol; sub chaser USS Sturdy was assigned to escort them into the Gulf of Panama. All ships sailed without lights in the darkness to avoid possible enemy detection. At 2210 hours, Sturdy, which was sailing about 1,500 yards (about 1,300 meters) in front of the leading submarine, visually signaled that her assignment was complete and she was to turn to the right to return to port. Only USS S-21, the leading submarine, received the message. At 2221 hours, the lookout on USS S-26 suddenly detected a ship, USS Sturdy, in their path. Evasive maneuvers failed, and Sturdy rammed into S-26 amidships on the starboard side. S-26's commanding officer, the executive officer, and the lookout were thrown off the ship; they would ultimately be the only ones lucky enough to survive. S-26 rolled, and water entered the submarine very quickly through the open bridge hatch. She sank bow first less than a minute after being rammed. US Navy divers located the sunken wreck on the next day at the depth of about 300 feet (about 90 meters) and heard tapping from the inside, and they observed that the bridge hatch was closed, thus concluding that at least one man must have been able to close the hatch after the sinking, thus preserving some air. 25 attempts were made to open the hatch, and no rescues were made. 46 men were killed in the sinking.

Submarine Force Museum, Groton, Connecticut, United States

Last Major Revision: Nov 2017

Submarine S-26 (SS-131) Interactive Map


Launching ceremony of S-26, at Bethlehem ShipbuildingS-21, S-23, and S-26 at Groton, Connecticut, United States, 4 May 1923S-26 at San Diego, California, United States, 1927-1930; background probably minesweeper Tern (AM-31)S-26 entering Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, 1924-1938
See all 6 photographs of Submarine S-26 (SS-131)

S-26 Operational Timeline

7 Nov 1919 The keel of S-26 was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, United States.
22 Aug 1922 S-26 was launched at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, United States, sponsored by the wife of Carlos Bean.
15 Oct 1923 USS S-26 was commissioned into service with Lieutenant Edmund W. Burrough in command.
27 Apr 1925 USS S-26 arrived at Hawaii.
30 May 1925 USS S-26 departed Hawaii.
1 Dec 1930 USS S-26 departed San Diego, California, United States.
12 Dec 1930 USS S-26 arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
15 Oct 1938 USS S-26 departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
25 Mar 1939 USS S-26 arrived at New London, Connecticut, United States.
15 Apr 1939 USS S-26 entered a period of partial duty while at New London, Connecticut, United States.
1 Jul 1940 USS S-26 returned to full duty while at New London, Connecticut, United States.
10 Dec 1941 USS S-26 departed New London, Connecticut, United States.
19 Dec 1941 USS S-26 arrived at Naval Base Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone.
24 Jan 1942 Submarine chaser USS Sturdy accidentally rammed submarine USS S-26 in the Gulf of Panama in the darkness, killing 46 of the 49 aboard.
25 Jan 1942 US Navy divers located the sunken wreck of submarine USS S-26 and concluded at least one survivor was aboard, but the divers would fail to make any rescues.

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Submarine S-26 (SS-131) Photo Gallery
Launching ceremony of S-26, at Bethlehem Shipbuilding
See all 6 photographs of Submarine S-26 (SS-131)

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