USS Steelhead, a 1525-ton Gato class submarine built by the Portsmouth Navy Yard, was commissioned in December 1942. She went to the Pacific to join in the war against Japan in February 1943 and began her first war patrol at Pearl Harbor in April. While Steelhead attacked no enemy ships during this cruise, which took her to Japanese home waters, she did lay a dozen mines and used her gun to bombard a steel mill on Hokkaido. The submarine's second patrol, into the central Pacific, took place between June and August 1943, but produced no verifiable sinkings. Steelhead went to the Gilbert Islands in September to cover an Army Air Forces bombing raid, then voyaged to the Palaus in search of enemy shipping. While in the Carolines on 6 October she joined USS Tinosa (SS-238) in sinking the Japanese Navy oiler Kazahaya.
Sent back to Japan in late December 1943 for her fourth war patrol, Steelhead's torpedoes claimed the salvage vessel Yamabiko Maru on 10 January 1944. She hunted in the East China Sea in April and May, but her only sinking was a trawler that fell victim to her deck gun. In June-August 1944 she was teamed with USS Hammerhead (SS-364) and USS Parche (SS-384) to operate as a "wolf-pack" in the waters between the Philippines and Formosa. Steelhead participated in a successful attack on an enemy convoy at the end of July and was credited with sinking two and a half ships. The submarine was then overhauled on the West Coast, with her shipyard stay greatly prolonged after she suffered a bad fire while in drydock on 1 October 1944.
Finally emerging from shipyard hands in April 1945, Steelhead began her seventh war patrol in mid-May, performing lifeguard service in the central Pacific before spending the bulk of the more than two-month cruise off the Japan. By this time enemy ships were hard to find, but her gunfire claimed two trawlers. Japan's capitulation took place soon after the end of this final patrol and in late August Steelhead was sent to California to participate in sonar training. This duty lasted until early 1946, when she went to Hawaii for a few months' operations. Inactivated upon her return to the West Coast, she was decommissioned in late June 1946. In May 1947 she became a stationary, and non-commissioned, Naval Reserve training ship. Stricken from the Navy list at the beginning of April 1960, Steelhead was sold for scrapping in late June 1961.
This page features our only views of USS Steelhead (SS-280).
|If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."|
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: NH 98501
USS Steelhead (SS-280)
Photographed circa 1945, after she had been refitted with a 5"/25 deck gun.
This image has been retouched by wartime censors to remove radar antennas atop Steelhead's periscope sheers.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Online Image: 68KB; 740 x 505 pixels
Photo #: NH 79766
USS Steelhead (SS-280)
Underway off San Diego, California, 1946.
Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1974.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 95KB; 740 x 595 pixels
In addition to the images presented above, the National Archives appears to hold at least one other view related to USS Steelhead (SS-280). The following list features this image:
The image listed below is NOT in the
Naval Historical Center's collections.
DO NOT try to obtain it using the procedures described in our page "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions".
Commissioning ceremonies on board USS Steelhead (SS-280) at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, 7 December 1942.
View looking forward on the submarine's after deck, showing officers and crew saluting as the National Ensign is raised on her conning tower flagstaff.
Reproductions of this image should be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system for pictures not held by the Naval Historical Center.
The image listed in this box is NOT in the Naval Historical Center's collections. DO NOT try to obtain it using the procedures described in our page "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions".
Page made 26 May 2003