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USS Growler (SS-215)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Growler (SS-215)

USS Growler (SS-215) was laid down on 10 February 1941 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Co.; launched on 22 November 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Robert L. Ghormley; and commissioned on 20 March 1942, Lt. Cmdr. Howard W. Gilmore in command.

Sailing out of Groton to conduct her first sea trials on 23 March 1942, USS Growler (SS-215) made a series of Condition II dives and operated her engineering plant at full speed. On 1 April 1942, USS Growler (SS-215) participated with the submarine rescue vessel USS Falcon (ASR-2) to conduct various drills and training, including torpedo and night approaches as a part of Task Force (TF) 25.6, New Construction Submarines, operating under Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Operating in the Submarine Sanctuary off New London, Conn., she continued her commissioning and training underway. Proceeding to the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, R.I., on 8 April 1942, USS Growler (SS-215) loaded fourteen Mk. XIV-1 torpedoes, spare parts, and accessories as approved by the Bureau of Ordnance.

USS Growler (SS-215) returned to New London for upkeep prior to her departure for Hawaii on 1 May 1942. Three days later, after being degaussed and assigned to Task Unit (TU) 25.6.6, she got underway for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal. Growler’s first war patrol began on 29 June 1942, after Task Force 8 sent orders assigning her a patrol area in the Aleutians. After refueling and charging torpedoes at Midway, USS Growler (SS-215) arrived at her assigned area on 30 June, patrolling Kiska Harbor.

Originally ordered to return to base on 3 December, USS Growler (SS-215) extended her run until 10 December, when she moored in Brisbane, Australia. Two days prior to her arrival, she suffered a casualty in her No. 2 main engine and remained out of commission until a broken crankshaft could be replaced, completing a refit on 31 December. On New Year’s Day 1943, USS Growler (SS-215) departed Brisbane for her fourth war patrol. Returning to Pearl Harbor on 8 February 1944, USS Growler (SS-215) departed for Midway, arriving to refuel there on 21 February. Departing for her eighth war patrol to the East China Sea, a typhoon’s high seas and wind delayed her arrival there and knocked an auxiliary engine out of commission for the remainder of her patrol. 

During her refit, USS Growler (SS-215) had a new 40 millimeter gun installed, plus two .50-caliber machine gun mounts and topside stowage for guns and ammunition. After four days of firing Mk.18 exercise torpedoes off Hawaii, she got underway on 11 August 1944 for Taiwan. While at Midway on 15 August, USS Growler (SS-215) formed a wolf pack with USS Sealion (SS-315) and USS Pampanito (SS-383). 

USS Growler (SS-215) had sunk 15 enemy vessels for a total of 74,900 tons, and damaged 7 others for 34,100 tons. She was stricken from the Navy Register on 8 February 1945.

For a complete history of USS Growler (SS-215) please see its DANFS page.