Skip to main content
Related Content
  • Boats-Ships--Submarine
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Cabrilla (SS-288)


An edible fish inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea and waters off the coast of California.

(SS-288: displacement 1,526; length 311'9"; beam 27'3"; draft 15'3"; speed 20.0 knots; complement 66; armament 1 4-inch, 10 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Gato)

Cabrilla (SS-288) was laid down on 18 August 1942 at Portsmouth, N.H., by the Portsmouth Navy Yard; launched on 24 December 1942, the day before Christmas;  sponsored by Mrs. Lewis B. Combs, the wife of Rear Adm. Lewis B. Combs, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks; and commissioned on 24 May 1943, Cmdr. Douglas T. Hammond in command.

Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Cabrilla arrived at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on 30 August 1943, and on 12 September set out on the first of eight war patrols. After a daring exploit in which four Filipino guerrillas were taken off Negros Island, Cabrilla completed her patrol at Fremantle, Australia, her base for the next five patrols. During her second patrol, Cabrilla laid mines in the Gulf of Siam, and sank her first Japanese merchantman, then returned to Fremantle to prepare for her third patrol, a reconnaissance of Sunda Strait. Her fourth and fifth patrols, off Makassar, and in the Celebes and Sulu Seas, found her again striking with telling results against Japanese merchant shipping. Most successful of her patrols was the sixth, in the South China Sea and off Luzon from 13 September to 25 October 1944. During this period, she sank a total of 24,557 tons of shipping, including a 10,059-ton tanker. Cabrilla made her seventh war patrol in vicious weather in the Kuriles of northern Japan, and her last patrol found her on lifeguard duty for aviators downed at sea while carrying out attacks on Japan.

Homeward-bound after two arduous years, Cabrilla cleared Fremantle on 31 August 1945 for the States. Following overhaul at Philadelphia, she sailed for the Canal Zone for exercises (19 February-17 March 1946), then underwent preinactivation overhaul at Philadelphia. Cabrilla was placed out of commission in reserve on 7 August 1946. Resdesignated as an auxiliary submarine in 1962, she was ultimately decommissioned and simultaneously stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 June 1968.  Briefly in the custody of Submarine Veterans of World War II, Houston, Texas (18 October 1968 -- 21 October 1971), the veteran of eight war patrols was sold on 18 April 1972 to the Southern Scrap Material Co. of New Orleans, Louisiana, and broken up for scrap.

Cabrilla received six battle stars for her World War II service. Of her eight patrols, six were designated as "Successful War Patrols." She is credited with having sunk a total of 38,767 tons of shipping.

Interim Updated, Robert J. Cressman

16 May 2024

Published: Thu May 16 14:37:34 EDT 2024