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Cachalot I (SS-170)

(SS-170: dp. 1,110; l. 271'10"; b. 24'9"; dr. 12'10"; s. 17 k.; cpl 43; a. 1 3", 6 21" tt.; cl. Cachalot)

The sperm whale.

Cachalot (SS-33) was renamed K-2 (q. v.) on 17 November 1911 prior to her commissioning.


Cachalot (SS-170) was launched 19 October 1933 as V-8 (SC-4) by Portsmouth Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss K. D. Kempff; and commissioned 1 December 1933, Lieutenant Commander M. Comstock in command.

After shakedown, further construction, tests, and overhaul, Cachalot sailed for San Diego, Calif., where on 17 October 1934 she joined the Submarine Force, U.S. Fleet. Operating until 1937 principally on the west coast, she engaged in fleet problems, torpedo practice, antisubmarine, tactical, and sound training exercises. She cruised twice to Hawaiian waters and once to the Canal Zone to participate in large-scale fleet exercises.

Cachalot cleared San Diego 15 June 1937, bound for New London, Conn., and duty in experimental torpedo firing for the Newport Torpedo Station, and sound training for the New London Submarine School until 26 October 1937 when she began a lengthy overhaul at New York Navy Yard. A year later she sailed for participation in a fleet problem, torpedo practice and sound training in the Caribbean and off the Canal Zone, and on 16 June 1939, reported at Pearl Harbor for duty with the Submarine Force and the Scouting Force.

War came to Cachalot as she lay in Pearl Harbor Navy Yard in overhaul. In the Japanese attack of 7 December 1941, one of her men was wounded, but the submarine suffered no damage. Yard work on her was completed at a furious pace, and on 12 January 1942 she sailed on her first war patrol. After fueling at Midway, she conducted a reconnaissance of Wake, Eniwetok, Ponape, Truk, Namonuito, and Hall Islands, returning to Pearl Harbor 18 March with vitally needed intelligence of Japanese bases. Her second war patrol, for which she cleared from Midway on 9 June, was conducted off the Japanese home islands, where she damaged an enemy tanker. Returning to Pearl Harbor 26 July, she cleared on her final war patrol 23 September, penetrating the frigid waters of the Bering Sea in support of the Aleutians operations.

Overage for strenuous war patrols, Cachalot still had a key role to play during the remainder of the war, which she spent as training ship for the Submarine School at New London. She served here until 30 June 1945, when she sailed to Philadelphia where she was decommissioned 17 October 1945. She was sold 26 January 1947.

Cachalot received three battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Mon Jun 29 14:13:47 EDT 2015