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Redfin (SS-272)

(SS-272: displacement 1,526; length 311-9-; beam 27-3-; draft 15-3-; speed 20 knots (surfaced), 8.7 knots (submerged); complement 60; armament 1 3-, 10 21- torpedo tubes; class Gato)

Any of several North American fishes with reddish fins.

Redfin (SS-272) was laid down 03 September 1942 by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, Wis.; launched 4 April 1943; sponsored by Mrs. B. B. Wygant; and commissioned 31 August 1943, Lt. Comdr. R. D. King in command.

Departing New Orleans 15 October 1943, Redfin proceeded to Fremantle, Australia. On her first war patrol, starting 4 January 1944, she encountered an enemy convoy of four ships in the South China Sea on 16 January. Before she could attack, however, Japanese destroyer Amatsukaze spotted Redfin in the afternoon haze and began a surface chase. After the Japanese warship began firing at Redfin from about 5,000 yards, the submarine carefully fired four torpedoes at the fast closing destroyer, scoring at least one hit that damaged Amatsukaze and allowed Redfin to escape. The submarine then returned to Fremantle to refit, a period broken by an emergency patrol off western Australia in mid-March to defend against a possible Japanese strike.

On her second war patrol, 19 March to 1 May, Redfin sank the 1,900-ton Japanese destroyer Akigumo off Zamboanga, Mindanao, 11 April. During the night of 15-16 April, she sank two Japanese passenger-cargo ships, Shinyu Maru, 4,621 tons, and Yamagata Maru, 3,807 tons. On the night of 22-23 April, she landed four of her crew near Dent Haven, Borneo, to evacuate a British reconnaissance party. Attacked by the Japanese, the landing party returned to Redfin without their charges, but the British agents were later evacuated by Australian forces, and transferred to Harder (SS-257).

On her third war patrol, 26 May to 1 July, she landed six Philippine guerrillas on a small island near Balabac Strait 8 June. Proceeding to scout the enemy naval base at Tawi Tawi, she sank the 5,142-ton Japanese tanker Asanagi Maru on the 11th. She also warned American forces in the Marianas of the departure from Tawi Tawi of the Japanese task force that was later defeated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea on the 19th and the 20th. Operating off Leyte on the 24th, she sank the 3,028-ton Japanese passenger-cargo ship Aso Maru, before returning to Fremantle.

Departing Fremantle 6 August, she laid a minefield off the west coast of Borneo on the 19th, and rescued eight survivors of Flier (SS-250) at Palawan Island on the 30th. After lifeguard duty for airstrikes against Balikpapan, Borneo, she departed Fremantle 26 October, and sank the 15,226-ton Japanese tanker No.2 Nichinan Maru west of the Philippines 8 November. Completing her fourth war patrol 7 January 1945, she proceeded to Mare Island Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, where she received special mine detection gear. Underway from Pearl Harbor 30 May to 10 July, and later from 30 July to 5 September she made mine surveys first off Honshu and Hokkaido, and later off Kyushu, Japan.

Decommissioned at New London, Conn., on 1 November 1946, she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in April 1951 for conversion, and was reclassified SSR. Recommissioned on 9 January 1953, she engaged in radar picket duty for the next six years, ranging from American coastal waters, to northern Europe, and to the Mediterranean.

In April 1959 she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and received an inertial guidance system. Redfin became a laboratory and training ship for the testing of inertial guidance systems used in Polaris submarines. She preceded the first ballistic missile submarine George Washington (SSBN-598) as flagship of Submarine Squadron l4. After searching for the lost Thresher (SSN-593) in April 1963, she was reclassified AGSS on 28 June. Operating in the Atlantic, she continued to assist in special research and development projects, including the Polaris A-3 missile, until she decommissioned 15 May 1967 to become a Naval Reserve Training Ship at Baltimore, Md.

Redfin was stricken from the Navy list on 1 July 1970 and sold to the North American Smelting Co., Wilmington, Del., on 3 March 1971.

Redfin received six battle stars for World War II service.


23 September 2005

Published: Thu Apr 21 09:14:50 EDT 2016