Skip to main content
Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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

Rock (SS-274)

(SS-274: displacement 1,525 (surfaced), 2,415 (submerged); length 311-9-; beam 27-3-; draft 15-3-; speed 20 knots; complement 80; armament 1 4-, 1 40mm., 2 20mm., 10 21- torpedo tubes; class Angler)

A striped bass found in the Chesapeake Bay region and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.

Rock (SS-274) was laid down by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, Wis., 23 December 1942; launched 20 June 1943; sponsored by Mrs. B. O. Wells; and commissioned 26 October 1943, Comdr. John Jay Flachsenhar in command.

After a month of intensive training in Lake Michigan, Rock passed through the Chicago Drainage Canal to Lockport, Ill. There she entered a floating drydock for her voyage down the Mississippi River. She arrived in New Orleans on 29 November 1943, and got underway 6 days later for Panama, where she received further training before sailing for Pearl Harbor on 2 January 1944. Following voyage repairs Rock departed from Pearl Harbor for her first war patrol on 8 February 1944.

On 29 February 1944, Rock contacted a large enemy convoy enroute to Truk. Detected while making a night surface approach on the convoy, she fired a spread of four torpedoes from her stern tubes at a closing enemy destroyer without scoring. Then illuminated by the destroyer's searchlight, and under fire from the surface ship's 5-inch guns, she dived. For 4 hours she underwent depth charge attacks, but survived. That night she surfaced and found that her periscopes were excessively damaged and that her bridge had been riddled with shrapnel. The damage necessitated a return to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

Rock began her second war patrol on 4 April 1944, destination Honshu. However, after 34 days in the Bungo Suido and Sagami Wan area without action, she returned to Majuro where she was refitted by Sperry (AS-12).

Rock, in company with Tilefish (SS-307) and Sawfish (SS-276), departed Majuro on 22 June 1944, in a coordinated attack group to patrol the Luzon Strait. At dawn on 19 July Rock attacked a Japanese convoy of seven large ships and three escorts, firing 10 torpedoes, six of which exploded. But, as she immediately dove to escape a depth-charge attack, she could not observe their effect. Two days later Rock contacted another enemy convoy consisting of six large ships and four escorts. She fired four torpedoes, two of which seemed to hit; but, again Rock was forced down by depth charges and unable to assess damage to her targets. During the remainder of her time on station, Rock weathered a severe typhoon and witnessed the sinking of a Japanese submarine, I-29, by Sawfish. On 27 July she headed toward Pearl Harbor.

Rock departed Pearl Harbor on 9 September 1944, en route for the South China Sea for her fourth patrol. On 26 October 1944, she scored three hits on a tanker, her only sinking, Takasago Maru No. 7, accompanied by three escorts. On 27 October 1944, she fired nine torpedoes at Darter (SS-227), stranded on Bombay Shoal, to prevent her salvage by the Japanese. Three of the torpedoes were hits. This patrol ended when Rock departed the area and sailed for Fremantle, Western Australia, for refit.

On 14 December 1944, Rock departed Fremantle on her fifth patrol. The only event of note during this 64-day patrol was the rescuing of a downed pilot from Lexington (CV-16).

At the start of her sixth patrol, 7 March to 4 May 1945, she picked up 15 merchant seamen, adrift in a life raft for 32 days, and landed them at Exmouth. Continuing northward the next day, Rock was bombed by an aircraft and that night she was struck by a dud torpedo. Neither attack caused any critical damage. In a night attack on 27 March, Rock fired on an enemy destroyer escort without success. On 18 April she joined Tigrone (SS-419) in bombarding Batan Island to leave the Japanese radio station in ruins. Rock then turned toward Saipan to complete a 54-day patrol.

From the Marianas the submarine headed for the United States, arriving at Hunter's Point, San Francisco, 14 May for overhaul. She sailed for Pearl Harbor 7 August 1945, but with the cessation of hostilities was ordered east.

Officially credited with damaging 42,282 tons of enemy shipping during her six war patrols, Rock participated in Navy Day celebrations at New Orleans, then proceeded to New London where she began inactivation in November 1945. She was decommissioned 1 May 1946 and was berthed as a unit of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

In early 1951 Rock was towed from New London to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where she was converted to a radar picket submarine by bisecting her at the forward bulkhead of the control room and inserting a 30-foot section between the control room and the forward battery to house the new CIC and the majority of her new electronic equipment. Reclassified SSR-274 on 18 July 1952, Rock recommissioned at Philadelphia 12 October 1953. After a short period of training with SubRon 6 off the Virginia Capes, she proceeded to San Diego to join SubRon 5. On 23 July 1954, she departed San Diego for the western Pacific area and a 6-month tour on the Taiwan Strait Patrol. She subsequently alternated deployments to WestPac with operations off the Pacific coast. She made 6-month deployments to WestPac in 1956 and during the winter of 1958-59.

On 31 December 1959 there no longer existed an operational requirement for a radar picket submarine in the Fleet, and on that date the Air Control Center was decommissioned and Rock was redesignated AGSS, auxiliary general submarine. Following operations off the Pacific coast and another overhaul, Rock again deployed to WestPac in November 1961. She made subsequent 6-month deployments to WestPac in 1963, 1965, 1966-67, and 1968.

Operating in the eastern Pacific during the first half of 1969, Rock departed San Diego 11 July and conducted operations in support of fleet training in the Hawaiian operating areas until steaming 16 August for the Pacific coast. Less than a month later, on 13 September 1969, Rock decommissioned at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Struck from the Navy list on the same day, she was initially held for use as a target until sold for scrap on 18 September 1972.

Rock earned four battle stars for World War II service.


19 October 2005

Published: Thu Apr 21 10:07:53 EDT 2016