USS Argonaut (SS-475)

article - USS Argonaut (SS-475)

USS Argonaut (SS-475) was a Tench-class submarine operated by the United States Navy (USN). Constructed at Portsmouth Navy Yard during the second half of 1944, Argonaut was commissioned into the USN in 1945 and operated during the final year of World War II, although her only contact with the Japanese was when she sank a junk in August. During the 1950s, the submarine was modified for greater underwater endurance, and to guide the Regulus I missile. From 1963 to 1965, Argonaut operated in the Mediterranean Sea.

For other ships with the same name, see USS Argonaut and HMCS Rainbow.
This article includes a list of general references, but it remains largely unverified because it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. (May 2010)

USS Argonaut off the United States East Coast on 22 July 1963.
United States
Name USS Argonaut
Builder Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine[1]
Laid down 28 June 1944[1]
Launched 1 October 1944[1]
Commissioned 15 January 1945[1]
Decommissioned 2 December 1968[1]
Stricken 2 December 1968[2]
Identification SS-475
Fate Transferred to Canada, 2 December 1968[1]

HMCS Rainbow
Name HMCS Rainbow
Acquired 1968
Commissioned 2 December 1968
Decommissioned 31 December 1974
Identification SS 75
Fate Scrapped in 1977
Badge Argent, a rainbow trout proper issuant from waves of water[3]
General characteristics
Class and type Tench-classdiesel-electricsubmarine[2]
Displacement 1,570 tons (1,595 t) surfaced,[2] 2,414 tons (2,453 t) submerged[2]
Length 311 ft 8 in (95.00 m)[2]
Beam 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)[2]
Draft 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m) maximum[2]
Speed 20.25 knots (38 km/h) surfaced,[7] 8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged[7]
Range 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 kn (19 km/h)[7]
Endurance 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged,[7] 75 days on patrol
Test depth 400 ft (120 m)[7]
Complement 10 officers, 71 enlisted[7]

The submarine was sold to Canada in 1968, commissioned into Maritime Command as HMCS Rainbow (SS 75), and operated until the end of 1974. The submarine was returned to the United States, and scrapped in 1977.

. . . USS Argonaut (SS-475) . . .

Argonaut was laid down at Portsmouth Navy Yard at Kittery, Maine on 28 June 1944. She was launched on 1 October 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Allan R. McCann and commissioned on 15 January 1945, Lieutenant Commander John S. Schmidt in command.

USS Argonaut as she originally appeared, seen at the Panama Canal Zone during training in May 1945.

Argonaut held shakedown in the Portsmouth area and in Narragansett Bay and returned briefly to Portsmouth on 27 March for post-shakedown availability. She then sailed on 14 April for Key West, Florida, where she conducted special tests for lighter-than-air craft and training operations with the Fleet Sound School. Argonaut departed the Florida coast on 13 May to transit the Panama Canal en route Hawaii. Reaching Pearl Harbor on 11 June, the submarine spent two weeks in repairs and training exercises before beginning her first war patrol on 28 June.

She made a fuel stop at Saipan on 10 July and then proceeded to the Formosa Strait and the East China and Yellow Seas to search for enemy shipping. On 16 July, Argonaut spotted a downed aviator, picked him up, and later transferred him to Quillback. Her only contact with Japanese vessels during the patrol came on 12 August, when Argonaut sank a 25-ton junk with fire from her 40 mm and 20 mm guns. Since she terminated her patrol at Guam on 21 August, six days after Japan capitulated, this was her only combat action during World War II.

Argonaut departed Guam on 1 September and proceeded, via Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal, to the Naval Frontier Base at Tompkinsville, New York. She arrived in New York on 4 October but continued on to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for an overhaul. Early in 1946, Argonaut was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and was based at Panama. While en route to Panama, Argonaut collided with light cruiserHonolulu off the United States East Coast between New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during a heavy fog. Honolulu sustained minor damage but Argonaut sustained major damage; with 40 feet (12 m) of the bow bent completely around and facing aft. The submarine was in for major repairs for many months at New London, Connecticut. Later in 1946, Argonaut became a unit of Submarine Squadron 2 (SubRon 2) based at New London, Connecticut.

In July 1952, Argonaut underwent a major conversion as part of the Fleet Snorkel program at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, during which she received a snorkel system and a streamlined sail. These changes gave the submarine greater submerged speed and range. Argonaut was one of the few Fleet Snorkel submarines to retain her 5-inch deck gun. The gun was removed by 1957.

Argonaut operated from New London until July 1955, when she was reassigned to SubRon 6 at Norfolk, Virginia. Following this move, Argonaut was converted to a guided missile submarine armed with a Regulus I missile.

In 1958, Argonauts home port was changed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she remained for a year, engaged primarily in missile operations as guidance submarine for Regulus missiles. The submarine returned to Norfolk, Virginia in 1959. During an overhaul in early 1960, Argonauts missile equipment was removed. When the alterations were completed, the submarine resumed her routine of supporting antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training operations out of Norfolk. Her commanding officer from 1960 to 1962 was Lieutenant-Commander (LCDR) Earl Resch.[8]

In June 1962, LCDR Theodore A. Curtin became Argonauts commanding officer.[8] On 15 October 1962, Argonaut performed duties in conjunction with the naval quarantine of Cuba. She then had a routine overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The yard work was completed on 13 May 1963, and the submarine sailed to the New London area for refresher training. After further training in the Virginia Capes area, she got underway on 19 August for the Mediterranean and service with the 6th Fleet. Her ports of call during the deployment included Gibraltar; Suda Bay, Crete; Rhodes, Greece; İzmir, Turkey; Toulon, France; Marseille, France; Sanremo, Italy and Naples, Italy. The submarine returned to home port on 15 December.

Argonaut continued her routine of operations along the U.S. east coast with periodic deployments to the Mediterranean. LCDR Floyd Holloway[8] became her commanding officer in June 1964 (through 1966). On 1 December 1965 Argonaut commenced overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Argonaut left the shipyard on 10 June 1966 for sea trials, and on 20 January headed for New London for refresher training. She then provided services to the submarine school at New London through the remainder of 1966.

The submarine moved to Norfolk early in 1967, but left the Virginia Capes area on 9 January, bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico. Argonaut took part in Operation “Springboard” through the rest of January and most of February before leaving the Caribbean on 23 February to return to Norfolk, arriving there five days later. For the next two months, Argonaut prepared for a North Atlantic and Mediterranean cruise. She sailed on 26 May and made her first port call at Trondheim, Norway. The submarine also visited Cuxhaven, Germany; Leith, Scotland; Rota, Spain; Naples, Italy; and Valletta, Malta, before returning to her home port on 20 September. She remained in the local operating area through the duration of the year.

The submarine traveled to New London on 6 February 1968, entered drydock there on 9 February, and remained in it through 26 February. Argonaut left the keelblocks on 27 February and returned to Norfolk. She made a patrol in the Jacksonville, Florida operating area in mid-March and put in at Port Everglades, Florida on 22 March. Three days later the submarine got underway for her home port. Upon her arrival in Norfolk on 29 March, she assumed a schedule of local operations. This was interrupted by another cruise to Port Everglades in October. She returned that month to Norfolk and began preparations for deactivation. Argonaut was decommissioned on 2 December, and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register that same day.

. . . USS Argonaut (SS-475) . . .

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. . . USS Argonaut (SS-475) . . .