View Full Version : U.S. Submarine Cobia,revisited.

11-02-2007, 03:47 PM
The weather being fair, and the weekend slow, I went up to visit the Cobia at the wisconsin Maritime Museum where it is berthed, and maintained. There is a large and loyal group of people that swarm the boat every so often to maintain, repair, and restore as much of the boat as is possible.
I did take some pics of the Cobia, but for some reason, they do not allow flash photography. (Mind you ,this boat has survived 6 war patrols, and a severe depthcharge attack.) they are afraid the flashes will fade the paint...
Anyway here they are,, the interior shots are natural light, and my shutter speed was 1/2 second, so they are not my usual quality, but not bad considering..

Pics 1-3 are exterior shots,
#4 is the after torpedo room.
#5 wish I knew, didnt hear that part..
#6 One of 2 engine rooms, 4engines total.
#7 "Intelligence section"
#8 Forward torpedo room.
#9 Exterior showing forward part of the conning tower. W/ Oerlikon 20 mm, and the Radar antenna, periscope.
#10-11, Me shooting pic#3
(There are many more compartments, but they were either too crowded, or too dark to photograph.)

George Eller
11-02-2007, 08:41 PM

Thanks for sharing this TG :)

Beautiful pics. The interior shots are incredibly sharp considering the lighting restrictions and slower shutter speed.

It reminds me of my visit as a teenager to the submarine USS Cavalla (SS-244) at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, just north of Galveston, Texas in the 1970's. We used to visit the Battleship Texas (BB-35) also while I was growing up in Houston, Texas in the 1960's and 70's.


USS Cobia (SS-245)



USS Cobia (SS/AGSS-245), a Gato-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for the cobia, a food fish found in warm waters.

Cobia (SS-245) was launched 28 November 1943 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn., sponsored by Mrs. C. W. Magruder; and commissioned 29 March 1944, Lieutenant Commander Albert L. Becker in command.

Cobia reached Pearl Harbor from New London 3 June 1944. On 26 June she put to sea on her first war patrol, bound for the Bonin Islands. On 13, 17, and 18 July she sank Japanese freighters. The last, Nisshu Maru, was a troop transport carrying a Japanese tank regiment to Iwo Jima. Even though only two members of the 26th Tank Regiment died, all of the regiment's 28 tanks went to the bottom of the sea. It would be December before 22 replacements were provided.

On 20 July she sank three small armed ships in a running gun battle. One of them rammed Cobia, causing minor damage, but she continued her mission, sinking a converted yacht of 500 tons on 5 August, one of whose survivors she rescued as her first prisoner of war.

After refitting at Majuro from 14 August to 6 September 1944, Cobia sailed into the Luzon Straits for her second war patrol, a mission punctuated again and again by attacks by Japanese aircraft. On 22 October, she rescued two survivors of a Japanese ship previously sunk by one of Cobia's sisters. She put into Fremantle to refit 5 November, and cleared on her third war patrol 30 November. Sailing into the South China Sea, she reconnoitered off Balabac Strait between 12 December and 8 January 1945, and on 14 January sank the minelayer Yurishima off the southeast coast of Malaya. Surfacing to photograph her sinking victim, Cobia was driven under by a Japanese bomber. Next day she rescued two Japanese from a raft on which they had been adrift 40 days.

Once more she refitted at Fremantle between 24 January and 18 February 1945, then sailed to the Java Sea for her fourth war patrol. On 26 February she engaged two sea trucks, one of which resisted with machinegun fire which damaged her radar equipment and killed Ralph Clark Huston Jr., a 20 mm gun loader and Cobia's only casualty of the war. After sinking both sea trucks, Cobia interrupted her patrol for repairs at Fremantle from 4 to 8 March, then returned to the Java Sea, where on 8 April she rescued seven surviving crewmembers of a downed Army bomber. One of the crewmembers, Jean Vandruff, recounted the story of the rescue on HBO's Band of Brothers collection of WWII stories..

Cobia replenished at Subic Bay from 15 April to 9 May 1945, then put out for the Gulf of Siam and her fifth war patrol. On 14 May she attacked a cargo ship, but was driven deep by depth charges hurled by a minesweeper. Luck changed on 8 June, when Cobia contacted a tanker convoy, and sank both a tanker and the landing craft Hakusa. She refitted once more at Fremantle between 18 June and 18 July, then sailed for her sixth and final war patrol. After landing intelligence teams along the coast of Java on 27 July, Cobia sailed to act as lifeguard during air strikes on Formosa until the end of hostilities, returning to Saipan 22 August.

Of Cobia's six war patrols, the first, third, fourth, and fifth were designated as "successful" war patrols, for which she received four battle stars. She was credited with having sunk a total of 16,835 tons of shipping.

She sailed on for Pearl Harbor, New York, Washington, and New London, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 22 May 1946. Recommissioned 6 July 1951, Cobia trained reservists and Submarine School students at New London until placed in commission in reserve at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard 29 October 1953. After overhaul, she was towed to New London, where she was again placed out of commission in reserve in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet 19 March 1954.

By 1959, the Navy considered Cobia obsolete as a deployable warship and transferred her to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Naval Reserve Center. There it served as a training platform for the next eleven years. She was redesignated an Auxiliary Submarine, AGSS-245, 1 December 1962.

On 1 July 1970, the Navy struck Cobia from the Naval Register, and she was towed to Manitowoc, Wisconsin to serve as an international memorial to submariners. In 1986, Cobia was incorporated as a part of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, declared a National Historic Landmark, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Cobia is permanently docked at the Manitowoc River's mouth into Lake Michigan where tours are given daily. The Cobia also houses the oldest operating radar set in the world.




George Eller
11-02-2007, 08:45 PM


Thanks for sharing the USS Cobia info and pics TG :)

Beautiful pics. The interior shots are incredibly sharp considering the lighting restrictions and slower shutter speed.

It reminds me of my visit as a teenager to the submarine USS Cavalla (SS-244) at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, just north of Galveston, Texas in the 1970's. We used to visit the Battleship Texas (BB-35) also while I was growing up in Houston, Texas in the 1960's and 70's.

USS Cavalla (SS-244)


USS Cavalla (SS/SSK/AGSS-244), a Gato-class submarine, was a ship of the United States Navy named for the cavalla, a salt water fish of the pompano family inhabiting waters off the eastern coast of the Americas from Cape Cod to Río de la Plata.

Cavalla was launched 14 November 1943 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Connecticut; sponsored by Mrs. M. Comstock; and commissioned 29 February 1944, Lieutenant Commander Herman J. Kossler (Class of 1934) in command.

Departing New London 11 April 1944, Cavalla arrived at Pearl Harbor 9 May for voyage repairs and training. On 31 May 1944 she put to sea, bound for distant, enemy-held waters.

On her maiden patrol Cavalla, en route to her station in the eastern Philippines, made contact with a large Japanese task force 17 June 1944. Cavalla tracked the force for several hours, relaying information which contributed to the United States victory scored in the Battle of the Philippine Sea—the famous "Marianas Turkey Shoot" on 19 June–20 June 1944. On 19 June she caught the carrier Shōkaku recovering planes and quickly fired a spread of six torpedoes for three hits, enough to sink Shōkaku in 11°50′N, 137°57′E. After a severe depth charging by three destroyers, Cavalla escaped to continue her patrol. The feat earned her a Presidential Unit Citation.

Cavalla's second patrol took her to the Philippine Sea as a member of a wolfpack operating in support of the invasion of Peleliu 15 September 1944.

On 25 November 1944 during her third patrol, Cavalla encountered two Japanese destroyers, and made a surface attack which blew up Shimotsuki in 02°21′N, 107°20′E. The companion destroyer began depth charging while Cavalla evaded on the surface. Later in the same patrol, 5 January 1945, she made a night surface attack on an enemy convoy, and sank two converted net tenders in 05°00′S, 112°20′E.

Cavalla cruised the South China and Java Seas on her fourth and fifth war patrols. Targets were few and far between, but she came to the aid of an ally on 21 May 1945. A month out on her fifth patrol, the submarine sighted HMS Terrapin, damaged by enemy depth charges and unable to submerge or make full speed. Cavalla stood by the damaged submarine and escorted her on the surface to Fremantle, arriving 27 May 1945.

Cavalla received the cease-fire order of 15 August while lifeguarding off Japan on her sixth war patrol. A few minutes later she was bombed by a Japanese plane that apparently had not yet received the same information. She joined the fleet units entering Tokyo Bay 31 August, remained for the signing of the surrender on 2 September, then departed the next day for New London, arriving 6 October 1945. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 16 March 1946.

Recommissioned 10 April 1951, Cavalla was assigned to Submarine Squadron 8 and engaged in various fleet exercises in the Caribbean and off Nova Scotia. She was placed out of commission 3 September 1952 and entered Electric Boat Co. yard for conversion to a hunter-killer submarine (reclassified SSK-244, 18 February 1953).

Cavalla was recommissioned 15 July 1953 and assigned to Submarine Squadron 10. Her new sonar made Cavalla valuable for experimentation and she was transferred to Submarine Development Group 2 on 1 January 1954, to evaluate new weapons and equipment, and participate in fleet exercises. She also cruised to European waters several times to take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercises, and visited Norfolk, Va., for the International Naval Review (11 June–12 June 1957). On 15 August 1959, her classification reverted to SS-244.

She was reclassified an Auxiliary Submarine AGSS-244 in July 1963. Cavalla was decommissioned, and struck from the Naval Register, 30 December 1969.

On January 21, 1971, Cavalla was transferred to the Texas Submarine Veterans of WWII. She now resides at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, just north of Galveston, Texas. Cavalla has undergone an extensive restoration process (see photos, below), and is open for self-guided tours.

In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, Cavalla received four battle stars for service in World War II. Of her six war patrols, the first and third were designated as Successful War Patrols. She is credited with having sunk a total of 34,180 tons of shipping.



USS Texas (BB-35)


USS Texas (BB-35) is a New York-class battleship, and the second ship of the United States Navy named to honor Texas, the 28th state. Texas’s keel was laid down on 17 April 1911 at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. She was launched on 18 May 1912 sponsored by Miss Claudia Lyon, and commissioned on 12 March 1914 with Captain Albert W. Grant in command.

During her career Texas saw action in Mexican waters following the "Tampico Incident", and escorted Allied convoys across the Atlantic Ocean during World War I. When the United States formally entered World War II, Texas resumed her role of escorting war convoys across the Atlantic, and later shelled Axis-held beaches for the North African campaign and the Normandy Landings before being transferred to the Pacific Theater late in 1944 to provide naval gunfire support during the Battle of Iwo Jima and Battle of Okinawa.

Texas was decommissioned in 1948, having earned a total of five battle stars for service in World War II, and is presently a museum ship near Houston, Texas. Among the world's remaining battleships, Texas is notable for being the oldest remaining dreadnought. She is also noteworthy for being one of only two remaining ships to have served in both World War I and World War II. Among U.S. built battleships, Texas is notable for her sizable amount of firsts: the first battleship to mount anti-aircraft guns, the first to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers (analog forerunners of today's computers), the first battleship to launch an aircraft, the first to receive a commercial radar in the U.S. Navy, and the first battleship to become a museum ship...



11-02-2007, 08:57 PM
The Texas is a beautiful ship,, always liked Battle ships.. There was talk not long ago of berthing a heavy cruiser here in Milwaukee, but the local Gov't put it down.
The Cobia is quite a boat, it was used into the 60's for great lakes training, (The Great Lakes Naval training station is just 150 mi. from Manitowoc.
I think the Cobia is able to maneuver on its own,, I know they were running at least one engine not long ago. As far as diving etc, I dont know if it could handle much of that, but it floats, even though it is quite still. The interior is in fine shape, been well kept, and continues to be maintained by volunteers, both civilian, and military.
I was concerned the the interior shots would be shakey, but they did come out well, (hands are still steady) and I use a good camera. Thanks George, i appreciate the feedback, and pics.

George Eller
11-02-2007, 09:48 PM

Thank you and you're welcome. I assume that you use an SLR camera (I had an old film type SLR that gave many years of good service). I use a digital now (Kodak DX7630).

It's interesting that USS Cavalla (SS.244) and USS Cobia (SS.245) were sister ships of the Gato class, completed just two weeks apart, 14 and 28 Nov 1943, by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Connecticut.

Well, there was a light-cruiser USS Milwaukee (CL-5) that served during WWII, but she was scrapped in 1949.

USS Milwaukee (CL-5), Off New York City, circa August 1943.
Photo #: 19-N-51513
Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

USS Milwaukee (CL-5)


The battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-64) is presently a museum ship, but not in Wisconsin. The ship is located at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Virginia.

USS Wisconsin (BB-64), Underway at sea, circa 1988-91.
Photo #: NH 97206-KN (Color)
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

USS Wisconsin (BB-64)


Museum ship (1992–present)

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the absence of a perceived threat to the United States came drastic cuts in the defense budget. The high cost of maintaining and operating battleships as part of the United States Navy's active fleet became uneconomical; as a result, Wisconsin was decommissioned on 30 September 1991 and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register (NVR) on 12 January 1995. On 15 October 1996 she was moved to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and on 12 February 1998 she was restored to the Naval Vessel Register. On 7 December 2000 the battleship was towed from Portsmouth, Virginia and berthed adjacent to Nauticus, The National Maritime Center in Norfolk. On 16 April 2001 the battleship's weather decks were opened to the public by the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, a U.S. Navy museum charged with Wisconsin’s interpretation and public visitation. The ship is still owned by the Navy and is considered part of the mothball fleet.

Wisconsin was named as one of two US Navy battleships that were to be maintained in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act of 1996 (the other was Iowa). Both battleships were maintained in the United States Navy reserve fleets for use as shore bombardment vessels since their 16-inch (405 mm) guns are capable of firing 2,700-lb projectiles approximately 24 nautical miles inland; However, Wisconsin is now over 60 years old and would require extensive modernization to return to the fleet since most of her technology dates back to World War II, and the missile and electronic warfare equipment added to the battleship during her 1980s modernization are now considered obsolete. Furthermore, during the 1991 Gulf War she was said to be hindered by Iraqi naval mines, and reports on the Internet suggest that the majority of the shore bombardments were successfully carried out by US Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates and their 3 in (76 mm) guns. In addition, the cost of modernizing Iowa and Wisconsin is estimated to be somewhere around $500 million for reactivation and $1.5 billion for a full modernization program.

On 17 March 2006 the Secretary of the Navy exercised his authority to strike Iowa and Wisconsin from the NVR, which has cleared the way for both ships to be donated for use as museums; however, the United States Congress remains "deeply concerned" over the loss of naval surface gunfire support that the battleships provided, and has noted that "...navy efforts to improve upon, much less replace, this capability have been highly problematic." Partially as a consequence the US House of Representatives has asked that the battleships be kept in a state of readiness should they ever be needed again. Congress has asked that the following measures be implemented to ensure that, if need be, Wisconsin can be returned to active duty:

1. Wisconsin must not be altered in any way that would impair her military utility;

2. The battleship must be preserved in her present condition through the continued use of cathodic protection, dehumidification systems, and any other preservation methods as needed;

3. Spare parts and unique equipment such as the 16 inch (406 mm) gun barrels and projectiles be preserved in adequate numbers to support Wisconsin, if reactivated;

4. The Navy must prepare plans for the rapid reactivation of Wisconsin should she be returned to the Navy in the event of a national emergency.

These four conditions closely mirror the original three conditions that the Nation Defense Authorization Act of 1996 laid out for the maintenance of Wisconsin while she was in the Mothball Fleet. It is unlikely that these conditions will impede the current plan to turn Wisconsin into a permanent museum ship at her berth in Norfolk.


11-03-2007, 02:29 AM
Hi George, Thanks, I do use an SLR,of medium format (6x6 cm.) I like the large negatives, they produce excellent images even when enlarged to 16x20 inches.
I dont remember the name of the cruiser that was considered for Milwaukee, there was quite a fuss about it though. i'll give a look to the links you provided, should be good reading.

11-09-2007, 05:18 PM
Very nice pictures, is sad that around here the old magnificent fleet was directed stright to the scrapyard after its decomission.

11-09-2007, 07:58 PM
That is a shame my friend, sometimes if a museum, or a city or state wants it, a ship or some such piece of uneeded military hardware that might otherwise be scrapped, can be gotten as a monument or exhibit.But if the technology is too sensitive, (construction, or materials.) it has to be shredded, or otherwise completely destroyed.
I will whenever I find something of this sort, photograph it for the benefit of all the Barbarian Brotherhood here. :)

These arent exactly military, they show a triple expansion steam engine fron an old ice breaker that cleared the Great Lakes. It stands about 6 meters tall,and is run by an electric motor by means of a ships telegraph so visitors can put it through its paces. Again being indoors, no flash allowed, so I winged it.

11-12-2007, 12:36 AM
Is this bearded dude you, tankgeezer?;)
And is this your Salut camera in hands?

11-12-2007, 01:32 AM
Hello again Chevan, always good to hear from you! Yes that is me, but that camera is a Hasselblad, although the Solyut looks nearly the same, but it doesnt have the wide angle lens I needed for these shots. I do look a bit like Father Winter eh,,, (who knows,,, perhaps I am..) Have a good week! :)

11-12-2007, 04:30 AM
Father Winter sounds great mate:):D
And why you don't you the modern digital 6-8 Mpixels cameras?
How do you transform film to the digital format? Through scanner?
I think this is not best choise in the our 21 centure when the spacecrafts fly to the far planets;)

11-12-2007, 07:01 AM
Father Winter sounds great mate:):D
And why you don't you the modern digital 6-8 Mpixels cameras?
How do you transform film to the digital format? Through scanner?
I think this is not best choise in the our 21 centure when the spacecrafts fly to the far planets;)

The old school cameras make nicer, higher quality photos though...

11-12-2007, 07:28 AM
The old school cameras make nicer, higher quality photos though...
Nicer than what ?
Then scanner?;)
The main problem of all of old films cameras - when you scann it to the digital format ( the single convenient format for use in forums and everywhere) it sensively lose in quality.
An in resault - the finished quality is no better that the average digital camera. But the the digital camera is MUCH more comfortable in service.

11-12-2007, 10:13 AM
Hi Chevan, you ask a very good question. I use film because I find there is a decided lack of "depth" in a 2-D electronic image. Film emulsion is coated a layer at a time, 4 layers for my film, and that does give a definate depth to the finished prints.
The resolution in a medium format negative is very sharp, and can stand enlarging to 16"x20" (400mmx500mm)without showing any graininess(unless a really fast film is used, asa 800 or more) .
The images I post here are from a picture CD. digitized image files made by using a negative scanner. The CD I use is of a lower resolution, to make it easier to send over the net. emails etc. Other wise, the files would be over 5MB per image. There are digital backs made for these cameras, they are really expensive, as the pixel count has to be above 20 megapixels to match the resolution of film.
For archival, or Gallery prints, I have them done by enlarger and photo paper, that always gives the best result,greatest depth, and resolution. Though is more expensive to produce. For hand out pics,or proofs, I get them digitally printed. Quick and cheap.
Lastly, as long as I have a negative, I can use any type of scanning technology available, but if I store them digitally, there may come a time when the applications needed to utilize the stored files will no longer be used,or available. so retrieval may become impossible.I can always get out the enlarger, and print a negative.
I do like digicams, they are useful to compose, or choose the set up of a shot, things like that, and are great for parties, and gatherings . But for the important stuff, I always go film..
As for space age, the Hasselblad 500 EL is the base model for the cameras sent along on the Apollo Moon program. They had different switches to allow use while wearing space gear, and a different covering, (Titanium plates instead of leather) and a bulk film back. But other than that, pretty much the same machines I use. The real benefit is in the optics. The lenses make the greatest difference in image quality.

11-12-2007, 01:41 PM
The old school cameras make nicer, higher quality photos though...
So true Nick,,
Digi may be for the most part easier, and cheaper to work with, and for use here, digital imaging is the best thing since sliced bread. (or beer in cans,,) But there is something about an old camera and film that satisfies in a way digi, can only dream of.
My siblings all use digi, and at functions, always have something to say about the large noisey box I use. "why with this digi, I can just upload, go to photoshop, make a few tweaks, and I'm done." but when the pictures are all laid out to see later on, mine always get the oohs and ahhhs...especially when I show up with 16x20's or 20x24's.

11-10-2013, 11:56 PM
It should also be mentioned that 28 submarines during ww2 were built in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and served the US NAVY most probably in the Pacific.