Patch
Duty Station Details

Strength
Submarine
 
Type
Sub-Surface Vessels
 
Existing/Disbanded
Sunk

Description

The USS Grayback (SS-208) was a Tambor-class World War II era submarine. 
Grayback was named for a small species of lake herring of commercial importance found abundantly in the Great Lakes.
Keel laid: 04/03/1940
Launched: 01/31/1941

Commissioned: 06/30/1941
Sunk 02/26/1944
Specifications:
Radio call sign: Nan - Baker - King - Fox
Displacement:
Surfaced: 1,475 tons
Submerged: 2,370 tons
Length 307'2'
Beam 27' 3"
Draft 13' 3"
Speed:
Surfaced 20 kts
Submerged 8.75 kts
Complement 6 Officers 54 Enlisted
Operating Depth, 300 ft
Submerged Endurance, 48 hrs at 2 kts
Patrol Endurance 75 days
Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10 kts
Armament:
Ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft
24 torpedoes
One 3"/50 deck gun
Two .50 cal. machine guns
Two .30 cal. machine guns

Propulsion, diesel electric reduction gear with four General Motors main generator engines, HP 5400, Four General Electric main motors, HP 2740, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin propellers.
Fuel Capacity, 96,365 gals.


Commanding Officers:
LT W. E. Saunders 06/30/1941 - 09/22/21942
LCDR E. C. Stephen 09/22/1942 - 07/19/1943
LCDR J. A. Moore 07/19/1943 - 02/26/1944
 
Executive Officers:
LCDR R. E. Nichols 06/30/1941 - 04/25/1943
LT J. H. Stewart  04/25/1943 - 02/26/1944


 

JANAC Score for the USS Grayback (SS-208)


 

Patrol
No.
Date
DD-MM-YY
Vessel
Name
Vessel
Type
Tonnage
Sunk
Location
Sunk
 
2 17-May-42 Ishikari Maru Cargo 3,291 27-05N, 142-05E
 
5 02-Jan-43 I-18 Submarine 2,180 8-49S, 157-09E
 
7 11-May-43 Yodogawa Maru Cargo 6,441 00-47S, 149-02E
 
7 17-May-43 England Maru Cargo 5,830 1-00S, 148-40E
 
8 14-Oct-43 Kozui Maru Passenger-
Cargo
7,072 27-35N, 127-27E
 
8 22-Oct-43 Awata Maru Ex-Light
Cruiser
7,397 26-48N, 124-56E
 
9 18-Dec-43 Gyokurei Maru Cargo 5,588 26-22N, 128-20E
 
9 19-Dec-43 Numakaze Destroyer 1,300 26-29N, 128-26E
 
9 21-Dec-43 Konan Maru Cargo 2,627 3-24N, 129-53E
 
9 21-Dec-43 Kashiwa Maru Ex-Net
Tender
515 30-24N, 129-53E
 
10 19-Feb-44 Taikei Maru Cargo 4,739 21-46N, 120-06E
 
10 19-Feb-44 Toshin Maru Cargo 1,917 21-46N, 120-06E
 
10 24-Feb-44 Nampo Maru Tanker 10,033 24-20N, 122-25E
 
10 27-Feb-44 Ceylon Maru Cargo 4,905 31-50N, 127-45E
 
TOTALS     14 vessels 63,835 tons  


81 Members Who Served in This Duty Station


 

 

Duty Station Citations - Display as Table
 
 Excellence Awards 
 

 
Associated Patches
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Associations
 
Duty Station History
 
Battle/Operations History
 
Duty Station News and Information
USS Grayback (SS-208) DANFS (Sep 03, 2013) 
From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, Vol. III, 1968, Navy 
Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History 
Division, Washington, D.C.

GRAYBACK (SS-208)

dp. 1,475;
l. 307' 2";
b. 27' 3";
dr. 13' 3";
s. 20.9 k (surf.) 8.75 (subm.);
cpl. 65;
a. 1 3", 10 21" tt.;
cl. TAMBOR

GRAYBACK (SS-208) was launched by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn. 
31 January 1941; sponsored by Mrs. Wilson Brown, wife of Rear Admiral 
Wilson Brown, Superintendent of the Naval Academy; and commissioned 30 
June 1941 at New London, Lt. Willard A. Saunders in command.

Attached to the Atlantic Fleet GRAYBACK conducted her shakedown cruise 
in Long Island Sound out of Newport, New London, and New York. In 
company with GRAMPUS she departed New London 8 September for patrol duty 
in the Caribbean and Chesapeake Bay; then arrived Portsmouth, N.H., 30 
November for overhaul.  With America's entry into the war GRAYBACK 
sailed for Pearl Harbor 8 February. There she joined the submarine fleet 
which was to wreak such havoc on the vital shipping lanes of the 
Japanese Empire.

GRAYBACK's first war patrol from 15 February to 10 April took her along 
the coast of Saipan and Guam. There she participated in a deadly 4-day 
game of hide-and-seek with an enemy submarine; the enemy I-boat fired 
two torpedoes at GRAYBACK on the morning of 22 February, then continued 
to trail her across the Pacific. GRAYBACK spotted the enemy conning 
tower a couple of times, and the Japanese ship broached once; but the 
GRAYBACK could not get into position to attack. After 4 nerve-wracking 
days, GRAYBACK shook the other sub and continued on patrol. First blood 
for her came on 17 March as she sank a 3,291-ton cargo ship off Port 
Lloyd.

GRAYBACK's second war patrol met with a dearth of targets although she 
even took the unusual and risky measure of patrolling surfaced during 
the day. On 22 June she arrived Fremantle, Australia, which was to 
remain her home base for most of the war. Her third and fourth war 
patrols, in the South China Sea and St. George's Passage were equally 
frustrating as GRAYBACK was hampered by bright moonlight, shallow and 
treacherous water, and enemy patrol craft. Despite these hazards, she 
damaged several freighters and also got in a shot at another Japanese 
submarine. However, the very presence of GRAYBACK and her sister ships 
in these waters-the threat they presented to shipping and the number of 
enemy escorts they tied up-was an important factor in the successful 
conclusion of the Guadalcanal campaign, America's first offensive 
campaign in the Pacific war.

The fifth war patrol began as GRAYBACK sailed from Australia 7 December 
1942. Only a week out of port, Pharmacist's Mate Harry B. Roby was 
called upon to perform an emergency appendectomy, the second to be done 
on a patrolling submarine. With GRAYBACK running silent and steady a 
hundred feet beneath the surface, the

Page 139

untutored Roby successfully removed the infected appendix, and his 
patient was back standing watch by the end of the patrol. Then 2O 
December, GRAYBACK enjoyed "a Jap appetizer for Christmas dinner," as 
she battle surfaced to sink four landing barges with her deck guns. Four 
days later she was again fired on by an enemy submarine but maneuvered 
to avoid the torpedoes. On 3 January 1943 she gained her revenge by 
sending to the bottom I-18 one of 25 Japanese submarines chalked up by 
the Pacific submarines.

On 5 January GRAYBACK served as beacon ship for the bombardment of Munda 
Bay and also indulged in some hair-raising rescue work. Lying off Munda 
early in the morning of 5 January, she received word that six survivors 
of a crashed B-2 were holed up on the island. GRAYBACK sent ashore two 
men, then submerged at dawn to avoid enemy aircraft. The submariners 
located the downed aviators, three of whom were inured, and hid out with 
them in the jungle. As night fell, GRAYBACK surfaced offshore and by 
coded light signals directed the small boat "home safe" with the rescued 
aviators. For this episode skipper Edward C. Stephan received the Navy 
Cross.

GRAYBACK continued on patrol, torpedoing and damaging several Japanese 
ships. On 17 January she attacked a destroyer escorting a large maru, 
hoping to disable the escort and then sink the freighter with her deck 
guns. However, the destroyer evaded the torpedoes and dropped 19 depth 
charges on GRAYBACK. One blew a gasket on a manhole cover, and the 
submarine, leaking seriously, was ordered back to Brisbane where she 
arrived 23 February.

On her sixth war patrol from 16 February to 4 April, GRAYBACK again had 
a run of bad luck and returned empty-handed from the Bismarck-Solomons 
area. Her newly installed SJ radar had failed to function; and although 
she had taken several shots at marus, none were sunk.

The seventh patrol was more successful. Departing Brisbane 25 April, 
GRAYBACK intercepted a convoy whose position had been radioed to her by 
ALBACORE 11 May. In a night surface attack GRAYBACK fired a spread of 
six torpedoes at the seven freighters and their three escorts. The three 
escorts charged and she had to go deep to elude the attacking enemy. She 
was credited with the sinking of cargo ship YODOGAWA MARU. On 16 May she 
torpedoed and seriously damaged a destroyer. The following day GRAYBACK 
intercepted four marus with one escort and sank freighter ENGLAND MARU 
and damaged two others before she was forced to dive. She arrived Pearl 
Harbor 30 May, then proceeded to San Francisco for a much needed 
overhaul.

Arriving Pearl Harbor 12 September, GRAYBACK prepared for her eighth war 
patrol. Sailing 26 September with SHAD, she rendezvoused with CERO at 
Midway to form the first of the Submarine Force's highly successful 
wolfpacks. The three submarines under Captain C. B. Momsen in CERO, 
cruised the China Sea and returned to base with claims of 38,000 tons 
sunk and 3,300 damaged. GRAYBACK accounted for two ships, a passenger-
cargo vessel torpedoed 14 October and a former light cruiser, AWATA 
MARU, torpedoed after an end-around run on a fast convoy 22 October. 
Wolfpack tactics came into play 2 October as GRAYBACK closed a convoy 
already attacked by SHAD and administered the coup de grace to a 9,000 
ton transport listing from two of SHAD's torpedoes. The submarines had 
now expended all torpedoes, and on 10 November they returned to Midway.

With almost a quarter of her crew untested in battle GRAYBACK departed 
Pearl Harbor for the East China Sea 2 December for her ninth war patrol. 
Within 5 days of her first contact with Japanese ships, she had expended 
all her torpedoes in a brilliant series of attacks which netted four 
ships for a total of over 10,000 tons. On the night of 18 to 19 December 
GRAYBACK wreaked havoc on a convoy of four freighters and three escorts. 
She sent freighter GYOKUREI MARU and escort NUMAKAZE to the bottom and 
damaged several others in surface attack. Two nights later, 20 to 21 
December, she spotted another convoy of six ships; and, after an end-
around run she fired a spread of nine torpedoes into the heart of the 
Japanese formation. This first attack sunk one freighter and damaged 
another before GRAYBACK dived to elude depth charges. Three hours later 
she surfaced and sank a second freighter. After an unsuccessful attack 
the following night had exhausted her torpedo supply, GRAYBACK headed 
home. Undaunted by lack of torpedoes, the submarine battled surfaced 27 
December and sank a good-sized fishing boat with deck guns before 
reaching Pearl Harbor 4 January 1944.

GRAYBACK's tenth patrol, her most successful in terms of tonnage sunk, 
was also to be her last. She sailed from Pearl Harbor 28 January 1944, 
for the East China Sea. On 24 February GRAYBACK radioed that she had 
sunk two cargo ships 19 February and had damaged two others. On 25 
February she transmitted her second and final report. That morning she 
had sunk tanker TOSHIN MARU and severely damaged another. With only two 
torpedoes remaining, she was ordered home from patrol. Due to reach 
Midway on 7 March, GRAYBACK did not arrive. On 30 March ComSubPac 
reluctantly listed her as missing and presumed lost with all hands.

From captured Japanese records the gallant submarine's last few days can 
be pieced together. Heading home through the East China Sea, on 27 
February GRAYBACK used her last two torpedoes to sink the freighter 
CEYLON MARU. That same day, a Japanese carrier-based plane spotted a 
submarine on the surface in the East China Sea and attacked. According 
to Japanese reports the submarine "exploded and sank immediately," but 
antisubmarine craft were called in to depth-charge the area, clearly 
marked by a trail of air bubbles, until at last a heavy oil slick 
swelled to the surface. GRAYBACK had ended her last patrol, one which 
cost the enemy some 21,594 tons of shipping.

The fighting submarine's career, so tragically ended, had been an 
illustrious one. GRAYBACK ranked 20th among all submarines in total 
tonnage sunk with 63,835 tons and 24th in number of ships sunk with 14. 
Submarine and crew had received two Navy Unit Commendations for their 
7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th war patrols.

GRAYBACK received eight battle stars for World War II service.
 
Duty Station Timeline
World War II Victory Medal
Criteria
The World War II Victory Medal commemorates military service during the Second World War.
1945
Navy Unit Commendation (NUC)
Criteria
The Navy Unit Commendation may be awarded by the Secretary of the Navy to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps that distinguishes itself by outstanding heroism in action against an enemy (but not suff ... More
1944
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi ... More
Description
Awarded for war patrol 01/28/1944 - 02/26/1944
1944
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi ... More
Description
Consolidation of Southern Solomons 02/08/1943 - 06/20/1943
1943
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi ... More
Description
Anti-submarine assesment
1943
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi ... More
Description
Awarded for war patrol 04/25/1943 - 05/30/1943
1943
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi ... More
Description
Awarded for war patrol 09/26/1943 - 11/10/1943
1943
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi ... More
Description
Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal 08/10/1942 - 02/08/1943
1942
Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal
Criteria
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for for qualifying service within the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946, under any of the following condi ... More
Description
Awarded for War Patrol 02/15/1942 - 04/10/1942
1942
American Campaign Medal
Criteria
The American Campaign Medal was awarded for For thirty days service outside the Continental United States but within the American Theater of Operations between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946; or, ... More
1940
 
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