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Aircraft Carriers






Torpedo Boats

Liberty Ships

Foreign Warships

Warships Associated With
World War II in the Pacific



Balao class

USS Becuna (left) and USS Olympia (right)
USS Becuna (left) and USS Olympia (right), Philadelphia, PA
(Photo by Jules Schick, 1985)

Name:USS Becuna (SS-319)
Location:Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Owner:Cruiser Olympia Association
Condition:Good, altered

Displacement:1,526 tons (surface) / 2,415 tons (submerged)
Length:308 feet
Width:27 feet
Draft:15 feet
Maximum Speed:20 knots (surface) / 9 knots (submerged)
Maximum Depth:400 feet
Armament:Ten Torpedo Tubes, 6 forward and 4 aft, with 14 reloads, 24 torpedoes; 1 5"/25 caliber deck gun; various combinations of antiaircraft guns.
Crew:8 officers / 72 enlisted

Builder:Electric Boat Company, Groton, Connecticut
Launched:January 30, 1944
Commissioned:May 27, 1944


USS Becuna (SS-319) was built by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on January 30, 1944, and was commissioned on May 27, 1944.

USS Becuna is a fleet-type submarine (built to maintain speeds averaging 17 knots) of the Balao class. Balao class boats were essentially improved versions of the previous Gato class. They were designed to operate at a test depth of 400 feet as opposed to 300 feet for the Gato class.

USS Becuna was originally a pre-snorkel submarine operating underwater on batteries, and powered by a diesel electric system. In 1951, USS Becuna was converted to a snorkel-equipped Guppy submarine that allowed the boat to operate her diesel engines underwater. During this conversion the boat's exterior guns were removed and the conning tower was enclosed by a new sail casing to reduce underwater resistance.

USS Becuna is in good condition and aside from the addition of the snorkel and exterior changes, retains much of her World War II integrity. USS Becuna is semi-permanently moored in the Delaware River in Philadelphia next to USS Olympia.

Role of the Submarine in World War II

In the conflict against Japan in World War II, the role and importance of the submarine forces of the United States cannot be overestimated. American sub marines sank more than 600,000 tons of enemy warships and more than 5,000,000 tons of merchant shipping, thus destroying much of Japan's ocean commerce. This was accomplished by a force that never numbered more than two percent of naval personnel engaged in the war. The American submarine war against Japan created a blockade that denied her the oil, iron ore, food, and other raw materials she needed to continue to fight. By 1945 this submarine war made it all but impossible for Japanese shipping to sail the ocean. Without this commerce and the raw materials it supplied to her war effort, Japan found it impossible to continue the war outside of the homeland. [1]

USS Becuna represents the U.S. submarine forces that fought against Japan in World War II for the following reasons:

  1. USS Becuna is an example of the standard fleet type Balao class submarine that fought against Japan in World War II.

  2. USS Becuna made five war patrols and is credited with sinking 3888 tons of Japanese shipping. USS Becuna received four battle stars for her World War II service.

  3. USS Becuna is in good condition and, although altered to be a Guppy submarine, retains much of her World War II integrity.


1. Drew Middleton, Submarine--The Ultimate Navy Weapon-Its Past, Present, and Future (Chicago, Illinois: Playboy Press, 1976), pp. 109-12.

Edwin P. Hoyt, Submarine at War--The History of the American Silent Service (New York: Stein and Day, 1983), pp. 297-98.

Richard H. O'Kane, Clear the Bridge (New York: Bzantam Books, 1981), pp. 465-67.


Alden, John A. The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy--A Design and Construction History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1979.

Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory--The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1975.

Hoyt, Edwin P. Submarine at War--The History of the American Silent Service. New York: Stein and Day, 1983.

Middleton, Drew. Submarine--The Ultimate Naval Weapon--Its Past, Present, and Future. Chicago, Illinois: Playboy Press, 1976.

O'Kane, Richard. Clear the Bridge. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

Roscoe, Theodore. United States Submarine Operations in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute, 1965.


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(click on the above photographs for a more detailed view)

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Last Modified: Fri, Aug 25 2000 12:00:00 pm PDT

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