USS Narwhal

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USS Narwhal SS-167 Log

(Data From: The Dictionary of American Fighting Ships)

1927 - 1930

10 MAY 1927Keel Laid as V-5 by Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
17 DEC 1929V-5 Launched - sponsored by Mrs. Charles F. Adams (wife of the Secretary of the Navy)
15 MAY 1930V-5 Commissioned
Lt. Comdr. John H. Brown Jr., Commanding Officer
11 AUG 1930Departed Annapolis, Md. for cruise to the West Indies.
11 SEP 1930Returned to Portsmouth
SEP 1930
JAN 1931
Training in New England Waters


31 JAN 1931Sails for the West Coast via the Panama Canal
04 APR 1931Arrives San Diego, California
19 FEB 1931V-5 renamed Narwhal
01 JUL 1931Reclassified as SS-167
Date UnknownEnters Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul

1932 - 1941

02 FEB 1932Departs Mare Island Navy Yard for fleet exercises off Hawaii.
17 MAR 1932Returns to San Diego
1932-1934Patrol Duty on the West Coast
12 JUL 1934Cruise with Submarine Division 12
18 SEP 1934Returns to San Diego
1934-1935Patrol Duty - North as far as Seattle - West as far as Hawaii
?? MAR 1935Completes the first submarine rescue of a downed naval aviator, taking aboard a victim of engine failure of a biplane float plane off Coronado. - Narwhal also tows the downed plane back to North Island.

(editor's note: Is this the only known aircraft salvage tow by a submarine?)

1935-1937Continues Patrol Duty
Date UNKAssigns Homeport at Pearl Harbor
1938-1941Continues Patrol Duty

7 DEC 1941

07 DEC 1941 Inport - Pearl Harbor Submarine Base - Narwhal's crew man their .30 caliber guns within minutes of the first enemy bomb explosions on Ford Island. Narwhal's gunners assist in the destruction of two torpedo planes. The kills were shared with the crew of the USS Tautog (SS-199) and a nearby destroyer.

NARWHAL's Report


02 FEB 1942 First War Patrol - Lt. Comdr. Charles W. Wilkins, USNR, commanding. -

Complete Narwhal Report
First Endorsement to Narwhal Report - Submarine Division Forty Two
Comments on Narwhal Report - Submarine Squadron Four
7 FEB 1942Narwhal grounds in sand at Midway pier and later surges into pier.
15 FEB 1942Narwhal reconnoiters Wake Island.
16 FEB 1942Narwhal continues reconnoiter of Wake Island then continues on to the Ityukyu Islands.
28 FEB 1942Narwhal makes her first torpedo attack of the war, - heavily damaging 6,515-ton Maju Maru.
06 MAR 1942Narwhal sinks 1,241-ton Taki Maru in the East China Sea.
28 MAR 1942First War Patrol completed
28 MAY 1942Second War Patrol in defense of Midway Atoll. - Lt. Comdr. Charles W. Wilkins, USNR, commanding. - - Narwhal joins USS Plunger (SS-179) and USS Trigger (SS-237) scouting east of Midway in support of Task Force 16 (USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Hornet (CV-8), and USS Yorktown (CV-5)) prepares to meet the Japanese attack.

(This was the Battle of Midway [June 3 thru 6] - and was the first US victory in the Pacific.)

13 JUN 1942Second War Patrol completed
07 JUL 1942Third War Patrol - Lt. Comdr. Charles W. Wilkins, USNR, commanding.
Searching out Japanese shipping off the Kuriles.

not quite Complete Narwhal Report
Comments - Commander Submarines, Pacific Fleet
24 JUL 1942Narwhal sinks a small interisland freighter.
28 JUL 1942Narwhal sinks a second small interisland freighter.
01 AUG 1942Narwhal sinks the 2,921-ton Meiwa Maru. Heavy aircraft bomb and depth charge retaliation follows.
08 AUG 1942Narwhal sinks the 2,559-ton Bifitku Maru.
14 AUG 1942Narwhal raises her periscope to discover three enemy destroyers crossing her stern in column. She resubmerged to wait it out while the destroyers, according to one of her submariners, "were running all over the ocean" dropping depth charges at her. Only slightly damaged, Narwhal departed her patrol area the next day.
26 AUG 1942Third War Patrol completed
08 SEP 1942Departed Pearl Harbor for the west coast.
15 SEP 1942Arrived Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul.


04 APR 1943Departed Mare Island.
06 APR 1943Arrived San Diego to embark the 7th Infantry Scout Company for the invasion of Attu Attlit Island.
18 APR 1943Departed San Diego ordered to Alaska.
27 APR 1943Arrived Dutch Harbor.
30 APR 1943Fourth War Patrol - Lt. Comdr. Charles W. Wilkins, USNR, commanding. - - Departed Dutch Harbor for the western Aleutians.
11 MAY 1943Rendezvoused with Nautilus (SS-168) off the northern side of Attu, and the two ships, debarked Army Scouts in rubber boats for the preliminary landings in the recapture of the island. - - (This venture successfully completed 29 MAY 1943)
14 MAY 1943Arrived Dutch Harbor.
18 MAY 1943Departed Dutch Harbor enroute Pearl Harbor.
25 MAY 1943Fourth War Patrol completed
26 JUN 1943Fifth War Patrol - Comdr. Frank D Latta, USNR, commanding. - Underway for the Kuriles
11 JUL 1943Narwhal assigned to create diversion by bombarding an air base on Matsuwa. - USS Lapon (SS-260), USS Permit (SS-178), and USS Plunger (SS-179) were about to attempt an exit from the previously impenetrable Sea of Japan which they had so daringly invaded.
15 JUL 1943Narwhal draws so much enemy shelling she was forced to dive, but she accomplishes her mission. The other submarines slip through Etorofu Strait without detection.
07 AUG 1943Fifth War Patrol completed
31 AUG 1943Sixth War Patrol - Comdr. Frank D Latta, USNR, commanding. - Underway for the Marshall Islands.
11 SEP 1943Narwhal torpedoes and sinks 4,211-ton Hokusho Maru. - Japanese escorts attack with a severe depth charging. - Narwhal then departs for the Kwajalein Atoll area.
?? SEP 1943Enroute Brisbane, Australia, via the Solomons.
02 AUG 1943Sixth War Patrol completed
AUG 1943
OCT 1943
Narwhal prepares to assist in the campaign to reoccupy the Philippines begun in January 1943 when USS Gudgeon (SS-211) disembarked six Filipinos and a ton of equipment on Negros Island.

(Veteran Narwhal eventually became the leading submarine in supporting the Philippine guerrilla movement with nine secret transport missions to her credit.)

21 OCT 1943Seventh War Patrol - Comdr. Frank D Latta, USNR, commanding. - - Underway for the Philippine Islands.

Narwhal was loaded down with 92 tons - of ammunition and stores and a party of ten.

10 NOV 1943Narwhal in the Stulu Sea, off Mindanao en route to Puluan Bay when two Japanese ships astern opened fire.
13 NOV 1943Narwhal enters Ptiluan Bay stealthily at night to disembark her passengers and half of her cargo while lying off the starboard side of the Japanese registered Dona Jitana Maru. - By midnight Narwhal was safely on her way to Nasipit, Mindanao.
15 NOV 1943Narwhal docks in Nasipit, Mindanao to unload the rest of her stores to the tune of "Anchors Aweigh" played by a grateful Filipino band. - She then embarked 32 evacuees, including 8 women, 2 children, and a baby, destined for Darwin, Australia.
22 NOV 1943Seventh War Patrol completed
25 NOV 1943Eighth War Patrol - Comdr. Frank D Latta, USNR, commanding. - With the usual cargo and 11 Army operatives Narwhal sails for Cabadaran, Mindanao.
02 DEC 1943Arrives Buttian Bay for disembarking. Picking up seven evacuees, Narwhal sails for Majacalar Bay
03 DEC 1943Arrives off Negros Island. Takes on 9 more people
05 DEC 1943Narwhal stands out of Alajacalar Bay. Around sunrise she sinks the 834-ton Hinteno Maru in a blaze of gunfire.
11 DEC 1943Narwhal dismbarks her passengers at Port Darwin.
18 DEC 1943Ends eighth war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.


18 JAN 1944Ninth War Patrol - Comdr. Frank D Latta, USNR, commanding. - Narwhal returns to Darwin to embark observer Comdr. F. Kent Loomis and more stores. Following a nighttime transit of Surigao Strait, Narwhal, slips west and north, makes a submerged patrol off Naso Point, Panay, then heads for Pandan Bay to transfer cargo to sailing craft.
07 FEB 1944With six new passengers Narwhal lies just off Negros Island to deposit 45 tons of supplies. Narwhal then received 28 more evacuees for the trip to Darwin.
15 FEB 1944Ninth war patrol ends in Freemantle.
16 FEB 1944Tenth War Patrol - Comdr. Frank D Latta, USNR, commanding. -
02 MAR 1944Narwhal delivers more ammunition to Butuan Bay and embarks 28 passengers.
03 MAR 1944Departs for Tawi Tawi. This evening she sinks the 560-ton river gunboat Karatsu, the captured American gunboat USS Luzon (PR-47), and is heavily bombarded with depth charges by enemy escorts for her trouble.
05 MAR 1944Two small boats, assisted by rubber boats from Narwhal, put off for shore with cargo. Three Japanese destroyer types close in later; she eludes them.
11 MAR 1944Transfers her passengers, now a total of 38, to RAN tug Chinampa
20 MAR 1944Tenth War Patrol ends in Freemantle.
07 MAY 1944Eleventh War Patrol - Commander Jack C. Titus, commanding, Sailing for Alusan Bay Samar.
24 MAY 1944Lands 22 men and supplies, including electric lamps, radio parts, and flour for the priests, during the night.
01 JUN 1944Unloads 16 men and stores on the southwest coast of Mindanao.
09 JUN 1944Ends eleventh war patrol in Port Darwin.
10 JUN 1944Twelfth War Patrol - Commander Jack C. Titus, commanding
13 JUN 1944Narwhal submerges for reconnaissance of Bula Ceram Island, a source of enemy oil. That night the submarine closes the shore and fires 56 rounds of 6-inch projectiles to destroy several gasoline storage tanks and set fires around a power house and pumping station area before she retreating from the salvos directed at her.
20 JUN 1944Three minutes before sunset Narwhal rendezvous with native boats to send her cargo ashore during a suspenseful nine and one-half hours. Within 30 minutes after she had completes unloading and taking on 14 evacuees, a submarine chaser is in her wake. Narwhal evades successfully.
21 JUN 1944Narwhal shoots at a Japanese sea truck.
22 JUN 1944Narwhal shoots at an unidentified tanker.
29 JUN 1944Puts her evacuees ashore at Port Darwin.
07 JUL 1944Ends twelfth war patrol at Freemantle.
12 AUG 1944Thirteenth War Patrol - Commander Jack C. Titus, commanding -
30 AUG 1944Narwhal surfaces in Dibut Bay on the east coast of Luzon for her usual disembarking procedures, greatly speeded this time by the use of bamboo rafts built by the shore party under direction of Comdr. Charles Parsons, a liaison man in the Philippine supply and evacuation missions.
02 SEP 1944Before midnight Narwhal sends a party and supplies ashore to a beach off the mouth of the Masanga River and receives four evacuees in return.
10 SEP 1944Ends thirteenth war partol at Port Darwin.
14 SEP 1944Fourteenth War Patrol - Commander Jack C. Titus, commanding -
27 SEP 1944Narwhal deposits men and stores on Cebu. Departs for Sairi Bay.
29 SEP 1944Narwhal receives 31 liberated prisoners-of-war rescued from the sea after Paddle (SS-263) sank several Japanese transports off Sindagan Point 6 September.

(editor 2 Feb 2001: I don't quite understand this. Paddle's history shows she sank one cargo ship (SHINYO MARU) on 7 SEP 1944 - there is no indication of Paddle being damaged. Are these Americans liberated from POW status or Japanese from the cargo ship becoming POWs? Who is Narwhal receiving them from and who exactly are they? Anyone know?)

(editor 6 Feb 2001: I Just got a message from Al Anceravage. He says "Regarding the POWs, it was the 14th patrol, 14 Sept to 15 Oct 1944, there were 81 POWs involved. The paddle (SS263) sank the Shanyo Maru (hell ship) off the coast of Mindanao. There was a plaque dedicated on 8 sept 98 by remaining survivors in Fredericksburg, Texas at the Ad[miral] Nimitz Museum. Somewhere along I read there where 750 POWs involved but only 81 survived."

30 SEP 1944Narwhal finds herself in danger this afternoon when she submerges to avoid a Japanese antisubmarine patrol plane, her stern planes lock in a 20 degree angle. Forced to blow her main ballast to stop the steep dive Narwhal reverses direction and pops out of the water stern first just 2 minutes after she went down. Luckily the patrol plane could not maneuver fast enough to return before Narwhal again dives.
05 OCT 1944Ends fourteenth war patrol.
Date UnknownNarwhal based at Mios Woendi, Dutch New Guinea
11 OCT 1944Fifteenth War Patrol - Commander William G. Holman, USNR, commanding -
13 OCT 1944Friday, the 13th brought a near attack by a PBY. Once the submarine was recognized, the plane signaled "good luck" -- Narwhal and crew felt they might need it after that.
17 OCT 1944Narwahl offloads 11 tons of food stuffs while sitting off Tawi Tawi beach.
19 OCT 1944Narwahl offloads the balance of her cargo and 37 men at Negros Island and embarks 26 passengers.
02 NOV 1944Ends fifteenth war patrol at Brisbane.


06 JAN 1945Narwhal departs Brisbane for the east coast via the Panama Canal
21 FEB 1945Arrives Philadelphia Navy Yard
23 APR 1945Decommissioned
19 MAY 1945Struck from the Navy List
Date UnknownSold for Scrap
Narwhal's two 6-inch guns are permanently enshrined at the
Naval Submarine Base, New London, at Groton, Conn.
Narwhal earned 15 battle stars for her World War II service.

This site is maintained by Harry Kholer, son of
Harry F Kholer, EM1c, USS Narwhal SS-167.

Dad spoke often and well of the Narwhal.
This site is dedicated to him and to the crew.

Any corrections or additions may be submited to