Lost 52 Project Discovers the Bow of WW II Submarine 'Grunion' - 01/08/2019

Video Included


Tim Taylor and his team of the Lost 52 Project have identified the bow of the USS Grunion. It was discovered about a quarter of a mile from the main wreckage. In October 2018, the Lost 52 Project team returned to the site of the main wreck and found that the ship's bow had slid down a steep volcanic embankment. The submarine went missing about a month after it departed on its first war patrol in 1942. It wasn't seen again until the sons of the Grunion's commanding officer began searching for it and found the wreckage in 2007 off the coast of the Aleutian Islands.

Members of the Lost 52 Project, which searches for sunken World War II submarines,  put together a 3D scan of the bow and presented it to the family of USS Grunion's Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Mannert L. Abele. "When we brought it back to the family, it opened up so much more understanding of what happened and why it sank and what happened to the submarine," Taylor said.

About the USS Grunion

USS Grunion (SS-216) was a Gato-class submarine that was sunk at Kiska, Alaska, during World War II. Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut on 1 March 1941. She was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named after the grunion, a small, slender Californian fish that swarms onto beaches at night to spawn. The eggs are buried in the sand, and the young fish are swept out to sea on the following spring tide.

Attacked by a Japanese Destroyer

Departing Hawaii on 30 June 1942 the Grunion touched Midway Island before heading toward the Aleutian Islands for her first war patrol. Her first report, made as she patrolled north of Kiska Island, stated she had been attacked by a Japanese destroyer and had fired torpedoes at her with inconclusive results. She operated off Kiska throughout July and sank two enemy patrol boats as she waited for enemy shipping. On 30 July, the submarine reported intensive antisubmarine activity and was ordered back to Dutch Harbor.

Lost With All Hands

The Grunion was never heard from again. Air searches off Kiska were fruitless, and on 5 October the Grunion was reported overdue from patrol and assumed lost with all hands. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 2 November 1942. Captured Japanese records show no antisubmarine attacks in the Kiska area, and the fate of Grunion remained a mystery for 65 years until the discovery in the Bering Sea in August 2007 of a wreck believed to be her. In October 2008, the U.S. Navy verified that the wreck is the Grunion. The submarine received one battle star for her World War II service.

USS Grunion bathymetric scan of main hull section - Kiska, Alaska (courtesy Lost 52 Project).
USS Grunion bathymetric scan of main hull section - Kiska, Alaska (courtesy Lost 52 Project).

About the Lost 52 Project

The Lost 52 Project's mission objective is to provide the fullest possible documentation and accounting of locations for missing WWII U.S. Navy Sailors, their families and the nation. It includes site surveys, developing a complete database on each submarine, enabling community outreach and building education components.

A total of 52 US submarines were lost in WWII with 374 officers and 3131 men of the Submarine Force who gave their lives. Currently, there have been seven of these 'Lost 52' that have been found.

Information: www.lost52project.org. In Hydro-International's July/August issue you'll find an article on the activities of the Lost 52 Project. Related post: https://bit.ly/2ZoRUEG.

Last updated: 13/08/2019