Launched 7 November 1940 at the Electic Boat Company yard at Groton, CT, SS-206 Gar submarine was placed in commission at New London on 14 April 1941. Her first commanding officer was Lieutenant Donald McGregor, who would remain with her through the end of her fourth war patrol.
Following a shakedown cruise in New England waters, Gar left New London for San Diego on 24 November 1941, via the Panama Canal, arriving at San Diego on 10 December 1941. Moving up the coast to San Francisco, Gar was fitted out for combat duty at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and set off for Pearl Harbor on 15 January 1942.
Gar set off on the first of her fifteen war patrols on 2 February 1942. She patrolled in Empire waters, around Nagoya and the Kii Channel. Her bag for her first patrol was the 1,520 ton freighter Chichiubu Maru.
Gar‘s second war patrol resulted in hits on a freighter off Kwajalein and a Japanese Q-ship. She was credited with one ship for 4,000 tons, but JANAC was unable to confirm the sinking after the war. She did not return to Pearl Harbor, but concluded her patrol at Fremantle, where she would be based.
Her third war patrol, in the South China Sea and Gulf of Siam, resulted in only a single enemy contact, a hospital ship, which was allowed to go on its way unmolested. Her fourth war patrol, with her three-inch deck gun replaced by a five-inch, found her laying mines in the approaches to Bangkok. The rest of her patrol was uneventful, and with his senior officers asking to be transferred, McGregor was relieved on returning to Fremantle.
Philip D. Quirk took over command for Gar‘s fifth through eighth patrols. She scored hits on all of these, but did not sink any enemy vessels until the seventh patrol, when she was credited with five targets sunk for 16,500 tons. (Reduced to three vessels for 8,000 tons by JANAC.) She was also credited with sinking five sampans by gunfire.
Her eighth war patrol, starting from Fremantle on 18 June 1943, resulted in damage to a 500 ton motorship, which managed to ground itself. Quirk left following this patrol, and George W. Lautrup, Jr. took over command for Gar‘s ninth war patrol, which took her back to Pearl Harbor. She was credited with one 4,000 ton freighter (reduced by JANAC to 1,000 tons) on that patrol. After arriving at Pearl Harbor, she was sent back to Mare Island for refit, returning to Pearl on 30 November 1943.
Gar‘s tenth war patrol began on 16 December 1943. On 20 January 1944 she sank the 5,325 ton freighter Koyu Maru. Two days later she damaged two ships in another convoy, and on the 23rd found a third convoy and sank Taian Maru, adding another 3,670 tons to her credit.
On her eleventh war patrol Gar rescued eight downed flyers from the first carrier-based strike on Palau. Her twelth patrol, Lautrup’s last with Gar, found her in the Bonin islands, where she used her deck gun to attack a convoy of small Japanese cargo vessels.
Her thirteenth war patrol, now under the command of Maurice Ferrara, was mainly spent in lifeguard duty off Yap. She also conducted reconnaisance work off Surigao Strait, and bombarded Japanese installations on Yap, ending her patrol in Brisbane.
Her fourteenth war patrol was a special mission, landing 16 men and 25 tons of supplies at Santiago Cove on Luzon. She also picked up intelligence documents. Her final war patrol, beginning on 4 December 1944, was another special mission, taking supplies to Luzon and returning to Pearl Harbor with a collection of captured documents giving Japanese dispositions on Luzon.
Following another refit at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Gar served out the rest of the war as a target vessel for anti-submarine training at Saipan and Guam. Returning to Portsmouth, NH on 20 October 1945, Gar was decommissioned on 11 December and placed in reserve.
Taken out of reserve and overhauled at Portsmouth in September 1948, she was barged up the Mississippi River and through the Chicago Canal, arriving in Cleveland, OH 28 November 1948, where she was to serve as a reserve training vessel for the Fourth Naval District. (And where, in the 1950s, your webmaster went through her on a grade school tour.) She was used as a training vessel until 29 May 1959, when she was stricken. She was replaced as a training boat byCod (SS-224, which remains in Cleveland as a museum boat), and Gar was sold for scrap on 10 November 1959.
|HISTORY FOR U.S.S. Gar|
|11/7/40||Electric Boat||Mrs G.T. Pettingill||4/14/41||LT Donald McGregor||11/59|
|5||Philip D. Quirk||Fremantle||11/42||53||0/0||1/600||Fremantle|
|6||Philip D. Quirk||Fremantle||2/43||53||0/0||0/0||Fremantle|
|7||Philip D. Quirk||Fremantle||4/43||34||5/16,500||3/8,000||Fremantle|
|8||Philip D. Quirk||Fremantle||6/43||34||0/0||0/0||Fremantle|
|9||George W. Lautrup, Jr.||Fremantle||8/43||37||1/4,000||1/1,000||Fremantle|
|10||George W. Lautrup, Jr.||Fremantle||12/43||55||3/21,500||2/9,000||Pearl|
|11||George W. Lautrup, Jr.||Pearl||3/43||49||0/0||0/0||Pearl|
|12||George W. Lautrup, Jr.||Pearl||5/44||47||1/900||0/0||Pearl|
USS Gar Memorabilia: