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2,710 Tons (standard)
3,046 Tons (full load)
385' x 33' 9.5" x 16' 1/4"
8 x 21" torpedo tubs
2 x 6" deck gun
Assigned to Submarine Division 12 based at Newport, Rhode Island. Underwent trials during January to February 1929 off Provincetown, Massachusetts. On a trial dive, she submerged to a depth of 318', the greatest depth an American submarine had ever reached at the time. On February 26, 1929, V-4 was assigned to Submarine Division 20 (SubDiv 20). Stationed at San Diego arriving March 23 and participated in exercises and cruises off the west coast.
On February 19, 1931 renamed USS Argonaut. and July 1 designated SM-1 (submarine, minelayer). On June 30, 1932 arrived at Pearl Harbor and assigned to SubDiv 7. She carried out mine laying operations, patrol duty, and training. During October 1934 and again in May 1939, Argonaut took part in joint Army-Navy exercises off Hawaii.
During 1939, Argonaut became the flagship of Submarine Squadron 4 (SubRon 4) commanded by Captain Freeland A. Daubin. Returned to the west coast during April 1941 to participate in fleet exercises.
One week later, Argonaut made contact with another force of Japanese destroyers, but Captain Barchet decided not to attack. On January 22, 1942, returned to Pearl Harbor then to Mare Island for conversion to a troop transport submarine. The two aft mine laying tubes were removed and replaced with torpedo tubes.
USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus (SS-168) were selected to transport Marine Raiders for the "Makin Raid" to relieve pressure on American forces on Guadalcanal. On August 8, the submarines embarked Marines from Companies A and B, 2nd Raider Battalion, and departed for Makin arriving August 16. At 0330am on August 17, the Marines loaded aboard rubber rafts and landed. By midnight of 18 August, the Japanese garrison of about 85 men was wiped out and the force returned to the submarines then returned to Pearl Harbor on August 26.
On September 22, redesignated APS-1 (transport submarine). Departed for Brisbane. During December 1942, departed Brisbane commanded by Lieutenant Commander John R. Pierce to patrol the area between New Britain and Bougainville, south of St. George's Channel. On January 2, 1943 "Argonaut" sank a Japanese gunboat Ebon Maru in the Bismarck Sea.
Argonaut fired a torpedo that exploded. Spotted, the destroyers dropped depth charges. When the submarine's bow broke the surface, it was hit by gunfire and sank off the southern coast of New Britain. One hundred and five men went down with the submarine.
Overhead, a B-25 Mitchell returning from a bombing mission was flying in the vicinity and witnessed the attack on Argonaut. A crewman on board the plane saw one destroyer hit by a torpedo, and the destroyers promptly counterattack. Argonaut's bow suddenly broke the water at an unusual angle. It was apparent that a depth charge had severely damaged the submarine. The destroyers continued circling Argonaut and firing shells into her.
On the basis of the report by the B-25 crew that witnessed the attack, Argonaut was credited with damaging a Japanese destroyer.
Japanese records noted a depth charge attack followed by gun fire that "destroyed the top of the sub". None of the Japanese ships were damaged. Possibly, the torpedo explosion was a premature detonation.
Officially, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on February 26 1943. During World War II, Argonaut earned two battle stars. Officially, Argonaut was never formally designated SS-166, but that hull number was skipped in her honor.
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