U.S.S. Batfish (SS310) - Muskogee, Oklahoma
Oklahoma's WWII Submarine
The sight of the U.S.S. Batfish resting on dry land at War Memorial Park in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is at first quite startling.
The famed submarine was a powerful U.S. weapon during World War II. Named for a ferocious West Indian fish, the Batfish sank 15 Japanese vessels during the war, among them three submarines in just 76 hours. The latter accomplishment has not since been matched and U.S.S. Batfish to this day remains the most successful submarine killing sub in history.
The submarine service of the second world war was far more dangerous than can possibly be imagined. Fifty-two submarines went down during the war, costing the lives of 3,505 American servicemen. In the end, though, they played a vital role in ending Japan's threat on the seas and
helping to assure ultimate allied victory over the Axis forces.
The Batfish was commissioned at Portsmouth, New Hampshire on August 21, 1943. With an overall length of 312 feet, she displaced 1,465 tons and presented an armament of 10 torpedo tubes as well as deck guns. In combat, she fired 71 torpedoes scoring 24 hits and sinking 15
The submarine departed Pearl Harbor on its first war patrol on December 11, 1943, just four days after the second anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack there. Cruising off Honshu, Japan, she damaged two freighters and sank the cargo ship Hidaka Maru before arriving at
Midway on January 30, 1944.
Returning to sea on February 22, 1944, she patrolled for 53 days before returning with no opportunity for combat. The submarine's third patrol, however, was much more successful. Leaving Pearl Harbor on May 26, 1944, the Batfish approached the coast of Japan south of the cities of
Shikoku, Honshu and Kyushu. She sank a Japanese training vessel and two cargo ships with patrols before surfacing and sinking a trawler and its escort vessel with deck gun fire.
The fourth and fifth patrols reported similar results, including the sinking of several Japanese destroyers. It was the sixth patrol, however, that achieved lasting fame for the submarine. In 76 hours, the Batfish attacked and sank three Japanese submarines. No other submarine has since duplicated this feat.
The Batfish made her final patrol in 1945. After shelling the coast of Japan, she rescued three downed American aviators and returned to Midway on August 22, 1945. Her war role over, she returned to the United States a short time later. In total, Oklahoma's submarine and her crew
were awarded with 10 Bronze Star Medals, 9 Battle Stars, 4 Silver Stars, one Navy Cross and One Presidential Unit Citation.
Decommissioned for the final time in 1969, the Batfish was struck from the Navy List on February 28, 1972. She arrived at the Port of Muskogee on May 7, 1972, where she now rests on dry land as a permanent memorial to the American submarine fleet and the men who served beneath the waves.
Now the centerpiece of War Memorial Park, the Batfish is located right off Exit 33 from the Muskogee Turnpike in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Just look for the "Port of Muskogee" and "War Memorial Park" signs. Once you exit the turnpike, follow the "U.S.S. Batfish" signs to the submarine. The park also includes an outstanding museum and many other displays.
Summer hours (through October 15th) are Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost of admission is $6 for adults, $3 for seniors (over age 62), $5 for AAA members and $3 for kids ages 6-11. Children under 6 are admitted free with an adult. Please click here to learn more by visiting the official site.