USS Bowfin (SS-287)
The ears of the Boat
On a fully submerged submarine of World War II, radar was rendered useless, and observations through the periscope were, by necessity and design limitations, extremely limited. The submarine had to depend chiefly on listening.
Sonar (SOund Navigation And Ranging) became the ears of the boat by using hydrophones to detect and track targets. There were two main types of sonar listening gear on a World War II submarine like USS Bowfin - sonic and supersonic.
Secrets of the Sub
|Victory At Cost|
Victory at a cost
During World War II, The United States Submarine Force, encompassing less than 2% of the U.S. Navy's fleet, inflicted destruction on Japanese maritime power. U.S. submarines were responsible for sinking over 30% of the Japanese Navy including eight aircraft carriers, one battleship and eleven cruisers. More importantly, the Submarine Force sank 2,400 Japanese merchant ships totaling 4.9 million tons.
However, this success did not come without risk. Out of a total of 14,000 submariners who fought in peril under the sea took losses of over 3,500 officers and men. Approximately one in four submariners never returned.
The USS Bonefish submarine plaque is one of fifty-two memorials at the Waterfront Memorial at Bowfin Park.