Shark Class, U.S. Submarines

Photograph of Porpose-class submarine

National Archives #19-N-35997


Tonnage 1316 tons standard displacement
1968 tons submerged
Dimensions 298'1" by 24'9" by 12'10"
90.9m by 7.54m by 3.91m
Maximum speed       18 knots surfaced
8 knots submerged
Maximum dive
250 feet
76 meters
Complement 55
Armament 4 21" bow/2 21" stern torpedo tubes (18 torpedoes)
1 3"/50 AA gun
1-shaft diesel-electric (4300 shp)
Bunkerage 270 tons diesel oil
Range 11,000 nautical miles (20,400 km) at 10 knots surfaced
50 nautical miles (90 km) at 5 knots submerged
Cargo 47 tons
Three units received two external bow torpedo tubes in 1942.

The Sharks were completed in 1935-1937 as the second group of boats under the P program. The first two boats (Shark and Tarpon) are sometimes regarded as a separate class, although the only significant difference from Perch and subsequent units was that the latter had an extra two feet of length in the engine rooms to improve accessibility.

The first four boats of the class were the last American submarines to use riveted construction. The use of welded hulls in the remaining units improved their overall toughness and eliminated the danger of leaks along riveted seams, particularly from fuel tanks. The boats were also the last to have a single large engine room. Subsequent American submarine classes split the machinery into two compartments.

The later units were also the first built with air conditioning, which was also retrofitted into the early units. Air conditioning was not a luxury; in the warm tropical waters of the Pacific, lack of air conditioning meant that temperatures in a submarine rose to levels that threatened heat exhaustion for the crews, while moisture condensation on interior surfaces threatened electrical equipment and encouraged both corrosion of metal and growth of mildew in living spaces.

Units in the Pacific:


Off Diamond Head, Oahu      


125 miles NE of Oahu


125 miles NE of Oahu

Likely mined after 1942-9-25 off Honshu



Disappeared after 1942-2-7 in Netherlands East Indies
Tarpon Mariveles
Pickerel Mariveles Disappeared after 1943-4-7 off Honshu
Perch Cavite Scuttled 1942-3-3 off Surabaya after severe depth charging
Permit Cavite


Alden (1979)


Friedman (1995)

Worth (2001)

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