for Submariners

by Hamilton 1:1 Communications, LLC

Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program
Guppy IB

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GUPPY IB Program

This program was an informal designation for a limited upgrade and modernization given to four boats for transfer to foreign navies. These boats had snorkels and were generally similar to the GUPPY IA except that they were not equipped with the modern sonar, fire control systems, or ESM. The two Italian boats were of the thin-skinned Gato class

USS Barb (SS-220) Gato Class before Guppy IB Conversion

USS Barb (SS-220) Guppy IB

The USS Barb keel was laid down on 7 June 1941 by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 2 April 1942 and commissioned on 8 July 1942.

As U.S. Submariners, we all are familiar with the awesome record established by USS Barb (SS-220) during WWII. She completed 11 War Patrols .

The last two war patrols conducted by Barb deserve mention. Under Commander Eugene B. Fluckey, her 11th patrol lasted from 19 December 1944-15 February 1945, in the Formosa Straits and East China Sea off the east coast of China, from Shanghai to Kam Kit. During this patrol, Barb sank four Japanese merchant ships and numerous enemy small craft. On 22–23 January Barb penetrated Namkwan Harbor on the China coast and wrought havoc upon a convoy of some 30 enemy ships at anchor. Riding dangerously in shallow waters, Barb launched her torpedoes into the enemy group and then retired at high speed on the surface in a full hour’s run through uncharted, heavily mined, and rock-obstructed waters. In recognition of this outstanding patrol, Commander Fluckey was awarded the Medal of Honor and Barb received the Presidential Unit Citation.

She was placed out of commission on 5 February 1954 and underwent the Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program (GUPPY) conversion. Recommissioned on 3 August 1954, she served with the Atlantic Fleet until 13 December 1954, when she was decommissioned and loaned to Italy under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program.

USS Barb (SS-220) Battle Flag
USS Barb (SS-220) Battle Flag

Enrico Tazzoli
(S-511) ex USS Barb (SS-220) as Guppy IB
Enrico Tazzoli Guppy IB

Boats Converted:

USS Barb (SS-220) Gato
USS Dace (SS-247) Gato
USS Hawkbill (SS-366) Balao
USS Icefish (SS-367) Balao

USS Barb (SS-220) (Gato)


December 13, 1954, The USS Barb was decommissioned and loaned to the Italian Navy as part of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. The submarine served the Italians as the Enrico Tazzoli (S-511) until she was sold for scrap and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on October 15, 1972. She earned eight battle stars, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Navy Unit Commendation for her service in World War II.


USS Dace (SS-247) (Gato)

USS Dace was placed out of commission in reserve at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 15 January 1954 for extensive modernization, then was recommissioned on 22 October 1954. After training men of the Marina Militare, she was decommissioned at New London on 31 January 1955, and transferred the same day to Italy under the Military Assistance Program. Ex-Dace was commissioned in the Marina Militare Italiana (Italian Navy) as Leonardo da Vinci (S-510). Originally to be lent to Italy for five years, this arrangement was extended by five years in 1959 and extended for yet another five years, twice. Together with Enrico Tazzoli (S-511) (ex-USS Barb (SS-220) da Vinci formed the backbone of Italian submarine strength in the late 1950s and 1960s. Dace was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 October 1972 and returned to the United States Navy; Leonardo da Vinci was deleted from the Italian Navy the following year.

USS Hawkbill (SS-366) (Balao)


After World War II, the USS Hawkbill was decommissioned on September 30, 1946. She was converted to a GUPPY IB submarine and loaned to the Royal Netherlands Navy on April 21, 1953 under the Military Assistance Program. She served the Netherlands as HNLMS Zeeleeuw (S803), participating in NATO exercises for several years. The submarine was formally sold to the Netherlands and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on February 20, 1970. She was sold for scrap on November 24, 1970. The USS Hawkbill was awarded six battle stars and three Navy Unit Commendations for her service in World War II.


USS Icefish (SS-367) (Balao)


After World War II, the USS Icefish headed back to San Francisco, California, where she was decommissioned on June 21, 1946. She was recommissioned briefly from June 5, 1952 until July 29 as she sailed from Mare Island to New London to undergo conversion as a GUPPY IB submarine. The sub was recommissioned again from December 10, 1952 to February 21, 1953 to conduct testing. At that time, she was then transferred to the Royal Netherlands Navy, where she served as HNLMS Walrus (S802). The submarine was returned to the U.S. Navy and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on July 15, 1971. She was sold for scrap two months later on August 15, 1971. The USS Icefish earned four battle stars for her service in World War II.




307' 7" length
27' 4” Beam
17' Draft
1,800 tons Surfaced Displacement
2,400 tons Submerged Displacement
5,400 SHP Diesels, 2 Shafts
4,610 SHP Electric Motors, 2 Shafts
18 kt surfaced speed
15 kt submerged speed
17,000 nm at 11 kts surfaced endurance
108 nm at 3 kt submerged endurance
400 ft Test Depth
79 to 84 crew



6 x 21” TT Bow
4 x 21” TT Stern
22 x 21” Torpedoes