for Submariners

by Hamilton 1:1 Communications, LLC

Submarine Troop Carrier (SSP)

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Submarine Troop Carrier (SSP)

During World War II, U.S. submarines carried troops that were landed on Japanese-held Makin Island, and raiders were put ashore for a foray on the mainland of Japan. Yet this type of operation was looked upon with indulgent amusement by many top officials.

After completing seven successful war patrols in the Pacific during World War II, USS Perch (SS-313) led a quiet post-war period. But in January 1948 the submarine was picked to under-go a face-lift and redesignated a submarine transport. Some six months later PERCH emerged from the Mare Island Naval Shipyard as a troop-carrier. However, this once sleek and trim diesel submarine now possessed a huge bulbous projection on its afterdeck and soon became the laughing stock of the fleet. Often it was called "The Pregnant Perch" and sailors conjured up unprintable theories how the submarine got that way. The bulbous projection was a hangar deck capable of carrying a small-motor launch.

USS Perch (SSP-313) Balao Class

USS Perch (SSP-313) Troop Carrier

The keel for the USS Perch (SS-313) was laid down 5 January 1943 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; launched 12 September 1943; and commissioned 7 January 1944.

After the end of WWII, 15 August 1945, Perch departed Pearl Harbor and set course for the Golden Gate, arriving Hunter's Point 8 September. She decommissioned and was placed in reserve in January 1947. On 19 January 1948, Perch was redesignated as a “Submarine, Transport,” (SSP-313), and was placed in an active status, attached to the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Perch recommissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard 20 May 1948. Through 1949, the ship participated in various troop and cargo carrying exercises.

In September 1950, Perch transported a force of British Commandos in a raid on the northeast coast of Korea west of Tanchon. The target, a train tunnel on the north-south supply line, was destroyed with the loss of one man who was buried at sea. The commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. R. D. Quinn, became the only submarine commanding officer to receive a combat award during the Korean conflict when he was awarded the Bronze Star for this action.

In December 1959, Perch departed San Diego, decommissioned on 31 March 1960, and entered the Mare Island Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Vallejo, Calif.

Perch recommissioned 11 November 1961. Her operations consisted of training Marine, Special Forces, and UDT personnel in reconnaissance and also in providing training services to allied countries. In May and June 1964, Perch traveled to Mindoro and trained with British commando forces.

March and April 1965 saw Perch participating in exercise "Jungle Drum III" by landing 75 Marine Corps reconnaissance personnel on the Malay Peninsula from the Gulf of Siam. Perch conducted search and rescue operations in the Vietnam combat zone during August and September. She made two amphibious landings on the coast of South Vietnam during November and December as part of operation "Dagger Thrust."

During January 1966, Perch landed UDT personnel for beach survey work in South Vietnam as part of operation "Double Eagle." She then provided services at Legaspi, P.I. to train Filipino and American UDT personnel.  Between local training operations in the Subic Bay area, PERCH worked with Chinese Special Forces at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and with Army Special Forces at Keelung, Taiwan.

Perch received four battle stars for World War II service and one battle star for Korean War service.

ASSP is “Transport Submarine,” the designation formerly being SSP.  The same type ship designation later changed to APSS and later still to LPSS. LPSS stood for “Amphibious Transport Submarine.”

Perch was stricken from the Navy Register on 1 December 1971 and sold on 15 January 1973.

Story about USS Perch

Boats Converted:

USS Perch (SS-313) Balao

USS Sealion  (SS-315) Balao


The USMC wanted a squadron of twelve of these boats to carry the 1,440 men of a USMC assault battalion ashore (120 men per SSP); along with four 75mm Pack Howitzers, six 57mm RCLs, five units of fire for each weapon (220 tons of ammo); and 158 tons of supplies for ten days. The infantry would land in rubber boats, but their equipment would have to be carried ashore by twelve LVTs, which were stowed inside the pressure-proof hangars; with a jeep and a 75mm howitzer already packed inside the LVT.




312' length
27' 4” Beam
1,525 tons Surfaced Displacement
2,410 tons Submerged Displacement
2,305 SHP Diesels, 2 Shafts
2,740 SHP Electric Motors, 2 Shafts
14 kt surfaced speed
8 kt submerged speed
400 ft Test Depth
74 Crew


5”/25 (Bow) for shore bombardment
40mm (Bow Cigarette Deck) for shore bombardment

Cargo Capacity

120 Troops
31 tons of cargo (Internal Hold)
21 tons of cargo (Deck Cargo)
1 x LVT with a Jeep and Pack Howitzer inside it carried in a pressure proof hangar, along with 8 rubber boats

Modifications Made:

1-3,000 PSI oxygen tanks were installed, providing 50,000 extra cubic feet of oxygen, along with a new CO2 scrubber.

2-All torpedo tubes were removed, as well as two main engines. The remaining engines were fitted with a snorkel.

3-Extra bunks, showers, and various accommodations were installed for the passengers.

4-A Pressure-proof hangar capable of stowing one LVT inside was installed on the stern. A new hatch was installed in the submarine, enabling the hangar to be entered from below while still submerged.