The Submarine Lionfish (Balao Class) SS-298
The USS Lionfish is a WWII Balao Class Submarine. The Lionfish's specs are:
Length: 311' 9"
Crew: 10 Officers 65 Men
Displacement: Surface - 1,523 tons / Submerged - 2,415 tons
Max Speed: Surface - 20.25kts / Submerged - 8.75kts
Range: Surface - 11,000 miles at 15kts Submerged 48hrs at 2kts
Fuel Capacity: 116,000 gallons of diesel fuel
Diving Depth: 412' test / 600' emergency
24 21" torpedoes with 600lb warheads
1 5"x25cal deck gun
1 40mm Bofors AA gun
Power Plant: 4 1,600hp diesel electric generators driving 2 screws
Launching Date: November 7, 1943 at the Boston Navy Yard, commissioned November 1, 1944
You can visit the Submarine USS Lionfish at the Battleship Cove Naval Museum in Fall River, MA. This boat is an American Balao class fleet submarine which saw action during WWII. During her tour of duty in the Pacific Theater towards the end of World War II the SS-298 made 2 war patrols and torpedoed and sunk one Japanese sub and sunk a Japanese schooner with shells from its deck gun. The sub is in fairly good condition today, but much of the interior is blocked off by plexiglas screens which can make photography somewhat challenging in some areas. The benefit of that though is that with everything secured you can self tour the sub and linger and look as long as you like, although you do have to be mindful of other visitors coming through as some of the passageways are tight. Being tied up with the other Battleship Cove exhibits, the setting is spectacular with the USS Massachusetts looming in the background. The Submarine Lionfish tour is self guided which is OK, but at times it would have been nice to have someone to ask questions as you made your way through the sub. Unlike its sister sub the USS Ling, you can climb up the ladder to the conning tower. But the day I was there the plexiglas was a bit dirty so it was a bit hard to see some of the conning tower equipment . The museum has installed stairwells fore and aft so you can walk down into the boat easily. If you can manage stairs you should not have any problems making it through the Submarine USS Lionfish. However, you do have to bend and stoop a bit to make it through the bulk head hatch ways - the sub is not exactly handicapped accessible but most folks should be able to do it. I thought the plastic food and place settings in the wardroom rather amusing. I also liked how well the captain's cabin was laid out and had photos of the actual captain's family on the desk. The area with the crew's bunks set up gives you a feel for how cramped the sub was while out on tour. If you've ever had metal shop in school, don't miss the lathe. It's hidden away behind some of the engine equipment in the aft section of the engine room. Talk about tight work spaces!
USS Lionfish 2008 Photos
I visited the USS Lionfish again in the summer and fall of 2008 to get better interior shots of the boat and other exhibits. There is so much to see at Battleship Cove that it's impossible to try to photograph all of the exhibits in one day. This time I noticed the plexiglas partitions to be a lot cleaner, especially in the conning tower. Photography is still a challenge, but I did get usable shots of the conning tower interior, and more of the aft torpedo room. It really does look better in person as you are not as bothered by reflections when you can move your head around a little. The submarine is looking pretty good, and it's evident the staff and volunteers have been working hard to both restore and maintain her. I have to give these guys a lot of credit, especially since they are spreading themselves between 3 ships, a submarine, and two 80 foot PT Boats. In August the bow planes were extended, possibly for some paint work as the outer hull is looking pretty fresh this year. The engine room was looking especially clean, I'm not sure if it was painted recently or detailed, but those four Fairbanks Morse V12 diesel engines are looking really good. I like what they've done with the crank case cover cutaway so you can see the main bearing caps, crankshaft, and connecting rods.
If you decide to make the trip to see the Submarine Lionfish, allow yourself a full day. Along with this sub at Battleship Cove Naval Museum there is the Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy DD-780, the Soviet Missile Corvette Hiddensee, the Battleship USS Massachusetts BB-59, the Elco PT Boat PT 617 (my favorite exhibit of the museum) and Higgins PT Boat PT 796 which are stored indoors. It's a great naval museum and there's lots to see. There's also a snack bar/grill in the Battleship and the food is quite passable (the burger was pretty good and you'll be pretty hungry too after a morning of climbing through warships and the SS-298).
For a more recent sub museum, there's the USS Nautilus Submarine Museum in Groton, CT. It's a slightly shorter tour as the area aft of the conning tower are off limits due to the reactor area being there, but it is a worthwhile exhibit. There also much of the sub is partitioned off in plexiglas, but on the Nautilus there wasn't so much as a smudge on any of the panels. It was amazing!
Other Battleship Cove Naval Museum Exhibits