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USS Pickerel (SS-524)
USS Pickerel (SS-524)
Career (United States)
Name: USS Pickerel (SS-524)
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine[1]
Laid down: 8 February 1944[1]
Launched: 15 December 1944[1]
Commissioned: 4 April 1949[1]
Decommissioned: 18 August 1972[1]
Struck: 5 December 1977[2]
Fate: Transferred to Italy, 18 August 1972[1]
Career (Italy)
Name: Primo Longobardo (S-501)
Acquired: 18 August 1972
Struck: Either 31 January 1980 or 31 May 1981
General characteristics (Completed as GUPPY II)
Class & type: Tench-class diesel-electric submarine[2]

1,870 tons (1,900 t) surfaced[3]

2,440 tons (2,480 t) submerged[3]
Length: 307 ft (94 m)[4]
Beam: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)[4]
Draft: 17 ft (5.2 m)[4]

4 × Fairbanks-Morse Model 38D8-⅛ 10-cylinder opposed piston diesel engines, equipped with a snorkel, driving electrical generators[2][3][5]
1 × 184 cell, 1 × 68 cell, and 2 × 126 cell GUPPY-type batteries (total 504 cells)[3]
2 × low-speed direct-drive Westinghouse electric motors[2]

two propellers[2]


  • 18.0 knots (33.3 km/h) maximum
  • 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h) cruising


  • 16.0 knots (29.6 km/h) for ½ hour
  • 9.0 knots (16.7 km/h) snorkeling
  • 3.5 knots (6.5 km/h) cruising[3]
Range: 15,000 nm (28,000 km) surfaced at 11 knots (20 km/h)[4]
Endurance: 48 hours at 4 knots (7 km/h) submerged[4]
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m)[6]
Complement: 9–10 officers
5 petty officers
70 enlisted men[4]
Sensors and
processing systems:
WFA active sonar
JT passive sonar
Mk 106 torpedo fire control system[4]

10 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

 (six forward, four aft)[4]
General characteristics (Guppy III)

1,975 tons (2,007 t) surfaced[3]

2,450 tons (2,489 t) submerged[3]
Length: 321 ft (98 m)[4]
Beam: 27 ft 4 in (8.33 m)[4]
Draft: 17 ft (5.2 m)[4]


  • 17.2 knots (31.9 km/h) maximum
  • 12.2 knots (22.6 km/h) cruising


  • 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h) for ½ hour
  • 6.2 knots (11.5 km/h) snorkeling
  • 3.7 knots (6.9 km/h) cruising[3]
Range: 15,900 nm (29,400 km) surfaced at 8.5 knots (16 km/h)[4]
Endurance: 36 hours at 3 knots (6 km/h) submerged[4]
Complement: 8–10 officers
5 Chief petty officers
70-80 enlisted men[4]
Sensors and
processing systems:
BQS-4 active search sonar
BQR-2B passive search sonar
BQG-4 passive attack sonar[4]

USS Pickerel (SS-524), a Tench-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for a young or small pike. The contract to build her was awarded to the Boston Naval Shipyard and her keel was laid down on 8 February 1944. She was launched without a christening ceremony on 15 December 1944. After being towed to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine for completion, she was simultaneously christened and commissioned on 4 April 1949 sponsored by Mrs. John R. Moore and commanded by Lieutenant Commander Paul R. Schratz.

Early service[edit | edit source]

After sea trials, Pickerel departed New London, Connecticut, on 10 August, and headed for Hawaii via East and Gulf coast ports, and the Panama Canal and arrived Pearl Harbor on 28 September where she joined SubDiv 11.

From 16 March to 5 April 1950, Pickerel completed a 5,200-mile (8,370 km) voyage from Hong Kong to Pearl Harbor in 21 days while completely submerged, probably the longest distance ever traveled by a submerged diesel-electric submarine. During her first deployment in the Western Pacific in 1950, Pickerel spent four months in the Korean War zone, one of the first submarines to enter the Korean War.

Returning to Pearl Harbor in the spring of 1951, Pickerel operated in the Hawaiian area undergoing tests of maximum capabilities, and conducting intensive training until she returned to the Far East in July 1953.

Upon returning to Hawaii early in 1954, Pickerel resumed service for our aircraft and surface anti-submarine forces there and, but for overhaul, continued this important duty until returning to the Western Pacific in June 1955. She returned to Hawaii 1 December.

1960's[edit | edit source]

Pickerel alternated North Pacific with WestPac duty through 1963 with the exception of a conversion period during 1962 for GUPPY III modernization.

Pickerel operated out of Pearl Harbor during 1964 until 28 December, when she departed en route Yokosuka to begin a WestPac tour as a unit of the Seventh Fleet. In the years that followed, she continued this pattern of alternating services in Hawaii with deployments in the Far East. In the fall of 1966, her duties in WestPac were broadened to include operations in the Vietnam combat zone on Yankee Station.

After a year in Hawaiian waters, Pickerel headed west once more on 16 January 1968. She visited various ports of the Orient before returning to Yankee Station on 8 May. Following service in the Combat Zone, she reached Pearl Harbor via Japan on 8 July. Her home port was changed to San Diego, CA, on 1 August and she headed for the West Coast and Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point, CA, on 22 August.

After completing overhaul in the Spring of 1969, PICKEREL spent several weeks in the Puget Sound, WA, area undergoing weapons and sound trials. She headed for Pearl Harbor in late April/early May 1969(?). PICKEREL was transferred to SUBLANT/SUBRON 4 and arrived in her new home port of Charleston, SC, on 9 JUN 69.

1970's and after[edit | edit source]

Pickerel was transferred to Italy on 18 August 1972 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 5 December 1977.

Pickerel and Volador (SS-490) were transferred and commissioned into the Italian Navy at the same time. Some civilian sources disagree as which of them became Primo Longobardo (S-501) and which became Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia (S-502). The United States Department of the Navy's Naval Historical Center maintains that Pickerel became Primo Longobardo and Volador became Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia. Primo Longobardo was stricken on either 31 January 1980 or 31 May 1981.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 285–304. ISBN 1-55750-263-3. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 280–282. ISBN 0-313-26202-0. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Friedman, Norman (1994). U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 11–43. ISBN 1-55750-260-9. 
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 U.S. Submarines Since 1945 pp. 242
  5. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261.
  6. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305-311

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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