USS Bass (SS-551)

For other ships of the same name, see USS Bass.
Career (United States of America)
Name: USS Bass
Namesake: The barracuda, a large, voracious fish
Builder: Mare Island Naval Shipyard [1]
Laid down: 23 February 1950 [1]
Launched: 2 May 1951 [1]
Sponsored by: Mrs. John J. Crane
Commissioned: 16 November 1951 [1]
Decommissioned: 1 October 1957
Struck: 1 April 1965 [1]
Fate: Sold for scrap, 17 November 1966 [1]
Status: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class & type: Barracuda-class diesel-electric hunter-killer submarine
Displacement: 765 tons (777 t) surfaced
1,160 tons (1179 t) submerged
Length: 196 ft 1 in (59.77 m) overall [1]
Beam: 24 ft 7 in (7.49 m) [1]
Draft: 14 ft 5 in (4.39 m) mean[1]
Propulsion: 3 × General Motors diesel engines, total 1050 bhp (0.8 MW)
2 × General Electric electric motors
two screws [1]
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h) surfaced
8.5 knots (16 km/h) submerged [1]
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m) [1]
Complement: 37 officers and men [1]
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Bass (SSK-2/SS-551), a Barracuda-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the bass, an edible, spiny-finned fish.

Bass was laid down by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She was launched on 2 May 1951 as K-2 sponsored by Mrs. John J. Crane, widow of Commander Crane, and commissioned on 16 November 1951, commanded by Lieutenant Commander D.E. Bunting.

The three SSK boats, Barracuda (SSK-1), Bass (SSK-2), and Bonita (SSK-3), were equipped with the large BQR-4 bow-mounted sonar array as part of Project Kayo, which experimented in the use of passive acoustics with low-frequency, bow sonar arrays. When the boat was rigged for silent running, these arrays gave greatly improved convergence zone detection ranges against snorkeling submarines. The SSKs themselves were limited in their anti-submarine warfare abilities by their low speed and their need to snorkel periodically to recharge their batteries, but the advances they pioneered in sonar technology were invaluable to the development of nuclear-powered submarines.

K-2 arrived at Pearl Harbor on 23 May 1952 to join Submarine Division 72. Since she was a new type of submarine, she engaged in special evaluation operations to determine her capabilities and limitations. In January 1953 she underwent restricted availability at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for the installation of additional equipment. In June 1953 she resumed operations and for the next 13 months engaged in developing tactics and coordinated operations with other fleet units.

In January 1954, K-2 returned to Mare Island, California, for overhaul. After this she a cruise to Mazatlán, Mexico, before returning to Pearl Harbor. She was renamed Bass on 15 December 1955. Bass operated out of Pearl Harbor until June 1957. On 26 June 1957 she returned to the United States and operated along the West Coast until going out of commission in reserve 1 October 1957. Her hull classification symbol was changed to SS-551 on 15 August 1959.


Bass was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1965, 

and sold for scrap on November 17, 1966.


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