The USS Shark (SS-314) was a Balao-class World War II era submarine.
The namesake of the USS Shark is any of the usually ferocious cartilaginous fishes, typically marine, with a long body, two dorsal fins, rows of sharp teeth, and between five and seven gill slits on each side of the head.
The radio call sign of the USS Shark was NAN-ZEBRA-FOXTROT-OBOE.
On September 23, 1944, the Shark, captained by Commander Edward N. Blakely, left Pearl Harbor and proceeded to the submarine base at Saipan to rendezvous with the USS Seadragon (SS-194) and the USS Blackfish (SS-221). On October 3, 1944, the three boats left Saipan to form a coordinated attack group under Blakely's command in the Luzon Strait. Their assigned area of operations was along the 20th parallel, covering an area about midway between Hainan Island and the western end of Bashi Channel. This departure marked the beginning of the Shark's third and final war patrol. On October 24, 1944, the Shark informed the Seadragon by radio that she was preparing to attack an old freighter. It was the last word ever received from Blakely. All further attempts to contact the Shark by radio failed. On November 27, 1944, she was reported as presumed lost. The Shark's loss was made public on February 28, 1945. 1
Navy Department Communiqué No. 581, February 28, 1945
1. The submarines USS Escolar and USS Shark are overdue from patrol and presumed lost.
2. Next of kin of officers and crew have been notified.
Japanese records reviewed after the war revealed that the Shark was probably lost on October 24, 1944, as a result of depth-charge attacks conducted by the IJN destroyers Take and Harukaze at 20° 41' N, 118° 27' E. This position was in the Shark's vicinity. The reports said that bubbles, oil, clothes, cork, and other items came to the surface. The attack occurred after Blakely had torpedoed and sunk the 6,886-ton enemy freighter Arisan Maru, at 20° 45' 60" N, 118° 17' 60" E. Blakely did not know the freighter was transporting 1,782 American prisoners of war from Manila to Japan. Only nine of the American prisoners survived the sinking. October 24, 1944 would prove to be a black-letter day for the submarine force; in addition to the Shark, the USS Tang (SS-306) and the USS Darter (SS-227) were also lost on that day. 2
The Shark received one battle star for her World War II service. Her JANAC score is 21,672 tons of Japanese shipping sunk in four vessels. Her Alden-McDonald score is five vessels sunk for 28,558 tons. The SORG score for the Shark is four vessels sunk for 32,200 tons and two vessels damaged for 9,900 tons. According to the Alden-McDonald analysis, JANAC had incorrectly credited the sinking of the Arisan Maru to the USS Snook. 3
A list of the personnel lost with the Shark is maintained at On Eternal Patrol.
1. United States Submarine Losses World War II, p. 114; Blair, Clay, Jr., Silent Victory: The U. S. Submarine War Against Japan, p. 769-770.
2. Nevitt, Allyn D., "IJN Take: Tabular Record of Movement," published online at Combined Fleet; Miller, Vernon J., "U. S. Submarine Losses," issue 44, p. 57; Alden, John D., and Craig R. McDonald, United States and Allied Submarine Successes in the Pacific and Far East During World War II, Fourth Edition, Attack No. 2921; Blair, Clay, Jr., op. cit., p. 770.
3. Alden, John D., and Craig R. McDonald, op. cit., see USS Shark (SS-314), Attack Nos. 2043, 2044, 2052, 2057, 2058, 2320, 2914, and 2921; Submarine war patrol reports on CD, USS Shark (SS-314), data collected by the Submarine Operations Research Group (SORG) in the report "Results of U. S. Submarine War Patrols Listed Alphabetically by Name of Submarine"; Japanese Naval And Merchant Shipping Losses During World War II By All Causes, Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee, USS Shark (SS-314).