Kingfish (SS-234) - History

Kingfish (SS-234) - History

Kingfish

(SS-234: dp. 1,526; 1. 311'8"; b. 27'4"; dr. 15'3"; s. 20 k.;
cpl. 60; a. 13", 10 21" tt.; cl. Gato)

Kingfish (SS-234) was launched by Portsmouth Navy Yard 2 March 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Harry A. Stuart, wife of Read Admiral Stuart; and commissioned 20 May 1942, Lt. Comdr. V. L. Lowrance in command.

Kingfish arrived Pearl Harbor from New London 31 August 1942, and sailed on her first war patrol 9 September. Patrolling close to Japan's coast Kingfish sighted a three-ship convoy and fired a three torpedo spread at
the last freighter, scoring one hit. Unable to determine the extent of the damage due to an uncomfortably efficient barrage of depth charges which lasted 18 hours, Kingfish successfully outwitted her attackers and cleared the area. Sighting freighter Yomei Maru 1 October, Kingfish fired a three torpedo spread which sent her to the bottom. Going deep for the inevitable depth charging, Kingfish rearmed her tubes and continued scouting shipping lanes. Four days later she sighted and torpedoed a freighter off Muroto Zaki but could not verify the sinking. Two weeks of frustration followed due to leek of targets. On 23 October a freighter was sighted, immediately her able crew went into action and sent Seiko Maru to the bottom with two torpedoes. Completing her first war patrol, Kingfish arrived Midway 3 November.

After refit Kingfish sailed 25 November to Chichi Jima on her second war patrol. Entering the South China Sea 5 December, she sighted freighter Hino 711aru No. ~ and sank it 2 days later. Then, on 28 December, she sent another freighter Chogo Maru to the bottom. Two trawlers were attacked by gunfire early in January. The first was riddled and set afire and the second sunk by gunfire. Kingfish sailed for Pearl Harbor from her second war patrol, arriving 23 January 1943.

Kingfish was underway for her third war patrol 16 February. On route Formosa she sank a trawler off Bonins and torpedoed a passenger freighter. Damage to this ship could not be ascertained as the submarine was immediately attacked by enemy bombs and depth charges. On 17 March, a freighter was tracked and a precise torpedo spread damaged it considerably. Two days later she sighted, tracked, and sank a troop transport as enemy troops scrambled down her sides. On 23 March Kingfish was subjected to a severe depth charge attack. The attack was so intense and the damage so great that secret codes and material were burned in preparation to abandoning ship. The last string of depth charges bashed in the main induction piping allowing a huge bubble to escape to the surface, apparently causing the enemy to think the ship had sunk. Kingfish cautiously surfaced, cleared the area and set course for Pearl Harbor, arriving 9 April with a grateful crew. The submarine then proceeded to Mare Island Navy Yard, where entire sections were rebuilt and installed.

Battle damage repaired, Kingfish sailed to Pearl Harbor, arriving 23 June 1943. She sailed 1 July for her fourth war patrol in the Babuyan Channel, north of the Philippines, off southern Formosa, and near Manila. Kingfish was ordered to depart the patrol area due to lack of enemy activity and to report to Fremantle, Austraila, for refit.

Assigned the South China Sea as her fifth patrol area, Kingfish sailed 24 September. While on this patrol, she accomplished two special missions. The first entailed planting mines on enemy shipping lanes and the second, the secret and successful landing of a party of Allied personnel and equipment on the northeast coast of Borneo. Continuing on her patrol, she sank a gunboat by gunfire and damaged a tanker with torpedoes 9 October off Sibutu Islands She sank cargo ship Sana Maru off Cape Varella 20 October. Her patrol a success, Kingfish sailed into Fremantle 14 November 1943.

Kingfi$h departed Fremantle on 16 December 1943 with a new commanding offlcer, Lt. H. Jukes. Threading her way in the South China Sea, she made first contact on 3 January when she sent tankers Ryuei JIaru and Bokuei Maru to the bottom and sank tanker Fu~himi JIaru No. ~ 7 January. Having navigated brilliantlY through extremely dangerous waters and having outwitted the enemy escort vessels, Kingfi$h headed for Pearl Harbor with a proud record, arriving 26 January 1944.

Kingfish's seventh war patrol was in the Mariana Islands area from 19 February to 9 April 1944. No attacks were possible durirlg this patrol, although the boat underwent a bombing and depth charge attack. Kingfish departed her patrol area, arriving Majuro, Marshall Islands, 9 April for refit.

The submarine's eighth war patrol was made in the Bonins. Since this patrol was unfruitful because of the lack of worthwhile targets, Kingfish received orders to return to Midway, arriving there 19 June. While there she was ordered to Mare Island, Calif., for overhaul.

Her overhaul completed, with a new commanding offlcer, Comdr. T. E. Harper, Kingfish sailed for Pearl Harbor on her ninth war patrol 12 October. The day Kingfish entered her patrol area she spotted freighter Ikutagawa ~Maru and sent her to the bottom off Chichi Jima Retto 24 October. Tbree days later she sank the cargo ship Tokai Maru No. 4 and a landing craft transport off Kita, Iwo Jima. Changing patrol areas to Okinawa, Kingfish tracked a convoy but was unable to attack. Dropping anchor at Guam, she completed her patrol 28 November.

On 23 December 1944 Kingfish steamed out of Guam toward the Japanose home islands for her 10th war patrol. A convoy was sighted 2 January 1945, but heavy weather prevented the submarine from attacking. The following night the submarine made up for lost time and sent the freighter Yaei Maru and the passenger-cargo ship Shibozono Maru to the bottom. For the remainder of the patrol Kingfish was assigned the additional task of lifeguard duties. She returned to Guam 1 February.

The submarine refitted at Guam and Pailcd 6 March, operating in a coordinated attack group with Icefish and Sawfish. Despite thorough coverage, no targets worthy of torpedo fire were encountered. However, late in March Kingfish experienced the great pleasure of rescuing four downed aviators from a British task force. Leaving the area Kingfish debarked the British aviators at Saipan and set course for Pearl Harbor, arriving 25 April.

Departing Hawaii 17 June with a new commanding offlcer, Lt. D. Keegan, the submarine sailed via Guam for the Japanese island of Honshu. In smartly executed night gun attacks, she sank two sampan picket boats off Honshu ~ August, also exploding several drifting mines during this patrol. Having completed her 12th and last war patrol, Kingfs$h arrived Midway 2 hours before the war ended.

Kingfish got underway for Galveston, Tex., 27 August via Pearl Harbor and Panama Canal, arriving 23 September. She sailed to Orange, Tex., 25 October for Navy Day.

Kingfish sailed 30 October to New London, Conn., arriving 5 November, was decommissioned, and placed in reserve 9 Mareh 1946. She W&S PtrUCk from the Navy List on 1 March 1960, sold to Albert Heller 6 October 1960, and scrapped.

Kingfish made 12 war patrols, sinking 14 enemy ships totaling 48,866 tons, and was awarded 9 battle stars for World War II service.


WEB OF EVIL (& ENNUI)

SAT 2 OCT 1943
Pacific
Submarine Kingfish (SS-234) lays mines off southern Celebes, N.E.I.

Tank landing ship LST-203 is damaged by grounding near Nanumea, Ellice Islands.

Japanese minesweeper W.28 is damaged by mine (laid by submarine Silversides [SS-236] on 4 June 1943) off Kavieng, 02䓤'S, 150䓢'E.

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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 05 Jul 2019, 19:08

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by yantaylor » 05 Jul 2019, 21:48

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 05 Jul 2019, 22:33

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 06 Jul 2019, 10:06

Sadly the issue lists only start in June 1944, however the great book "Fire Brigades" does have the 16 x Puma being issued to LAH in May 1944.

For those who might be bothered to know the other Divisions are noted as receiving their Pumas as follows
Panzer Lehr, 3 in Jan , 4 in Feb and 18 in March.
2 PD, 4 in March and 21 in April.
20 PD 16 in May.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by BartekPL » 06 Jul 2019, 11:24

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by yantaylor » 06 Jul 2019, 17:07

Nafziger, has plenty of info in the books I have by him, but when it comes to armoured cars, you have to really assume things, for example he states a lot that ‘light armoured car company circa Feb 1941, has

So, by that I would assume that the company has 10 x Sd. Kfz 222s and that 10 of the LMGs would also be on these vehicles, but that leaves another 15 LMGs to play with, but didn’t these companies have 16 armoured cars?
If so then I would guess that six of these LMGs would be mounted on Sd. Kfz 221s and the other nine mounted on Kübelwagens and other light support vehicles.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 06 Jul 2019, 18:03

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 06 Jul 2019, 21:54

Nafziger, has plenty of info in the books I have by him, but when it comes to armoured cars, you have to really assume things, for example he states a lot that ‘light armoured car company circa Feb 1941, has

So, by that I would assume that the company has 10 x Sd. Kfz 222s and that 10 of the LMGs would also be on these vehicles, but that leaves another 15 LMGs to play with, but didn’t these companies have 16 armoured cars?
If so then I would guess that six of these LMGs would be mounted on Sd. Kfz 221s and the other nine mounted on Kübelwagens and other light support vehicles.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 06 Jul 2019, 22:18

I can't help you April 45 strengths, I'm afraid, the issue lists only cover the issue dates.

As for HG2 it looks like you are going to be disappointed to discover that it was formed in October 1944 from III./FschPz Gren Regt 3 with four companies. Given that it doesn't appear in the issue lists it would appear that it never received any armoured cars. "Tip of the Spear" notes that "it theoretically had a Model M44 organisation. is doubtful that it ever had but a fraction of its authorised personnel and equipment." It also notes that it was never authorised a PzSpKp c, that is the company equipped with the SdKfz 250/9.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by BartekPL » 07 Jul 2019, 17:53

I know how the unit was made, but still was curious whether they received anything specific, besides the Sd Kfz 250/9s. Thanks anyway.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by yantaylor » 07 Jul 2019, 21:36

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by zafirkalvin » 26 Jul 2019, 19:37

Did the German high command ever issue a K.St.N. for the new series of 234 armoured cars?
Did they envisage having a full battalion Onlinesbi sudoku aadhar card consisting of Sd. Kfz 234/1s, 234/2s, 234/3s, 234/4s and 250/1s, 250/6s, 250/7s, 250/8s, 250/9s.
If they did have a plan for such a new K.St.N. and managed to implement it, would they pass over their old light Sd.Kfz. 221s and 222s over to the Infantry divisions to equip one company in their Fusilier battalions?

I was thinking about that and realised that it was a case of a little knowledge being a bad thing. On the Kriegsgliederung charts the sign for the 75mm Stummel in the various companies was the same "upwards pointing arrow" as designated a StuG by its inclusion on top of the panzer rhomboid.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by yantaylor » 30 Dec 2019, 21:53

Hi everyone, I was reading through the book 'Encyclopaedia of German Tanks' and came acxross the 234 series, I am sure it mentions about the 234/4 being grouped in a heavy platoon of six vehicles.
As far as I can see it in a armoured recce battalion, we have a platoon of Puma, a platoon of 234/1s with 234/3, a platoon of 250/9 with 250/8 and a Infantry company mounted in 250/1s.
Would the six 234/4s be attached to the HQ?

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 31 Dec 2019, 11:07

Well there you go: in May 1944 the 4. Kompanie was still the Panzerspähkompanie and as such the 234/2's were initially assigned to the 4. Kompanie. By the time the Pumas actually arrived in early June, the reorganizations had taken place and the vehicles became part of the Stabskompanie. SS-Oberscharführer Fuhrmann returned to the battalion at the beginning of June and recalled after the war that some of these Pumas had already arrived in Turnhout before the company was dissolved. See the attached excerpt from his letter to me dated the 1st of July 2005: “I reported to my unit, the Panzerspäh-Kompanie and saw upon arrival that Pumas were present. The platoons were led by the Standartenoberjunkers Rentsch, Richter and Herzog.”. Fuhrmann also confirmed the formation of a Vorausabteilung which was send to the HJ-Division in Normandy ahead of the rest of the Leibstandarte. This Vorausabteilung included a platoon of Pumas and a platoon of Schwimmwagen from SS-PzAA1 LSSAH and is what caused the misconception that the HJ also had been assigned Pumas.

A quick overview: from its formation in August 1940, the Panzerspähkompanie had been the 3. Kompanie. During the reorganization/expansion of the battalion in March 1942, a le.SPW Kompanie was formed which became the 3. Kp and the Pz.Späh.Kp was renumbered as 4. Kp and kept this number until the May 30, 1944, reorganization.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 31 Dec 2019, 11:40

As a sidenote: an interesting G2 report dated the 18th of December 1944 in which a captured straggler from the Stabskompanie, SS-PzAA1, told his interrogators that his unit had twelve "Pumas" and apparently he had to explain to them what a Puma is. His interrogators clearly did not fully understand exactly what he meant - lost in translation it became an "APC" - but there's no doubt that the name Puma came from their German prisoner.
In 2001, the late Alfons Sproß also told Mike and me that they used to refer to "2cm-Puma" for the Sd.Kfz. 234/1, "5cm-Puma" for the 234/2 and "Stummel" for the 234/3. Sproß was a Puma-driver in December 1944. Early December 1944, the battalion fielded three Sd.Kfz. 234/1, three SdKfz. 234/2 and ten Sd.Kfz. 234/3. These were used to equip two platoons each with eight vehicles. However, on the 15th of December Wawrzinek formed a ‘Vorauskompanie’ which included a Panzerspähzug equipped with 234's. This Vorauskompanie was assigned to Peiper on the 16th which means Knittel had only one platoon of 8-wheelers left. 234/1 and /3 from the platoon that remained with Knittel were photographed on December 17, 1944, at Honsfeld and Born.

It goes against common believe that the name "Puma" was made up after the war. All in all what Sproß and the G-2 journal show is that in 1944, "Puma" was commonly used for the 234/1 and 234/2 within the SS-PzAA1. Use of this name outside this specific unit remains unproven.

Ignore the "revision date" at the bottom of the document - it is clearly a typo from a clerk who still had to adjust to the new year.


USS Kingfish SS-234

The USS Kingfish (SS-234) was the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for “kingfish,” a generic name for many fish species. The Kingfish was a Gato-class submarine, about 312 feet long and 27 feet wide, with a crew of 54 enlisted men and six officers. She was built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine and launched in 1942.

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Twelve World War II Patrols
Over the course of 12 World War II patrols, the USS Kingfish sank so many enemy vessels that she was awarded nine battle stars for her service. The vessels sunk by the Kingfish include the:

 Yome Maru
 Seiko Maru
 Hino Maru #3
 Choyo Maru
 Sana Maru
 Ruei Maru
 Bokuei Maru
 Ikutagawa Maru
 Tokai Maru #4
 Yaei Maru
 Shibozono Maru

Depth Charge Damages
In March 1943, during the Kingfish’s third war patrol in the South China Sea, the Kingfish suffered heavy damages from a depth charge attack. She made it back to Pearl Harbor and on to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California for extensive repairs. In 1944, the Kingfish underwent a complete overhaul at Mare Island.

Decommissioned Shortly after the War’s End
The war ended shortly after Kingfish’s last patrol. She proceeded to Galveston, Texas via the Panama Canal, and then on to New London, Connecticut for decommissioning. After four years in reserve, the USS Kingfish was struck from the Naval Vessel List and sold for scrap to Albert Heller.

Serving Aboard, Building, Repairing, Scrapping the USS Kingfish
All of the people who came into contact with a WWII-era submarine such as the USS Kingfish were at risk of being exposed to a toxic level of asbestos, the mineral used for insulation, gaskets, sealants, tiles, and much more in the construction of Navy ships.

If you or your family member served aboard the Kingfish or helped build, repair, overhaul or scrap her, asbestos exposure may well be of concern to you. Contact an experienced lawyer in your area who represents people impacted by asbestos poisoning, and learn about your legal rights and alternatives.


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Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 31 Dec 2019, 12:24

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 01 Jan 2020, 12:51

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 01 Jan 2020, 12:56

An Sd.Kfz. 234/2 'Puma' from Stabskompanie, SS-PzAA1, in front of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon after the retreat from Normandy. SS-Oberscharführer Jupp Steinbüchel was in charge of an Sd.Kfz. 251/3 armoured radio halftrack in Knittel's staff and recalled:

"In Fleury we found the first guide marker: assembly area for the Waffen-SS in Beauvais. Finally first contact with the Leibstandarte, which had shrunken to a shambles. I came across the Aufklärungsabteilung on the Laon-Marle area and reported to Knittel. Unfortunately I had to hand over the armoured radio halftrack which I had saved from the pocket.”

Knittel and the remains of his staff were in the Laon-Marle area on the 24th of August 1944 where he remained for a couple of days to regroup his dispersed battalion. Thanks to his aide SS-Obersturmführer Hans-Martin Leidreiter we also know that Knittel left the reconnaissance battalion at that time:

“Knittel was sent home after Falaise and Argentan. Whether it was to the Officers Reserve or the replacement battalion, I don’t know. Don’t forget, the division was virtually non-existent! Böttcher led the pitiful remnants of the Aufklärungsabteilung back to Germany.”

Whilst SS-Hauptsturmführer Böttcher was leading the Aufklärungsabteilung through Belgium back to Germany in September 1944, Knittel was back in Neu-Ulm on home leave. But by the end of that month he returned to his staff, which was by then based in Nettelstedt in the Minden-Lübbecke area.

This photo of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon with the same "Splitterschutz" (protection against shrapnel) was taken only days later by an American war photographer.

Re: SdKfz 234 series

Post by Harro » 01 Jan 2020, 13:06

Screenshot from ‘Wochenschau’ newsreel of an Sd.Kfz. 234/2 ‘Puma’ from SS-Hauptsturmführer Böttcher’s ‘Vorausabteilung’ of the Leibstandarte filmed in Normandy.

“On the 6th of June 1944 the Allied invasion troops landed in Normandy. The landing beaches were not – as had been assumed on the German side – at the narrowest point of the Channel, so we were situated in the wrong place and could not take part in the crucial initial fighting.”

That was how SS-Oberscharführer Jupp Steinbüchel described the main problem the Leibstandarte encountered immediately after the news came that instead of crossing via the Straits of Dover to Calais, the enemy had crossed the English Channel to beaches west of Caen. Not only was the Leibstandarte situated over 550 kilometres from Caen, the division was also far from combat-ready. In order to provide at least some support for the 12. SS-Panzer-Division ‘Hitlerjugend’, which was in position northwest of Caen, a ‘Vorausabteilung’ (advance battalion) was formed from several combat ready subunits including the Schwimmwagen-equipped ‘Sonderzug Lindenhahn’ and a platoon of Sd.Kfz. 234/2 ‘Puma’ armoured cars both from the Aufklärungsabteilung. SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Böttcher, who had attended a Battalion Commander Course in Paris the previous January, was assigned as its commanding officer, with orders to reach the invasion front as quick as possible. Wolfgang Venohr wrote:

“The Leibstandarte, in the midst of reorganisation, was not even remotely operational. Only in four or five weeks would the personnel for the two Panzergrenadier-Regiments be ready and re-equipment with vehicles and heavy weapons would only be completed in three to four months. Nevertheless everybody was eager to go into action. In next to no time the news spread that our sister-division, the 12. SS-Panzer-Division ‘Hitlerjugend’ was already at the invasion front in combat against the Anglo-Saxons. [SS-]Hauptsturmführer Böttcher […] formed a Vorausabteilung to which all available Schwimmwagen were assigned. Lindenhahn and I were present.”

The Vorausabteilung was loaded on trains and left Turnhout for Paris on the 13th of June. The Allied air force had pre-empted the invasion by bombing the main railway junctions in Western France. Only after nightfall did Böttcher’s battalion reach the eastern outskirts of the French capital. The next morning they moved out to cover the 240 kilometres to Caen by road. Every vehicle had one man assigned to search the sky for enemy aircraft. In the late evening they arrived at the Château de la Bagotière, a Norman castle in the municipality of Les Moutiers-en-Cinglais, twenty kilometres south of Caen. The next morning, the 15th of June, the Vorausabteilung reached the ‘Hitlerjugend’ division.

The rest of the Aufklärungsabteilung left Turnhout on the 17th of June with the remaining units of the Leibstandarte following on during the next three days.

The actions of the Aufklärungsabteilung during the opening stages of the battle for Normandy are detailed in chapter 3.6


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USS Kingfish SS 234

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Kingfish (SS-234) - History

Convair Super Hustler, Fish & Kingfish

    What do you know about the Convair Kingfish? Got any pics or design info?
    - question from Andy Barrientos


B-58B Super Hustler with manned and unmanned parasite vehicle attached

One of the reasons the U-2 was so vulnerable was the ease with which Soviet radar stations could track the plane. Several studies by Lockheed and the government concluded that the best way to alleviate this problem was to develop a new aircraft flying at high supersonic speeds and extreme altitude with the lowest possible radar cross section (RCS). In late 1957, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) invited both Lockheed and Convair to participate in a program to develop this U-2 replacement.

The Lockheed team, led by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, explored a variety of exotic concepts but eventually settled on a relatively conventional design intended to cruise at Mach 3 at an altitude of 90,000 ft (27,430 m). Convair's approach, led by Bob Widmer and Vincent Dolson, was more unusual. The design first began as a derivative of the B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber that Convair was building for the Air Force. As shown below, the B-58 was a delta wing design that carried a large external pod underneath the centerline. This pod normally contained a nuclear weapon.


B-58 Hustler with a centerline payload pod

An improved version of this aircraft, called the B-58B Super Hustler, was proposed to the Air Force in 1957. The B-58B was to be faster and larger than the original B-58 so that it could carry an additional "parasite" aircraft instead of the external pod. This parasite vehicle would be carried aloft to an altitude of at least 35,000 ft (10,670 m) and a speed of over Mach 2 where its three ramjet engines could be started. The parasite would then be air launched from the B-58B mother plane and accelerate to even higher speeds for its mission. The Super Hustler parasite was to consist of two major pieces. The first was a manned vehicle with a two-person crew while the second component was an independent expendable unmanned vehicle. Though this unmanned component was originally foreseen as a bomber containing a nuclear weapon, it could also carry additional fuel to extend the range of both components combined. This capability made the parasite attractive as a possible reconnaissance aircraft.

The manned component was about 46.58 ft (14.21 m) long with a wingspan of 18.75 ft (5.72 m) and weighed approximately 10,500 lb (4,760 kg). The two crewmembers sat side-by-side while the craft's single Marquardt RJ-59 ramjet engine produced 10,000 lb (44.5 kN) of thrust at Mach 3 and 5,000 lb (22.24 kN) of thrust at Mach 4. A small turbojet engine was also added to provide power during landing when the vehicle would be traveling too slowly for the ramjet to function. It was also equipped with a wheeled nose gear and skid main gear arrangement, similar to that used on the X-15, and the fuselage nose was designed to hinge downward for improved visibility during landing, much like the Concorde.


Conceptual diagram of the Convair Fish

The expendable portion of the vehicle, meanwhile, was 48.75 ft (14.87 m) in length with a wingspan of 23.33 ft (7.17 m) and weighed about 25,300 lb (11,475 kg). This component was also powered, carrying two Marquardt RJ-59 ramjets, so that it could be released from the manned vehicle to fly under its own power and deliver its nuclear payload. Being expendable, however, this unmanned vehicle carried no landing gear. Both sections of the parasite were to be constructed of stainless steel, a ceramic material called pyro-ceram, and titanium to survive the intense heat generated at Mach 4. This heating also made it necessary to cover the cockpit windows with a series of heat protection shields, and television cameras were required to give the crew outside visibility.

Because of the limited space beneath the B-58B, the manned and expendable components were to be mated to the launch aircraft in an unusual manner. The manned vehicle was placed in front with its tail connected to the nose of the unmanned component behind it. The entire assembly, once mated to the B-58, would take off from a conventional runway and climb to altitude. The Super Hustler parasite was to be released about 2,300 nm (4,260 km) from its target. At launch, the parent aircraft would accelerate to Mach 2 so that the three ramjet engines could be engaged. With the ramjets producing full power, the parasite would be released and climb to its cruse altitude of 75,000 ft (22,860 m) and Mach 4. The vehicle would reach a peak altitude of 90,000 ft (27,430 m) when approaching the target. After releasing the unmanned component, the manned section was to return to base, decelerate, engage its turbojet engine, and land on a conventional runway.


Model of the Fish parasite beneath its B-58B launch aircraft

Though the Air Force expressed some interest in an improved version of the B-58, the parasite bomber was considered impractical and received no government funding. Development of a B-58B bomber continued but the CIA's interest in a supersonic reconnaissance plane sent the parasite idea down a different path. As Lockheed was working on its proposal for a U-2 replacement, Bob Widmer and Vincent Dolson at Convair resurrected the parasite concept and dubbed the vehicle the "Fish." The Fish was to be carried by a modified version of the B-58B Super Hustler with a lengthened fuselage, more powerful engines, and carrying an additional crewman to launch the parasite.

The Fish itself was also modified from the original parasite concept and became a single manned vehicle instead of separate manned and unmanned components. The Fish employed a sophisticated lifting body fuselage shape and could reach a top speed of Mach 4.2 at 90,000 ft (27,430 m) with a maximum range of 3,900 nm (7,220 km). Powering the Fish during its Mach 4+ dash over the target were two of the same Marquardt ramjets that would have been used on the earlier parasite. The Fish was also to be equipped with two turbojets to return and land under its own power. Both the engine nozzles and the leading edges of the wings would have been constructed of pyro-ceram to withstand high temperatures as well as absorb radar waves for improved stealthiness.


Subscale wind tunnel model of the Fish parasite

The Fish concept was a risky proposal since it relied on unproven ramjet engines and required launching from a mother plane that did not yet exist. Indeed, it had yet to be proven that the B-58B launch platform could achieve the Mach 2.2 speeds needed for the ramjet engines to be started, and calculations by Convair engineers suggested the Fish was too heavy to allow the B-58B to do so. However, the final nail in the coffin came in June 1959 when the Air Force cancelled the B-58B altogether. The Fish concept was all but doomed in light of this decision, although converting the existing B-58A into a suitable mother plane was explored. Nevertheless, the B-58A was smaller and slower than the proposed B-58B and converting the older aircraft was considered impractical because of high cost and technical difficulties. The parasite concept was also criticized for being difficult to support logistically.

These issues left the Super Hustler/Fish proposal as no longer feasible, but Lockheed's competing design was also unacceptable because its RCS remained considerably higher than desired. Both the Convair and Lockheed proposals were rejected in July 1959 when the design teams were told to try again. Lockheed continued to refine its concept by exploring methods of reducing RCS while Convair was given a contract to develop a new design without the worrisome ramjet engines and mother plane required for the Fish. Both companies were also encouraged to use the J58 turboramjet engine for propulsion.


Conceptual diagram of the Convair Kingfish

In abandoning the Fish, Convair developed a completely different concept bearing only a superficial resemblance to its predecessor. Known as the Kingfish, this aircraft took advantage of many technologies previously developed for the F-102 and F-106 fighters as well as the B-58. Among these innovations were a stainless steel honeycomb skin, the delta wing design, and crew escape capsules that eliminated the need for pressurized suits. The Kingfish carried a crew of two in tandem and was powered by a pair of J58 engines mounted within the fuselage instead of along the wings as in Lockheed's competing design. Unlike its parasite predecessors, these engines allowed the Kingfish to both takeoff and land under its own power without needing a launch aircraft. These turboramjet engines reduced the cruise speed to Mach 3.2 compared to the Fish's Mach 4.2 using ramjets, but range was increased to about 3,400 nm (6,300 km).

The Kingfish's greatest strength, however, was its RCS. The plane's relatively small size with engines buried inside the fuselage was a significant contributor to its stealth technology, and the Kingfish also retained pyro-ceram material along the wing leading edges and engine nozzles to absorb radar waves. In addition, the engine inlets were to be made of a fiberglass material further contributing to a low RCS. Nevertheless, Lockheed's Kelly Johnson remained dubious about these advanced materials and felt that Convair engineers had emphasized RCS "with total disregard for aerodynamics, inlet and afterburner performance."


Inverted radar test model of the Kingfish being assembled

By August 1959, both Convair and Lockheed had completed their designs and submitted proposals to a selection panel composed of Department of Defense, CIA, and Air Force personnel. This board pitted the Convair Kingfish against the Lockheed A-12, a close relative of what would eventually become the SR-71. The following table gives an overall comparison of the competitors.


Lockheed A-12 Convair Kingfish
Max Speed Mach 3.2 Mach 3.2
Max Range [nm] 4,120 3,400
Initial Cruise Alt [ft] 84,500 85,000
Max Cruise Alt [ft] 97,600 94,000
Radar Cross Section (higher) (lower)
Unit Cost (w/o engines) $8.05 million $10.1 million

Although the Lockheed design had a slight edge in cost and most performance categories, some judges favored the Kingfish because of its much lower RCS. However, Lockheed was deemed the winner and issued a contract to proceed with further development and construction of test vehicles. One of the reasons for this decision was Convair's history of cost overruns and production delays during development of the B-58 that Air Force officials feared might also occur with the Kingfish. Lockheed, by comparison, had demonstrated its ability to produce an advanced aircraft on time and under budget during the U-2 program. Lockheed also had a history of building and testing new planes in complete secrecy, including the P-80 and U-2, at its highly secure Skunk Works facility. The Kingfish also remained a rather unconventional design incorporating a number of untried technologies, and it is likely that the concept was considered too risky.


Kingfish RCS test model before pyro-ceram material was installed along the wing leading edges

Even after the contract award, however, Convair continued receiving some funding to develop the Kingfish as a backup should the Lockheed A-12 be a failure. When that did not happen and the A-12 proved to be a highly successful aircraft, further work on the Kingfish was finally halted. The concept was revived briefly once again during the mid-1960s when the Convair division of General Dynamics proposed merging technologies from its Fish and Kingfish vehicles with the F-111 fighter. The goal of this effort was to create a high-speed reconnaissance aircraft capable of reaching up to Mach 5 at an altitude of 100,000 ft (30,480 m). However, this concept was still considered too vulnerable to Soviet air defenses and did not progress any further.


Forward and aft views of the inverted Kingfish model during radar testing

Though nothing ever came of the Kingfish, it is still interesting to note how similar the overall shape of the vehicle is to the F-117 that would come 20 years later. The F-117 and its Have Blue prototype were the first aircraft designed specifically for low RCS. Both they and the Kingfish share a similar boxy fuselage shape, engine location, flat underside, and several structural concepts suggesting that the Convair designers may have been ahead of their time in the stealth revolution.
- answer by Jeff Scott, 31 December 2006


Louisiana senator Huey Long is shot

Senator Huey Long is shot in the Louisiana state capitol building. He died about 30 hours later. Called a demagogue by critics, the populist leader was a larger-than-life figure who boasted that he bought legislators “like sacks of potatoes, shuffled them like a deck of cards.” He gave himself the nickname “Kingfish,” saying “I’m a small fish here in Washington. But I’m the Kingfish to the folks down in Louisiana.”

In 1928 Long became the youngest governor of Louisiana at age 34. His brash style alienated many people, including the heads of the biggest corporation in the state, Standard Oil. Long preached the redistribution of wealth, which he believed could be done by heavily taxing the rich. One of his early propositions, which met with much opposition, was an “occupational” tax on oil refineries. Later, Long would develop these theories into the Share Our Wealth society, which promised a $2,500 minimum income per family.

Long also abolished the state’s poll tax on voting and gained free textbooks for every student. His motto was 𠇎very Man a King.” His populism led to an impeachment attempt, but he successfully foiled the charges. In 1930, he won the election for Louisiana senator but declined to serve until his handpicked successor was able to win the governor’s seat in 1932.

Soon after vigorously campaigning for Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, Long, with his own designs on the office, began loudly denouncing the new president. In response, many of his allies in the Louisiana legislature turned against him and would no longer vote for his candidates. In an effort to regain power in the state, Long managed to pass a series of laws giving him control over the appointment of every public position in the state, including every policeman and schoolteacher.


Kingfish (SS-234) - History

USS Kingfish SS 234

Personalized Canvas Ship Print

(Not just a photo or poster but a work of art!)

The printed picture is exactly as you see it. You have the choice of two print sizes. 8"x10" or 11"x14" ready for framing as it is or you can add an additional matte of your own choosing. The prints are made to order. They look awesome when matted and framed.

We PERSONALIZE the print with "Name, Rank and/or Years Served" or anything else you would like it to state (NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE). It is placed just above the ships photo. After purchasing the print simply email us or indicate in the notes section of your payment what you would like printed on it. Example:

United States Navy Sailor
YOUR NAME HERE
Proudly Served Sept 1963 - Sept 1967

This would make a nice gift and a great addition to any historic military collection. Would be fantastic for decorating the home or office wall.

The watermark "Great Naval Images" will NOT be on your print.

This photo is printed on Archival-Safe Acid-Free canvas using a high resolution printer and should last many years.

Because of its unique natural woven texture canvas offers a special and distinctive look that can only be captured on canvas. The canvas print does not need glass thereby enhancing the appearance of your print, eliminating glare and reducing your overall cost.

Every sailor loved his ship. It was his life. Where he had tremendous responsibility and lived with his closest shipmates. As one gets older his appreciation for the ship and the Navy experience gets stronger. A personalized print shows ownership, accomplishment and an emotion that never goes away. It helps to show your pride even if a loved one is no longer with you. Every time you walk by the print you will feel the person or the Navy experience in your heart (guaranteed).

We guarantee you will not be disappointed with this item or your money back. In addition, We will replace the canvas print unconditionally for FREE if you damage your print. You would only be charged a nominal fee plus shipping and handling.

The image is portrayed on the waters of the ocean or bay with a display of her crest if available. The ships name is printed on the bottom of the print. What a great canvas print to commemorate yourself or someone you know who may have served aboard her.


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