Saturday, March 27, 2010

U.S.S. Batfish - The Oklahoma Submarine

One of the most remarkable sights in the South is the U.S.S. Batfish, a famed World War II submarine that sits high and dry in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Commissioned in 1943, the Batfish was named for a ferocious West Indian fish and lived up to its name in combat against the forces of Imperial Japan. Credited with sinking 15 Japanese vessels, the Batfish earned lasting fame late in the war when it destroyed 3 enemy submarines in 76 hours. The record stands to this day as a landmark in naval warfare.

When the war ended, the Batfish became part of the large U.S. "mothball" fleet of vessels no longer needed by the peacetime navy. By the late 1960s, she had deteriorated badly. An effort developed in Oklahoma, however, to save a World War II submarine. The effort originally focused on the U.S.S. Pirahna, but she proved too badly deteriorated. The Navy, instead, recommended the Batfish.

Towed from Texas up the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers in 1972, the submarine was moved into its current position at Muskogee during the extremely high water of 1973. The sub now sits high and dry, 30 feet above the normal stage of the Arkansas River.

The Batfish is the centerpiece of Muskogee's noteworthy War Memorial Park. To learn more, please visit

No comments: