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USS Clamagore as Guppy III


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Clamagore (SS 343) was a WWII Balao class fleet submarine that underwent several upgrades postwar.   Finished in June 1945, Clamagore was upgraded in December 1947 at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard with a Guppy II modernization and installation of a snorkel.  Guppy II submarines had new higher capacity batteries installed, and the number of battery cells doubled from 252 to 504 cells.  Their geared electric motors were replaced with quieter direct drive, lower RPM electric motors, and the snorkel permitted recharging the batteries while submerged at periscope depth.   Physically, the submarines were modified externally to reduce underwater drag.   The Guppy II conversion had deck guns removed, were fitted with a streamlined sail structure and a modified bow structure.   These submarines were capable of submerged speeds of 16-17 knots vs. unmodified fleet submarine top speed  of 9 knots.  More significantly, they could cruise longer distances at higher speeds without depleting the batteries.  The Guppy submarines became one of the mainstays of postwar submarine operations against the USSR.     They served alongside the postwar diesel submarines (Tang class) and  early nuclear powered submarines.

In the 1960's, the nuclear attack submarine building programs were lagging, both due to the Polaris missile submarine program priority as well as modifications following the loss of Thresher.  To maintain operational numbers, a further Guppy conversion was undertaken to extend and enhance nine of the existing Guppy II submarines.   With Guppy III, the submarines received a new sail (fiberglass with internal metal skeleton).  But the most important modification was the cutting of the hull forward of the sail and insertion of a 15 foot long hull "plug" to create a dedicated sonar room.  Also added were the three AN/BQG-4 PUFFS (Passive Underwater Fire Control Feasibility System) sonar "fins" on deck.   These used the hull length as a baseline to determine the bearing of a target by the time of arrival of an acoustic signal at the three sonars. 

iClamagore was one of the submarines upgraded to Guppy III configuration.  After service and with the added Permit and Sturgeon class SSN submarines, Clamagore was decommissioned in 1975. She was a museum ship at Patriot's Point until 2022, when she was scrapped due to poor upkeep by the museum.   You can read more about the submarine and see photos from the interior from  a tour I took just 2 years before it was scrapped here:

 USS Clamagore. Guppy III


The model is an OOP resin and white metal kit from Yankee ModelWorks, now sadly no longer in business.   However a similar resin & 3-D printed features Guppy III model may soon be available from another kit manufacturer.  Stay tuned!






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