The first mass-production U.S. submarine class of World War II was the Gato class of submarines. The United States Navy launched them in 1941–1943. The Gatos were responsible for destroying many Japanese ships during World War II. In fact, it sank at least 19 Japanese ships, more than any other submarine of the time.
The USS Gato was the lead ship of the class – lending its name to the class as a whole. The U.S Navy mostly used marine creatures as inspiration for the names of their submarines, and the Gato was no exception. Indeed, the gato is a species of small catshark.
What’s more – the wahoo – the prized and valued game fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas gave its name to the USS Wahoo (SS-238) which was part of the Gato class.
Construction started before the U.S. entered World War II, and she was commissioned after entry.
The US Navy assigned the Wahoo to the Pacific theatre where she gained fame as an aggressive and highly successful submarine after Lieutenant Commander Dudley Walker “Mush” Morton became her skipper.
A Japanese aircraft sunk her in October 1943 whilst she was returning home from a patrol in the Sea of Japan. Later, beginning in 1995, the Wahoo Project Group searched for her, based on the available evidence. Eventually, the team managed to locate the Wahoo, discovering that the wreckage lies intact in about 213 ft (65 m) of water in the La Pérouse (Soya) Strait.