USS Apogon (Bikini Atoll — 165 fsw)


The Apogon (SS-308) seemed like a natural first post on the wrecks of Bikini Atoll after my initial overall Bikini Atoll Trip Report. I had recently dove and documented and built a photogrammetry model of another Balao-class submarine : the USS Moray which sunk during torpedo target practice in 1970 off San Clemente Island, California.

I had also recently visited the Balao-class USS Bowfin in Pearl Harbor.

While I was diving the USS Apogon, I kept visualizing how I would build a photogrammetry model of the USS Moray. I heard that somebody built a model of the Apogon which would be a cool comparison.

USS Apogon

The USS Apogon was typical of the other 120 Balao-class submarines. It was 311 feet long and had a beam of 27 feet and were driven by four diesel engines which powered electing generators and motors drove the shafts. The Apogon was laid down on 9 December 1942, launched on 10 March 1943, and commissioned on 19 July 1943.

It is interesting to think that 120 submarines were built between 1942-1946. But then add on top all of the airplanes, destroyers, etc that were built during the same time. It is clear that the entire United States was cranking out heavy machinery for World War II.

Below are some pictures of the Apogon from Navsource

After she completed her shakedown off New England, the Apogon transited the Panama Canal and arrived in Pearl Harbor on 11 Oct 1943. She had patrols and operated at Moen Island, the Gilbert Islands, Johnston Island and then went on a 50 day patrol of the Mariana Islands. She also served a fourth patrol in the area between Formosa and the Philippines. While attacking a Japanese convoy, the caught sight of her periscope and was struck on her starboard side, damaging the periscope and radar systems. After repairs, she headed for the Kuril Islands on her fifth patrol and sunk a Japanese patrol craft. She served for three more patrols and ended up sinking multiple vessels.

The USS Apogon received six battle stars.

The Apogon was sunk during the “Baker” test on 25 July 1946. She was operated under remote control to position here 100 feet underwater before the explosion. Pictures below are from Navsource and show the Apogon undergoing remote control tests prior to Bikini and then a diver going down to adjust cable attachments.

In the diagram below, the Apogon is ship number 2 in the array.

Diving the Wreck

The Apogon sits upright in the sand at about 165 feet deep.

Her decks and outer hull are collapsing. The highlights include the props at the stern and the gun forward of the conning tower along with the periscope tubes. She is covered in fish and life. It is a fun wreck to dive that isn’t too big to cover most of the key areas in one dive.

The downline was tied into the very front of the wreck so you need to account for the time to swim back to the downline when considering how much time spent exploring.

Below are photos of highlights of the wreck and a schematic for a sister ship that can be used to indicate position of the photos.



Photo 1 : Natural light photo of the bow with the downline

This isn’t a great picture, but it gives an idea of the amount of damage done. It is looking down at the internals of the wreck from the area on the deck. There is a good 5-7 feet of drop from the top deck into this section.

Photo 2: Heading towards the conning tower

Again, not a great picture, but this is looking back towards the collapsed area from the stern to the bow. I believe the hatch shown is the “escape hatch” indicated in the diagram.

Photo 3 : Looking at the collapsed area towards the bow
Photo 4 : Looking up at the periscope tubes
Photo 5 : Glassfish while heading aft of the conning tower
Photo 6 : Props & rudder under the ship
Photo 7 : forward 40mm gun (with Ken Sallot)
Photo 8 : Bryan at the 40mm gun with the conning tower in the background

2 thoughts on “USS Apogon (Bikini Atoll — 165 fsw)

  1. Nice report & photos, thanks. Apagon was built at Portsmouth Navy Yard, where my grandfather was a draftsman at the time.

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