USS COBIA

Manitowoc's Submarine Memorial

Honoring Those Who Served

Moored along the Manitowoc River, adjacent to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, is the World War II fleet submarine USS Cobia (SS-245). Cobia has local and national significance as an icon of Wisconsin's shipbuilding heritage. Cobia is a GATO-class fleet submarine similar to the twenty-eight subs built in Manitowoc during World War II. Even though it is the same class of submarine built by Manitowoc shipbuilders, Cobia was a product of the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut.

Cobia History

USS COBIA, 1943

USS Cobia (SS 245) was launched on November 28, 1943. In June 1944, she began the first of six war patrols in which she sank thirteen Japanese vessels for a total of 20,000 tons of enemy shipping. By July 1944, Cobia had established herself in the annals of World War II sub history by attacking an enemy convoy bound for Japanese-held Iwo Jima.

Cobia sank two vessels, including a troop transport carrying a Japanese tank battalion of twenty-eight tanks. U.S. Marines considered this sinking critical to their success in capturing Iwo six months later. Cobia's most colorful battle took place in February 1945, when she engaged two armed Japanese sea trucks in a running gun duel. Cobia sank both of them, but not without the loss of Ralph Clark Huston Jr, a 20 mm gun loader and Cobia's only casualty of the war. Cobia was nearly lost in May 1945, during an eight-hour depth charging by the Japanese minesweeper Hatsutaka. The minesweeper attacked Cobia in 120 feet of water and blasted her over twenty feet into the muddy seafloor of the Gulf of Siam. Cobia escaped intact, but heavily damaged. Ironically, Cobia's fate became intertwined with two Manitowoc-built boats through this incident. Hatsutaka sank the Manitowoc-built submarine Lagarto the week before attacking Cobia and the enemy minesweeper was sunk less than a week after Cobia's attack by USS Hawkbill, another Manitowoc-built submarine.

Ever since World War II, Cobia's role has changed to keep pace with her various missions. By 1959, the U. S. Navy considered Cobia obsolete as a deployable warship and transferred her to the Milwaukee Naval Reserve Center. There she served as a training platform for the next eleven years. In 1970, the Navy decommissioned Cobia and she was towed to Manitowoc to serve as an international memorial to submariners. In 1986, Cobia was incorporated as a part of the Manitowoc Maritime Museum, declared a National Historic Landmark, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As the Manitowoc Maritime Museum changed its name to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Cobia has become one of the Museum's major exhibits, supporting tours and a variety of overnight programs. As a National Historic Landmark, Cobia has been restored to her original 1945 configuration. You can go aboard and tour her topside and inside. You'll see the torpedo rooms, wardroom, crew's quarters, engine rooms and much more. No movie can match the real thing, so don't miss Cobia when you visit the Museum!

  • Commissioning Crew
    Commissioning Crew
  • March 29, 1944
    March 29, 1944
  • Cutting the Commissioning Cake
    Cutting the Commissioning Cake
  • Guests at Commissioning Party
    Guests at Commissioning Party
  • USS Cobia (SS 245)
    USS Cobia (SS 245)
  • Crewmen in the control room
    Crewmen in the control room
  • Ralph Clark Huston, Jr
    Ralph Clark Huston, Jr
  • Rescue of downed airmen
    Rescue of downed airmen
  • Crew on deck
    Crew on deck
  • Cobia Crewmen
    Cobia Crewmen
  • On a beach in the Pacific
    On a beach in the Pacific
  • Cobia Baseball Team
    Cobia Baseball Team
  • Cobia Baseball Team
    Cobia Baseball Team
  • Crew Photo
    Crew Photo
  • Crew Photo
    Crew Photo
  • Officers with Battle Flag
    Officers with Battle Flag
  • Post war photo
    Post war photo
  • 1986 Cobia Reunion
    1986 Cobia Reunion
  • 2005 Reunion
    2005 Reunion
  • 2007 Reunion
    2007 Reunion
  • 2008 Reunion
    2008 Reunion

USS COBIA Challenge Coin

Check out our new submarine challenge coins! The Cobia coin is available for purchase in the Museum store or visit our online store for ordering information.