WWII Submarine Battle Flag, USS Jack, SS-259


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SKU: W1412 Category:


The tradition of submarine battle flags began during WWII when subs returning from
patrol would fly flags representing ships sunk, total tonnage, or a broom indicating a “clean
sweep” (meaning that every target engaged was destroyed). Toward the end of the war
the crews started making flags specific to their boat with a logo and sewn patches
indicating ships sunk, the number of patrols, pilots rescued, citations received, etc. This
flag is unique to the submarine USS Jack and features a hand painted logo which has
been hand sewn onto a red fabric background depicting a fighting fish wearing a sailor’s
cap and boxing gloves while smoking a cigar. There are 29 individual Japanese
“meatball” flag emblems and one rising sun emblem machine sewn to the flag, indicating
the kills. The “meatball” flags represent merchant ships and the rising sun flag represents
a Japanese naval vessel. In addition there are sewn patches representing the award
citations the crew received. The boat’s name is stenciled onto a red banner which has
also been sewn to the background cloth. A separate white cloth backing has been sewn
to the flag. Size 41″ x 28″. Very good condition with minor staining, no tears. The fact
that this flag does not include all the awards and credits featured on the final version of
the Jack’s official flag indicate the likelihood that it was made in 1945, but before the war’s

USS Jack (SS-259), a Gato-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy
to be named for the jack (a variety of fish). Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat
Company, Groton, Connecticut 2 February 1942. She was launched 16 October 1942.
USS Jack sailed on 9 Pacific patrols during the war and was credited with sinking a total
of 76,687 tons of Japanese shipping and received 7 battle stars and the Presidential Unit
Citation. Jack is the subject of the series premier of the syndicated television anthology
series “The Silent Service”. The episode, entitled “The Jack at Tokyo,” aired 5 Apr 1957
and was hosted by Rear Admiral Thomas M. Dykers (ret). Her operations during the
Pacific War are chronicled in “Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack
Submarine”, a memoir written in 1995 by Vice Admiral James F. Calvert, who served
aboard the Jack.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311′ 9″;
Beam 27′ 3″; Draft 15′ 3″; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Complement 6
Officers 54 Enlisted; Operating Depth, 300 ft; Submerged Endurance, 48 hrs at 2 kts;
Patrol Endurance 75 days; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10 kts; Armament,
ten 21″ torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3″/50 deck gun, two .50 cal.
machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel electric reduction gear with
four Hoover, Owens, Rentschler Co. main generator diesel engines, 5,400HP, Fuel
Capacity, 97,140 gal., four Allis Chalmers Manufacturing Co. main motors, 2,740HP, two
126-cell main storage batteries, twin screws.